Sharon: Aren’t they gorgeous, Oliver? The best part of spring is getting the garden ready with all the striking blossoms and blooms. What’s your favorite?
Oliver, intrigued, shakes cedar chips around the rose bushes. So what did you do?
Oliver: Ah, yes. But you romance writers have to throw in a wrench to keep the couple from getting together. What’s the glitch?
Sharon: Yes, and as it turns out, Brady is responsible for starting the fire. So the entire story is about testing boundaries. Life is all about choices and one mistake can blossom into a lifetime of sorrow. Abbey simply doesn’t have it in her heart to forgive Brady for destroying her dream. But through a miracle, she is shown a message that will change the course of her life. I totally enjoyed writing this short and sweet and heart-breaking story. I put a part of myself in the book. As you know, I’ve been a type 1 diabetic since the age of six. Doctors strongly advised me not to have children, something I wanted more than life itself. So like Abbey, I threw my maternal instincts into other projects that became my babies. Roses, art, cooking and writing, to name a few.
Oliver: Picks up his copy of Lasting Love. May I have your autograph, please, boss? After hearing all about it, I simply must read it. Now let’s sit down and have some tea and fresh fruit while we read a blurb and excerpt:
When Vermont florist Abbey Jordan’s nursery manager quits a few days before Easter, she is left up the proverbial creek without a paddle. But when she places it in God’s hands, she finds lasting love in a garden of roses.
Brady Jones has a daughter to raise, is out of work, and knows more about cultivating roses than anyone in rural Vermont. And when Abbey hires him as the horticultural manager of her floral shop, it seems like the answer to her prayers. But just on the brink of a budding romance, a fire destroys the nursery and buries all hope of love.
An amicable silence hovered between Abbey and Brady as they walked toward the restaurant hand in
phone. Annoyed at the interruption, she sighed and answered. It was one of her employees. “Come quick,
Abbey. It’s the nursery. There’s a fire. It’s spreading like wildfire. Things look bad. Get here soon.”
When Abbey and Brady reached the nursery, it was a burning inferno. The glass walls had collapsed and it was going up in a snarling hiss of smoke and flames. Firefighters struggled to get the blaze under
control. Police and paramedics had arrived and Eye Witness News was on the scene, snapping photos.
“Oh my!” Abbey was out of the car the minute it came to a screeching halt. Her face was as ashen as the thick clouds of smoke billowing up into the night sky. Tripping over the gravel and cinders as she rushed toward the fire chief, she screamed. “What happened? I’m Abigail Jordan and I own this nursery. What happened? When I left, everything was fine. Please tell me nobody was in there!”
“No one was in there,” the fire chief placed a hand on her shoulder. “Things could be a lot worse.
Dead plants can be replaced. People can’t.”
Riveted with shock as reality filtered through her, Abbey screamed, “My roses! All my precious
roses. All those hanging baskets of lavender. My exotic orchids and Easter lilies. Gone, all gone!”
“It’s all right,” Brady folded her into his arms. “Shh.”
“What started it?” Abbey stared at the fire chief. “How did it start?”
“It’s being investigated. At this time, the cause is unknown. Could be a gas leak. A neighbor reported hearing an explosion, and in a few minutes, your greenhouse went up like a house of cards.”
In less than an hour, the fire was under control, but all that remained of Abbey’s nursery was a bed of ash. The floral boutique across the covered bridge was unharmed but the rest of the damage caused by the fire was insurmountable.
“Do you have any idea how long it took me to choose and cultivate each of my prize roses?” Abbey finally let the tears roll. Leaning on Brady, she sobbed in between hysterics. “My Lasting Love rose, demolished. And to think I’ll never smell the spicy aroma of my Sentimental rose again. And at prom time, I never had enough of the Falling in Love rose. They all wanted a corsage made of the pink roses, timeless and romantic. And not to forget the Arctic Flame rose, popular for keeping the romance alive. All my hard work, up in smoke.”
“Ms. Jordan,” the fire chief interrupted. “We know the cause of the fire. It was caused by a recently installed heating table. Some of the cable wiring possibly touched each other due to improper installation.”
Abbey shoved Brady away and stared at him, her eyes glinting with anger. “It was you. You said you knew how to install the heating table and I listened to you. You ruined my dream. Get away from me.”
“Abbey,” he tried to reach her. “There’s gotta be some mistake. Let me—”