Cupid Has a Heart-On

By: Tara Sivec

(The Holidays, #2)

Tara Sivec





For Scheva, who hearts herpes.





Chapter 1




Thirsty Thursday

Noel


According to Dante, there are nine circles of Hell: Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud and Treachery. Clearly, he forgot about the tenth, rarely talked about circle: Moving Back Home with Your Parents. I’m guessing Dante never suffered through this burning inferno of misery and pain. Lucky bastard.

“Honey, have you seen my black, crotchless panties? They were on top of the dryer this morning, and now I can’t find them.”

Swallowing back the vomit that pools in my mouth, I look up from my laptop on the kitchen table. “In what universe is it okay for a mother to ask her daughter that question?”

My mother pauses in her search through random kitchen drawers and cabinets to sigh and look back at me over her shoulder.

“Oh, don’t be such a prude, Noel. Maybe if you had a pair of crotchless panties, Sam would have proposed by now.”

I glance down at the ring on my left hand and smile, despite my mother’s continued use of the word panties.

“Sam did propose, thank you very much. It’s only been five weeks. Have you already forgotten how much crying and snotting you did all over the dining room table on Christmas Eve?”

With a slam of one of the drawers, she turns to face me.

“That was a fake proposal. It doesn’t count.”

Okay, so I met a stranger at the airport on my way home from Seattle for the holidays, and convinced him to pretend to be my live-in-boyfriend and come home with me, so my family wouldn’t know I lost my shit and ran out of our apartment when he got down on one knee right before my trip. And sure, Sam was still playing the part of said-boyfriend when he proposed on Christmas Eve, but he meant all the words he said to me that night, even if he was pretending to be someone else.

At least I think he did. I mean, he loves me, and he told me I wasn’t allowed to give the ring back after the disaster of Christmas Day when my ex showed up unannounced and my family found out we’d been lying to them. I almost lost him because we were both too stupid to admit our real feelings for each other, but once we cleared the air, he still told me to keep the ring on my finger. That means we’re engaged, right? RIGHT?!

“Don’t forget, Noel, it’s the third Thursday of the month, so I’m going to need you to make yourself scarce tonight while your father and I get freaky with it,” my mother informs me, finally giving up her quest of looking for her missing underwear.

Hello, Tenth Circle of Hell.

“Mom, seriously, just because I’m living here temporarily, doesn’t mean you need to share everything with me. It would have been fine if you just told me you wanted the house to yourself tonight, really.” I shut the lid to my laptop and lean back in my chair with a sigh.

“After all the miscommunication that happened over Christmas, I’m not taking any chances. From now on, we will share everything. So, now it’s your turn. Why haven’t you and Sam been doing the nasty?” she asks with a raise of one eyebrow.

“Jesus, Mom. Really?”

Not only did Sam and I fail to communicate with each other over the holidays, I spent the majority of my adult life thinking my parents loved my older brother, Nicholas, more than me. I assumed since he was successful, happily married, and just recently gave them their first granddaughter, that he was the golden child. Whereas myself, at the age of thirty-three, am unemployed again, a recent runaway from commitment like it was a death sentence, and with no place to live.

I blamed all of my problems on my parents and their favoritism when really, they just wanted me to be happy. Their extra nagging and picking apart my life choices was only because they wanted me to finally find what I was looking for and just. Be. Happy.

Unfortunately, my mother doesn’t seem to realize that talking about our sex lives is the exact opposite of my happy place. This is what I like to refer to as my “Get-me-the-fuck-out-of-here” place.

“I’m just saying, sweetie, you’ve been back home for a little over a month, and I have yet to be woken up in the middle of the night from moaning and screaming. It’s concerning.”

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