Round 2 for Eros has begun! And he thought last year was bad...
Valentine’s Day Do-Over Part II: The Siblings
by Donna Michaels
Available at The Wild Rose Press
Eros, God of Love, thought bringing soul mates Ivy Valentine and Roman Hartt together last year was tough, until he met their siblings: Mia and Race.
Forced to suffer the same do-over fate his younger brother endured last Valentine’s Day, Racine Hartt must share the holiday madness with his worst nightmare—his beautiful superior, Major Mia Valentine.
Mia doesn’t have time for irresponsible men in her life and is not happy to discover she’s stuck in a repeat Valentine’s Day with the handsome, yet chauvinistic Captain Racine Hartt. With her sister’s wedding day in jeopardy of never arriving, Mia looks for someone else, anyone else other than the sexy Captain to fill the slot.
How many days will it take this military minded couple to look past their preconceived notions and see into each other’s hearts? Can Eros accomplish this miracle? Or will the world repeat Valentine’s Day forever?
Excerpt(First 2 and 1/2 pages)
“If I hear hon or sweetheart one more time, I swear I’m gonna choke down a grenade and spit out the pin!” Race Hartt had a headache and knew he was about to make it worse. He didn’t care. He had to get out of there.
Deliberately head-butting the swinging kitchen door, he winced against the added pain but continued to stomp through his mother’s kitchen and family room before he found solitude outside on her deck.
Pacing the ten-by-ten wooden floor, he sucked in deep, calming breaths. How could his family expect him to endure two days of this lovey-dovey crap? I can’t do it. Exhaling the rose- scented air brewing from his mother’s abundant garden, he reached for the phone hooked on his belt.
He’d already served two tours in Iraq, but surely his Commanding Officer could find another conflict and deploy him. Anything had to be better than this torture. Okay, technically he couldn’t just pick up on a moment’s notice; he wasn’t part of the quick strike Brigade, but maybe his C.O. could assign some sort of task important enough to get him out of this pre-wedding/wedding crap.
A school. Or no, wait! He was Army Supply. He could travel to one of the armories up north for equipment.
“Where the hell’s…” He frowned at his empty belt loop. “My phone?”
Raquel Hartt’s pretty features darkened as she stepped outside and shut the French door. Spine stiffer than her mouth- uh oh - she meant business.
“You get back inside and be nice to your brother and his future family.”
“Aw, Ma! Do you have to call me that? You make me sound like I just ran five clicks uphill in full gear.” He grimaced. No one but his mother got away with calling him his full name without receiving a special five-knuckled kiss. Well, her, his C.O. and superior officers, of course.
Her expression softened.
“But I love your name. Why, your father, God rest his soul, his heart was racing the night we—”
“Mom!” His hand flew up, palm vertical. The jerking movement intensified his nauseated stomach and throbbing head. He masked the accompanying wince behind a grimace and firm tone. “Do not finish that sentence. My stomach is already queasy from Mr. Softie and his merry Valentines giggling and laughing like girls in there.” He pivoted around to grip the railing and drew in more rose-scented air.
“Race, honey.” His mother joined him and cupped his shoulder. “Most of them are girls, except for your dad’s brother, Uncle Max, and Ivy’s two uncles.”
“Whatever.” He continued to grumble.
Mostly because she was right. The handful of cousins and aunts from both sides really weren’t bad. On a good day, he’d have no trouble suffering their company, but today wasn’t a good day.
He’d stayed out until dawn entertaining the dancer he’d hired to perform at his brother’s bachelor party last night. When it was obvious Rome wanted nothing extra from the pretty blonde, Race hated to see a good dancer go to waste, so he took her home—literally.
His less-than-stellar mood was a direct result of being forced to come here at the God-awful hour of eleven in the morning for some sort of brunch. A chore very taxing on his barely recovered body, not to mentionon his brain.
Just what was brunch anyway? An excuse to combine two meals? This was not how he wanted to spend his Valentine’s Day. And that was another thing…
“Ma.” He twisted until his hip rested against the rail. “If today is Valentine’s Day, one year since Rome and Ivy met, why didn’t they want their wedding today? Rome’s so mushy, I would’ve thought V-day would’ve been a shoe-in. Why tomorrow?”
“They said it was because February fifteenth was technically the start of their new life together. Works out great for the HarttBeat Foundation’s Annual Valentine’s Day Masquerade, though. We’re able to include the rehearsal dinner.” She glanced at her watch. “Which starts in less than seven hours.”
After his dad died, his mother started HarttBeats Foundation, a charity targeting heart disease. Every year they held a successful costumed charity ball. Although proud of his mom, Race wasn’t a fan of Valentine’s Day activities or the highly overrated holiday.
He straightened as a thought occurred. “Do you need help setting up? I can run there right now.”
She laughed and patted his chest. “Wow, such eagerness. Where was that attitude last year? I had to practically pull your teeth to get you to help out.”
“Well, I didn’t have an afternoon filled with females gushing and giggling over chiffon organs and Andy Hardy shoes looming over my head”
She laughed harder.
What’d I say?
“Its chiffon organza and Pierre Hardy,” she explained.
“Isn’t that what I said?”
“No.” She giggled.
“Whatever. So do you need my help? Can I go to the Masquerade early, Mom? Please?” He purposefully widened his eyes and blinked.
“Yes, you can go with me. No need to flash those baby blues, you rogue.”
“Thanks, mom.” He bent down and kissed her cheek.
“Now come on back inside. The Valentines are nice people. And you haven’t even met Ivy’s sister yet. Mia should be here any minute. She’s lovely, Race. You should’ve shown up at the planning sessions. After all, you’re going to be standing up with this girl. I would’ve thought you’d at least like to meet her first.”
“Nah.” Not if she’s anything like the Major Valentine who’d transferred to the depot two months back. He’d rather be flogged and boiled in oil. Overexposure to that type of frozen female could cause frostbite—and he liked his extremities.
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Author of Romaginative Fiction
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