This is an excerpt from book 21 (title to be announced soon).
Introducing Ian and Cassie…
(17 years earlier)
Ian took a deep breath as he went to pick Cassie up from her grandmother’s house.
They had been inseparable since they met and he was so in love with her. She made everything in his life better.
She had returned three months earlier from a seven month tour in Iraq and they picked up where they had left off. She struggled with everything she had been through, but with him, she was able to talk and be vulnerable and heal from the effects of war.
He had gotten the fellowship and had been working on his dream of owning his own practice and working with abused large animals.
He planned for an awesome evening and he hoped it didn’t change everything.
“Hi Ian,” the older woman smiled at him when she opened the door.
“Hi Mrs. Trombly. You’re looking lovely this evening,” he said as he handed her a rose.
“Oh, stop that,” she blushed as she took the rose. “I’ll tell Cassie you’re here. Maybe you can look at Mr. Sniffles? He’s been cranky lately.”
“Grandma, Ian isn’t here to check your grumpy cat,” Cassie said as she came in. “He’s just angry you put him on a diet.”
“Well Dr. Ian said he was a little heavy,” she said. “I want him to feel better.”
Ian had to shake himself out of his stupor when he saw Cassie. She was wearing a short sundress and wedge sandals which were perfect for showing off her toned body. He cleared his throat and smiled at the cat.
“What’s going on Mr. Sniffles?”
“Meow,” the cat said as he rubbed up against Ian.
“He adores you,” Cassie said as she smiled at him.
Ian looked the cat over and smiled.
“I think he’s fine. You can give him some dry tuna for a snack if you want. It might cheer him up.”
“Thank you,” she smiled at him and Cassie laughed.
“Okay, let’s go. Don’t wait up, grandma,” she kissed her cheek.
“Be safe you two,” she said as they left.
Ian drove them to the woods and smiled at Cassie’s surprised look.
“I thought we were going to dinner?”
“We are,” he said and pulled up to a cabin.
“Am I going to have to cook?” she laughed as he rolled his eyes.
“Just go with it,” he said and grabbed a big bag from the trunk.
Cassie felt her nerves as she watched him open the door. He was so handsome, with his rugged looks and tanned skin. His blue eyes were piercing and she had to pinch herself that he was really into her.
She had something to tell him and she worried it would change everything.
She rubbed her arms as she followed him inside and her mouth dropped open when she saw the setup.
“Ian, what is this? When did you do this?” she asked as she looked around.
He was starting a fire in the fireplace and he turned to smile.
“Do you like it?”
She walked around the small room and touched the beautiful blanket that was laying on the ground. There was a little picnic set up in the middle of the room and champagne on ice.
“It’s beautiful and romantic and amazing,” she said.
“But?” Ian asked as he walked over.
“No but. I just don’t think I deserve this.”
He put his hands on her shoulders and she looked up into his eyes.
“How could you say that? You deserve the world.”
Her aqua eyes filled with tears and he was worried.
“Is this too much? Do you want me to take you home?”
“No, God no,” she said as she sat down on the blanket. “I just don’t want you to be disappointed. I think I have a lot of issues I need to deal with.”
He stepped back and nodded.
“Oh, so you’re breaking up with me?”
“What? No, I, no. I just worry about things, I guess. I don’t know what my life will look like in the future.”
She looked at him as he sat down with her.
“I know what I want it to look like, but,” she wiped her eyes.
“But what?” he pushed.
She reached to stroke his cheek and shrugged.
“I guess I’m scared. I want to make you happy.”
He smiled and kissed her palm.
“You’ve already done that.”
She pulled him to her and his mouth met hers in a hungry, searching kiss. She sat back and looked at him.
“Ian, I need you to know something,” she said.
“Okay, I’m listening.”
“I love you. I know it’s a lot to love someone who is gone so much and I know in the future there may be times when I won’t be able to talk to you or tell you how much I miss you. I need you to always know that you are in my heart. I have only ever loved one man in my life and that’s you.”
He smiled and took her hands in his.
“We’re only 23.”
“Well a lot of girls fall in love a lot. I was waiting,” she pouted.
“Me too. In fact, I was waiting for tonight because I wanted to ask you something.”
He took a breath and exhaled.
“I was hoping you would agree to love me for as long as we both shall live. Will you marry me?”
He held out a beautiful diamond ring and she was stunned.
“Ian,” she started and he began to sweat.”
“What is it? Is it a no? Okay, so it’s a no,” he stammered.
“I’m pregnant,” she said.
“I mean I know I don’t have a lot to offer,” he stopped and looked at her. “What did you say?”
“I was going to tell you tonight. I just found out. I’m pregnant.”
“We’re going to have a baby?” he whispered.
“I know it isn’t what we planned, at least not yet, and I know I just got home and things have been crazy and if it’s not something you want,” she was silenced by his lips on hers and he stood them up and twirled her around in his arms.
“We’re going to have a baby!” he yelled.
She laughed and then held her mouth.
“Oh, shit, I’m, sorry,” he said as he put her down.
She sat down and he just stared at her.
“It must have happened right after I got back.”
“Or one of the many, many times since,” he said and she grinned.
“So I asked you a question before and you never answered me.”
“Are you sure? I want you to be sure,” Cassie said sincerely.
“My life is you. I think a dozen little children would be amazing and if we have them sooner rather than later, then bring it on. I can’t wait to share my life with you and this child is a blessing. I love you. I adore you. I want nothing more than to be your husband and the father of your children.”
“I would be honored to marry you,” she said. ”
He slipped the ring on her finger and she looked at it.
“I’m not having a dozen kids.”
“Let’s start with one and see what happens.”
“We can practice right now,” she said. “Just to be sure we get it right.”
He needed nothing further. He pulled her to him and they had one of the most memorable nights of their young lives.
I would love some feedback! What else do you want to read? I’m waiting..