Cris and Daveigh are finally getting married. Though, Daveigh never thought her momma would be the one stopping her from having the kind of wedding day she’s always wanted.

Cris Sanchez’s world was turned upside down when his wife died. He never expected to find that kind of happiness again—let alone at Kingsbrier… Since she was eighteen, Daveigh Cavanaugh has never loved anyone but Kingsbrier’s ranch manager, Cris. Their family’s roots have intertwined, giving both wings to build the life they both deserve.

 

“It is probably a good thing that you are getting married here, Cris,” Adam said straight faced. He tossed up the hammer that Daveigh’s fiancé handed him and caught it by the handle. His other sister’s husband walked past them carrying a bale of hay. “Brier has a tendency to push Drew in the pool at Cavanaugh family weddings.”


“Har, Har,” Drew responded. He placed the squat straw rectangle in a row next to the others that they were using to create pews and turned back to get another bale, passing Colton who carried one on each shoulder.


As soon as they’d announced their engagement, the brothers had taken to harassing Cris about marrying their sister. It tended to be good natured ribbing. The same kind of shit they put Drew through. Or one another for that matter.


“We could always accommodate the family tradition.” Eric offered, pointing toward the horse’s stable. “There’s a full trough right over there. What do you say we hold Drew down first and then baptize Cris?”


Cris wound a copper colored wire around one final nail, hanging the last string of lights atop a tall pole. He climbed down the ladder that Adam was supposed to be holding and shook his head.  The guys talked a good game. However, he wasn’t going to take the threat seriously. They wouldn’t do anything to ruin today. As usual, each one was pitching in.


Inspecting his handiwork, Cris brushed his sweaty palms against the thighs of 501 jeans that were washed to a perfect fade and softness.
Eric slung his arm over his best friend and soon-to-be brother-in-law’s shoulder. “This looks great. It makes all effort it took for us to harvest the trees from beyond the back forty, dig the pits, and then cement the rough timbers into them worthwhile.”


Hundreds of varying sized round bulbs zigzagged back and forth across the barnyard from the horse stable to the old barn then across to Daveigh’s new veterinary building. Now that Cris finished stringing the thousands of feet of wire, it created a canopy effect. Once evening fell and the lights illuminated, the bulb filaments would cast a soft amber glow above everyone’s head.


Colton threw down the last of the hay bales, leaving Drew to adjust where they sat. Finding the sheep better company, he took off for the paddock where Cordero bleated protesting the noise in his sanctuary. Folding tables scraped against the floor of the box truck the catering company was unloading.


Cris knew better than to take Colton’s demeanor personally. He understood that Colton didn’t have anything against him. Life-changing events tend to draw out a range of emotions from everyone. Cris included himself in that category.


He looked up at the sky.


“You lucked out that the weather’s holding up,” Eric commented. There was the slight chance of a shower tonight, but that wasn’t until late, long after the festivities ended. “I’ve never seen Daveigh and Momma go toe-to-toe on as many things as they have with this wedding.”


Most recently, Miss Rose threw a conniption when her daughter refused to let her rent a tent for the evening. It was out of character for Daveigh’s mother and, as a general rule, Daveigh was the most easy-going woman to deal with.


Or at least she had been towards Cris since they’d both figured their shit out.


Last summer, he’d gotten over their eight-year age difference and the fact that her father was his employer. Cris also finally gave Daveigh long overdue credit for the way she cared for his son instead of worrying that anyone would think he was trying to find the boy a replacement mother.


He laughed beneath his breath. It was funny how, once he had the balls to admit to the woman that he was in love with her, that those frustrating bouts of animosity she directed toward him suddenly made sense. Maybe men were clueless. Cris definitely was when it came to the way Daveigh felt.


In any event, for their big day, Daveigh dug her boots into the dirt, mimicking the most defiant quint. This was her wedding and Cris didn’t fault her for wanting it to be different than her sibling’s nuptials that had been held by the pool. She refused to accept her mother’s hard-line insistence that the mansion was still the perfect place for a large party.


Miss Rose’s jaw dropped and she had to brush back a white-blonde tendril that escaped from her refined french twist when Daveigh proposed holding the reception in the farmyard.


To Cris, the idea made perfect sense. This was the place where they’d first met. Cris and his twelve-year-old son, Mateo, lived in the stable apartments for years before moving to their newly constructed Victorian on the adjacent property. Even before they’d come into her life, Daveigh’s heart resided right here taking care of the animals. And the unoccupied whitewashed building, located where the apartments used to be, with its black shutters and metal roof was the place she’d build her practice once finishing her veterinary residency.


“But the smell, sugar!” Rose scrunched up her nose.


“Oh, momma, it isn’t like anyone’s going to trample through the paddocks. Cris’s crew can shovel manure. We’ll bring in fresh hay bails and the flowers will cover the lingering scent.”


“Keep daddy’s wine flowing and it ain’t like nobody’ll care once they’re three sheets to the wind,” her older sister interrupted, smiling as she flipped through the Country Bride magazine pages that Daveigh dog-eared.


“Brier, you are not helping matters. This is Daveigh’s big day. You’ve had your turn.”


“If I weren’t so tired from being pregnant with the twins I would have stood up to you more when it was my turn.” Brier squabbled for the sake of maintaining her obstinance. She got up from the table in the terra cotta kitchen and passed behind Daveigh’s chair, bending to kiss her cheek. “Stand your ground baby sister. Everything you and Cris picked so far is wonderful, especially one another.” Then she mock-whispered. “Don’t budge an inch.”

 

Copyright ©2017 Jody Kaye

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a creation of the Author’s imagination

or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, establishments, event or locales is

coincidental... That's right, I made it all up!

This excerpt is taken from an uncorrected proof of the book. Mistakes are possible... In other words, I'm human too.

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©2020 Jody Kaye