Blacksmith’s Heart ~ A Love Under the Sun Romance by Dellani Oakes ~ Part 30

“Oh, was that before Jasper quit?”

“He didn’t quit. Did he say that?”

“He said he studied to be a vet, but he quit. I thought it meant he quit college.”

Julia’s laugh was like a mountain stream. “No, he didn’t quit. He went to college and vet school. He even passed his boards. He got out in the field and decided he’d rather work as a farrier than a vet. At least he could set his own hours and not be constantly on call. Birthing calves at two a.m. wasn’t his idea of fun. Being up to his armpit in a cow’s vagina lost its charm fast.”

Hana shuddered. “I can see why.”

“Jasper loves being outdoors and working with big animals, but the life of a vet wasn’t for him.”

“Did he ever consider small animal care?”

“Not Jas. If it’s smaller than a pony, he’s not interested.”

“Not fond of sheep then, I take it?”

Julia giggled, patting Hana on the hand. “I like you so much. You’ll be wonderful for my brother.”

“He’s wonderful for me, too. I can’t tell you how cold and lonely my life was, until I got here. Your family is all so warm and welcoming. I feel like I’ve been at the heart of it my whole life, and it’s just been a few days.”

Hana suddenly wanted to cry. She realized how isolated she had been, how suppressed. Was this how Aunt Enid felt when she was around Hana’s family?

“You know, I think Auntie and I should move out here. She doesn’t need to be around my mother. I know Dad would miss her, but she needs to be with her real family.”

“Maybe when you and Jasper get married, she’d agree to that.”

“Do you really think we will?”

Julia smiled, holding Hana’s hands in hers. “I know you will. It’s only a matter of time, Hana. I already feel like you’re my sister.”

“Do you believe in past lives too, like Issy?”

“Very much. She and my Nana have been my mentors. I don’t know what I’d have done without them. It’s not easy being a freak,” she smiled.

“You’re not a freak, Julia.”

“When you can see things others don’t, and have mysterious voices talking to you, people think you’re a freak or crazy. That was me from age five. I kind of hope I have all boys, because I don’t want to pass along this gift. As much as it’s enriched my life, it has made it difficult, too. If I didn’t have Theo, I don’t know what I’d do. He’s the only man who ever understood me.”

“He seems wonderful.”

“He is. You want to know a secret? Jasper is equally as wonderful. Looking at him from an objective point of view, a girl could do a lot worse than my brother.”

“He’s pretty terrific.”

“I’m gonna leave you now. I get so sleepy these days, I can hardly stand it. We found out I’m carrying twins.”

“Doesn’t that usually skip a generation?”

“Yes, but not this time. They run in both families and skipped Theo’s generation. I was doomed before I even got pregnant.”

Hana laughed, hugging Jasper’s sister. “Even if I didn’t care as much for Jasper as I do, I’d marry him just so I could be part of this family.”

Julia hugged her tightly. “Welcome home,” she whispered. “I think I hear the men. I’m going to go now. Jas will want to say goodnight. You make him behave.”

“I’ll try,” Hana laughed. “I make no guarantees.”

Julia left and a couple minutes later, Jasper knocked on the door, opening it a crack when she said come in. This time, she was fully clothed, not in her nightgown.

“Hey, baby, just wanted to say goodnight.”

“Me too.”

He took her hands in his, leaning over her. A couple weeks ago, such a move by a man would have totally intimidated her. Jasper was substantially taller than she, with broad shoulders and rippling muscles. A man like that used to scare her, but never him.

His lips drifted casually to hers, kissing her deeply. He didn’t put his arms around her. Instead, he wrapped his fingers around hers, holding them gently. The kiss ended sooner than Hana wanted, but the look on his face told her why. He was uncomfortably attracted.

“Night, Hana. Sleep well. Think of me in the basement, pining for your touch.”

“Think of me up here, pining for yours,” she teased.

“Oh, darlin’, if I think about that, I’m never gonna get any sleep. Rest well.”

“You too.”

He left without saying much more. He was afraid that if he stayed, he was going to ravage her. He could never forgive himself for hurting her. Theo’s lecture had made quite an impression. Although he still wanted to make love to Hana, the idea was somewhat intimidating. He’d always known there were special considerations for virgins, but didn’t think of them in practical terms.

Trotting down the stairs, he nearly tripped over a cat. The huge tomcat screeched, running away from the big human feet. “Sorry, Oz Cat,” Jasper said.

© Dellani Oakes 2022

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