If you read my 2016 romance, Courting Cassandry, my new story takes place 31 years earlier when the hero, Gerolt, was nineteen years old. He and his friend, Samson, play young secondary characters in this new story, but the romance centers around an English knight named Nick Ryder and the daughter of a Venetian silk merchant named Giacinta. And yes, the story takes place in Venice!
Here, in honor of Valentine's Day (which should always involve flowers, don't you think?), is a tidbit of a scene between Nick and Giacinta in Giacinta's garden. I hope you enjoy it!
These narrow, tiled gardens of Venice must not be conducive to inspiring romantic garlands or chaplets. Nick's fingers flew now as he entwined one flower after another into the braided ivy. He interspersed the bold colors of the violets, gladioli, periwinkle, and melograno with the delicate white of the gelsomino and an occasional honeysuckle, wrapping their stems around the ivy to secure the flowers in place.
“Oh, but how pretty!” Giacinta exclaimed when he tilted the wreath for a final inspection of his work.
He set the wreath atop her crisscrossed braids, then smiled. “Now it is beautiful.”
Her cheeks turned a becoming pink. She reached up a hand, tentatively touching her fresh-blossomed crown. “English ladies wear these on their heads?”
“Young, unmarried maidens do.”
She sighed. “I am not young.” She lowered her hand, but to his relief, did not remove the wreath.
“How old can you be? I guess you a mere twenty.”
“I am twenty-two,” she said, though she looked slightly pleased that he had under-guessed her age. “Nunzia Rosa has been married for seven years. If Stefano does not marry me soon, I shall end up a spinster.”
“You? A spinster? The thought is absurd!” And who the devil is Stefano?