Welcome to another Coming Soon Sundays post. This week, I’m featuring Bree Cariad’s upcoming book Courted by Experience, which is the fifth book in the In Hyacinth Courting Romance series.
Courted by Experience
Author: Bree Cariad
Release Date: March 26, 2015
Celia Compton is thrilled to be back in Hyacinth where she lived until she was eight. A year of courting to meet her prince sounds lovely, especially when combined with loving discipline. Unfortunately, sometimes reality doesn’t quite meet up with fantasy. The man she wants, Marcus Hotham, seems inclined not to court and yet the more she sees him, the more the rest of the guys just don’t measure up.
As Celia learns more about Hyacinth life and gains friendships for the first time in over a decade, it becomes more like home. When Marcus finally asks to court her, his four-year-old daughter Vanna in tow, she’s thrilled. Everything is perfect, until her mother, who hates discipline and Hyacinth, comes to town and finds out about Marcus. Now, with the possibility of being ripped from the arms of the man she loves, Celia finds herself floundering with how to explain things. When decisions are made and everything comes to light, she just might find that sometimes reality is so much better than fantasy.
Excerpt: (Celia’s mother, who doesn’t like the Hyacinth way of life, has come to visit and is unhappy with finding Celia in the courting pool. She insists on taking Celie out of there.)
“You cried and cried and cried,” Kaycee said, her voice breaking. “I’m not leaving my baby to that. You can’t ask me to.”
“Actually Kaycee,” Leyton said, surprising them both with his quiet firm tone. “Celia cried during the spanking as one would expect, but not afterward. As a child, she understood and accepted her father’s love and care. You were the one who hated it.”
Turning to the door, Celie stared at her grandfather, hoping he could help. When she spotted the man at his side, she ran forward, grabbing onto the warm arms that wrapped around her. “She wants to take me away, Marcus,” she blubbered. “I don’t want to go.”
“You don’t have to go anywhere,” he said firmly. “You’re eighteen, Celie. She can’t make you do anything.”
“Yes, she can,” she said sadly. “If she insists, I—” She didn’t know how to explain everything her mother had done for her and how she just could not walk away from her. Celie would have to choose between Kaycee and Marcus and that thought was heart-wrenching. In that moment, Celie realized she loved the man who currently held her.
“Why don’t we all go down into the living room?” Pappa suggested calmly. “We can talk things out there.”
“No,” Kaycee said, digging her heels in. “I’m getting my little girl out of here now.”
“She doesn’t wish to go. And as the man of this house, I won’t let her go.” His voice changed, hiked up a notch, as though taking on a mantel Celia never remembered hearing from him before. “Kaycee, you stole her from us over ten years ago after Reg died. And kept moving so often we lost ten years with our granddaughter. Having her back has been a godsend. If she wants to go, we will hug her and wish her well. But if she wants to stay? You will not take her again.”
The tension in the room made her hug Marcus even tighter. There was no doubt her grandfather had just thrown down the gauntlet. Would her mother pick it up?
“Fine. We’ll talk. But then I’m taking Celia with me to Seattle.”
Marcus guided Celia back down the stairs into the living room and over to the small sofa.
As soon as they sat down, she curled up at his side.
“I’m assuming you’re Marcus,” Kaycee said before she even took a seat in one of the tall armchairs.
“I am. My name is Marcus Hotham. I’m a vet here in town.”
“And you have a little girl,” she said in an accusatory voice.
“I do. Cavanaugh is four, almost five years old. My wife died four years ago due to a heart defect.” Holding Celia a little tighter he continued to speak in a calm, clear, and firm voice.
“I adore your daughter, Mrs. Compton. While I never expected to find love again, I’m happy to say I have and even happier to say she is the best mother I could ask for my little girl. Mrs. Compton, I’m a quiet, reserved gentleman, but I don’t allow anyone to harm someone I love. You have hurt Celia and I don’t accept that. I would like to see if we can work this out so that this wonderful woman at my side doesn’t feel like she has to choose between you and me.”
Celia’s mother stared at him, her expression unchanged. “I don’t believe in the way things are done here, Mr. Hotham,” she said firmly. “At all. Have you hit my daughter?”
“Momma!” Celia said, horrified.
Marcus’s hand on her arm squeezed to let her know he was okay. “Mrs. Compton, I have never hit a woman. Ever. But I have the feeling considering what was said upstairs that you are referring to spanking.”
“Same thing,” she spat.
“I beg to differ. The connotation behind the word hit suggests that I would lay a hand on her for no reason and that she would never get a say in it. It suggests that I would abuse and harm the woman at my side. I would never do that,” he said, his voice intensifying. “I protect and love that which is my own, Mrs. Compton. And sometimes, that includes a spanking. Not hitting,” he reiterated. “A disciplinary action to remove the stain of something that has gone wrong. That could be anything from a broken rule to her feeling badly about something and unable to let it go. A positive spanking is a good thing. Not a bad one. It will help Celia feel better about herself. There will be no long-term guilt associated with anything she or I do. Ever. As the man of the family, it falls to me to make sure my girls are happy. And I take that very seriously.”
Celia looked up at him and didn’t think it was possible to love anyone more than she did in that moment. His eyes burned strong with his feelings and she knew he meant every word he said.
“I don’t believe in spanking,” Kaycee said, though her voice had lost some of its rudeness. “I didn’t believe in it when Reg tried it on me, I hated it when he spanked Celie, and I don’t want you to spank her ever.”
“You have the right to feel that way. Spanking isn’t for everyone,” he said, his voice softening, but his eyes keeping that firm passion. “But for you to force Celia out of this house and away from me because of your feelings on the matter is actually just as bad as if someone forced a spanking on someone.”
“It is not!”
“Yes, Mrs. Compton. It is. Loving discipline is a two-way street, a mutual contract of request and obedience. If I asked Celia to bend over my lap for a spanking, I would expect her to acquiesce. Not out of fear or because she had to, but because that is our mutual agreement. Because she recognizes that this is a part of who we are and that it makes us a better couple. If she refused, I would not spank her. Because then it’s no longer mutually agreed upon. It would be me forcing my will upon her.
“By forcing Celie to turn her back on us and her life here, you’re doing the same. You have raised an amazing woman. But she loves you and I understand will go with you if you insist upon it. I’m asking you to think first before you do so. If a man hit a woman without her okay, it would be called abuse and would rip apart their relationship. If you remove Celie from Hyacinth, you will begin a destruction of the relationship you two share. Don’t give up what you two have due to your own fears.”
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Where you can find Bree online:
Bree’s website/Blog – http://www.breecariad.com
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Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9238603.Bree_Cariad
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