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Growing a Family: An M/M Omegaverse Mpreg Romance by Eva Leon (1)

Chapter One



The loud crash, followed by the sound of my mother’s cursing, made me put down my book and run down the stairs. When I arrived in the kitchen, I found her standing there over a broken crock of her famous meatballs. She’d made them for a potluck at the park that evening and the look on her face was one of sheer panic.

“I’ll go to the store. I know what you need to make more,” I said. “You just focus on making your cake, Mama. When I get back, I’ll help you get the meatballs whipped up in a jiffy,” I said as optimistically as possible.

“Thank you, Eddie,” she said and got the roll of paper towels from the counter.

“You know, if we had a dog, you would have some help cleaning that stuff up.”

“Not now, Ed,” she said. “You know your stepfather doesn’t want a dog, so please don’t choose now to make me feel bad about it.”

“Sorry, Mom. I’ll be back from the store as fast as I can,” I said.

“Try not to get lost,” she responded with her knowing smile.

Okay, I did have a habit of dawdling from time to time, but I knew that Mama needed those ingredients so I swore I wouldn’t spend more than five minutes looking at the job board at York’s store.

I’d had a job up until a few days before at the hospital, but budget cuts forced them to lay off half their clerks. I didn’t have the seniority to hold onto my position, so I’d been laid off. Of course, so had five other clerks and there weren’t enough jobs in Silver Valley for us all, so I anticipated a bloodbath any day.

The worst part was that I had just gotten enough money to move out of my mother and stepfather’s house when the layoff came. Even with my savings, no landlord was going to take a chance on an unemployed potential tenant. I needed a job.

At twenty years old, it was time for me to be out of my parents’ house. College hadn’t been right for me, so I’d just been working since I graduated high school.

The younger version of myself actually thought I’d have found my Alpha by the time I was twenty. I was still young, but I was beginning to feel like an old spinster. I’d been sure that my Alpha had to be a doctor and I’d meet him working at the hospital. That didn’t happen.

I needed a job, but what I wanted was a husband and babies. I knew just about everyone in Silver Valley, and I’d become convinced there was no Alpha in town for me. That’s why I needed to check out the job board at York’s. Perhaps there was a job in a nearby town or even the city. Lakefield was only a twenty-minute drive from Silver Valley. I didn’t have a car, but a job in the city was worth spending my savings. Besides, I rationalized, I’d make more money if I got a job in the city.

The surrounding farms were a possibility too. Mama said I could use her car or my stepfather could drop me off and pick me up if I got a job at one of the farms surrounding Silver Valley.

Once I was inside the store, I grabbed everything Mama needed for her meatballs and threw it into a shopping basket. Then I made my way back to the job board to see what had been posted in the last two days.

There were new postings for babysitting and housecleaning, and I feel my mood sour. I’d take those if I had to, but there had to be something else. I couldn’t make a living for myself cleaning and babysitting. I’d never meet an Alpha that way either. I could’ve probably met one, but they’d already be married. With kids…

Then another posting caught my eye. It was for a crop assistant, and the pay was good. The hourly rate was a little higher than I was making at the hospital, but I guessed that was because the job came without benefits. I didn’t care. I was young, healthy, and I needed money more than I needed dental and a retirement package.

The farm was unique too. It was an indoor farming operation that had sprung up on the edge of town. The idea of getting in on the ground floor of a new startup was intriguing, and I had to admit the hermit who ran the place raised an eyebrow for me too. I’d only ever seen him a couple of times, but he was far too young and handsome for a word like hermit.

But that’s what he was. I’d heard the gossip about Hollis more than once, but I didn’t care. People around town gossiped about me and my folks too. We’d only lived in Silver Spring for two years, and to the town, that made us strangers. It was that kind of small town.

As I reached for one of the tabs, an old, knotted hand shot out and ripped the flyer down off the board. I had my fingers on the tab I was trying to procure, but I wasn’t able to get it before Mavis York tore the whole thing away.

“I can’t believe he had the nerve to post that in here,” Mavis mumbled as she crumpled the paper up. “That took a lot of nerve. I don’t promote that kind of trash in my store.”

I looked at her a little dumbfounded. She was acting as if the ad was for a porn movie or drugs instead of farm work.

“Could I have that, Mavis? I was interested in the job. I need work, you know. After the layoffs at the hospital, I could use the money.”

She shoved the crumpled-up ad into her smock pocket and glared at me as if I’d just suggested she bake a cake with box mix. “I can’t believe you’d even entertain the idea of working for that man. The good folks of Silver Springs will never accept you and your family if you cavort with the likes of Hollis Rivers.”

“I wasn’t trying to cavort with anyone, ma’am. I’m just interested in the job.”

“You’ve been warned,” she said and narrowed her gaze at me. “Better pay for your purchases and get moving along.”

I did my best not to roll my eyes as I walked up to the cash register. Bud York, the store’s other owner and Mavis’s husband, was standing there. He didn’t say anything, but I did catch a slight glimpse of sympathy in his eyes.

On my walk home, I’d made up my mind. As soon as I was done helping Mama with her food for the potluck, I was going to head over to Hollis’s farm to inquire about the job. Most of the town would be at the park, but he probably wouldn’t be. It would have caused a scandal for him to even show up for a town event, so I’d have time to go talk to him while everyone else was distracted.

“Oh good, you’re back,” Mama said as I walked in the kitchen door. “Sooner than I thought too.”

The kitchen smelled like baking cake, and my stomach growled. I set the bags with the meatball ingredients on the counter and unpacked the groceries.

“You’ll be good and hungry for the potluck,” Mama said as I started to open the packages of ground beef and pork.

“About that,” I said. “I think I’m going to skip the potluck.”

“Oh yeah?” Mama asked with a raised eyebrow. “You got a hot date or something?”

“Nothing like that,” I said with a blush. “Hollis River had an ad at the store for a farmhand. I think I’m going to go apply. Do you think I could borrow your car?”

“Ted and I are taking the car to the potluck, sweetie. You can take the truck, though.”

“You don’t think Ted will mind?” I asked.

“Do you think Ted will mind?” she asked with a half-smile. People who knew Ted gave him the nickname Teddy Bear because that’s what he was. He was about as good-natured and kind as they came.

“Thanks for understanding,” I said.

Once things were under control in the kitchen, Mama tossed me the keys to the truck and told me to get going. Just showing up at the farm didn’t seem like the most professional way to apply for a job, but it was the only thing I could think of, considering Mavis had taken the ad.

I got in the truck and took off toward Hollis’s farm before I could talk myself out of it. Once I got there, I parked Ted’s truck near the warehouse that looked like the main building and headed for the only door I could see.

The door was locked, so I knocked and waited. And then I waited some more. After several minutes, it became pretty clear that either Hollis wasn’t in the warehouse or he was ignoring my knocking.

Not willing to give up just yet, I turned to look up at the house. It would be even less professional for me to go knock on the door to his home, but I’d set my mind on not giving up.

I didn’t get an answer at the house either right away. There was some paper and a pen in the truck, so I grabbed it from the glove box. While I was in the process of writing a note for Hollis, his front door opened.

“What do you want?” he asked in a gruff and unwelcoming voice. “If you’re lost, you need to get moving along. I don’t appreciate having my dinner interrupted.”

“I’m sorry,” I said. I was a bit stunned at the harshness of his greeting, but I didn’t give in. I wanted the job. “I’m here about the job you posted on the board at York’s. Mavis tore your flyer down, by the way, so I’m probably the only person who is coming.” I crossed my arms across my chest to mimic Hollis’s posture.

He studied me for a moment. I could swear a slight smile played at the corners of his mouth. “You are the first applicant that’s showed up on my porch.”

“If I had to guess, I’d say that since Mavis took your sign, I’m the extent of your options.”

“Hmmm. Well, you’ve got backbone. What other qualifications do you have? Do you have any farming experience?”

“No, but I have hospital clerking experience. I also waited tables at the diner during high school. Oh, and I’ve helped my mother with her garden. We moved to Silver Springs from the city, and she’d always wanted a garden. So I know a little bit about fertilizing, soil conditions, and moisture levels.”

He uncrossed his arms. “How long have you been out of high school?”

“Almost three years. I was seventeen when I graduated, and I’m twenty now.”

“Are you lazy?”

“No. I drove out here to see you. I think that proves I have initiative.”

“I apologize for my lack of hospitality. I’ve had some problems with vandals as of late. Though, I guess no vandal would walk right up and knock on my door.”

I left with the job and instructions to come back the next day at seven in the morning. Hollis told me to bring a sack lunch and bottled water. He also said to dress in boots and clothes that I didn’t mind getting dirty.

As I got into the truck, I found myself more excited about the future than I had been in a long time. I had no idea why.

One thing I had to admit was that Hollis was more handsome up close than he’d been at a distance. I’d seen him around town a few times, but I hadn’t realized that he was gorgeous. His striking face was disarming as I stood there, but I guessed since I’d gotten the job that I’d held my own.