Some more Courted by Experience
, Book Five of In Hyacinth for WiPItUp Wednesday
. As her cousin warned her, her grandmother has definite ideas about who she should be courted by. When Marcus drives Celie and her cousin to the hospital when Jaylee's water breaks, it's just a beginning.
"If you want to stay. Delivery isn't fast. If she hasn't been having contractions she could be here for a day or more before she delivers."
"Really?" she asked in horror.
Grinning, he nodded. "Vanna's mom was in labor for thirty-two hours. First babies take their time."
"Why don't I drive you home? If your grandmother decides to come to the hospital, you can choose whether or not to come with her. But honestly? Waiting for a baby is rather boring except for the poor mother who is dealing with the pain."
"Makes me wanna have my tubes tied," she said flippantly, blushing when he laughed.
"Stacy said those hours of delivery were worth it to see little Vanna at the end."
"I guess a ride would be good," she finally admitted, not really wanting to hang around the hospital.
When they got back to his car, he suggested she take the back seat again. "I'll need to clean the front."
"Oh!" she said, her eyes widening at the stain. "I'm so sorry! I didn't even think…"
"Don't worry about it. It happens."
"Yes, but… can I pay to have it cleaned for you?"
"Definitely not," he said, sounding slightly insulted. His voice changed to teasing quickly. "And you forget. I have a four-year-old daughter. I have become adept at cleaning up messes. Ice cream, spit, bile… I was already good at dealing with all sorts of things from my work, but having a child makes you impervious to everything."
"Ah, the joys of fatherhood," she teased, making him nod.
"They're worth it. Vanna is the sweetest girl on the planet and I'm a very lucky man to have her in my life."
"How long have you lived in Hyacinth?"
"Five weeks. I've traipsed poor Cavanaugh around the United States her whole life, which is why she's so shy. She isn't used to getting to know people who stick around. I've been her only constant. I'm hoping that with seeing the same people every day that she will come out of her shell."
"A travelling vet? I spent the last ten years travelling with my mother. She's a musician."
"How did you like it?"
"It got old. Fast. No friends, going town-to-town, nobody my age around. One of the reasons I leapt at the chance to come here, I suppose. I spent the first eight years of my life here."
She smiled that he seemed to understand.
"So are you a large animal vet?"
"Oh, heavens no. Small animals only. This town has three full-time vets for the cattle and equine population. I serve the dogs, cats, and guinea pigs of the town."
"Guinea pigs?" she said, laughing.
"You would be surprised," he said, grinning at her in his rear-view mirror. "It's a perfect pet for a small child and they abound here."
He was easy to chat with and before she knew it, he pulled up in front of her grandmother's house. "Thanks for the rides. Both taking Jaylee to the hospital and me home," she said as she opened her door.
"Can I treat you to some cookies?" she asked quickly, remembering the chocolate-chip cookies she had made the day before. They were her first dessert made without her grandmother hovering over her and she felt rather proud of the result.
His eyes lit up. "A man never turns down cookies."
Marcus followed her into the warm, inviting living room. "Nana?" she called. "Jaylee's in labor!" She gestured for him to follow her into the kitchen and once there, she opened the plastic container the cookies were in and handed them over.
"Chocolate chip? Yum," he groaned, picking one up and taking a bite. "I haven't had a homemade chocolate chip cookie in years."
"Oh, the horror," she said dryly, taking one herself.
"Jaylee's in labor?" Nana squeaked, rushing into the kitchen. Her face went from delighted to startled when she saw Marcus before switching to slightly alarmed.
"Marcus drove us to the hospital and then brought me home," she explained. "Jaylee's water broke while we were at the Lava Lamp."
"Poor girl. I'd better call Betty, though hopefully she already knows." Instead of using the phone in the living room which was her grandmother's preferred form of communication as that way she could sit and talk at the same time, she used the phone in the kitchen.
"I had best get back to work," Marcus said when although she talked to her daughter, Jude kept her eyes on him. "It was nice to see you again, Celia."
"You too," she said quietly, shooting her grandmother an angry look before turning back. "Wait. You're going back to work? Did you get any lunch at all?"
"I'll grab something on the way," he said easily. "I'm used to it."
"Wait. I can at least feed you for being such a good citizen and giving up your lunch hour and your front seat to us. Do you like meatloaf?"
"Well, yes, but I really should get back."
"No worries. I'll make you a sandwich you can take with you." Ignoring her grandmother's narrowed eyes, Celie pulled the leftovers out of the fridge, cutting a large piece of meatloaf and a couple slices from the new loaf of bread her grandmother had cooked that morning. After putting the sandwich in a baggie, she put a handful of cookies in another one and handed them to him. "There. Now your animals won't wonder why your stomach is gurgling."
"Thanks, Celia," he said warmly, taking the baggies from her and walking to the front door. Her grandmother waved frantically at her from behind his back but Celie ignored her, walking Marcus to the front door.
Courted by Experience
Book Five of In Hyacinth
Pre-Order from Amazon
Available March 26th (tomorrow)
Celia Compton is thrilled to be back in Hyacinth where she lived until she was eight. A year of courting to meet her prince sounds lovely, especially when combined with loving discipline. Unfortunately, sometimes reality doesn’t quite meet up with fantasy. The man she wants, Marcus Hotham, seems inclined not to court and yet the more she sees him, the more the rest of the guys just don’t measure up.
As Celia learns more about Hyacinth life and gains friendships for the first time in over a decade, it becomes more like home. When Marcus finally asks to court her, his four-year-old daughter Vanna in tow, she’s thrilled. Everything is perfect, until her mother, who hates discipline and Hyacinth, comes to town and finds out about Marcus. Now, with the possibility of being ripped from the arms of the man she loves, Celia finds herself floundering with how to explain things. When decisions are made and everything comes to light, she just might find that sometimes reality is so much better than fantasy.
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.
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Labels: A Courting Romance, bloghop, Courted by Experience, Domestic discipline, inspirational, loving discipline, romance, WIPItUp