Dealing with David
By: Katriena Knights | Other books by Katriena Knights
Published By: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Published: Apr 24, 2012
ISBN # 9781609287733
Published By: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Published: Apr 24, 2012
ISBN # 9781609287733
Word Count: 52,371
Price: $4.50 $3.15 (after rebate)
Available in: Adobe Acrobat, HTML, Mobipocket (.mobi), Rocket, Epub
DescriptionIt’s tough to win the game of love if you don’t understand the rules.
Though Tony Mullin agreed to put on a medieval costume, complete with pointy hat, for her best friend’s marriage vow renewal, another round of wedding bells will never be in her own future. Been there, done that, still sifting through the ashes of broken dreams.
Yet she can’t take her eyes off the Armani-clad mystery man among the guests—and no one’s more surprised to learn it’s David Peterson, the erstwhile nerd who mooned over her in high school. He not only grew up to be a hunk, but a rich one as well. Pity she’s sworn off men.
Last David knew, sweet, artistic Tony married the high school quarterback. He made his fortune developing video games, but the torch he carried for her still smolders. His surprise that she’s ditched the jock quickly turns to determination to win her heart at last…though she seems just as determined to play keep-away.
David didn’t become successful by giving up easily. A freak snowstorm plays into his strategy, but debugging a few gigabytes of computer code seems easier than figuring out how to win this wary woman’s love.
This title was previously published.
Warning: Contains strange Colorado weather patterns and video game heroines with breasts that could put your eye out.
Reader Rating: Not rated (0 Ratings)
Sensuality Rating: Not rated
Excerpt:Copyright © 2012 Katriena Knights
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
Not for the first time, Tony Mullin wondered why in the world she had agreed to stand up in Jim and Julia Richie’s second wedding. Looking at herself in the mirror in the dark blue velvet medieval monstrosity of a dress, she couldn’t really come up with an answer.
Except that Julia was her best friend, had been since forever, and renewing her vows on her tenth anniversary meant the world to her. Plus—and Tony was hesitant to admit the additional motivation even to herself—a good portion of her high school graduating class was going to be there, as well as Julia’s other friends and family. None of Tony’s fellow classmates had seen her since not long after graduation. Truth to tell, Tony had something to prove.
With a sigh, Tony adjusted the tall, pointy hat over her sleekly upswept hair and pinned it in place, adjusting the gauzy blue veils around her face. A collection of dark blonde strands refused to stay in place, falling in less than artful disarray around her face. She looked ridiculous.
The fabric was wonderful, though. Tony slid her hand down the sensuous softness of the velvet and imagined once again the suit it would become once the ceremony was over—Tony’s own version of a designer suit she’d seen in a fashion magazine. It was one of the reasons she’d finally agreed to participate, especially when Julia had offered to foot the bill.
The dippy hat seemed to sit a bit too low on her forehead. Tony loosened a few pins and readjusted it. It hadn’t seemed right, letting Julia buy the dress. But Julia had insisted.
“It’s not a wedding wedding, after all,” she’d argued. “We’re just renewing our vows.”
Tony had just shaken her head, knowing she was about to agree to whatever Julia asked, as much to get her hands on that rich, blue velvet as anything else. “I still can’t believe you convinced Jim to wear tights.”
Julia and Jim’s first wedding had been a simple affair, with a Justice of the Peace presiding and Tony and her then-husband Rudy James serving as witnesses. But Julia had always wanted a big to-do with the wedding party in medieval garb, and that was what she was about to get. The participants were the same—Julia as bride, Jim as groom and Tony as the lone bridesmaid—but the setting looked like something out of a bad Robin Hood movie.
“More like Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” Tony muttered. She stepped out to meet the crowd.
Not for the first time, David Peterson wondered why he’d been invited to Julia and Jim Richie’s second wedding.
Apparently, he wasn’t the only guest with the same question. Except the curious gazes that followed him as he walked up the aisle asked not, “What is he doing here?” but “Who is he?”
David muffled a smile as he sat down. He had most of a pew to himself. The guest list appeared to consist of his and Julia’s entire graduating class, but that had only been about fifty people. Maybe thirty-five of them were here now, sprinkled among faces he didn’t recognize who were probably Julia’s family. Many of their classmates had moved out of state after graduation. David had planned never to see them again. He wanted to see them now, though. Wanted them to see his success. Petty, he knew, but somewhere inside, he was still the nerdy teenager who’d taken the brunt of far too much harassment. He wasn’t proud of it, but there it was.
He smoothed his Star Wars tie, straightened his Armani suit jacket and picked up his program. As he glanced over the order of the ceremony, his heart did a strange little flip, and suddenly, he understood why the universe had conspired to put him in the same room with the people who’d ruined his teenage years.
Julia’s single bridesmaid was Antonytte Mullin.
Mullin. Not James. Mullin.
And David knew he had fallen into the hands of Fate. The question was, what would he do now he was there?
Tony adjusted her big, pointy hat for the hundredth time while Julia preened soberly, preparing for the first of the guests to reach the short receiving line. The wedding had gone off perfectly and, in spite of its eccentricities, had been kind of beautiful.
Spotting her old cheerleading friends approaching in the line, Tony edged Julia a sidelong glance. “I don’t understand why you invited Cheryl and Missy.”
Julia had never been fond of the two most popular girls in the school, but Tony’s concern was more selfish. She had something to prove, yes, but Cheryl and Missy had been her best friends in high school. She hadn’t seen either of them since her divorce, and didn’t want to spend the whole evening explaining things to the two friends who’d been most supportive of her dating and eventual marriage to Rudy James.
Julia shrugged. “I thought you might want to see them. I mean, you guys were the tight little cheerleading trio in high school.” She readjusted her white velvet bodice, which had been dislodged slightly by the shrug, then smoothed her dark hair, pinned up under her own tall, pointy hat. “A lot of them still live up this way, and God knows they could use a party.” She turned to Jim. “Your hose are bagging again, darling.”
Jim gave his wife a wry look. “Ask me if I care.”
Tony looked down at Jim’s wrinkly ankles, grinning. She thought Jim was quite a sport, agreeing to wear the tights and blue velvet tunic. Not to mention the weird little pointy shoes. To be asked to hike up his hose every five minutes was, in Tony’s mind and apparently Jim’s as well, above and beyond the call of duty.
Then the bride’s uncle arrived to clasp Jim’s hand warmly and say, “I’ll tell you, boy, that was the weirdest damn wedding I’ve ever been to.”
Tony gamely shook hands and accepted pecks on the cheek, all the while feeling her hat edge closer and closer to her eyebrows. There hadn’t seemed to be nearly so many guests when they were seated in the church. The line seemed to go on forever.
Then, quite suddenly, time stopped.
He was near the end of the line, and Tony had no idea who he was. Tall and slim, he had dark hair and a wide jaw. His suit fit him too well not to be expensive, and something about the way he held himself, the way he walked, made every hormone in her body stand at attention. At first she thought he might be the spouse of one of her old schoolmates, but he stood between two couples and was unmistakably alone. Maybe he was related to Julia. But something made her think she should know him, a disconcerting tickle in her brain that made her actually try to scratch her head, then stop abruptly when her questing fingers once again encountered the hat.
Tony found herself less and less able to concentrate on what she was doing as he came closer. The tickle continued, but her brain refused to put together the pieces that would identify him. It was as if she could see his true identity out of the corner of her eye but couldn’t look directly at it.
Something in her knew him, though. Something that made her heart speed up and her breath catch in the back of her throat. Her hands had gone suddenly damp, and all her ridiculous, quasi-medieval clothes felt too tight. She wanted to rush up to him and demand his name. Or run the other direction and hide behind a handy curtain.
Who the hell was he?
His turn came. Julia and Jim greeted him like they knew him but didn’t say his name. Then he turned to Tony. Something disturbingly familiar lurked in those gray eyes, but Tony still found herself at a loss.
He squeezed her hand, then leaned forward to put a small kiss on her cheek. Her face started to burn, as if she’d suddenly contracted the flu. Or Ebola, or something else that made her face hot, her hands cold and her throat constrict so that, for a moment, she thought she couldn’t breathe. When he drew back, he was smiling.
“Nice hat,” he said and went on his way. She watched him go, wishing her heart would slow to its normal pace. She had a feeling it wouldn’t until he moved out of eyeshot.
She was right.