Chapter One: LOVE FOUND (A Pinetree Novel, #1.5)

Chapter One

Two weeks before Valentine’s Day

~ Aaron ~

“Sunshine, I’m home,” I call out happily stepping through the door and shutting it behind me. I hear the frantic sound of Russell’s nails hitting the wood floor as he races across our small apartment to greet me.

In the past, before Nina, he would have been laying in front of the door, waiting for my return. But my dog fell in love with my woman just as fast and hard, as I did. Now we both happily follow her around. Wanting nothing more than to be wherever she is.

“Hey buddy.” Russell rubs his body against my legs, and reaching down I pat him asking, “Were you a good boy for Mommy today?”

His answer is to sit at my feet – as close as possible – lookup at me with his big round eyes and paw at my leg. Our daily ritual.

“Let me get my coat off, and then I’ll get you a treat.” I place my bag on the floor and just as I’m beginning to take off my jacket, I hear the pounding of feet coming down the hall towards me.

“You’re home,” Nina calls out excitedly bounding up to me. She’s wearing a pair of tights – or leggings, I can never remember the difference – and my old ratty college sweatshirt. The socks she’s wearing cause her to slip on the hardwood floor and slam bodily into me. She should be wearing the no-slip socks I bought her. I catch her and wrap my arms around her – steadying her.

This woman – my wife – is the most satisfying armful I’ve ever had.

Looping her arms around my neck, she kisses me like she hasn’t seen me in days – not the few hours I had gone into work.

Last spring I accepted the job here in Pinetree, Vermont helping to establish and then to manage Royal’s Pub & Brewery, a joint venture between two brothers David and Franklin Royal.

At the time Nina and I had just started dating and were living down in Boston. Our first date was last Valentine’s Day, when I bid on her at a charity date auction. Since then we have been inseparable. I wouldn’t – couldn’t – leave town without her. So, on a cold and windy Cape Cod beach in the beginning of September we were married. Things may have happened quickly, but when you find the perfect woman you just know – you know?

Pulling out of the kiss, I nuzzle her face and neck making her shriek, giggle and attempt to pull away. “Your nose is cold!”

“I know. It’s cold outside,” I chuckle, before kissing the soft skin behind her ear. “You’re warming me up.”

“Aaron.” She finally pushes me away with a mock scowl on her face.

Leaning in, I give her a final kiss before reluctantly letting her go.

Being married to Nina – to my Sunshine – for the past five months has been the happiest time in my life. Just knowing that whatever happens during the day when I walk through the door I am greeted by her smile, her warmth. And every night I get to hold her in my arms. The sex is fucking amazing too.

“You’re home early,” she states, moving down the short hallway and into the tiny kitchen.

“It’s starting to really come down out there.” Hanging up my jacket and grabbing my bag from the floor, Russell and I follow her.

“How much snow are we supposed to get?”

“Only a couple of inches,” I answer dropping the bag onto the counter, before coming up behind her where she’s putting grounds into the coffee maker. Wrapping an arm around her waist and moving her soft curls aside, I kiss her neck. “Franklin’s gone all week and David had left for the day already. So I figured I’d avoid the snow and work from home.”

“This doesn’t feel like work,” she giggles, pushing her ass backwards into my crotch.

My cock twitches and my pants suddenly feel tighter, fuck.

Two can play at that game. I give her a light smack just to hear her moan, “Aaron”.

Chuckling I move away to grab the container of homemade dog treats, that Nina makes, from above the fridge. Russell who has been whining softly at my feet, begins to hop up and down excitedly.

“You want coffee, right?” Nina asks, now pouring water into the coffee maker.

“Please,” I answer, giving Russell several treats; which he eats whole.

Grabbing my bag, I move to the kitchen table on the other side of the counter and taking out my laptop, notepad, pen and cellphone I set myself up to work there.

“Sunshine what’s the difference between a Facebook page and a Facebook profile?” I ask, staring at the login screen. Willing it to all make sense. Online communities have never interested me, but I do realize you can’t run a successful business without utilizing them.

“What are you doing?” Nina comes out of the kitchen to look over my shoulder.

“Trying to figure out what online profiles I need to create for the pub.” I answer, looking at my notepad where I’ve listed several online communities.

“Do you want my help?” Nina wraps her arms around my neck from behind; I lean my head back into her chest and rub her arms gently.

“You wouldn’t mind?” I continue to stare blankly at the computer screen.

“Of course not.” She kisses my forehead. “All you have to do is ask.”

“I’ve got a shit ton of other stuff to do today, but would you want to come to the office with me tomorrow morning and help?” I tilt my head back further in order to see her face, which is smiling down at me.

“Sounds like fun.” She gives me a squeeze, before letting go and heading back into the kitchen. Stopping just before she reaches the door Nina turns and smiles, “I should warn you. I don’t come cheep.”

I laugh calling after her, “Don’t worry. I’ll make it worth your while.” Her resounding giggle sets me into a much better mood.

Nina has a way of always making my mood a little brighter!

“Thank you,” I say, as Nina sets my coffee cup down on the table next to me.

She kisses my forehead in response, before moving away and carrying her own coffee with her.

“Where are you going?”

“I thought you wanted my help tomorrow?”

“I do, but come sit with me.” I push my papers out of the way, to make room and then pull out the chair next mine.

“And watch you work?” She asks with a grin.

“I haven’t seen you all day.”

“You were only gone a couple of hours.” She moves back towards the table, sets her mug down and wrapping her arms around my neck asks, “Did you miss me?”

Pushing my chair backwards I pull her onto my lap.

“Of course I did.” I admit. “I miss you when you’re in the next room.”

“It’s almost been a year since we met, you’re not sick of me yet?” She snuggles into my chest and rests her head on my shoulder.

“Never.” I say, pushing my hands up the back of her baggy sweatshirt.

Fuck, no bra.

“It’s been the best year of my life,” I whisper, pulling her in closer and resting my cheek on the top of her head.

“Mine too,” she sighs, before shifting to look up at me. “I love you.”

“I love you too Sunshine.” Leaning down I take her lips gently, before whispering against them, “I don’t deserve you.”

Nina suddenly sits up and snaps angrily, “Aaron.”

“What?”

“I thought you’d gotten over that.”

“Over what?” I ask thoroughly confused.

“The insane idea you seem to have, that you’re not good enough for me. For Goddess sakes, it’s not true!” She growls. “You’re perfect for me. And I know I’m perfect you!”

“You are perfect for me,” I tug her back into my arms. “But the truth is, I’m not good enough for you. I never will be.”

She jerks away and I watch her angry scowl morph into one of pain, “That’s a really hurtful thing to say.”

“What?” I ask now completely baffled, struggling to keep her seated in my lap.

“Do you think so little of me? Do you think I have no self worth at all? That I’d just leave my home and marry anyone who gave me a second glance?” She rants angrily, hitting my chest for emphasis. I hate seeing her upset, but a part of me marvels at how much she’s changed since we met. How much more self-confidence she has. Fuck, I can’t help but love her even more.

“No, Sunshine.”

“I thought we were on an adventure, just the two of us. Coming here and starting a whole new life together,” she says brightly.

“We are.” Holding the back of her neck, I kiss her forehead before whispering, “I only want you to be happy.”

Cupping my face with her small hands and forcing me to look into her eyes she asks, “Do I seem unhappy to you?”

“No,” I answer, “But I’ve busy with the pub, and you’re here taking care of the apartment and Russell. I just don’t want you to regret giving up everything to move here with me.”

“I didn’t give up anything. And I knew what I was doing marrying you,” She says, before whispering against my lips, “It was the smartest thing I ever did.”

“The smartest thing I ever did was go to that auction,” I tell her chuckling, she giggles softly and snuggles back into my arms. “How do you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year Mrs. Masters?”

“I don’t care, as long as we’re together.”

I promised myself that I would make her happy. She deserves nothing less. I’m determined to make this Valentine’s Day perfect – fucking perfect!

Text Copyright © 2017 Rene Webb, All Rights Reserved

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