B is for Brenten
What is 'Brenten' you ask? It's actually the last name of one of my favorite characters. Curtis Brenten is in his mid-thirties, an author, and is disabled, though he rarely lets that get in his way...except for when it comes to relationships. I will admit, I'm not fond of 'perfect' heroes. I like them with a bit of humanity in them, which means they usually have a flaw or two. With Curtis, it's his inability to trust that Deeka will still love him once she's seen his body at its worst.
Here's one of my favorite excerpts from Courted by a Knight, where Curtis has a talk with Deeka's father Barrett.
“I’m saying you have to make up your mind,” Barrett snapped. “It isn’t fair to her.”
“I know,” Curtis replied, quieter than his companion and yet still loud. “You don’t think I know that? What do you think I’ve been doing over the last three weeks, Barrett? Trying to get my affairs in bloody order so that I have something to offer your daughter.”
“Curt! You have plenty to offer and Deeka adores you. What do you have to get in order?”
Slowly and almost as though she couldn’t stop herself, Deeka made her way to the backdoor, standing just inside where she could hear better.
“Answer me,” her father said in a rough voice.
“Look at me,” Curtis said, his voice rough with emotion. “Take a good look at me, Barrett. I’m a good man and in every way but one I have everything to offer a wonderful girl like Deeka, but I’m trapped in this wheelchair for the rest of my life. The rest of my life!” he said louder when her father tried to interrupt him. “Don’t you think she deserves more than to be with a man whose legs will keep getting worse and worse until I can’t even use the crutches anymore? Do you really want your baby girl saddled with a man who one day will have absolutely no ability to stand at her side? She’ll be saddled with an invalid if she ends up with me,” he spat.
There was barely a moment’s pause before he continued, his voice softer, duller. “And that’s not the only thing. Barrett, when I realized there was a large possibility I could pass this on to my child if I ever made one, I knew I couldn’t do that. I had myself snipped. I won’t be able to give her a child if we did get together. No baby for her, no grandchild for you.” Deeka’s heart ached for the poor man. Did he truly think that mattered to her? If they wanted kids, there were tons of children the world over who could use a good home.
There was a long silence before her father spoke again, his voice dropping, tired but resolute. “You do Deeka and myself a great disservice by saying that, Curt. I know that’s Wren talking because that has never bothered you in the past. What Deeka needs is a strong man who’s willing to take up the mantel of head of house. She needs,” he stressed, “a man who will love her like no woman has ever been loved. She also needs a man who has no trouble with taking her over his lap and paddling her backside on occasion. I see nothing about your condition that would hinder any of the above things. And believe me, I’ve done my research on your genetic disorder. Curtis, Deeka needs a good man who will uphold the values we hold dear. I screwed up and married a woman outside of Hyacinth. It was a mistake, but one I will never regret because it brought me the most amazing daughter any man can ask for.”
Deeka peeked out the door where Curtis slumped in his chair staring off into the distance while her father sat at their table with his head in his hands. “Curt,” he said, quieter still. “The question you have to ask yourself is this: ‘Do I think I can come to love Deeka? Is she the kind of woman I may want to take as my wife at some point?’ If the answer to those questions is yes, court her. If the answer is no, then I’m going to have to ask you not to come to dinner until after she has either been courted or goes off to college. Seeing you constantly hurts her because she’s falling in love with you.”
Curtis muttered something and groaned. “I don’t think I could stand to see that look in her eyes, Barrett. The one that says ‘I don’t want to be saddled with taking care of you.’”
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: B, Bree Cariad, brenten, Courting, In Hyacinth, romance