Matt Blakefield choked on the piece of wedding cake he’d been about to swallow. “Not in a million years.”
His gaze slid around the table in the inn’s dining room spearing each couple with a glare. Friends and family had gathered to celebrate this morning’s marriage of his brother to the mother of his recently discovered son. Since the nine-year-old was the only other unattached male present, Matt knew the whispered remark had been addressed to him.
“I have a friend,” one of his sisters said.
The other grinned. “She’d be perfect.”
“No sale.” Matt dropped the napkin on the table.
“Remember the curse.” Mark grinned. “None of us has escaped.”
Time to hit the road. With this decision made, as though in answer to his desire, Matt’s cell phone vibrated. Salvation,
He answered. “Matt here…You did…Great news…I’m on my way…Yeah today…Doesn’t matter.”
As if he’d stay here where plans he wanted no part of were being laid. He’d been present for the important event. There was no reason for him to linger and a huge need to escape. Although the meeting with the Good Magazine Group’s investigator wasn’t until Monday morning, Matt seized the opportunity. “Have to leave. Have information on this year’s make-over house for Good Livin’.”
“On the weekend?” His father, CEO of the magazine group and recently married to his teenage sweetheart, arched an eyebrow.
“Yeah. It’s the Smiton house. You know the one I intend to use as the project for showing people how to convert a house from energy sucking to energy efficient. Jules has a line on the owner. I want the contract signed so we can start work.”
His father’s eyes narrowed. “If there’s a problem find another house. Who knows what condition the Smiton’s house is in? No one has lived there for years.”
“I checked. The place is sound.”
“Find a house where the owners are in residence. They’ll appreciate the free upgrade.”
Matt groaned. “And spend hours listening to complaints about being inconvenienced or hearing about changes that won’t work.” Matt pushed to his feet. What he didn’t say was that he planned to buy and live in the house.
He kissed his new sister-in-law. “Let Mark spoil you and Davey. My brother has a few years of making up to do.”
Matt strode to the coatroom to retrieve his leather jacket and helmet. He’d planned to hang out here until tomorrow but not with the schemes buzzing in the ladies’ heads. He leaned over the counter, kissed the middle-aged woman’s cheek and dropped a ten spot in the tip dish.
He dashed out the door and down the steps to the parking lot and his bike. As the engine roared to life the relatives gathered and protests began.
So much for a quick escape. He braced for the arguments.
“Stay,” his new sister-in-law called. “You can have one of the cabins all to yourself.”
“We won’t bother you. I promise,” his step-mother said.
She wouldn’t but her promise didn’t include his sisters. “Another time.”
“Matt, it’s going to rain.” The voices of four females rose in a chorus.
“I won’t melt.” He slipped on his helmet. With a spray of gravel he headed to the road.
Exit Matthew, fleeing a bunch of women intent on ending his bachelor state.
What about his father, brother and his sisters’ fiancés. He bet the guys envied his freedom.”
“You’re next.” Had someone said that or was it his imagination?
He waved. “Not today. Not this year. Maybe never.” The engine’s roar drowned any comments.
Visions of being followed by a parade of match-makers crowded his thoughts. Instead of heading for the interstate he decided to cross from Vermont into upstate New York. Exploring new territory was a perfect ending to his escape.
Once they’d found the perfect mate, why did happy couples believe every bachelor should be part of a twosome? He wasn’t ready to take a wife or enter a long term situation. He enjoyed his single state and found pleasure with a variety of women. Granted there’d been a dry spell lately—not his fault. He hadn’t met a woman who’d tempted him for even a night.
As he sped along the serpentine roads, a misting rain began. Moments after crossing into New York the storm turned earnest. Water fell in wind-driven gusts. Thunder rumbled like a mad drummer played a kettledrum. Lightning streaked across the sky in a brilliant display. Although the time was late afternoon the darkness spoke of night.
Time to find a motel, bed and breakfast or a rustic inn with a room for the night.
He reached a crossroads and paused to read the signs. The nearest town was fifty miles away. He dug out his cell. No service. He wiped the face plate of his helmet and chose a road. The headlights cast a tunnel through the gloom. Shadows impinged on the narrow band of light. He sent the bike down the road. Off on an adventure, hopefully with a dry room at the end of the road.