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. END EXCERPT