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Authors: Kathi Daley

5 Big Bunny Bump Off

BOOK: 5 Big Bunny Bump Off
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Big Bunny Bump-off


Kathi Daley


This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


Copyright © 2014 by Katherine Daley


Version 1.0


All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.



This book is dedicated to my bunny
-loving girls, Maleia and Maevelynn.


Special thanks to all my Facebook friends who share their opinions and encouragement, with a special thanks to Barbara H. for all the “likes” and comments.


And, as always, thank you to my sister Christy, for her encouragement and valuable feedback, Ricky for the webpage, Randy Ladenheim-Gil for the editing, and, last but not least, my super-husband Ken, for allowing me time to write by taking care of everything else.

Books by Kathi Daley
Paradise Lake Series:
Pumpkins in Paradise
Snowmen in Paradise
Bikinis in Paradise
—coming May 2014
Zoe Donovan Mysteries:
Halloween Hijinks
The Trouble
with Turkeys
Christmas Crazy
Cupid’s Curse
Big Bunny Bump
Beach Blanket Barbie – coming April 1, 2014
Road to Christmas Romance:
Road to Christmas Past


Chapter 1
Sunday, March 23

“I told you this was a bad idea,” Mom said as I fanned my dad’s face with a magazine that I’d quickly folded to serve as a means of generating air flow.

“I guess you were right. It seemed like he was doing okay at first,” I added as Mom gently lifted his head and slipped a pillow beneath it.

“I guess these
things sort of sneak up on you.” Mom ran her hand over dad’s forehead, a look of concern on her face. “Do you think we should call the doctor?”

“I’m sure he’ll be fine
, but I’m afraid he’s going to have one hell of a headache when he wakes up.” I stopped fanning and sat back on my heels. “I have to say, I’ve never seen anyone sink to the ground in quite that manner. One minute he was sitting next to us on the sofa and the next he was slithering to the floor like a rag doll.”

“He tried to warn us,” Mom pointed out.

“I know.” I sighed. “I just thought that if he tried it, he’d realize it really isn’t that bad. I know how important this is to you.”

“I appreciate the fact that you tried
. I think he’s opening his eyes.”

“Zoe?” My dad looked at me. “
What happened?”

“We were watching the video and you passed out,” I answered.

“Oh God.” Dad’s hand flew to his mouth.

“It’s okay,” I encouraged
him. “Just breathe. Deep breath in, slow breath out.”

Dad did as instructed
, but I have to admit that I’ve never seen anyone quite that shade of green.

“Okay, once again,” I in
structed. “Deep breath in, slow breath out.”

“Should I get the bucket?” Mom asked.

“Yeah, that might be a good idea. Get a glass of water while you’re at it,” I added.

I looked back toward my dad
, who was still taking long, deep breaths as my mom waddled toward the kitchen. He was looking better and his color had shifted from green to sort of a pale white. Maybe the bucket wouldn’t be necessary after all. “Can you sit up?” I asked.

“Maybe.” Dad tried to scoot up onto his forearms but winced and laid his head back down.

“Are you hurt?” I asked.

“I don’t think so. I guess I’m still dizzy.”

Mom hurried into the room and knelt down next to Dad’s head. She helped him to sit and then held the glass, feeding him the water like one would a child.

smiled at the domestic scene unfolding before me. Mom gently stroked Dad’s cheek as he leaned back against the front of the sofa. I couldn’t help but revel in the way the two people who had brought me into the world looked at each other with love in their eyes. It might have been a long and winding road to get here, but the one thing I’m sure of is that life is short and you need to cherish special moments when you have them rather than mourning the ones you might have missed along the way.

“What happened?”
My boyfriend Zak came into the little boathouse I call home from the front drive, carrying the bags of groceries he’d offered to pick up.

“I borrowed
the birthing video from Anyssa,” I explained.

.” Zak needed no further explanation.

“Maybe we should take him to the hospital
to have him checked out,” Zak suggested after he’d deposited the bags he’d carried in and joined us near the sofa.

“No, I’m fine
.” Dad smiled weakly. “I’m mostly just embarrassed.”

“You were brave to try to watch the video,” Mom consoled him. “A lot of men would have just made some joke about birthing being women’s work and used it as an excuse to sit it out in the waiting room
, rather than admitting to weakness of any kind.”

Dad sat up the rest of the way
and cupped Mom’s cheek with his hand. “You, my dear, are kind. Too kind. I feel like I’m letting you down.”

“Never,” Mom said as she helped Dad onto the sofa he’d recently slithered off of. “Zoe is happy to fill in as coach.”

“I am,” I assured Dad. “In fact, I’m looking forward to it.”

“I brought dinner,” Zak announced as I noticed the takeout bags
mixed in among the grocery bags for the first time.

“I’m starving
.” I got up from my position on the floor, walked over to the tile counter that separated my small kitchen from the living area, and dug into the white paper bags.

Me too.” Mom stood up from where she was still sitting on the floor. “Hank?” she asked my dad.

“I’m feeling better. I think I can eat. What did you bring?”

“Chinese,” Zak informed us.

Dad started to turn green again.

“Maybe some white rice to start,” I suggested.

“Yeah, that might be a good idea,” Dad agreed.

Mom helped Dad to his feet, not an easy feat for a petite woman who was over eight months pregnant. Mom and I have similar features. While I have curly brown hair and hers is straight blond, we both have blue eyes, wide smiles, and tiny frames that tip the height chart at just about five feet. While we normally weigh less than a hundred pounds fully clothed, Mom
put on a few pregnancy pounds. Very few. I hope that, if and when I become a mother, I look as beautiful as she does. From the back, you’d never even know Mom was with child; it’s only the basketball under her bright yellow peasant blouse that informs people that she’s going to be a mother again in less than a month.

“What did you do with the dogs?” I asked when I realized that my dog Charlie and Zak’s dog Lambda had gone with Zak
when he headed into town but hadn’t followed him when he came inside.

’re on the deck with Tucker and Kiva,” Zak said, referring to Dad’s two dogs. “I figured four dogs in your little house were going to be tight, and it’s a nice day.”

I looked out
of the window. It
a nice day. The sun was just beginning to set over the glassy lake, which was filled to the brim with melting snow. We’d had a heavy winter that I’d been beginning to think would never end, but today had been sunny and warm, and I’d felt my heart fill with joy brought on by the arrival of spring.

I looked at my mom and dad. It seemed fitting that my baby sister would be born in the spring, the season of new birth.
After my dad got over the shock of my mom’s pregnancy, the two of them had decided to take things slow as they worked out the parameters of their new relationship. When I had been born, my mom had handed me off to my dad and then pretty much exited from my life. This time around, Mom wanted to be a real mother, while still allowing Dad to be a full-time father. The pair had a lot of murky water under their bridge, and I knew it would take a while for them to work things out. Still, my deepest hope is that my baby sister will grow up in the same house as
of her parents.

“Have you thought any more about the house I showed you?” Zak asked
as he dished the food he’d brought into serving bowls.

had found a beachfront home that’s larger than my tiny one-bedroom boathouse but much smaller than his almost twenty-thousand-foot lakefront mansion. We’d looked at it a few days ago and realized it would be perfect for my parents. Mom and Dad want to parent together, though both had stopped short of admitting they were ready to become a couple. (Like I said, there are deep, deep rivers of unresolved feelings for them to deal with.) The property Zak had found had two structures. The main house has three bedrooms, two baths, and a large kitchen and open living area. Just across the pool and patio area is a mother-in-law unit, with one bedroom and one bath, plus a smaller yet still roomy living area. The space seemed perfect for Dad to live in until they realized they really were in love and should move in together.

“I like it
, but I’m not sure I can afford it,” Dad stated as he helped himself to a generous helping of sweet and sour pork to go with the rice I’d suggested.

“I told you not to worry about the money,” Mom answered. (Did I mention that my mom is filthy rich?)

“I’ve always paid my own way and will continue to do so,” Dad insisted.

“If you sell the house you
’re living in now, you should be able to pay for your share,” I pointed out as I dug into my shrimp chow mein. “Mom will actually have over two-thirds of the living space, so . . .” I left the conclusion unstated but hoped Dad would jump on the logic of footing only a third of the bill.

’s a beautiful spot,” Mom said persuasively. “And it’s just down the beach from Zoe. Harper and I can walk down the beach any time she wants to see her big sister.”

, I guess it could work for our situation,” Dad admitted. “And it is on a large lot, with a fenced-in area for the dogs and a big garage for all my tools. I don’t like the idea of you living alone, and I suppose you can’t live with Zak forever.”

Mom had been living with Zak since she came back to town
, which had caused all kinds of jealousy on my part until I found out that the woman he had living with him was actually my mother. When I first discovered the truth, I passed out dead in the snow. Perhaps a weak constitution and a tendency toward fainting runs in the family.

“The guy who owns the place is a friend of mine
.” Zak topped off the wine for the three of us not with child, while I refilled Mom’s water glass. “He’s really motivated to sell quickly. I guess he took some bad investment advice and lost a bucketful of his cash reserves, so he’s eager to sell the property to pay off some of his mounting debt. If you’re interested, I can have a chat with him to see if we can work out something on the price.”

I knew that translated
into Zak slipping the guy some money under the table so my dad could afford his share of the house and suspected Dad knew that as well, but he had the common sense not to say as much. You see, as rich as Mom is—and she’s
rich—Zak is richer. He built a software company in the garage when he was a teenager that he then sold for tens of millions of dollars when he was twenty-one. He’s continued to dabble in the software industry, and to tell you the truth, I have no idea how much he’s actually worth.

“Negotiating the price down would help,” Dad admitted.
“Still, my house is paid for, and it’s in a nice location close to town. I should be able to get a good price for it.”

Carson and I go way back and he’s a reasonable guy. I’ll talk to him,” Zak offered again. “I’m sure he’ll welcome the chance to avoid the hassle of putting his house on the open market. I think the house will be perfect for your situation, and it’s close to Donovan’s,”—he referred to the general store Dad and my grandfather, Pappy, own—“so even when you’re at work, you won’t be far away. It’s basically turnkey, so I may even be able to work it out so you can move in right away.”

“I still need to sell my house,” Dad reminded Zak.
“That could take a while.”

“I’m pretty sure Carson will agree to finance the venture as long as the down payment is enough to take care of his immediate needs
,” Zak said. “Madison can foot the down payment and when you sell your house, you can contribute to the total. It really could be a win-win. You can get settled before the baby is born, and Carson can make a little extra on the interest.”

“Does that work for you?” Dad looked at Mom.


.” Dad smiled. “Let’s see what we can work out.”

“I’m s
o excited,” I said, beaming. “This is going to be awesome.” Despite my genuine enthusiasm about the imminent arrival of my baby sister, I’m pretty nervous. You see, babies—at least human ones—terrify me. It may be due to the fact that I’m an only child and have never spent much time around the squirmy little noise boxes. Mom seems nervous as well, so I’ve been pretending that I’m a baby-raising pro whenever she’s around.

“Does anyone need anything else?” Za
k asked as we scarfed down the food he’d arranged on my little dining table.

“I think we’re goo
d,” I answered as I reached for seconds.

“So how
was play rehearsal?” he asked, changing the subject to something less emotionally charged than babies and finances.

The community theater, which is operated by fel
low events committee member Gilda Reynolds, is putting on an Easter play as part of our annual Spring Fling event. My best friend, Ellie Davis, who runs an afterschool dance program and is co-directing the play, asked me to help out. Ellie has done me so many favors over the past few months that I can’t even keep up with how many I owe her back, so I readily agreed to pitch in. Which, I realized in hindsight, might have been a mistake. The use of the word
to describe the entire undertaking is putting it mildly. Things started off okay until bank president Porter Blakely insisted on playing the part of Jack Frost. There are several problems with this scenario, the least of which is that Jack Frost is considered to be a thin, fairylike figure, while Blakely, decisively, is not (think of a hippo in a tutu).

BOOK: 5 Big Bunny Bump Off
4.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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