Authors: Tara Sivec
The Chocolate Lovers Series:
Seduction and Snacks (Chocolate Lovers #1)
Futures and Frosting (Chocolate Lovers #2)
Troubles and Treats (Chocolate Lovers #3)
The Chocoholics Series:
Love and Lists (Chocoholics #1)
Passion and Ponies (Chocoholics #2)
Tattoos and TaTas (Chocoholics #2.5)
Baking and Babies (Chocoholics #3)
The Stocking Was Hung (The Holidays #1)
Cupid Has a Heart-On (The Holidays #2)
The Playing With Fire Series:
A Beautiful Lie (Playing With Fire #1)
Because of You (Playing With Fire #2)
Worn Me Down (Playing With Fire #3)
Closer to the Edge (Playing With Fire #4)
The Ignite Trilogy
Burned (Ignite Trilogy Volume 1)
Branded (Ignite Trilogy Volume 2)
New Adult Drama
Watch Over Me
Worth the Trip
The Fool Me Once Series:
Shame on You (Fool Me Once #1)
Shame on Me (Fool Me Once #2)
Shame on Him (Fool Me Once #3)
Cupid Has a Heart-On
Copyright © 2016 Tara Sivec
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review. The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead is coincidental and not intended by the author.
This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be resold or given away to other people. If you wish to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of adult fiction. The author does not endorse or condone any of the behavior enclosed within. The subject matter may not be appropriate for minors. All trademarks and copyrighted items mentioned are the property of their respective owners.
Editing by Erin Garcia
Cover Design by Tara Sivec
Interior Design by Paul Salvette, BB eBooks
Stocking Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com is licensed by CC BY 3.0
(The Holidays, #2)
For Scheva, who hearts herpes.
ccording to Dante,
there are nine circles of Hell: Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud and Treachery. Clearly, he forgot about the tenth, rarely talked about circle: Moving Back Home with Your Parents. I’m guessing Dante never suffered through this burning inferno of misery and pain.
“Honey, have you seen my black, crotchless panties? They were on top of the dryer this morning, and now I can’t find them.”
Swallowing back the vomit that pools in my mouth, I look up from my laptop on the kitchen table. “In what universe is it okay for a mother to ask her daughter that question?”
My mother pauses in her search through random kitchen drawers and cabinets to sigh and look back at me over her shoulder.
“Oh, don’t be such a prude, Noel. Maybe if
had a pair of crotchless panties, Sam would have proposed by now.”
I glance down at the ring on my left hand and smile, despite my mother’s continued use of the word
propose, thank you very much. It’s only been five weeks. Have you already forgotten how much crying and snotting you did all over the dining room table on Christmas Eve?”
With a slam of one of the drawers, she turns to face me.
“That was a fake proposal. It doesn’t count.”
Okay, so I met a stranger at the airport on my way home from Seattle for the holidays, and convinced him to pretend to be my live-in-boyfriend and come home with me, so my family wouldn’t know I lost my shit and ran out of our apartment when he got down on one knee right before my trip. And sure, Sam was still playing the part of said-boyfriend when he proposed on Christmas Eve, but he meant all the words he said to me that night, even if he was pretending to be someone else.
At least I think he did. I mean, he loves me, and he told me I wasn’t allowed to give the ring back after the disaster of Christmas Day when my ex showed up unannounced and my family found out we’d been lying to them. I almost lost him because we were both too stupid to admit our real feelings for each other, but once we cleared the air, he still told me to keep the ring on my finger. That means we’re engaged, right? RIGHT?!
“Don’t forget, Noel, it’s the third Thursday of the month, so I’m going to need you to make yourself scarce tonight while your father and I get freaky with it,” my mother informs me, finally giving up her quest of looking for her missing underwear.
Hello, Tenth Circle of Hell.
“Mom, seriously, just because I’m living here temporarily, doesn’t mean you need to share everything with me. It would have been fine if you just told me you wanted the house to yourself tonight, really.” I shut the lid to my laptop and lean back in my chair with a sigh.
“After all the miscommunication that happened over Christmas, I’m not taking any chances. From now on, we will share
. So, now it’s your turn. Why haven’t you and Sam been doing the nasty?” she asks with a raise of one eyebrow.
“Jesus, Mom. Really?”
Not only did Sam and I fail to communicate with
over the holidays, I spent the majority of my adult life thinking my parents loved my older brother, Nicholas, more than me. I assumed since he was successful, happily married, and just recently gave them their first granddaughter, that he was the golden child. Whereas myself, at the age of thirty-three, am unemployed
a recent runaway from commitment like it was a death sentence, and with no place to live.
I blamed all of my problems on my parents and their favoritism when really, they just wanted me to be happy. Their extra nagging and picking apart my life choices was only because they wanted me to finally find what I was looking for and just. Be. Happy.
Unfortunately, my mother doesn’t seem to realize that talking about our sex lives is the exact opposite of my happy place. This is what I like to refer to as my “Get-me-the-fuck-out-of-here” place.
“I’m just saying, sweetie, you’ve been back home for a little over a month, and I have yet to be woken up in the middle of the night from moaning and screaming. It’s concerning.”
She pats my hand gently and I force myself to stay in my chair and not run from the room screaming like my ass is on fire.
“It’s called common courtesy, Mom. I’m not going to disrespect my childhood home or my parents by having loud, wild sex under your roof.”
Well, I will and I have. I’m just quiet about it, thank you very much.
“As opposed to disrespecting Santa’s Workshop by swishing with semen?” she questions.
Jesus God, you give ONE blowjob in the shed out back and no one lets you live it down.
“We really need to establish a safe word when we speak,” I mutter.
“Your father’s safe word is donuts,” she muses. “But it’s always so confusing. I never know if he wants me to stop spanking him or if he’s just hungry.”
“DONUTS, DONUTS, DONUTS!” I shout, bringing my hands up to my ears to make her stop.
In hindsight, I should probably be a little proud that my parents are still hot for each other, being in their sixties and married for so long, because it gives me hope for my own future, hopefully with Sam. But I’m not. These are NOT things a daughter should know about her parents. Ever.
My mother reaches over and pulls one of my hands away from my ear, shaking her head at me. “Fine, we’ll talk about something else. But if you ever need the house to yourself so you and Sam can make your own donuts, just say the word. I’ll tell your father there’s an after-Christmas sale on lights at Home Depot.”
Dropping my other hand, I give her a jerky nod of agreement, even though I have no intention of EVER letting her know something like this.
“Okay, next subject. How’s the job search coming?”
She glances at my laptop and then takes in the messy bun on top of my head, along with the hoodie and yoga pants I’ve been wearing for four days straight, trying not to feel sorry for myself that I still haven’t found a job. It doesn’t help that Sam has been in Virginia for the last week for military training. He’s the only bright spot in my life at this moment, and with him gone, I’ve lost the will to shower or change my clothes.
“I think I’ve sent out resumes to every business in a fifty-mile radius and not one person has gotten back to me,” I admit dejectedly.
I know moving back to Ohio was the right decision for me. I only moved away in the first place because of that whole miscommunication thing, and because I thought being away from my family and their constant meddling was the only way I would ever find what I was looking for. I love being back home and spending time with my family, and now that I’ve found the man of my dreams, there is no way I could ever leave again. But after a month of job searching with no luck, I’m starting to wonder if I’m ever going to get out from under my parents’ roof.
Sam has been asking me non-stop to move in with him, but it just doesn’t seem right. As much as I love him, and as much as I love the idea of waking up in his arms every morning, I can’t let him take care of everything. I don’t want to move in with him until I have a job and can pull my own weight, pay part of the bills, and not feel like I’m taking advantage of him. Not to mention how fast everything happened with us. My head spins just thinking about how we met in an airport bar and fell in love and into bed so quickly. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, I just think we need more time to get to know each other a little better before we jump to the next step of cohabitating.
Also, five-ish weeks of dating is nowhere near enough time for him to do my laundry and have to discover the horror of period panties. I’d like to keep up the illusion for a little while longer that I only wear sexy, matching bras and thongs a hundred percent of the time, instead of giant, granny panties, full of holes and falling apart at the seams, that I’ve had for five years and keep shoved in the back of my dresser drawer until those five days a month when my uterus vomits misery all over myself and everyone around me.
“Well, you’re in luck,” my mother informs me. “You remember Margie from church? Well, she has her own business she runs out of her home, and she’s looking for someone to manage it. I told her I’d send you over today at five for an interview.”
“Is this the same Margie who flirted with dad at the spaghetti dinner last Easter, and you dumped a bowl of Jell-O on her head?” I ask.
She snorts and waves her hand dismissively. “Water under the bridge. She apologized after your father farted in front of her and didn’t excuse himself. Margie realized he wasn’t the catch she assumed he was. Her husband had just run off with his secretary and she wasn’t in the right frame of mind. I have since forgiven her and you can thank me after your interview with her tonight.”
Something is telling me to politely decline this interview because, really, working out of the home of one of my mother’s church friends? But I’m desperate. So desperate that I’ll take a job helping Margie organize her baskets of yarn for all the kitten sweaters she knits, as long as she pays me.
“Do I even want to ask what kind of business this is?” I ask, pushing back from the table and stretching out the kinks in my body after two hours of staring at my laptop, wondering if it’s too early to start binge drinking.