Welcome to a week of celebrating Valentine’s Day with some romantic glimpses at characters you know and love. Aside from the sweet and/or sexy snippets, make sure to stop along the way to enter the various giveaways! (Full schedule HERE)
With the release of ALL I AM this month, I wanted to hang out in my Farmers’ Market world a little bit. In ALL I HAVE, Mia and Dell fell in love as rivals at the farmers’ market. In ALL I AM, readers get a glimpse of Mia and Dell’s wedding, and in ALL I WANT, which will be coming out in September, readers will get to see Mia and Dell and their ever-growing family.
So, it felt right to show a little glimpse into the first step to that over-growing family part. (Okay, maybe not FIRST step. This is completely SFW ;))
Mia Wainwright pulled her truck to a stop outside of the little cabin that had become home. Pruitt Morning Sun Farms, at least part of it, stretched out around the cabin under a light winter snow.
The sun was setting to the West, one of those riotous winter sunsets. Vibrant orange and pink slashed across the horizon. It was the kind of sight that reminded her that every season had its function, and she loved them each for different reasons.
She liked the hush and still of winter. Considering they kept winter crops, and high tunnels to keep the CSA going through the winter, it wasn’t exactly an off-season. But she liked that it wasn’t quite as busy as the spring and summer. She liked that there were days to rest, and days to bask. Today was going to be a basking day.
Valentine’s Day was a little cheesy. And neither her nor Dell were very cheesy. But she couldn’t resist. Not when this was something that she always wanted to remember.
She hopped out of her truck, not wanting to bask alone when she could bask with Dell.
She hurried up the crooked stone walkway and smiled remembering the first time she had walked up it. Back when her husband was her enemy, and she been about to give him a piece of her mind.
There were still many occasions when she gave the man a piece of her mind, but these days they got to end any and all arguments with really, really great sex.
She pushed open the door and stepped inside. “Sorry I’m late,” she called into the cozy interior. “Cara made me try approximately thirty-five different kind of pie filling. She is being the largest Bridezilla I’ve ever…” Mia trailed off at the site of flowers. Not just one bouquet, but little ones…everywhere.
Tiny vases lined the mantle. Every end table and the dining room table had a scattering of equally tiny vases and equally tiny bouquets. Dell could be sweet, and it wasn’t the first time he’d bought her flowers, but this was… Well, this was downright swoony romantic.
She was already a little teary thinking about everything, but this? This nearly pushed her over the edge. And she really didn’t want to cry. Not yet. “I hope you didn’t blow the entire tractor savings on these…” She trailed off, still not catching sight of her husband. “…beautiful, amazing flowers,” she murmured, touching the soft petal of one.
She moved into the kitchen and Dell was standing there frowning into the oven. She stood at the opening to the kitchen and admired her far too handsome husband.
He hadn’t shaved in a few days and the golden glint of his blonde whiskers gave that hard, square jaw appealing stubble. His shoulders and gloriously muscled arms were well showcased in a black T-shirt.
She knew he was trying to be romantic because, aside from the flowers of course, he had the T-shirt tucked into a pair of jeans. His nicest pair, the ones that didn’t have holes or grass stains.
She sighed happily, her heart turning over in one slow, delicious roll. Because he was hers. Hers to have and to hold—hers to run her fingers over his abs later. After she told him.
“Well, I ruined dinner,” he offered, still scowling at the oven. “I’m pretty sure it’s smoking.”
“Then let me suggest pulling it out. Why on earth are you trying to cook?”
He looked over at her, smiling as those sparkling green eyes took her in. Like he could devour her in one bite, and she’d never, ever get tired of that particular smile.
“I am partaking in the romance of Valentine’s Day, my sweet wife.”
“Are you ill? Did you fall and hit your head? Do you have amnesia?”
“Ah, my little comedienne. Last time I checked I did not reside in a soap opera.” He pulled the smoking—because, yes, it was actually smoking—roast out of the oven. They both frowned quizzically at it.
“How long did you leave it in there?”
“Apparently long. Good thing I thought to have a backup.” He moved to the fridge, giving her an absent kiss on the forehead.
It was things like that, when she was feeling particularly sappy, that really got to her. The casual, absent to sort of natural displays of affection that he gave so easily.
It was scary to love someone this much. And to be this happy with it. Because every time they had a fight, it tore her up inside. Every time she thought of losing him, because she had enough of her mother’s anxiety in her for those thoughts to crop up, it ate her soul. Love, deep, abiding love was certainly hard, and marriage was hard work. A constant challenge to meld her life with someone else’s, to communicate needs and hurts.
But she tried to remember in these moments that it was worth it. Any anger or hurt or fear was always worth it, because there were moments like this. Because he was hers. And because they had a future. No matter what challenges lie ahead, weather ones, livestock ones, emotional ones, or physical ones, they would find a way to come together and face them.
That belief, that certainty, that was love.
Dell pulled a pan of lasagna out of the fridge with a silly flourish. “We can thank my mother later.”
Mia put a hand to her suddenly roiling stomach. “Ugh, Cara’s pie barrage is hitting me a little hard.”
Dell looked at her quizzically, she supposed because they had been trying for a while. Enough of a while that it was starting to be a little bit of a concern that she hadn’t gotten pregnant yet. And he was very aware of the cycle, that she would be close to test taking time.
But he didn’t know she’d taken a test this morning, because he’d been out delivering the CSA coolers when she’d woken up, and then she’d been over at Cara and Wes’s for wedding planning by the time he’d gotten home.
“So, um… I took a test this morning,” she offered, feeling oddly…nervous. Why, she didn’t know. They’d been hoping for this, talking about alternatives if it didn’t happen, and yet…everything inside of her jittered and jumped.
He was still holding the lasagna in front of him, and it was such a funny picture she wanted to laugh. She was going to cry. She was ecstatic and scared. She was everything, and she hadn’t even totally told him yet.
“Can you put down the lasagna, please?”
Slowly, he turned toward the counter and placed the pan carefully onto the counter. But he didn’t say anything, and that only made her nerves hum tighter.
“Did you know…somehow? All this…?”
“I just figured that it was Valentine’s Day, and I know it’s been a little hard on you so… Meaning, I love you no matter what. And I wanted today to feel special. I’m not always…great about that, and I know you like all the mushy—” He stepped toward her, scowling. “No way, sugar. You better not start crying, that isn’t allowed.”
She sniffled. “But that was so sweet and—
“Okay, romance over until you stop crying. No more sweet things.” But he said it with his mouth upturned, his rough, calloused hands wiping the tears off her cheeks.
“Don’t stop. Our baby will need sweet words too.”
His brown eyes met hers, and she saw everything she felt reflected there. Love and fear. Excitement and hope. A hint of terror. This new undertaking they were handling together. A new life. And so many things could go wrong, and so very many things to go right.
“I love you,” he said, his voice a strained thing, his hands still on her cheeks. Until one dropped and drifted to her stomach. “I can’t believe there’s a baby growing in here.”
“Something that we made,” she returned, her voice shaky, but the hand that closed over his, over her stomach and the little tiny spark of life inside.
“We’ve made a lot of things together.” His gaze returned to hers, his smile growing so that the little laugh lines dug next to his eyes. “We’ve grown a lot of things together.”
“And aren’t we lucky?” she asked, her voice thick with tears. Happy, happy tears.
“The luckiest, sugar.”
“Well, aren’t you going to kiss me?” she demanded, sniffling against another round of tears.
“When I can move face again. Right now I’m stuck in shock and fear.”
She grazed her hand against his jaw, knowing he’d nuzzle against it like he always did. Her Naked Farmer, so kind and generous, so dedicated and loyal. Such a wonderful, amazing man she’d married. “You’re going to be an amazing daddy.”
“Daddy. Jesus H.” But with a shaky laugh he finally pulled her to him, holding her close, rubbing a hand down her back and kissing her head. She wasn’t sure how long they stood there, wasn’t sure she ever wanted to move.
But… “What are you thinking?” she whispered into his chest.
“I’m just hoping that they have my teeth.”
She gave him a push on a shocked laugh. “That is not what you’re thinking about.”
“The cost of braces, retainers into adulthood. I mean these are important things to think about, Mia.”
“What are you really thinking?” she asked, earnestly. Seriously. And everything about him softened.
“Just that I hope… I’m kind of just overpowered by how much I hope.” She could tell he was struggling with composure, which poked at her own. He wasn’t a man given to emotional responses, but this was… So much. A family to grow, to nurture. Things they were good at.
But there were other things they were good at. Very good at. And she wanted that over fear and shock right now.
“Why don’t you put the lasagna back in the fridge, and we can go really celebrate.”
“Really celebrate? I don’t think you’re supposed to have liquor when you’re pregnant.”
“No, not that.” She took his hand and led him into the bedroom, watching as his grin spread wide.
“My insatiable wife.” He scooped her small frame into his arms easily, but he deposited her gently on the bed. So, overly gently, everything about him…soft. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Mia.”
“Happy Valentine’s Day,” she returned. “Now, show me what the Naked Farmer is made of.”
And that’s just what he did.
The next stop on the hop is Julia Kelly! Be sure to comment on each story to be eligible for the massive giveaway at the end. Thanks for joining us for #ValentinesRewind! ♥