Geek Groom (Forever Geek Trilogy #2)

BOOK: Geek Groom (Forever Geek Trilogy #2)
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Geek Groom

Forever Geek Trilogy, Volume 2

Victoria Barbour

Published by Yarn Press, 2015.

This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.

GEEK GROOM

First edition. January 8, 2015.

Copyright © 2015 Victoria Barbour.

Written by Victoria Barbour.

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

June. One month before the wedding.

One week later. The townie shower.

8:45 the morning after the shower of doom.

11:25 am.

Later that evening.

Friday, four days later.

The next morning.

The text transcript from the night of Evan’s shed stag.

Saturday. Or Sunday. Depends on what you consider two am to be.

June 30. Six days before the wedding.

The not-so-perfect evening.

Twenty minutes later.

Memorial Day. July 1. The day the rest of Canada calls Canada Day.

The rehearsal dinner.

2:07 pm. Saturday, July 6. The Basilica of St. John the Baptist.

The sword incident. Part two.

Four days later. County Clare, Ireland.

ALSO BY VICTORIA BARBOUR

About the Heart’s Ease Series

AGAINST HER RULES

HARD AS ICE

PLAY ME

21st CENTURY RAKE

About the Author

Dedication

To Reg, my very own geek groom. And Anne, for making sure Evan and Jillian made it to the altar. Thanks for hanging around. 

Acknowledgements

Before thanking all my special people, I want note that my characters have a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity. Cards Against Humanity is a trademark of Cards Against Humanity, LLC. I had my players use the Canadian edition. All quotes about cards played are actual Cards Against Humanity content.

Now that I have that out of the way, it’s time to launch into my list of fabulous people to whom this book owes its existence. As always, my fantastic team of cover designer and editor, Crystal McLellan and A.E. Cummings. Thanks for all the time you give to me. I love you both. This book came together quickly, and so I’m indebted to the quick readings of my beta readers, Jennifer Noseworthy, Debbie Robbins, Valerie Francis, and Melanie Martin. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy Christmas to help out the queen of procrastination. And finally, a huge thanks to my husband, Reg. The sacrifices you make for me leave me humbled, and I love that you’re such a fantastic dad to Rowan. Finally, although he’s too young to read this, I need to thank my darling little Rowan for not only being patient when Mommy has to work, but for being persistent in reminding me when I have to stop working. And last but not least, to you, my readers. It’s an amazing thing to know that my words entertain you. I love reading your reviews and emails. Thank you so much for reading.

June. One month before the wedding.

W
hen I was a little girl there were a lot of things I imagined I’d be doing in the months leading up to my wedding. Going for a mani-pedi. Check. Trying on a million gowns. Check. Choosing a china pattern. Check. Groping the hairy legs of what I hope are men while trying to determine which one is my clearly up-for-anything groom. Nope. That was most certainly not on the
Jillian Carew Dream Wedding
list.

Nothing about this bridal shower in Juniper Cove is how I imagined it would be. I’m trying to grin and bear it. After all, I love Evan’s mom and this event means a lot to her. I just didn’t imagine that it would involve so much—what’s the kind word for this?—foolishness. Yea. Let’s go with that.

In the past hour I’ve witnessed grown women crawl around on the floor scooping cotton balls into frying pans while wearing oven mitts. I’ve participated in a game where soon-to-be relatives draped me in toilet paper. I’ve even played along with a game of Whisper, which was heavy on the innuendo of what Evan and I are going to get up to on our wedding night. And now this. Guess the Groom, they call it.

I can’t help but wonder if I’m feeling up Evan’s dad. There are a lot of cat-calls going on, and I know this particular leg is firmer than the others I’ve fondled. But it’s too thin to be Evan. It could be the leg of a man who spends his days walking over the barrens near the cove lugging wood and hunting birds. Yup. I might not have found Evan, but I’m pretty sure this is his dad. Time to drop my hand and feel up another.

This next leg is not Evan. I don’t need to waste time here at all. It’s thick but not with muscle. Move on. Quick. I overhear someone say, “Ahh, too bad, Dwight,” and I smile in spite of myself. Evan’s cousin Dwight might be a big man, but he’s sweet and kind and from what I’ve seen, is the sort of attentive husband and dad any woman would be lucky to have.

And then, I know I’ve found Evan. It’s not the leg that could rival a fierce gladiator that tips me off. Or the way the women in the room are a little more subdued all of a sudden. It’s the slight tremor I feel as I tentatively make that first touch. After two years together, I know how he reacts to me. It’s almost as powerful as the way my body reacts to him. I can’t help myself. I tickle behind his knee, right in the spot I know sends him into convulsions when we have an all-out tickle battle.

It’s admirable the way he manages to not yell or squirm.

“I’ve got it narrowed down to two,” I tell the room.

One more squeeze of Evan’s leg for good measure and I go back to Dwight. As suspected, more than a few people start to laugh.

“Okay. I’ve got it figured out.”

I extend a hand upwards in hopes either one of the two men will help me up. My left hand is gently pulled up by a soft hand. My right is taken in a much firmer grip by a hand that I’d know anywhere. Once I’m steadily on my feet, I move towards Evan. If I wasn’t sure before, I am now.

“Should I just name my choice, or kiss him?” I ask the room.

“If you’re that sure,” Evan’s mom, Mary, says.

“So sure that I’ll marry whoever I kiss.”

That elicits a few whoops, maybe because I know right now I’m standing in front of Dwight. If either of them lets go of my hand, I’ll be screwed.

That’s when I feel the tug and find myself pulled into Evan’s arms. Just before he kisses me he says, “There are some games I leave to chance. This isn’t one of them.”

PDA isn’t normally my cup of tea. But maybe it’s because I’m blindfolded, or just shocked by the possessive intensity of his voice, but I kiss him back as if there’s no one in the room. And I honestly wish there wasn’t at this moment.

When I finally catch my breath and pull off my mask, I’m surprised to find that I don’t mind my “around the bay” shower anymore. There’s something to be said for unpretentious fun and a buffet of moose stew and bologna sandwiches. I’ll have to keep this in mind next weekend when I have bridal shower part two, hosted by my mother.

Oh my! It just dawned on me that you likely didn’t know Evan and I are engaged. I suppose I should back track a little, since it’s been my experience lately that the first question everyone has for me once they spot my engagement ring is, “How did he propose?”

For a while I made people guess. Ingrid thought it would have involved Dungeons & Dragons, since it’s become a near obsession for me these past couple of years. Some of my fellow Classics prof pals came up with elaborate literary and historical scenarios. One even asked if Evan had rolled himself up in a rug and had himself presented to me as Cleopatra had done when she first met Caesar. You have no idea how glad I am that her guess was far from the mark.

The reality is much less geeky and far more romance movie worthy.

Evan and I weren’t together a year when I started hoping he’d propose. It got to the point that every fancy dinner or weekend away ended with a secret sense of disappointment that he hadn’t popped the question. It was on the drive home from a spectacular weekend at the Heart’s Ease Inn that he sensed my mood for the first time.

“What’s wrong?” he’d said after getting back in the truck from pumping gas.

“Nothing.” It sounded snippier than I’d meant.

“Something is wrong. You’ve been staring out the window looking sad since we left Heart’s Ease.”

“I’m not sad. I’m just—Oh, I’m just being me. You know. Silly thoughts ruining a perfectly wonderful time.”

“What silly thoughts?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“You thought I would propose, didn’t you?”

I hate how he can do that. Somehow he crawls into my mind and pulls out whatever irrational thought is going on in there.

“I can’t help it. Lately, every romantic moment we share makes me think it’s going to happen. And it’s ruining what should be a great time.”

“Let me get this straight,” he said, pulling the car over on the side of the highway. “It’s not just this weekend? This crazy expensive weekend where we ate amazing meals, had some rather inventive sex, and got to hang out and play not one, but four games of Seven Wonders with a bona fide rock star? You’re telling me other, less fantastic moments were ruined for you as well?”

“I don’t mean to. And they’re not ruined. It’s just, I don’t know, I go into the moment feeling like it’s the perfect opportunity for the best proposal story in history, and then when it doesn’t happen, I wonder how we will ever top a more romantic time?”

“Okay. In the interest of not ruining any more vacations, long weekends, dinners or other romantic events in our future, you need to know that I am not going to propose to you during any of these times. When I propose to you, it’s not going to be over a fancy dinner, or while we’re doing other things. My proposal to you won’t be an add-on to something else. It’ll be its own event. So stop trying to anticipate when it will happen and just content yourself with the fact that it will happen. When you’re least likely to expect it.”

He kissed me then, and when he was done, added: “And don’t go spoiling normal moments wondering if I’m going to do it. Put it out of your mind. You know that saying, a watched pot never boils? It’s like that.”

And so I stopped obsessing about when we were going to get engaged. Something in the knowing that he planned on doing it made it easier.

A month after that I went to British Columbia to deliver a paper at a conference on gender in the classical era. This was the first conference I’d gone to in a while that Evan hadn’t come along on. Work had really picked up and he couldn’t get away. (Hurray for all the good St. John’s people looking for energy retrofits.)

I’d promised to drop into a gaming store on Granville Street while in Vancouver and drop a package off to the owner. As if Evan didn’t have enough going on, he’d started carving dice and selling them online. This set was a gift to his friend Mike.

While there I was given directions to a “must-taste” coffee shop just a couple of doors down. Being the coffee fiend that I am, I couldn’t pass up the chance to taste a new brew. Mike, the guy who owned the gaming store, even gave me a coupon he had squirrelled away so I could get a muffin too.

“I’m not a big fan of muffins,” I’d told him. “Hold on to your coupon.”

“It’s the coffee and muffin special. You really should try it,” he’d said. “It’s cheaper than just buying a coffee alone.”

As I walked into the coffee shop, I remembered the day I’d first laid eyes on Evan. I’d had a similar exchange over coffee and muffins with his nephew Eddie. Seemed the allure of a coffee and muffin deal reached from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

I’d just settled in to read while drinking a truly magnificent cup of coffee when I got a text from Sarah, one of my colleagues at the conference, inviting me to dinner. She gave me her room number and asked me to meet her there.

When I got to her room, she asked if I could hang out for a few minutes while she ran to the ice machine. I couldn’t help but notice how much nicer her room was than mine. Clearly her university had a far greater travel budget than my beloved Memorial University of Newfoundland. The suite had a stately four post king-sized bed in the bedroom (yes, I peeked!) and a Jacuzzi tub. Lush cream and rose fabrics added to the lavish chestnut furnishings of the sitting room. A small dining room table stood next to a large window overlooking Stanley Park.

A knock interrupted my coveting of her surroundings. The bell boy held out a long box, and I was surprised by the note on it.

Jillian, please wear me.

Even more astonishing was the Jenny Packham dress I found in the box, a gown I’d hemmed and hawed about buying for months. Even though I’ve lusted after her fashions since those early days when Kate Middleton stunned the world in them, I simply couldn’t find an occasion to justify the cost. And yet, there it was, in all of its shimmering blue splendour. Evan later told me he figured I’d get some mileage out of it with all the pre-wedding hullabaloo. He was right!

BOOK: Geek Groom (Forever Geek Trilogy #2)
11.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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