This week I do not have anything new to share with you…yet anyway (yes, I know, folks…Ægir’s Wife). Instead, as many writers are, I am abandoning Kindle exclusive KDP program and re-releasing The Arrangement to ALL distributors.
Being the perfectionist that I am, I am doing minor re-writes and editing it AGAIN (I have done so about six times and had it done professionally TWICE). So I thought I would share a taste of that story with you…
Jill stared at Daniel. Frozen to the spot, her heart pounded out a Texas two-step that would tire even the most experienced dancer. She must have heard him wrong, she thought in surprise. “What, commander?” Her voice sounded needy and unsure even to her own ears and she cursed herself for it.
Daniel walked across the yard, carrying his daughter. He stopped barely two inches from her. At five foot ten, she was not a small woman, but he towered over her. The gentleness with which he held his daughter warred with the strength that emanated from him like an aura. At this distance, she could almost feel the heat coming off his body.
“I asked…if you would do me the honor of being my wife?” he smiled nervously as he shifted the child from one arm to the other. “I suppose that sounds more like it.”
Jill shook her head in disbelief. After their conversation on the steps the night before, this was the last thing she was expecting. “Is this some joke? You said last night that you didn’t need or want a wife?”
“I still don’t want one.” He paused and stared off at the clouds for a moment. She felt at a distinct advantage. While those emails might not have come from him, she knew decidedly more about his life than perhaps he would wish. His hurts ate at her soul.
He cleared his throat before he began again, “Well, more like, I’m not very good husband material.” Jill could feel the pain behind those words. She wanted nothing more than to reach up her hand and brush his cheek, reassure him. Tell him that everything would be all right. But she reminded herself that despite everything, she barely knew this man. That those words were not his. That she had no real right to feel this way.
He smiled weakly as he looked back at the baby in his arms and then at her. “I admit defeat. What you said last night made perfect sense. I do need one. The girls need a mother.” Tickling Ashley softly, he continued, “And you’re damned good at it.” Rubbing his own stomach, he chuckled, “Besides, lady, your cooking speaks for itself.”
Jill laughed. His words reminded her of one of her favorite old musicals, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. The hero fell instantly in love with his soon-to-be bride’s stew. She could only hope their road would be less rocky, but the tight knots in her stomach that grew with each passing heart beat warned her that this path was not without its risks. His words were too practical, so much less than what she wanted, even given their situation. But she stamped those doubts down, reminding herself that, as Ubah had said, those things came with time.
Jill felt the tug on her dress. She looked down into Britney’s smiling face. She knew what her answer must be. If before her mother’s heart had missed the laughter, the noise and even the fights that a house full of children brought, the past few days she had fallen for these girls, Daniel’s daughters. There were not just images on a computer screen anymore. They were small people with minds of their own. And he was right. They needed her.
Picking the wet little girl up, she nodded slowly. When she finally found the courage to speak, it was in a throaty and needy whisper, “Yes, please.”
I will keep you posted by my goal is to have it live BEFORE Valentine’s Day.