I’m already exhausted after I seed the west acreage with the tow-behind broadcast spreader. It’s hot and I’m more than annoyed by the time I get the chain drag hooked behind the cultipacker so I can cover the seed.
I run the irrigation for one pass, grateful for the cooling mist, then check the electric fencing before I load everything back up and take the tractor home.
I wave to Rob on the roof as I come up the drive, admiring the sight of him, tan, sweaty and shirtless
*Rob* I’m usually up at first light—what can I say? military habits die hard—and today is no exception. It is exceptional though because I wake tangled up with Grace, naked in a blanket, diagonal across her bed after the absolute best night I’ve spent in my life. I shift slowly, and she slides into a warm, wonderful, girly-smelling pool beside me, murmuring in her sleep before she flops over onto her side and snuggles her back against my chest. *Grace*I lose track of how many times Rob and I wake each other during the night and make love. I’m not complaining—he’s an exceptional lover, as attentive and generous in bed as he is outside it. Which is actually the problem. When I wake up, he’s not in bed with me anymore. I linger for a few minutes, hoping he’ll turn up with coffee that’ll get cold while we’re otherwise occupied like he did yesterday. Which is when I notice the faint hint of his body wash and know that he’s up for the day. I sit up in bed suddenly. His parents are here!Thrashing with the covers, I scramble out and rush into the bathroom. I clean up as quickly as I can, then dress. The door to Rob’s parents’ room is open and I grimace, hurrying downstairs. But there’s no one there. There’s no sign of anyone. The rich, dark scent of coffee is all I find. I peer over the café curtains and see both my truck and Rob’s black Miata. So they must be outside. Unable to resist, I fix myself a cup of coffee and head for
The Work of Grace *15* Public
*Grace*I lose track of how many times Rob and I wake each other during the night and make love. I’m not complaining—he’s an exceptional lover, as attentive and generous in bed as he is outside it. Which is actually the problem. When I wake up, he’s not in bed with me anymore. I linger for a few minutes, hoping he’ll turn up with coffee that’ll get cold while we’re otherwise occupied like he did yesterday. Which is when I notice the faint hint of his body wash and know that he’s up for the day. I sit up in bed suddenly. His parents are here!Thrashing with the covers, I scramble out and rush into the bathroom. I clean up as quickly as I can, then dress. The door to Rob’s parents’ room is open and I grimace, hurrying downstairs. But there’s no one there. There’s no sign of anyone. The rich, dark scent of coffee is all I find. I peer over the café curtains and see both my truck and Rob’s black Miata. So they must be outside. Unable to resist, I fix myself a cup of coffee and head for
*Rob*“I think we’re going to need another car.”“You mentioned. Last week.” Grace’s eyes meet mine, no small amount of amusement flashing in them as she adds a bit of sugar, a dash of salt and milk to the rest of the dry ingredients in the pancake batter I’m stirring.Catching her by the wrist before she can get away, I pull her to me, losing myself in her kiss until she breaks it off. “As I remember it, that conversation got derailed and never went anywhere.”“So it did,” Grace giggles, then pushes away from me, collecting ingredients to return to the pantry. “Might need to consider getting another truck first. Something that can haul more.” The words come muffled from around the corner.I wait until she’s visible again, returning with a jar of homemade blueberry syrup. “Speaking of needing to haul more,” I abandon my stirring and pull her to me, both arms wrapped around her narrow waist. “I haven’t been at all responsible,” I nuzzle the soft behind her ear, planting a tender kiss th
*Grace* Before the front door is completely open, my nephew and niece are darting around it, racing through the dining room and kitchen then into the great room to crash into Rob’s delighted mother with childish squeals and elated laughter. “Miss Juuuunnnniiiieeee!” Ella follows more sedately though she’s smiling, happier and more relaxed than I’ve seen her in some time, and Dan brings up the rear, shaking hands with Rob behind me as he enters, then waving to Rob’s parents. “You absolutely can’t take June from me as an au pair,” Ella says. “My kids aren’t even that excited to see me.” “She’s definitely got a way with them.” Making a show of sniffing the air, Dan peers at me. “Whatever that is smells excellent.” Turning to wrap her arms around him and press a kiss into his chest, Ella smiles. “Th
*Grace* Though it’s taken a few days, we’ve got Ella mostly covered, I think, crossing replacement items she needed after the fire off my list. But my niece and nephew still need new clothes, especially with school starting soon. When the mudroom door opens, I look up from my perch on a stool at the kitchen bar, watching as Rob closes the door behind him. He fixes me with a beaming dimpled smile as he strides across the kitchen, planting a warm kiss on my forehead when he reaches my side. “It’s strangely quiet in here.” He peers around first the corner into the great room, then into the dining room, as if expecting the farmhouse to suddenly burst to life. “It is,” I groan contentedly at the blissful silence. “Your dad took the truck to the Village Mercantile to pick up more fungicide and fertilizer for the beets. Your mom and Ella are out shopping for school supplies and
*Rob* Grace is still asleep when I wake. Though I’m immediately burdened with a fierce morning arousal catching the lingering scent of her shampoo in her hair and feeling her round firm bottom pressed into my hips, I lie still. It took some doing, lots of hard work with lots of help from my friends, their girlfriends, my parents and a generous smattering of folks from the community. Margie Gregor tapped a few friendly resources and secured us a cake that she paid for as a wedding gift. She also knew an amazing seamstress, who in four weeks, cranked out three bridesmaid dresses, faux-50s style with the full skirts, simple but elegant necklines, and short belted jackets that were what Grace’s grandmother’s bridesmaids wore, plus all the suits for the groom’s party, perfectly matched to those her grandfather and his brothers wore on their wedding, sixty years ago.
*Grace* "Marshall Arsonist Arraigned in District Court on New Charges" by Margie Gregor "Paul Danvers, a 37-year-old Marshall man previously accused of criminal trespass, 1st Degree Arson, and resisting and obstructing a police officer now is charged in a separate incident with aggravated harassment. "Prosecutors say Mr. Danvers used a flare gun and a bottle of charcoal fluid to set fire to a residence on Delta Crossing over the July 4th holiday, causing significant damage to the home. “He planned to burn the property down,” the county District Attorney said in a statement Monday. “This was a premeditated act of arson directed at his estranged wife after brutal harassment of her over a period of weeks following her filing for separation.” "Monday's arraignment followed the ne
*Jack Mueller***Warning: sociopathic and narcissistic mentality**Might not think it, but there’s a lot of baggage people carry around. Even in a small town. Even one small as this one. Sure, I got my own too, but I make a point to settle myself and stay out of the politicking.Except in the case of Juliet Hammond. That was one I never could quite get past.Mostly because she never would let me.Everyone in these parts talks about Juliet like she was some sort of saint. And on the surface, she might have been, but the woman had a black and vindictive heart hidden inside that beautiful package. One she disguised expertly. One she used to turn things back on you quicker and more agile than a jackrabbit in whatever way that benefited her best— I have to give her credit for that.But I digress, and as I make my way on foot to the Hammond farm—well, I suppose now Grace’s married that Asian man, it’s not the Hammond farm anymore, real shame that that is—I try to forget that Juliet was the p