Avoiding Matthew by Caroline Bell Foster
📍A kiss. A promise. A mistake.
📍On Sale May 21
Lacy Dawson would rather spend her days experimenting with brownie recipes and trying on wedding dresses, than go on yet another secret mission to save her country. She needed a way out and found it.
“Why would you?” he asked, getting into the vehicle.
“Why would I what?”
“Know that I have a brother,” Matthew clarified, watching as she put on her seat belt before driving up the ramp to street level. “You’ve never bothered to ask.”
He sounded almost angry, she thought, picking up the tight edge in his voice.
Lacy laughed it off. “You know zilch about me too Matthew. It’s not like we’re friends or anything. We have sex and that’s it. We don’t need to know anything about each other.”
“Your full name is Wallace Rosemarie Dawson,” he began as he drove through Manhattan. “You were adopted at two and a half, your parents are white and work in law enforcement. You weigh one hundred and eight pounds and have to get an iron shot every month because your periods can be heavy. Your birthday has just gone and pickles give you a rash on your neck.” Matthew volunteered. “How am I doing so far?” he asked.
“Have you gone through my file?” Lacy spluttered, angry that he knew so much about her, even the intimate stuff.
“You don’t sleep around,” he went on. “Although you do sleep with me every chance you get.” The glance he leveled at her was hot and deliberate. “You don’t like skirts or dresses. You spend a lot of time walking around baby stores, and you hate your parents.”
“Now you hold on! I don’t hate my parents! And how would you know I walk around in baby stores?!” She asked, beyond angry now. That was too much. It was her secret escape.
After an assignment, especially if it was a particularly harrowing assignment, she would go into a baby store to decompress. Seeing the tiny furniture and clothes, all the innocence of soft colours and textures brought a sense of worthiness to what she did. She cleaned up the world to make it a better place for all the babies that would be born. It made it all feel worthwhile.
“And I do have sex!” She shouted when they cleared the city. “Lots of it!”
“I hope you’re on the pill,”
He shrugged. “I haven’t been using anything when we make love.”
“We don’t make love we have sex!” Lacy yelled. “No emotion is involved! You could be anyone!”
“Keep telling yourself that sweetheart.” He drawled around tightly clenched teeth, swiftly changing lanes.
“I’m right and why are you even getting mad?” she charged, hearing the edge in his voice again. “I should be the one getting mad, you looked into my background!”
“Do you want a baby?” he asked instead, after a deep breath.
“Not with you I don’t,” Lacy snapped. She wanted a baby and a husband. She even wanted a porch swing and a people carrier to use for carpool.
Matthew swerved the car to the side of the road with a chorus of car horns objecting behind them.
“What the hell is wrong with you?!” Lacy sputtered, when he tore down a side street lined with Silver Maples. They were out in the suburbs she noticed, seeing a couple of sprinklers watering lawns, a red tricycle laying on its side in a driveway, and an older man washing his car, in one sweeping glance. Matthew stopped under the shade of a large maple.
He grabbed the back of her neck and tipped her head so that she was looking at him.
“One, we make love,” he growled. “We do not have sex. Understand?” he gritted. When she didn’t answer quick enough, he got in her face, his hazel eyes blazing fire into hers. “Understand?”
“Two. You want a baby?” he didn’t wait for her to answer, but flexed his fingers at her neck. “I will give you a baby.” He promised angrily. “And three,” he took a deep breath before continuing. “If I hear you have been with another man, I will fucking kill you both. Have you got that?” He snarled.
Lacy nodded again. She wasn’t scared, Matthew would never hurt her no matter what he said. But to see him like this, all possessive and he-man’ish did all sorts to her insides, and she surreptitiously moved her hands to the inside of her thighs and pressed down.