Here's another little snippet from Courted by Understanding, Book Four of In Hyacinth. Dora finds herself on an outing she didn't expect - in a group date. Learning to ski, the first part of the day is spent with Xander, her friend Cami's elder brother while her 'date' Gaelic is with Xander's wife Kathy.
The bunny hill was a bit of a misnomer. It looked pretty steep to her. Thankfully Xan was a very patient teacher. Every once in a while she would hear Kathy burst out laughing and turn to find her friend half buried in snow with Gaelic helping her out of it. The man beside her smiled each time it happened.
“Don’t you want to be with her?” she finally asked after a couple hours as she was finally able to go down the hill without stopping constantly.
“In a bit.” He paused and pulled the mask he was wearing down. “Dora, are you okay?” His serious expression surprised her and she nodded.
He took a moment to brush snow off his legs before answering. “You’ve always been relatively shy. I know that. But I hope you know you can always come to me if you need to talk.”
“I’m good, really.” And it wasn’t like she could go to him anyway. True, she was relieved today to realize she saw him as more friend material than she ever had in the past, but given the choice, she would choose Chris to talk to.
“Are you? You’ve lost yourself.”
“You were always the girl with big dreams. Cami used to talk in awe about how she looked forward to getting letters from Katmandu from you and how she knew you would be the one of them to go places.”
“I grew up, Xan. Those were just girlish dreams, anyway.”
“You’re still young, Dora.”
Laughing, she shook her head. “I’m twenty. Twenty, Xan. In Hyacinth, that’s spinster age.” She heard her voice crack at the end and tried to turn away. It was impossible to do so in skis.
“Stop it.” His sharp voice startled her and she stared at him in surprise. “You’re still young, Dora. And you’re definitely not a spinster. I appreciate the courting system Hyacinth has, but right here, right now, this is part of the problem. A girl doesn’t get courted at eighteen and by the time she’s twenty she thinks she’s too old. For the rest of the world, you’re still young. I think you’re still young.” He paused for a moment and his voice gentled. “And if you haven’t noticed, Gale is rather taken with you.”
Laughing, a jarring sound that carried no humor whatsoever, she shoved her poles into the snow. “Well, he’s only seeing me now. Wait until he gets a look at me when I balloon up to a size sixteen,” she said, choking on a sob. “Nobody wants the fat girl, Xan. Nobody.”
“Dora, is that how you see yourself?” he asked gently.
“It’s the truth. There’s no reason to sugar coat it. I’m fat. I know I’m fat and no matter what I do, I can’t be skinny. And I’ve tried,” she said, closing her mouth when she felt the tears prick her eyes.
He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. “Ah, Dora,” he said quietly. “Don’t talk about yourself that way.”
“But it’s true.”
The girls in school used to tease her that at only five feet tall and with her rounded figure that she would make a good elf at the North Pole. Right now she wished she could go bury herself in some snow and disappear.
“Do you want to know what I see?” he asked in a gentle voice. “I see a girl who isn’t sure of herself. She’s open-hearted, gives to others, takes practically nothing for herself, and who is used to being overlooked. Dora, I think you’ve spent so much time trying to disappear that you have convinced yourself that you have. Maybe it’s time to cast off the girl you think you are to become the girl you really are.”
His seeing through her was unsettling. “But what if this is who I am?”
The deep rumbling chuckle in his chest made her smile. “Nice try. Think about it, Dora. You have a lot to offer. Don’t shut Gaelic out just because you’ve been overlooked by the men of Hyacinth.” He grunted lightly. “I think you should be grateful those nimrods have overlooked you. They weren’t worthy of you.” There was a pause before he continued. “He might not look it, but when it comes to relationships, Gale’s shy too.”
“Really?” His cousin seemed sure of himself.
Courted by Understanding
Book Four of In Hyacinth
Available Feb 27, 2015
Dora Lexington is cute, round, and utterly practical. She has watched her best friends find their husbands, knowing full-well it will never happen to her. Or so she thinks until meeting Xander’s cousin Gaelic Covington. At first she doesn’t see how such a handsome, successful man can be attracted to her. But attracted he is. In fact, he has been head over heels in love with her for years.
As they come to know one another, they discover each other’s secrets and she finds out that in the heart of the strong man is a boy who is just as worried at being rejected as she is. Falling in love with him is simple; even simpler to submit to his lead. However, when Dora discoveres something about herself that she finds shocking, she tries to run. Now it’s up to Gaelic to convince her that nothing will make him leave, not even that.
About the series In Hyacinth:
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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
Print Edition: Volume 1 is available
(includes books 1 & 2)
Courted by Trouble
, Book Three is available
Labels: A Courting Romance, Courted by Understanding, Domestic discipline, In Hyacinth, loving discipline, romance, self-esteem, traditional, values, weight issues, WIPItUp