Home > Mine to Have (Southern Wedding #1)

Mine to Have (Southern Wedding #1)
Author: Natasha Madison

 


Prologue

 

 

Dearest Love,

Nothing says spring like wedding season. The flowers, the champagne, the wedding guests. Surrounded by all the people you love. Sigh...the romance, it's my favorite time of year.

Travis will soon be walking down the aisle. Or will he?

It seems a couple of orders were placed by mistake, or were they? It also looks like an invitation was sent out that wasn’t supposed to be sent out.

Will they get their happily ever after, or was he always meant for someone else?

Time will tell!

XOXO

NM

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

Harlow

"So what’s the verdict?" my brother, Quinn, asks as soon as I walk back out of the stall and into the hallway. I use the back of my forearm to wipe the sweat away from my forehead. My hands are dusty and dirty from being in the stall.

"Why yes, I’ll take a bottle of water." I side-eye him as I walk toward the sink in the corner, washing off my hands, and then heading straight to the kitchen at the end of the long concrete pathway. I pass the empty office that I used to help out in when I was a teenager, going over to the fridge and grabbing a water bottle. Opening the bottle, I down half of it before turning back to him. "God, that feels good."

"Can you not be such a pain in the ass?" Quinn huffs as he stands there in his blue jeans and white shirt, all put together with his cowboy boots. He puts his hands on his hips as he glares at me.

"I can," I say, putting the bottle on the counter next to me and leaning back on it. Crossing my arms over my chest, I then cross my feet at the ankles. My own boots are dusty and dirty. My scrubs that were clean now have some blood on them. "But then, what fun would that be?" I try not to smile, but when he groans, I can’t help the laugh that escapes me.

"I swear to all the saints in the world." He looks up at the ceiling. "Can you be professional for once?"

I stand. "One, me coming to see you on a Friday afternoon at three is fucking professional, especially since I don’t do calls on Friday." I point at him. "But since you made Grandpa call me like a pussy-ass bitch, I came out."

"One, I didn’t make anyone call you." He puts up one finger. "And two, he was just here, so he said he would do me a favor."

I roll my eyes, knowing full well that my grandfather took matters into his own hands, regardless of if my brother called me or not. "Yeah, yeah," I say, huffing out. "Anyway, he’s got mud fever."

"Shit," he swears, shaking his head.

"It’s not bad. Got to clean it a couple of times and keep it dry," I say, grabbing my jacket. "I’ll swing by tomorrow to see how he’s doing."

He nods at me as I walk out of the barn, my eyes squinting as the sun hits my face. I take a second to lift my face and feel the heat before walking over to my pickup as I make my way back to my practice.

The sounds of gravel crunching under my tires as I come to a stop. The trees all around block most of the sun from coming in, so it’s cooler. My boots also crunch when I walk toward the front stairs.

I’ve always had a vision of what my practice would look like, and when I showed my father, he made it happen. When it was time to discuss how I would pay him, he scoffed and informed me that it would just come to me when he died. I shake my head, thinking about it. Whenever they wanted to give you something or pay for something, they always brought up them dying.

I wanted the house to look like a log cabin, and when you walked in, the reception area was in the middle of the room with four rooms all around. Each room for a different type of animal. Behind those four rooms was where I did most of my work. The operating room was there, along with all the crates where we housed the pets we kept overnight. I can’t help the smile that comes to my face when I stand at the door and see my logo, H.B. Animal Veterinarian. I turn the brass handle to the door and walk in. The bell on top of me rings, making Donna, the receptionist, look up from her desk. Donna has been with me since day two when I started, and she came in with her cat. I am not going to lie, I was overwhelmed with the phone ringing, and then it was all just so much at once. She smiled at me, sat in the chair, and has been with me ever since. She makes sure everything is neat and organized, so I get to do what I love best, which is work with the animals.

"Hey," she greets, and I look around to see that no one is waiting for me. The two wooden benches under the front windows are empty.

"Is this a dream?" I ask, trying not to get too excited. "Is there no one here?" I am even tempted not to walk in, afraid I’m going to hear a bark from one of the rooms with the closed doors.

She leans back in her chair. "You’re welcome," she says, and I look at her. "I made sure that I booked you this afternoon off." My mouth hangs open. "You are going on forty-five days in a row of work."

"Forty-seven." I walk to the counter. "But hey, who’s counting?" I lean on the counter. "I love my job." I close my eyes, and I swear I could probably fall asleep sitting in a chair.

"You have mail." Donna points at the stack of letters that sit at the end of the counter. I just nod at her, grabbing the pile of letters. Looking down at the first one, I then slowly move my finger to flip to the second.

"Thank you." I keep flipping one after another. The big white square one catches my attention. I stop and see my name addressed on the front of it. Dr. Harlow Barnes.

"Looks like a wedding invitation," Donna says, and I turn it. My heart stops in my chest, and I’m finding it so hard to breathe. My hands drop everything else while I run my finger under the little sticker at the end.

Pulling out the white card, I can’t move. My breaths come out almost in pants, and I feel as if I’m having an out-of-body experience when I see the words written at the top of the white card in purple writing.

You are cordially invited to the wedding of

Travis Baker & Jennifer Garner

My feet automatically move across the floor toward my office. "Are you all right?" Donna asks, and I mechanically nod my head up and down.

"You can take off." My voice comes out without cracking, and I’m even shocked. The lump forms in my throat as I close the door behind me. My eyes never leave the top of the invitation. "He’s getting married," I say the words out loud, the pain in my chest throbbing. "Oh my God." I grab my cell phone and call my cousin, Amelia, who answers after one ring.

"Hello," she says, and I can hear her kids in the background.

"Hey," I reply, and my voice cracks finally. "You will never guess what I just got." I blink away the tears, but one of them escapes and runs down my cheek. "You’ll never guess," I say, sniffling, and I can hear a door close in the background, and it goes quiet.

"Where are you?" she huffs, and I can hear her moving fast and then the slam of a car door.

I close my eyes, listening to her start the car. "I’m in my office." I lean back in my chair, my eyes still closed.

"I’ll be there in five." She disconnects, and I’m not sure I would be able to move anyway.

The phone drops from my hand, and I wonder if this is really happening or if it’s a bad dream. It has to be a bad dream. Why in the world would this happen? I pick up my phone and text Rachel.

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