Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

AND THEN BLOOMS LOVE
6/28/2019 1:00:00 AM by: SALLY JO PITTS

PLEASE WELCOME

SALLY JO PITTS

TO

FLASH FICTION FRIDAY

                                                               

EXCERPT FROM: AND THEN BLOOMS LOVE

 the first in the Hamilton Harbor Legacy series where the sleepy town in northwest Florida is waking up to find revived businesses, restored homes, new friendships and budding romances.

Chapter one, Florist Emme Matthews is short on finances after opening her new florist shop and has just learned that her refrigerated floral case needs repair…

“Emme? Pam Boswick here.”

The late morning call stirred Emme’s adrenaline. “Pam, hello.” She pressed her finger to her

ear to shut out the clatter created by the refrigeration repairman. 

“I heard you took over The Flower Cottage in Hamilton Harbor.”

“You heard right.”

Richie tugged at her shirt and pointed to his alphabet phone, needing a battery.

“That shop has a good reputation. You should do well there.”

She glanced at her drooping flowers and the repairman prostrated in the bottom of the cooler.

“I hope so.”

“I have a job smack dab between you and Tallahassee. My usual florist in the area is booked,

so, I thought of you.”

Emme’s heartrate did a two-step. In college, she’d worked with the popular event planner on

occasion. A job with her might cover the cooler repair. Richie nudged his toy in front of her.

“The order is for a special dinner, March sixth, being hosted at the Davenport’s Colonnades.”

Emme halted her search in the junk drawer for a double A battery. The cooler cackled.

Enthusiasm drained and puddled at her feet. Colonnades was the one place she never intended

to step foot again. It would be too painful.

“I … uh … I’m afraid I have a conflict that evening.”

“Oh? Too bad. I looked forward to working with you again. Let me know if anything

changes.”

“I will. Please keep me in mind for future jobs.”

The call ended. Richie tugged her arm. She spotted a double A, and with trembling fingers

snapped the battery into the toy phone.

The repairman rested his rear on his heels and gave his verdict. “I got ‘er runnin’, but from

the look of it, you’re gonna need a new fan motor and gaskets. Probably run you three hundred,

give ‘r take, and I’ll have to order the parts.”

A weak whistle escaped Emme’s lips. Her cooler was essential. “Please, order what you

need.” 

With the repairman barely out of the parking lot, heavy footsteps reverberated on the wooden

decking leading to the back door. The tall form of Izzie Ketterling, Emme’s floral assistant,

entered the room mouth first. “I hope that repairman came here for flowers.”

“Afraid not.” Emme let out a shaky breath. “The cooler needs three hundred dollars’ worth of

TLC.”

Richie rushed to Izzie, who knelt to greet him. “Yikes. We could all use a little TLC. Give

Auntie Izzie a hug.”

“Cool boots,” Richie said, wrapping his pudgy arms around her.

Izzie smoothed Richie’s hair and tied a bandana at his neck. “Now you’re ready to ride the

range with your stuffed animals.”

“Thanks Auntie.” Richie hurried back to the children’s corner. Izzie wasn’t the boy’s real

aunt, but Emme loved the sense of family she offered him.

“What’s up with the boots and bandanas?” 

Izzie wore a red kerchief tied at her neck, a peasant blouse, a mid-calf A-line skirt, and silver

cowboy boot earrings.

“I was in a Western sort of mood today.”

Emme gave her a bemused smile. Friends at church called them yin-yang opposites. Izzie’s

short, black, stand-at-attention hair, dark eyes and white blue-toned complexion contrasted

with Emme’s long, honey-blonde hair, blue eyes and fair pink-toned skin. Izzie added her

inventive skills to what she wore, while Emme focused her creativity on floral design.

“Well, cowgirl, you need to mount up and make hospital and funeral home deliveries.”

Emme hesitated and added, “I had to turn down an order.”

“Turn down?” Izzie straightened her posture. In boots, she topped Emme’s five-foot-five by

a good six inches. “Have you lost your senses? Who called?”

Emme stood, hoping the action would help give credence to her quick decision. “Pam

Boswick.”

“As in highly-sought-after-event-planner Pam Boswick?” Izzie’s voice cranked up an octave.

Emme nodded and jabbed a plastic cardholder pick into the funeral spray. “The job was for

the Davenport Plantation.”

“That’s it?” Izzie’s words popped like heat hitting a kernel of corn. “So what if it’s flowers

for El Creepo and his mother. You should jump at the chance.”                                                                               

“Jump? Jump at the chance to be humiliated by the Davenports again? You’ve got to be

kidding.” Emme slumped onto her stool.

“No. You must be kidding.” Her “you” came out like the poke of an index finger to the chest.

“It’s your chance to shine and show Clifton what he gave up.” Izzie swept her arm in an

overhead circle. “We can lasso and brand ‘em with Flower Cottage finesse before they know

what hit ‘em.”

Emme rolled her eyes. “Where do you come up with this stuff? This isn’t a rodeo. The

assignment is a dinner— a special dinner party at Colonnades. Mrs. Davenport would never

stand for me having the job.”

“You don’t know that for sure.”

“I do.” Pressing the palms of her hands on the worktable, Emme pushed herself up. There

was little chance Mrs. Davenport’s “not good enough for my son” rating had changed. “I       r             won’t risk the shop’s reputation by looking bad in front of Pam.”

“What about the little matter of your expenses?”

“I’ve got some savings left.”

“And next month, then what?”

The florist cooler fan belched a metallic clinking noise, bringing Emme and Izzie to silence.

The rattle turned to a jingle, then to a rhythmic hum.

Emme started to breathe again. Izzie spoke the truth. She couldn’t afford to turn down jobs,

not if she expected to pay her bills and provide for Richie.

But getting involved with the Davenports had nearly destroyed her once—twice might finish

her off.

ABOUT AND THEN BLOOMS LOVE

What happens if a wedding florist discovers she’s married to the groom?

             She is determined to forget him…

               He loved her from the first day he saw her …

               A discovery threatens to change things …

     https://www.amazon.com/s?k=And+Then+Blooms+Love&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

ABOUT SALLY JO PITTS

Sally Jo Pitts writes what she likes to read—faith-based stories of romance with an unusual twist. She grew up in central Florida and now lives in the Panhandle with her investigator husband and feisty schnauzer.  She graduated from Florida State University, taught home economics and served as a high school guidance counselor. Currently, she is a private investigator in her husband’s agency and writes between cases. More about Sally Jo and things she investigates can be found at www.sallyjopitts.com.

 

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