Portia Leighton waded through the lady tulips, selecting each clear spot ahead before sliding her walking boot across the bed’s slick mulch. Only when she’d successfully disappeared from casual view did she crouch down, planting one knee in the dirt for balance, and open her reticule on her raised thigh. The sample papers, forceps, and tiny sewing scissors were on top and she plucked them out, dropping the reticule beside her. The cluster to her right contained several healthy plants with large, bright flowers atop strong stems. They’d do nicely, and she leaned over the biggest one.
With the blunted forceps, she gripped the flower’s first stamen, using the scissors to snip it from the plant. But a motion beyond caught her eye.
If he stood there staring at her for too long, he might attract one of the gardeners’ attention. “Are you lost?” she asked.
“What? Oh. Excuse me.” He yanked off his hat, spreading dark curls across his forehead. “Have you fallen? Do you require assistance?” One hand, encased in a tan leather glove, reached toward her down the bank. As he leaned forward, his tailcoat rode up, and a line of tan-and-white striped silk waistcoat peeked from beneath.
Silly man. “Do I look as if I’ve fallen?” Careful not to squeeze the forceps too tightly, she dusted the stamen’s pollen onto the stigma, completing the plant’s loverly embrace. Just because she needed some Tulipa clusiana pollen didn’t mean it was acceptable to cheat the donor.
“You look as if you’re…” But his voice died away and he shook his head. “I’m not certain what it looks like.”
Trust me, he'll be sorry he asked.
Below's The Sweet List, with a selection of other writers to tempt you. And thanks so much for joining us!
1. Kay Springsteen, Regency
2. Jenna Jaxon~Historical Romance
3. Carrie-Anne Brownian ~ Halloween-themed historical fiction (1970s)
4. Rachel Rossano - romantic fantasy
5. Indigo Chase--Sci fi, Paranormal
6. Patricia Kiyono - Historical Romance (Regency)
7. Susan Aylworth, contemporary
8. Leah Sanders - sweet historical romance
9. Kelly Martin-- YA/Christian
10. J. Gunnar Grey, mystery~adventure
11. Juli D. Revezzo--Paranormal fiction
12. Chynna Laird ~ Contemporary YA
13. J.L. Salter, romantic suspense and romantic comedy
14. Vivian Roycroft, Regency
15. Lindsay Downs-Historical
16. Laurel-Rain Snow - Contemporary Fiction
17. Ute Carbone-women's fiction
18. Elaine Cantrell, contemporary
19. S.G. Rogers - YA fantasy adventure
20. Ruth Rainwater-Historical fiction
21. Marsha Ward~Westerns with Heart & Grit
22. Rachel Van Dyken - historical romance
23. Benjamin Wallace - Humor