Taming the Tiger (BBW/Shifter Mail Order Bride Romance) (Mail-Order Mates Book 4) (6 page)

BOOK: Taming the Tiger (BBW/Shifter Mail Order Bride Romance) (Mail-Order Mates Book 4)
11.89Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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Instead of sitting around doing nothing, he had to get to work. Vanessa was right. The three acts could work.

It took him another hour to pick his favorite three. Once he’d chosen, he started setting everything up. He would start putting the plan into action the next morning.

*

Dom stood outside the bakery pacing nervously. This was it. He was about to tell the entire town how he felt. There would be no going back now. If Gwen turned him down, he was going to have to move. Everyone would know that she was his true mate and no other women stood a chance. One way or the other, it was the end of his freewheeling bachelor days.

Frank waved him inside. “Here you go, man.”

He opened the box to show Dom his creation. It was a giant heart-shaped cookie. It wasn’t exactly original, but Dom was pressed for time. He was going to present it to Gwen at the Two Wolves.

“Thanks, Frank.”

“No problem. Good luck, buddy.”

Dom hurried to get down the block. He was so nervous, he was holding the box like it was made of glass. He’d asked Matt to help him stall Gwen at the restaurant when she came in to talk with Rachel.

Rachel wasn’t exactly on board with the plan, but she wasn’t opposed to it, either. That was as close to an endorsement as Dom was going to get. He would have to prove himself before he actually got Rachel to give her okay to the relationship. That was fine by him. He knew that if Gwen took him back, he’d be golden.

He ran his hand over his short hair before going into the restaurant. Rachel was pouring Clint a cup of coffee. He nodded to Dom.

Gwen was sitting at the counter talking with Matt Lunar. Dom approached her and stood to her right. When she noticed him she did a double take. “What are you doing here?”

Dom cleared his throat loudly and opened the box. “I wanted to give you this.”

He could feel the eyes of all the early bird diners on him as Gwen looked at the cookie. “What is this?”

“It’s a metaphor. Gwen Johnson, you’ve stolen my heart.”

There were wolf whistles around the room.

“Good for you, Dominic!” someone called.

He waited until it had quieted down to speak again. “I want the world to know that there isn’t anyone else for me. You’re it, Gwen.”

She stared at him open-mouthed. She looked like she wanted to tell him off, but seemed to decide against it. She took the box.

“Thank you,” she said curtly and turned back to Matt present Dom with the side of her face. She wasn’t going to speak to him. That was fine too. He had said all he could. He turned and nodded at Rachel and Clint before leaving the restaurant.

He let out a shaky breath as he got into his car. That hadn’t gone as badly as he’d expected. At least she hadn’t smashed the cookie in his face. Everyone in the shop was going to be asking her what it all meant. Maybe someone would be able to talk some sense into her.

*

 

Two days later Dom stood outside the Lunar Motel waiting for Gwen to show up for work. She was still closing. He’d already spoken with Kellan and had asked if Gwen could have a three-day weekend. He’d had to explain to Kellan what he was planning, but his friend was understanding. Something had happened at girls’ night, but Molly wouldn’t tell him everything. All she would say was that Gwen was pissed that Dom was her LK match. Dom was curious what the ladies’ tribunal had had to say about him, but he put it out of his mind. He had a job to do.

The second act had cost him a pretty penny. It was a good thing he did a lot of work with oil contracts in the area. He could afford the gift, but his 401(k) was going to be a little underfunded for the next few months. He’d had a jewelry set rush-delivered from Vegas. It wasn’t custom-made, but it was one of a kind: a white and pink diamond necklace, bracelet, and drop earrings. Together they totaled more than 20 carats. They were exactly the kind of thing Gwen loved.

She wouldn’t have many places around town to wear something so fancy, but that wouldn’t stop her from wearing any of the pieces. When he saw her car pull in, he could hear her swearing. She was unhappy to see him.

Undeterred, Dom waited until she had gotten out of her car to approach. “Evening, Gwen.”

“Dom. What would you like today? No audience this time.”

He nodded. “That’s fine. I think you’ll like this present a little more than the cookie.”

He handed her the giant box wrapped in a big pink bow. She pulled the bow off quickly and gasped once the box was open. “Dominic! This is beautiful.”

Gwen didn’t sound so pissy anymore. Dom smiled. He should have started with the jewelry. “I wanted to get you something special. I hope you like it.”

She pulled the bracelet from the box. “Is this real? I don’t know if I can accept this.”

“It is real, but I won’t take it back. If you don’t want it, throw it in the trash.”

He got back in his car while she was still examining the white and pink stones. Dom watched her in the rear view mirror as he drove away. She was watching him wistfully.

This was a victory. She was warming to him now. He was going to send Vanessa an update as soon as he got home. This was going better than he could have hoped. There was only one thing left to do: the make-or-break trip.

He had set up a messenger to arrive at Gwen’s in the afternoon the next day. He’d handwritten a note asking her to trust him and go on a trip out of town for the weekend. He was going to be at her house the next night. He’d pull into her driveway at 7 p.m. If she wanted to go with him, she could come out and get into his car. If not, he’d drive away after ten minutes. That would be the end of it.

Dom spent the night packing. He had made a reservation at a ski lodge in Utah. He’d asked Kai Waters to fly them down the next night. Luckily, Kai had no other business that weekend and had agreed to the flight. It was expensive but well worth the price, and Dom had a good feeling about it. Gwen seemed more receptive to his advances now. The constant pestering and professing his love was wearing her down. He had never imagined he’d have to badger a woman to do anything. Then again, he’d never imagined he’d end up with a woman like Gwen.

The tigress was even more stubborn and outspoken than he was. She was a hard one to back into a corner or intimidate, and even harder to seduce or trick into bed. The only thing he’d ever seen her really despondent about was her search for a mate. Fingers crossed, by the end of the weekend that wouldn’t be a problem for her anymore.

*

Dom put all of his bags in the car and got in the driver’s seat. Gwen only lived a few minutes away. It was fifteen minutes until seven. He sat in his car listening to hard rock songs to pump himself up. Kai was waiting at the airport with the plane fueled up and ready to go. All Dom had to do was go and pick up his girl. It sounded so easy.

He took a deep breath and put the car into drive. He drove exactly the speed limit all the way to Gwen’s house. It was still a minute before seven when he turned onto her street so he slowed down to five miles per hour to creep to her house.

When he pulled into her driveway at seven, he was shaking. He put the car in park and waited. Ten minutes and he would know either way. Ten minutes and it would be over. He knew if she would go with him he could get her back. If she didn’t go, it was over. He might be able to try again in ten years, but for the foreseeable future, they were done.

After five minutes, Dom rolled up the windows and turned on the air conditioning. He was sweating even though it wasn’t even fifty degrees outside. There were no lights on in Gwen’s ranch house and the curtains were all drawn. He couldn’t see any movement inside.

At the nine-minute mark, he started getting worried. His chest started getting tight. He wondered what would happen if he had a heart attack in her driveway. It would be pretty embarrassing.

At the ten-minute mark, her front door opened. She was yelling something. He fumbled to turn off the AC and roll down his window.

“Get out here and help me with these bags!”

 

Eight

“No, thanks.” Gwen turned down the champagne that Dom offered her for the fifth time. He wouldn’t stop with the alcohol this weekend. Gwen was having a nice time and she didn’t need alcohol to make it better. It wasn’t like she would be able to have alcohol for the next eight months, anyway. She was going to have to get used to having a good time sober.

It had been a very strange week and an even stranger weekend. She’d made all the ladies swear themselves to secrecy at Erin’s girls’ night. She hadn’t known if she was pregnant for sure that night, but she didn’t need the whole town wondering. She didn’t tell the girls that Dom was the potential father, either. She’d had Amy go out and buy her pregnancy tests as soon as the night had ended. They’d gone back to her house and she spent the next hour anxiously taking pregnancy tests. Each one came back with the telltale positive mark or two lines.

Gwen had told Amy to go home at 4 a.m. and sat up alone until 7 a.m. She’d called her doctor’s office as soon as she could. He’d been a sweetheart and had let her come in in the afternoon for a test. It was going through the motions for Gwen, because she knew she was pregnant. There was no changing that. Dawn had smelled it and all the tests had said so. The only other explanation, according to the internet, was some kind of terrible cancer. She was hoping for a baby when she went in.

After the doctor had confirmed her condition, she walked on eggshells for the rest of the week. She was still doing it. It was so strange that there was a little person growing inside her at that very minute. She wouldn’t be alone for even a moment for nearly a year. When she was watching TV, the baby was there growing in her womb. If she decided to eat four slices of Frank’s fantastic cake to celebrate a wedding, the baby was there eating cake too. It was surreal. Gwen didn’t know how to act. She’d done zero skiing on Dom’s ski weekend too.

Erin had told her that that feeling would pass, but Gwen didn’t believe it. How could you get used to having another person inside of you? Plus, Gwen knew that morning sickness was going to start at any minute. She’d barely had time to process the fact that she was pregnant with Dom’s baby before he’d started his flashy campaign to get her back. She had to admit, it was sweet. He was trying. But she still didn’t want to give him a second chance. Amy and Rachel had changed her mind.

She couldn’t be selfish anymore. Even if Dom had broken her heart, there was a small chance he had actually changed. Gwen owed it to her baby to give his or her father a chance. She’d grown up with two parents who loved each other very much. She didn’t want to take that away from her baby. Plus, Amy had been relentless.

Frank and Amy had had a bumpy road to happiness and Amy blamed herself for their issues. It was her “stupid insecurities and fears” that had almost ruined their love story. She’d begged Gwen not to make the same mistake. After many tear-filled nights, Gwen had reconsidered. It didn’t hurt that Dom had showed up with that beautiful jewelry set before inviting her on a relaxing weekend vacation.

They’d flown into Presston Mountain with Kai and were staying in a huge, luxurious place, more like a mini-mansion than a cabin. Dom had put a lot of thought into the trip. He’d even gotten her the weekend and Monday off. Kellan had said she could have the whole next week off too, but she hadn’t told Dom that. She wasn’t sure how the weekend was going to go. They could spend more time together the next week in Sunset Falls if it went well.

“You’re quiet tonight. Anything wrong?” Dom asked.

“No.” Gwen looked out the window. They were going to fly out tomorrow afternoon and she hadn’t skied at all. It seemed like such a waste.

“You want to go out there?” Dom suggested. “I know you’re afraid to ski, but what about your tiger?”

“I don’t think tigers are very good on skis.” Gwen laughed.

Dom rolled his eyes. “I mean, let’s shift and get out there.”

“Can we do that?” Gwen didn’t want to get shot by some terrified guests.

“It’s a shifter-friendly resort,” Dom reminded her. “We can shift and go anywhere on the resort.”

“Are you sure?” Gwen asked, looking at the deep snow.

Dom pulled off his shirt. “I am. Race you to the tree line!”

Gwen gave Dom a healthy head start. She didn’t want him to smell her without clothes on. She was wearing heavy perfume, but it might not be enough when she was naked. The feeling was mostly paranoia; Dom wouldn’t be able to smell the changes in her body until closer to the end of the first trimester. Knowing Dom, it would take him much longer. He had never had the best nose in town.

She pulled off all her clothes and ran outside. Once her feet touched the snow, Gwen shifted down. It was her first time shifting since she’d become pregnant and she was delighted to find there was no change. For now, she could still shift quickly. Even with the head start, she managed to catch up with Dom in a few strides. She was quicker than he was in the snow. Surprising, since he had more experience with the heavy powder. Gwen had only seen snow on vacation, but it felt similar to moving in water to her.

All it took was finding her footing. She reached the trees outside their cabin a hair in front of Dom. The air was crisp but not too cold. The inside of Gwen’s nose was a little cold but the wind on her face felt great.

They got to the edge of a gentle slope. Gwen didn’t hesitate to slide down the incline as fast as she could manage. She ended up in a heap at the bottom of the small hill covered in snow.

Dom dove down the cliff after her and landed almost on top of her. He kicked snow in her direction before running off down the next slope. Gwen followed close at his heels. She tackled him as he was attempting to run into the trees. Dom growled and wrestled until he had Gwen on her back. Her tiger wasn’t ready to give in just yet. She batted at his face and bit at his legs. Dom roared loudly and bit her lightly on the neck.

Gwen struggled to get off her back but Dom was too strong. The light-hearted play turned serious very fast. Dom wanted her to submit. Gwen recognized the move. Dom tried to flip her to her stomach but she fought. She wasn’t even worried about the baby. It was instinct. It felt good to be so psychical. The two tigers wrestled in the snow until Dom finally forced Gwen onto her stomach.

BOOK: Taming the Tiger (BBW/Shifter Mail Order Bride Romance) (Mail-Order Mates Book 4)
11.89Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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