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Bett and Zach Monroe were newly married and just starting their careers when they suddenly found themselves owners of a neglected farm in Michigan. Unable to resist the lure of the land, the young couple set out to build their own private paradise. The days are long, the work is hard, but Bett and Zach love every minute of it. And through it all, their passion for one another burns as hot as ...
Bett and Zach Monroe were newly married and just starting their careers when they suddenly found themselves owners of a neglected farm in Michigan. Unable to resist the lure of the land, the young couple set out to build their own private paradise. The days are long, the work is hard, but Bett and Zach love every minute of it. And through it all, their passion for one another burns as hot as ever.
Three's a crowd...
But their peace is threatened when Bett's widowed mother comes for a "visit"—bringing with her a U-Haul of belongings. Within an hour of her arrival, Elizabeth is causing friction between Bett and Zach. And as the days become weeks, their house no longer feels like home, they are barely speaking, and privacy is nonexistent.
There's only one way to reclaim their own happily-ever-after: marry Elizabeth off.
The temperature on this August day was 95; Bett was sweltering in ragged jeans, halter top and shoulder-length netting, and frankly wasn’ t in the mood to croon seductive sweet nothings to anyone. Still, one didn’ t quarrel with success. This particular clan of honeybees was touchy. And if they wanted French love words set in song, the little darlings got them.
A dusty cloud of wings buzzed up in protest as she uncovered the “ super” —the top shelf in the man-made hive. The honey in the super was surplus, and removing it wouldn’ t harm the hive in any way. In a few more weeks. Bett would have to convince the bees of that; at the moment, she was simply checking on their production and health. Unfortunately, the worker bees were quite annoyed with her. Bett felt sympathy; they had undoubtedly spent the entire day frantically fanning their queen to keep her cool, and now Bett had destroyed all their air conditioning. But as the smell of warm honey wafted through the sultry air, she frowned. A dozen bees settled on her gently moving bare hand; she paid no attention as she bent lower. Below the super was the largest part of the hive, where the bees stored their own food as well as brood combs for the young.
It was loaded. The hive would swarm and divide into two separate hives if one became overcrowded; to avoid that Bett would have to isolate the bees, and soon.
The thought of handling a swarm didn’ t bother her; she’ d done it before. But the last time, the swarming hive had settled in the top of a plum tree, and Zach had lain there on the ground rolling with laughter as he watched her climb after them, only to have them shift to the top of another tree. For an entire afternoon, the swarm and Bett had played leapfrog between tree tops. She’ d tickled her husband unmercifully when it was over.
There were a great many occasions in Bett’ s five-year-old marriage when her husband’ s wayward sense of humor required a strong hand.
Reclosing the hive, Bett stood up and gently brushed the last cluster of bees from her shoulders and arms. They fluttered back to their business and Bett stretched, kneading her small fists in the hollow of her back. Her mind was busy cataloguing the rest of the day’ s responsibilities. At least the morning’ s peach picking was done, and Zach would handle the semi coming in that night; but someone still had to go for more bushel baskets, look at the garden, oil and fuel the Massey for tomorrow Then, too, Zach seemed to have this strange idea that the bills on the desk should at least be opened the list kept rolling. By the time she came to the zillionth chore, another trickle of perspiration was sliding between her eyes, and she came to the logical conclusion that it was past time for a ten-minute break.