The Sweet Fragrance of New-Mown Hay
by Janne E. Toivonen
BOOK 4 of Adult Historic Romance series Eva and the Irishman
Published March 1, 2018 by Smashwords.
I’m as equally proud of Sweet Fragrance as I am of the first three in the series. As I wrote this book, I really fell in love with Robert. While we do learn when Robert actually comes back to Montana and Aili in Book 3, Wild Rose Ranch, this is what happens when Robert leaves Aili behind for New York. Find Sweet Fragrance here.
Books 1 – 4 of the Eva and the Irishman series are now available on Smashwords.com and other e-book retailers.
Eva is free, and the other three are very reasonably priced at $4.99.
In the works: uploading Book 5 and 6 in the series. I’m still writing Book 7.
In the near future: Making available a Print On Demand for Eva and eventually the rest.
Excerpt from The Sweet Fragrance of New-Mown Hay
Part One, Cowboy in the Big City, Chapter 1:
Robert hadn’t said goodbye to her. He’d said good riddance. “You stupid eejit,” he chastised himself now, hearing his high-pitched whine, letting the self-derision punch him in the gut, full force. In a first-class sleeper compartment on a train heading east he sat alone with his head in his hands, elbows on his knees, more miserable than he’d ever been. The words echoed in his mind like a thousand dissonant church bells. He knew it had hurt her. “Oh, hell,” he groaned. For four years he’d looked forward to this day, but it didn’t feel good at all.
Robert shocked all but two of the people closest to him when he announced he was heading to New York City to enroll in the police academy. As soon as he said those tactless words to her he knew without a speck of doubt that he loved her. And, to put the icing on the asinine cake, he made her cry. “She wouldn’t even look at me.” Of all the people in his life he thought would jump for joy at his announcement, she … well … thinking about it, he didn’t know if she was sad or not, but her reaction to it wasn’t Aili at all. Now, the one person he wanted almost more than anything was his best friend Patrick’s bossy twin sister, but not enough to keep him from following his dream of becoming a detective. He’d had the dream of solving crimes since he was fourteen, reading every Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie mystery, or any other crime solving novel he could get his hands on.
Robert had clashed with Aili for as long as he could remember. It had been a war of insults, constant one-upmanship, and, on occasion, her shoving him into brawls with her in the dust.
He had his first inkling that he loved her when she brought him kindness and raisin cake after his sister Maggie died. His sister’s death was the worst thing that’d ever happened to him and his family. He kissed Aili then, in their truce. Just a peck. The best part was she didn’t object. About a year later, he came upon her in her Finnish mother’s sauna. He had just turned sixteen when he walked in on her, thinking the sauna was empty. She was naked, in the middle of pouring a bucket of water over her head. He felt the pleasurable beat of sexuality thumping loudly in his chest … and below. Her physicality was in transition from gangly girl to curvy woman. Her mile long legs, waist-length reddish-blonde hair, plump breasts, curvy waist and hips made him gasp for air. To top it off, her … tuft of hair was in full view. Jesus God! When did she turn into Venus on a half shell? She’d always been such a skinny stick. Robert had known right in those glorious moments that he wanted to be in between those long legs one day. She never did detect anyone had opened the door … Thank God. Another year later, Aili’s brother, Conor, fed up with their incessant bickering, left them alone in the barn with their argument. On a baffling impulse, he grabbed her in an enveloping embrace and kissed her. Not just a peck either. He gave it his all with his best Valentino-style lip-lock. He knew she had liked it because, when he first grabbed her she struggled, but she stopped pushing away during his long kiss. When he unglued their lips, she leaned in for more, seemingly taken away with it. He swore the only reason Aili then slapped him was because she realized he had a self-indulgent grin on his face.
“What was that for?” he asked, stunned, the assaulted cheek stinging. “I know you liked it.”
“You arrogant gobshite. Why would you think I liked it?” she said, then stormed out of the barn, but not before she wiped his kiss off with her sleeve with one last glare. He swore they’d been just about to lose their virginity if it hadn’t been for his damn smirk.
But, after a very short interval of peace, not lasting half a day, he and his arch nemesis went back to disputing everything at a more intense degree. Once again, he became ambivalent about his feelings for her. And now, a few days after high school graduation, he was leaving Missoula, his home and family, and Aili, and heading to New York City. Last March, Da had made calls and arranged a sure spot on the police academy recruit roster for the summer of 1925 using his family’s old Greenwich Village political connections. Da told him that he’d better be sharp, respectful, and grateful for the chance.
“Don’t worry, Da. I will.”
“Ye may have yer detractors amongst the other recruits.”
“I get it. Thanks. I appreciate your help. Truly.”
It was arranged that he would stay with Ma’s cousin, Nuala Flanagan, right in Greenwich Village, paying a monthly room and board.
Just before Ma and Da drove him to the station, Robert had taken the opportunity to say a last so-long to his friends. He found the Dady brothers, Chase Brock, and his big brother Sean just heading out to continue the first cut. A day ago, he’d been helping them. “I’m going to miss this,” he said, breathing in the scent of new-mown hay. “It’s the sweetest smell on earth.” He shook everyone’s hand and received a hail of “good luck” and “we’ll miss you.” Chase said, “Time to sow some wild oats. I hear New York women are a wild bunch, Rob.”
“You’ll be back. This is your home,” Patrick said.
“Ye think?” Robert said.
“I know so,” Patrick replied. “Did you see Aili this morning?”
Robert had thought it odd of him to mention coming home, then asking about Aili. He shook his head no. “I’m quite sure she wouldn’t want to see me.” Robert was certain that Patrick knew he had made Aili cry. The twins told each other everything.
“You will be back,” Patrick said again.