Taming the Tiger (BBW/Shifter Mail Order Bride Romance) (Mail-Order Mates Book 4) (5 page)

BOOK: Taming the Tiger (BBW/Shifter Mail Order Bride Romance) (Mail-Order Mates Book 4)
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“I am.” Gwen was used to giving out recommendations for places to eat and tourist attractions. She had her list ready to go.

“Do you know Dominic Cates?” The woman looked hopeful.

“I do,” Gwen said slowly.

The woman breathed a sigh of relief. “Good. I thought I was in the right place. He didn’t give me exact directions to his place, so I had to make a good guess.”

The woman left the office and Gwen cursed loudly. She was very glad she hadn’t called Dom over to talk for the night.

 

Six

Dom’s day was uneventful. He went to work and he went home. He forced himself to steer clear of Two Wolves. There was no way Gwen hadn’t gone in there and told Rachel all about what Dom had done.

He’d talked with Olivia about the situation. She was very confused by it all. Gwen had been searching for a mate for months now. Now, Olivia had one for her and she was refusing him. Dom had to explain their history and how Gwen didn’t trust him anymore. It wasn’t a fun conversation. He assured Olivia that he wanted to go through with the match and that he was very serious, but they were at a standstill. Unless Gwen wanted to try, it didn’t matter what he or Olivia wanted.

In the evening, Clint texted him with an invitation to a guys’ night. Erin wanted to start planning her baby shower early. She was going to have the girls over on Saturday night for planning and dinner. While Owen was invited to the baby shower, Erin had hinted that he should leave when they started the planning party. Dom said he was in and would meet Clint and the others at the bar in town. He hoped none of them were pissed at him about the Gwen situation.

He was surprised to see a car turn into his driveway after two in the morning. He hadn’t expected Gwen to come and see him anytime soon. He didn’t open the door but waited.

There was a knock at his door and he peeked out. He had to look twice to believe his eyes. He threw the door open and the woman standing there put her hands up. “Surprise!”

Dom stared at her. Vanessa Sibyl. She looked exactly the same as the last time he’d seen her in New York. They had worked in the same building and they had dated for a few months, if you could call it dating. It was more like they’d had sex frequently for a few months until they tired of each other. The sex hadn’t hurt their friendship; the two spoke frequently on social media and texted sometimes.

He still had no idea why she was on his doorstep in the middle of the night. The few reasons he could come up with made his stomach drop and his pulse race.

“You’re speechless.” She laughed. “I never thought I’d see the day. Invite me in already, Dominic.”

“Come in,” he said and stepped away from the door.

She kicked off her heels and looked around his house. She gave herself a tour of the lower level while his mind raced.

“Nice place. The decorating leaves much to be desired, but it’s very good for a bachelor.” She turned to him. “Wonder why I’m here?”

He nodded and swallowed down his anxiety. His tiger was pacing nervously.

“I had a story in Vegas. There was a convention for shifter adult entertainers. Can you believe that?”

“Why are you covering shifters?” The last Dom knew, Vanessa had been working for some small-time women’s magazine.

“It was my first assignment for
American Shifters Weekly
.” She sat on the couch. “I was so close that I thought I’d drop by and see you.”

“That was nice of you.”

She smiled at him slyly. “Not entirely. There’s a baker here who was on national TV a month ago. I thought I’d do a quick interview with him for filler.”

Now that Dom knew why she was in town, he could breathe easy. She wasn’t hiding a surprise baby or telling him she had some awful STD. Even better, she worked for ASW. This was perfect.

“It’s a really great little town. Maybe I can show you around tomorrow. I’m good friends with that baker.”

“I’m sure everyone in town is friends. There can’t be more than a hundred people in this place.” She patted the couch next to her. “You can sit down. I won’t bite. Not unless you want me to.”

Uh-oh. He was in trouble. It just so happened that she was in town and had looked him up. He believed that much, but there was no way she was going to let him off easy. He could see it in the way she casually draped herself all over his couch. He sat down on the couch next to her.

“How’ve you been?” she asked, trailing a finger down his arm.

Dom jumped up. “My manners are terrible this late at night. Want something to drink?”

“I’m fine.” She smiled up at him and nibbled at her lip.

Shit. Best to just get it out of the way. He had to let her down easy, but quickly. She worked for the magazine that everyone was dying to impress. If he slept with her, there was a good chance Sunset Falls would make the Best Small Towns list or at least have a leg up. Why couldn’t she have come three months earlier? There was no way he could even hold her hand sexily. Gwen would never forgive him.

“I’m signed up with LK Brides,” Dom blurted.

Vanessa’s brow wrinkled. “That shifter mail-order bride company? I think we run ads for them in the magazine.”

“That’s the one.” Dom nodded so hard his neck hurt. “Yup, I’m with them. So…you know. I can’t just…well. I mean. You know.”

She pursed her lips. “Are you asking me to leave?”

“Yeah. I’m sorry. I haven’t told anyone because it’s kind of embarrassing.”

She blew out a puff of air. “Unbelievable. It’s not like you have a match right now, is it?”

“I do, actually.” Dom didn’t mention that said match had zero interest in him at the moment.

“Oh.” She got up and shoved her feet back into her heels.

“I’d still like to show you around town,” Dom offered as she opened the door herself.

“Sure. Whatever.”

She left without even saying goodbye.

Dom breathed a sigh of relief. That hadn’t been so bad. Now, he had to wine and dine Vanessa so she wouldn’t badmouth Sunset Falls. Maybe he could even find a young stud to take her out. There were some young guys in the Lunar Pack who were right up her alley. He could still make this right for the town.

***

“I don’t know, Gwen.” Amy shook her head. “I don’t think you can cheat LK’s test.”

Gwen downed her mocktail and held out her glass so Dawn would pour her another. “He had to cheat. There’s no other way he would have been matched with me.”

“He would if he was your mate,” Dawn said. She was Owen’s youngest sister and only nineteen. Gwen was sure it all sounded like a fairy tale to her. All the young girls in town loved Dom. It made sense, since he was right at their maturity level.

“He is not my mate,” Gwen insisted for the millionth time that night. “I’m sick of talking about this. Isn’t this supposed to be a planning party?”

Erin rolled her eyes. “I had everything planned about a week after I got pregnant. I wanted to get all you ladies together for one night. We never all hang out unless it’s at a wedding.”

Brenda nodded. “That’s so true. It’s hard with all the work at the farm. You know Owen has us working night and day.”

“It’s not that bad,” Dawn quickly assured Erin when she looked concerned. “It’s different, is all. We’ve never had this many animals before. Steven and Rusty are loving it so far, so it can’t be that bad.”

“Owen made a lot of changes at the farm quickly, didn’t he?” Gwen asked to get the subject off her and Dom.

“He did,” Brenda agreed. “But I want to hear more about this fancy lady. I’ve seen her going around town with Dom. What’s the deal with that?”

Gwen scowled and wished her drink was filled with alcohol. “I have no idea. She turned up two nights ago and asked if I knew Dom. She left in the middle of the night for his house, too.”

Amy laughed. “That’s not his girlfriend! She’s a reporter. I’m not supposed to say anything yet, but I think I need to set this right.”

Brenda stood up quickly. “Wait! I need to get another pitcher of drinks and I don’t want to miss anything.”

“I’m sorry about my sister,” Dawn said to Gwen jokingly. “She loves relationship drama that isn’t hers.”

“Just how many cubs does Rusty have now?” Molly asked. She furrowed her brow. “I have a hard time keeping track of who belongs to whom with the Pride and the Pack. There are so many little critters running around.”

The ladies exchanged glances and Molly turned red. She put her hands over her face. “Oh my gosh! I didn’t mean it to sound like that. I’m sorry. Please don’t hate me.”

Gwen laughed first. Brenda had to stop pouring, she was laughing so hard.

“They’re just kidding.” Erin gave Brenda a look. “They like to play tricks on new people.”

“You can’t still be mad about the fly thing?” Brenda wiped her eyes. “It was funny. You know it was funny.”

Gwen looked at Brenda. “Explain?”

“They were awful to me and convinced me I had killed someone when I killed a fly up at the farm last month.” Erin laughed. “Okay. It was funny, but it’s still mean.”

“That’s the oldest shifter trick to play on humans,” Gwen told her. “We’ve got to have a little fun with you guys.”

“You should have seen her,” Dawn said. “She was running around asking if anyone knew how to do CPR on a fly. I was sure she was going to cry.”

“I
was
going to cry,” Erin said. “I thought I was a murderer.”

“Shifters turn back to humans when they die,” Molly said matter-of-factly. “That’s one of the few things I know for sure.”

“Okay. We’ve had a little detour, but tell us about this mystery lady,” Brenda demanded of Amy.

“Oh, yeah!” Amy sat up a little straighter under the attention of the women at the table. “This is a good one. Her name is Vanessa Sybil and she works for a magazine in New York. That’s where she met Dom. They worked in the same building.”

“That doesn’t mean they aren’t screwing,” Gwen said. “How do you know all this, anyway?”

“She came to interview Frank for her magazine,” Amy said.

“What’s the magazine?” Erin asked.


American Shifters Weekly
.” Amy leaned back looking smug as the women gasped. “I know. It’s huge. That’s why Frank and Dom didn’t want to tell everyone yet. If we play our cards right, we’ll have an inside connection at the magazine.”

“How does that prove they aren’t screwing?” Gwen demanded, unsatisfied.

“She’s been trying,” Amy admitted. “She’s been all over Dom, but he’s having none of it.”

Gwen snorted. “Okay. The day I see Dom turn down a beautiful woman will be the day pigs fly.”

“Why would I lie?” Amy demanded. “Don’t be as stupid as I was, Gwen. Dom doesn’t want Vanessa. He wants you, and he’ll do anything to get another chance.”

Dawn sighed. “It’s so romantic. This is just like a movie, especially with the baby and all.”

Everyone looked at Dawn and she looked sheepish. “Is it not Dom’s baby?”

Gwen looked at Dawn like she was crazy. “What are you talking about?”

“Uh-oh.” Brenda looked at Dawn. “Shut up. Are you saying what I think you are, Dawn?”

Dawn turned red. “Oh! I’m so sorry. I thought you knew.”

“Can someone please explain what’s going on?” Molly said, frustrated.

“What’s going on is that Gwen is pregnant,” Brenda declared. “Dawn has a freaky good nose. You know that cat that can tell when people are going to die? Well, Dawn’s like that with pregnant women. She’s never wrong.”

Gwen paled. “No. That’s impossible. I got my period last month. I’m not pregnant. I would know.”

Brenda put her hand over Gwen’s. “I’m sorry, honey. Dawn’s never been wrong before. You’re pregnant. Have you fooled around with anyone recently?”

Gwen felt like she was going to faint. She nodded and tried to swallow around the lump in her throat. “I think I’m going to need another mocktail.”

 

Seven

“This is going to work. Trust me,” Vanessa said.

“You don’t know Gwen,” Dom told her skeptically.

“I’ve met Gwen, and I wouldn’t exactly call her a shrinking violet.”

It was her last few hours in town and she was helping Dom. He’d talked with the boys on guys’ night, but it had seemed like none of them knew about what had happened with LK Brides. Gwen must not have been spreading it around that he was her match…at least not yet. Dom knew it was only a matter of time. Likely, she had told all the ladies at Erin’s party. They would all tell their husbands when they went home and word would spread.

Vanessa had been very understanding after he’d explained everything to her. It had helped that the cook from Two Wolves had taken a fancy to the pretty New Yorker. Dom was going to have to send that kid a nice bottle of liquor. Whatever he’d done, Vanessa hadn’t been interested in Dom at all for the last few days. He was her tour guide and that was it. That worked fine for Dom. Now, she had come up with a plan to win Gwen over.

“You can do whatever you want,” Vanessa told him. “I had to tell you before I left. It’s a solid plan. Fill in whatever she likes and you can’t go wrong. It’s right out of a romantic comedy, Dom.”

“I’ll think about it,” Dom assured her. “I’ll keep you posted on how it goes if I decide to take your advice.”

Vanessa put on her coat and tied it at the waist. “You’re going to follow my advice. I expect an invite to your wedding.”

“You bet,” Dom assured her.

He saw her out, then went to his home office. He wrote her ideas on three pieces of paper. They involved three acts. First, a grand public gesture of intent. Second, a spectacular present. Finally, third was a fabulous trip. According to Vanessa, this was a sure-fire way to win someone back. Dom brainstormed all the ideas he could for each action. Once he’d filled up all the sheets, he looked at his options.

There were a lot that wouldn’t work. He didn’t think he’d be able to get on national TV in the next few days to declare his love for Gwen. He also didn’t know where he could find a real-life unicorn to surprise her with.

He had some dinner and came back to look at the lists again. He wanted to work fast. He wanted to be out of town with Gwen by the next weekend. It was a big goal but it could happen. If he could get back with her by then, they would be a couple again by Valentine’s Day, which was two weeks away. He liked having a deadline. It made everything more real for him.

BOOK: Taming the Tiger (BBW/Shifter Mail Order Bride Romance) (Mail-Order Mates Book 4)
7.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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