Bloom of Love (Long Valley #10) - Erin Wright Page 0,1

his face. Yesenia caught his eye and cocked one eyebrow.

He shrugged nonchalantly and began flicking through his Instagram feed again. Yesenia may be his favorite sister, but that didn’t mean he was gonna say a word to her about Carla.


He was gonna see her again.

He only barely kept himself from whistling.

Chapter 2


Isn’t that a wonderful beginning?

~Grandfather in The Princess Bride

Start of June, 2020

“Oh, what a beautiful morning,” Carla Grahame sang from one of her favorite Roger & Hammerstein movies, Oklahoma, as she threw together a quick rose bouquet. Perfect for those times when a guy really shoved his boot into his mouth. “Oh, what a beautiful day.”

It was her Monday – Tuesday to the rest of the world – and although she hadn’t had much of a weekend, what with Mr. Ziebarth’s funeral and all, she was still happy to be at work. Who wouldn’t be happy, surrounded by beauty all day long like she was?

A thorn sliced through the hard callous on her thumb and with a moan of pain, Carla popped her thumb into her mouth, automatically turning to pull out her ever-present box of bandaids. She really should just wear gloves while she worked like every other florist out there with two brain cells to rub together, but she never seemed to remember to put them on—

The doorbell jangled and Carla looked up automatically, her professional smile sliding into place even as she quickly pulled her thumb out of her mouth.


Christian Palacios. She hadn’t seen him in ages. He was standing by the glass front door, the bright sunshine streaming in around him, making it hard to see his face, especially under the brim of his baseball cap. But she’d recognize him anywhere.

A guy like Christian Palacios didn’t just walk into a store without a girl noticing. That simply didn’t happen.

She quickly wrapped up her still-bleeding thumb in the bandaid, throwing away the wrapper even as she rounded the counter. “Hello!” she said warmly. “How are you today?”

He moved a little further into the shop, edging in like he was afraid he was going to somehow breathe wrong and destroy the whole place.

This was the way guys always felt in her shop. More than one guy had told her that he felt like a bull in a china shop. She figured that it was just nerves. They didn’t know what they were looking for, and they were nervous they were going to pick the wrong thing.

Which was why she was there. She’d never lead anyone astray.

He shot her a smile so brief, if she hadn’t been watching closely, she would’ve missed it, and began looking at the bouquets in the buckets, studying them as if his life depended upon it.

And thus began the game that she always played when a nervous guy came into the store – the “What Did He Screw Up?” game.

He cheated on his wife. Oh. Never mind. No ring. So, maybe his girlfriend. Or! He forgot her birthday. Maybe their anniversary. Poor woman.

He’d moved on and was now looking at the most expensive bouquets in the store.

Oh my God, he called her the wrong name during sex!

Now that she’d hit upon it, she was sure that was it. Funny – she couldn’t remember ever hearing that he’d gotten married, but maybe it happened while she was gone to college, or while she was working at the Toadstool Flower Shop in Boise. She certainly hadn’t done the flowers for his wedding. Somehow, she was just sure that with the bouquet sizes he was eyeballing, it had to be for a wife. Girlfriends didn’t merit bouquets that big.

Poor woman. I can only imagine how hard she’s taking this. I wonder if she kicked him out. I would kick him out.

She admired the long, sleek muscles of his arms as he picked up and put down some of the figurines in the window display.

Huh. It’d have to be really obvious he’d called me the wrong name, though. Not just a grunt that could be misunderstood or something.

How long had it been since she’d had arms like that wrapped around her in bed?

She let out a long sigh. If she could have arms wrapped around her like those, she might just put up with him singing another woman’s name during sex.

“I’m here to order the flowers for my youngest sister’s quinceañera,” Christian rumbled suddenly, breaking the silence of the store, and her wandering thoughts.

Her mouth gaped open for the barest of moments – quinceañera? The last time