Such Fleeting Pleasures

An Oberon Prequel Novella


Blurb: Dan and Lucy Cavanaugh have one of Oberon’s hottest marriages. But it wasn’t always strawberries and cream...or was it? In this Oberon prequel, we travel back in time to see how it all began and learn if one hot summer full of such fleeting pleasures can really last a lifetime.

Chapter One

Despite the brilliantly gold, late afternoon sunlight that filtered in through the frosted windows, twenty-three year old Dan Cavanaugh was aware of a growing sense of dejection as he ambled through the big, empty greenhouse. There was a heaviness in his chest that even the familiar scents of clean soil and chlorophyll could not dispel. For five years he had stayed away from home, and in all that time—"Nothing’s changed."

He had practically grown up here in his family’s Nursery. As a child, the surrounding fields had been his playground; an entire world where he was king of all he surveyed. Later, he’d worked weekends and summers here until he could no longer stand either the sight or the smells, nor endure for even one more minute the constant bickering with his father over every last little detail of the running of the place.

When he left Oberon for college he vowed he’d never again step foot in this place and yet here he was, about to temporarily take over as nursery manager while his parents were off on a long anticipated tour of Europe.

He’d hoped that spending the summer here would give him the chance to figure a few things out. But five minutes had already been long enough for him to make a start. First of all, he now knew that there was no way he could spend the rest of his life locked away in some office or classroom. He needed to work with his hands again. He needed to spend at least part of each day outdoors. And he needed the connection to the earth with which he’d grown up. He’d missed all of that these last five years—more than he’d ever imagined he could.

Unfortunately, his second revelation in about as many minutes, was that he could never be truly happy working for somebody else. So unless things around here had changed enough for him to handle coming back on a permanent basis, then he very much feared that he was effectively out of options where his future was concerned.

So far, everything seemed all too depressingly the same.

"What are you doing here?" An unfamiliar female voice startled Dan out of his reverie. He almost jumped in surprise. He thought he was alone. He should have been alone too, damn it—since he’d purposely waited for the end of the day, until the business was closed and he was sure everyone had gone home, before he drove out here, just so he could avoid running into anyone else.

By rights, neither one of us should be here now, he thought, as he spun around to confront the young woman who was regarding him with a cool self-assurance that both amused and intrigued him. She appeared to be about his age, or maybe a few years his junior, and to look at her standing there, hands planted firmly on her very attractive hips, anyone would have supposed she owned the place and that he was the interloper. He suppressed a smile at her arrogance. What am I doing here? Well, he could ask her the same question, couldn’t he?

"I said, what are you doing here?" she repeated impatiently, and he did smile, then. Well, hallelujah. Perhaps there have been a few changes here, after all.

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