Since all of the school was fully in session, the quad was filled with people rushing to and fro or just standing around talking. While she had met a couple people in her classes, her natural quiet nature had kept her from meeting very many. Following the trickle of people to the James A. Newson Center, she almost tripped when she heard her name.
Turning her head, she felt her skin blush as Zachary Styles walked up to her, his warm smile in place. “So you decided to come. Good for you.”
“Yeah. I’m enjoying it so far.”
He winked. “You haven’t gotten to midterms yet.”
Laughing as she had listened to her teachers harp on midterms and finals twice so far, she nodded. “So, I’ve heard.” He opened the door so she and a couple other students could enter and then followed her inside.
“What class are you going to?” he asked.
“Interesting course. Is Spelling your instructor?”
“Yeah. How’d you know?” she asked in surprise.
“She’s the only one I know of who teaches it,” he admitted in amusement. As they got to her classroom, he paused. “I don’t know if you’re available, but I’m leading a hike up to the Longdale Labyrinth this afternoon. You’re very welcome to join us. We’ll head out from the chapel at one if you’re interested.” With a wave, he turned and walked away.
“Thanks!” she called, turning and walking into the classroom, thrilled he had invited her. And yet knowing there was no way she could go. Her mother expected her home by one.
It was vastly difficult to pay attention to the lecture on modern vs. ancient Greek societies when all she could think of were ways to go to the labyrinth. By the time class let out, she resolved to do some extra studying this weekend to make up for not hearing the lesson. It was only noon, but she had Barrett’s truck. Staying would be inordinately rude given the fact her step-father was so firmly in her corner about getting an education.
Biting her lower lip, she dashed across campus to the administration building and student center, hoping Zach put up a list of activities. Hopefully they went every Friday and she could make plans for next week. Scanning the large calendar on the wall, she didn’t see the labyrinth listed. Maybe he had a list of them downstairs. Quickly making her way to the chapel, she walked in and looked around.
“Zachary?” she called hesitantly, still not sure that she shouldn’t be calling him something more formal.
He popped out of his office. “DeLynn,” he said warmly. “Are you coming to the labyrinth with us? We won’t be starting out for another hour.”
Blushing, she shook her head. “No, I have my step-father’s truck and need to get it home. I…um…I was trying to find a calendar of activities so I could plan ahead.”
“Ah! Well, except for the basics, while I have certain times set aside, I don’t schedule activities until that day as it’s impossible to tell what the weather will do. Come in,” he beckoned, heading back into his office. “Why don’t you sign up for my email list? I send out a weekly list of times and possible activities as well as a weekly devotion.” He pulled a list out of one of the drawers of his desk and placed it and a pen in front of her.
Suddenly glad that Barrett had been quite insistent that she create an email she could use just for school, she wrote down her information. As she did, he pulled out a few pieces of paper. When she was done, he handed them over. “I’ve already sent out this week’s email yesterday. But these are the activities and times planned from tomorrow through next Friday.” As she took the pages and turned to leave, he spoke again. “I’m glad you came to LCC, DeLynn. I look forward to seeing you around.”
After cautiously smiling at him over her shoulder, she darted as slowly as possible out of the door and to Barrett’s truck. She might be mistaken and she probably was, but she thought that just maybe Zachary liked her. And if he did, what did that mean? Professors weren’t allowed to date students. Was the chaplain? Not that she could date. Barrett was pretty open, but he still believed strongly in the courting concept.
Hopping into the cab of his Ford 250, she turned the key, smiling at the roar of the engine as she connected her seatbelt and pulled out of the parking lot. Her smile didn’t diminish once the whole way home.
Book Seven of In Hyacinth
Release date: July 22
With her courting year over and no men on the horizon, DeLynn Straynar decides to do something different with her life and signs up to attend college in Longdale an hour away. Her first day there, she runs into Zachary Styles, the school’s single chaplain and feels attracted, but quickly tries to convince herself she feels nothing for him. Until they meet again and again. With school taking up so much of her attention, she tries to focus just on it, but ignoring the gorgeous brown-eyed man is difficult and she’s not sure she wants to.
Zachary is twenty-five and working toward his doctorate in divinity. While aware of Hyacinth, he never imagined he would physically discipline anyone, until falling for DeLynn. She thinks getting courted will be the hardest part, but their courting year turns out to be fraught with trouble. From her best friend running away from home, to trying to figure out who she is in an environment so unlike the one she grew up in, the entire year is filled with stress. She keeps hoping that in time, everything will work itself out.
Unfortunately, time can only fix so much and as her anxiety goes through the roof and she finds herself in a manic mode she cannot stop, it doesn’t take long before she realizes that while sometimes she needs to figure things out on her own, there are also times she needs to hand the reins over to someone else.
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.