Twins on the Way

By: Janice Maynard

Gavin Kavanagh needed a woman. Badly. He wasn’t very good at relationships. He was too damn selfish, and he had trust issues. Which meant his only choices for sexual satisfaction were typically one-night stands. Since he was too fastidious to find much pleasure in that, he usually endured months of self-imposed celibacy until the day or the week he finally decided he couldn’t stand it anymore, and he cracked.

This time, what tipped him over the edge was being in Vegas. He’d pitched in at the last minute to help out a sick friend by giving an address to several thousand cybersecurity experts. Though public speaking didn’t bother him, he much preferred to be alone in his man cave back in North Carolina.

Winding his way past noisy slot machines and crowded gaming tables, he headed for the exit, desperate to inhale fresh air and see the sky. He’d been incarcerated in this over-the-top hotel since lunchtime, and it was now almost ten at night.

On the sidewalk, he paused, taking in the garish display of neon and traffic spread before him. Vegas. Land of opportunity and lost dreams. Home of wild bachelor parties, just-past-prime entertainers and the siren lure of the big win.

He could see the appeal. The outrageous city pulsed with an almost tangible energy. If New York was the city that never slept, then Las Vegas was its manic twin. With enough disposable income and plenty of unencumbered time, a man could entertain himself here indefinitely.

But not Gavin Kavanagh. He couldn’t wait to go home.

Good lord, Kavanagh. Bullshitting himself was a new low.

It wasn’t entirely a lie. He did want to go home. But there was something else he wanted more. The need writhing inside him was a voracious beast, reminding him that he was smack-dab in the land of legal hookers. For a few hundred bucks, the primeval urge to mate with a woman could be appeased.

He wasn’t going to do it. What kind of man had to pay for sex? Maybe one who was too much of a curmudgeon to play nice with a decent female? To compliment her dress and ask about her day?

If that was the cost of sex as normal people enjoyed, he was out of luck. Pressing his fingertips to his temples, he winced as a shard of pain lanced its way through his head. He’d been up since 3:00 a.m. to catch a flight out of Asheville. Hell, even with a hooker, he might fall asleep before he could take care of business.

Heaving a sigh, he strode off down the street, trying to avoid looking at scantily clad women and signs for “adult” clubs. It was like putting an alcoholic in the middle of a distillery tour.

Weaving his way among tourists and time-share hawkers, he marveled that no one batted an eye at the occasional eccentrically dressed pedestrian. Perhaps Gavin was the oddity tonight.

He walked swiftly, needing the exercise to clear his head and regain control of his libido. It was almost one in the morning back home in Silver Glen. Exhaustion made him weave on his feet, but he knew he wouldn’t sleep unless he was tired to the bone, not as buzzed as he was by the craving to feel a woman’s soft skin and curves.

If he had his way, he’d be able to sublimate his sexual desires. He was a loner. Which meant that women either thought they could change him or were a little scared of him.

As the middle child of seven brothers, he had learned to be self-sufficient at an early age. He’d viewed his younger brothers as babies and wanted to avoid their company. His older brothers had been far too cool to tolerate little Gavin hanging around.

Even the community had unwittingly isolated Gavin. The Kavanagh brood had been referred to as the Three Musketeers—Liam, Dylan and Aidan...and the Three Stooges—Conor, Patrick and James. Gavin was often overlooked, partly because he didn’t make waves.

He liked school. He never got in trouble. And though he grew to six feet in height by the ninth grade and two years later had filled out his gangly frame with muscles, he was often found with his head in a book. He knew how to fight. He could hold his own in a brawl.

But why do that when there were so many more interesting ways to spend his time?

He cut down a side street and followed it several blocks. Then, reversing his original course, he headed toward the hotel. Back here, away from the strip, there were not as many streetlights...less activity...fewer temptations to do something he might regret later. Unfortunately, he was not the only one to choose this route.

As he drew even with an alley that accommodated delivery trucks, he overheard a heated exchange. Pausing just out of sight, he listened.

The female voice surprised him. This was no place for a woman. She made her displeasure clear. “Leave me alone,” she cried. “You can’t have everything your way.”

Gavin peeked around the corner just as the man put his hands on the woman’s shoulders and shook her. The guy was about twice her size. “Stay out of it, Cass,” he said. “Or you’ll be sorry.”