Here's another installment from Courted by Trouble, 3rd book in the In Hyacinth series, which just came out on Saturday. The first two snippets I gave you from this particular book. I thought I'd share a very happy one for today.
On December fifteenth, Stephanie stood with Dora and watched while Darcelle was married to George Leighton in a private ceremony from their home. After all of their signatures were on the legal forms, they had a celebratory dinner, packed the last of her things in George’s trailer and waved as they drove away. Stephanie wrapped an arm around Dora who had tears running down her cheeks.
“I’m glad she’s happy,” she whispered as they walked back inside. “I just wish…”
“Let’s make some cocoa,” Stephanie suggested, understanding what she couldn’t say. Dora just wished she could find her own Mr. Right. They were seated in the living room, sipping their cocoa and listening to the radio when a knock came at the door. Dora leapt to her feet and went to answer it.
“Mr. Covington, what a pleasant surprise. If you’re here to see Mom, she’s on her honeymoon.”
“Thank you, Dora, but actually this gentleman and I are here to see Stephanie. Is she available?”
Stephanie’s heart sped up as she knew what was coming. She hadn’t mentioned the coming courting proposal as it was considered one of the unwritten rules, plus Stephanie had been worried that if she told anyone, that it might not happen.
Dora opened the door wide and Alex Covington and Christopher walked in. “Dora, this is Christopher Triton.”
“I remember,” Dora said, smiling as she shook Christopher’s hand. “It’s nice to see you again, Mr. Triton.”
“You as well, Dora. You look happy.”
Christopher turned and looked at Stephanie and smiled. Dora looked from one to the other and her hands slammed over her mouth with a squeak as Alex Covington pulled a piece of paper from his pocket and began to speak. “Miss Stephanie Anne Knight, we the undersigned have given our permission for you to be courted by Mr. Christopher Bryant Triton for the process of one year, starting on this date and ending no later than one year from today. As a courted female, you are never to be in the presence of another male without Mr. Triton present or a female trusted by him. Your rights from Mr. Triton are as follows...”
As he spoke, Stephanie walked slowly forward until she and Christopher stood staring at one another. The information continued to flow, letting them know what each stage of their courting would entail and what was expected from each one of them as time went on. “If this agreement is entered into willingly, then we the undersigned give our seal of approval.” Mr. Covington read off all the names of the town council and placed the paper next to her on the coffee table. “If you agree to the courting, you need to sign by the X.”
Nodding, Stephanie turned and signed her name, instantly standing up afterward. Christopher looked over at the other man in their midst as though asking an unspoken question. Alex grunted. “Yep. You now have the right.”
Grinning, Chris turned back to her and after taking her hands in his, he kissed her. Except for a couple stolen kisses in elementary school, Stephanie had always dreamed of but never experienced another’s lips on hers. His lips were soft and firm at the same time as they moved against her own. When Alex cleared his throat, Christopher pulled back. “I’ve been wanting to do that for months,” he said with a chuckle making her laugh.
As soon as he released Stephanie’s hands, Dora gave a scream and launched herself forward, jumping up and down. “Congratulations!” she squeaked. “Stephie, I’m so happy for you! After everything you’ve been through.” She paused to grab a tissue. “Oh! You’ll be related to Cami now!”
After the excitement had somewhat abated, Mr. Covington described some of the differences their courtship would go through. “For your first stage, all dates must be in the presence of either Miss Lexington or myself. To protect Miss Knight’s reputation, of course. Everything else goes along with the contract. Stephanie, there is only one stipulation that is yours alone to make,” he said kindly. Turning to him, she waited. “Normally, Mr. Triton would need to ask permission of a girl’s father to propose. In this case, that is not relevant. As such, it is up to you if he needs to ask anyone for permission or if you would just prefer he ask you.”
The answer came without needing to think about it. “You. You’ve always had my best interests at heart, Mr. Covington. So, if you wouldn’t mind…”
“It would be my pleasure,” he replied warmly. “Now, I must be off. My grandson is due at any moment. We got the call an hour ago that they were about to wheel Kathy into the delivery room. I could be a grandpa and I don’t even know it.” As they turned toward the door, his phone buzzed and he pulled it out of his pocket. His eyes misted a little and then he turned the screen of his phone in their direction. “Alexander Brandon Covington, III, was born a few minutes ago weighing in at eight pounds, two ounces.”
Both Dora and Stephanie oo’d and ah’d over the squished little face on the screen and after a few congratulations, he left to go celebrate with his family.
“Wow,” Dora said, shaking her head. “Kathy’s a mommy.” As if realizing there was a third person in the room, she turned and smiled at him. “Would you like some hot cocoa?”
“I’d love some.”
If someone would have asked Stephanie what she expected to talk about the official night of her courting, she would have said it would be about her and her intended. Instead, she and Dora told Christopher funny stories about Xan and Kathy, talked about growing up in Hyacinth, and just reminisced. Every time they paused, he asked a question that brought out even more fun memories. When he left, after giving her a longer kiss, Dora hugged her again.
“He’s a keeper.”
Laughing, Stephanie nodded. “I hope so.”
Courted By Trouble
Barnes and Noble
Stephanie Knight’s life wasn’t easy. Even brought up in Hyacinth, discipline had not been a part of her family growing up. After her mother’s death, she made many mistakes and after the worst, ended up almost homeless. Thanks to her best friend’s father, she had a safe place to live while she tried to get her life together. Fear of people’s reactions kept her away from Hyacinth, but when her best friends found her again, she could no longer deny her desire to truly live.
Christopher Triton moved to town and turned her life upside down. With the support of her friends, Steph slowly got her self-esteem back. When Christopher declared his intention to court her, she couldn’t imagine anything more wonderful. But things were never smooth sailing for Stephanie. Thankfully, with a strong man at her side, she was able to weather the tough spots. His discipline allowed her to let go of all past guilt and grasp onto her positive future. His love helped her feel as though she could do anything. Which meant the world when her strange past came to call.
About the series In Hyacinth:
Hyacinth, Washington is all about traditional values. In Hyacinth; its residents live their lives by discipline; there is a strong male head of house; and words like trust, honor, and kindness aren't just buzzwords. Each story in the series is of a young woman (18-20) and her struggle to figure out who she is in this little town while at the same time going through Hyacinth's old-fashioned courting system. On their way to meet, get to know, and finally marry their princes, these heroines grow in ways they and their town never expected.
Courted by Discipline
, Book One is available
Courted by Fall, Book Two is available
Check out some more great WIPs
Labels: Courted by Trouble, Courting, In Hyacinth, romance, traditional, values, WIPItUp