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I believe that marriage is a sacred commitment between one man and one woman. I believe it should last, and be worked at. That's one reason I like the tremendously flawed but immensely tender head of the Owen clan, Rod Owen, and his practical wife, Julia. Here's a scene featuring the two of them, from my WIP, Gone for a Soldier. I hope you like it!
"They set the day." Julia stood behind Rod's chair, her hands resting on his shoulders as he stared into the fire before he bestirred himself to end the day.
"Next week." Her fingers kneaded his neck. "My baby is a man." Her voice seemed sunken into her throat, and he looked around to see her face.
"He'd like to presume that of himself." He captured one of her hands underneath one of his. "There's a heap of impetuosity in his nature."
"Don't he come by that naturally!" Her free hand wandered up the back of his neck, spreading his hair between her fingers.
"Woman, what do you mean by that?"
"Husband," she returned his bantering tone. "Who was bent on eloping instead of facing my brother to ask for my hand?"
"Jonathan is formidable."
"No more than you."
"I have grown into my fearsome posture."
She chuckled. "How do you reckon Jonathan arrived there?"
He pulled her around the side of the chair and lifted her onto his lap. "You are my daily breath, Julie. I don't take a step without thinkin' on your beauty and grace."
She took his earlobes between her fingers and stroked them. "Husband, what news are you tryin' to ease into breakin' to me?"
He sighed, a long exhalation. "You know me too well, wife." He enfolded her in his arms and drew her close, nuzzling the top of her head. "I wrote my name on a paper today."
She struggled against him, squirming until she was in a position to see his face. "You didn't! You couldn't be satisfied playing at war in a foreign land?"
Her irritation pricked both his conscience and his pride, but he could only choose to address one or the other. He chose to be properly abashed, but lay it to pressure.
"Chester shamed me into it."
"You'd blame your friend. Rod Owen. You are a scoundrel."
"I . . . am a scoundrel," he agreed. "But I'm your scoundrel, and my native land's scoundrel. I can't let the Yankees invade my home."
In a flash, she turned into a melting woman and sank heavily against his chest. "I had hoped to avoid losing you to this squabble."
"Oh Julie, Julie." He felt the melting of his bones that her distress brought upon him these days. Tenderness had not been native to his nature, but over many years, he had learned a hard-won lesson, tenderness betwixt a man and his wife was well worth cultivating. "I cannot pretend to know what is in store for me. I cannot lie on that point to ease your feelin's." He kissed her hair. "Know this, woman. I will love you beyond any power that death has to separate us."
She wept in his arms, soft sobs she surely was trying to keep within the bounds of their chair. He could only whisper endearments and hold her closer to his soul.
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