Authors: Lyndsey Cole
Tags: #Mystery: Cozy - Flower Shop - Vermont
By the time Iris got the news about Emma, Tamara was already walking into her house. Well, walking was probably an exaggeration, she was power waddling with her best ‘I have the news of the century’ face on, along with her pumpkin orange
muumuu, most likely as a nod to the fall season.
“You won’t believe it, Iris. Emma killed that poor girl, Amber Sparks. She thought Lance was having an affair with her. Can you believe
it? He must be old enough to be her grandfather for crying out loud. Poor …”
Iris held up her hands. “Slow down Tamara, take a breath before you hyperventilate. I know you love to be the first with all the news but I’m already aware of what’s going on.”
Tamara plopped into a soft, cushioned wicker chair and let out a deep sigh. “You don’t have to be so snippy,” she whined.
Jennifer arrived carrying bags of food from her Sunflower Café. Dashing ahead was Katie, in search of
the puppies. “Katie!” Jennifer said loud enough to make the little girl stop dead in her tracks. “Ask Iris first before you get Ollie and Poppy all riled up, especially in the house. Remember what happened at the wedding?”
timidly approached Iris. “Can I play with the puppies?”
Iris could feel the edges of her mouth wanting to pull up into a grin but she forced her face to stay serious. “Of course you can
, Katie. Thank you for asking.” Iris called the two puppies and opened the French doors. “Take them out here to play, but stay where we can see you.”
The puppies were out the door in a flash with Katie squealing with delight hot on their
Jennifer put her bags on the table against the back wall. “I brought lots of food over. I’m assuming everyone is heading this way?”
Iris peeked into the bags and inhaled the delicious aromas floating to her nose. “You’re a life saver. Daisy should be here any second and Lily shouldn’t be far behind. I don’t know about Ryan and Adam—they’ll probably be tied up for a while at the police station.”
Tamara, never wanting to be too far from the center of activity, or too far from food, joined Iris and Jennifer. “Wher
e are the plates?”
Jennifer chuckled. “I know where the kitchen is, I’ll bring out plates, silverware and serving spoons.”
Daisy rushed in, all out of breath. “I can’t stay long, but I wanted to bring over this new fall recipe I’m trying out. It’s a buttermilk cake with wine poached pears. I hope everyone likes it,” she added apprehensively.
Iris took the platter from Daisy. “When has some
one not liked your creations? Each one seems to be better than the last.”
Daisy blushed from the compliment. “You’re right, but I’m never sure what people will like until they try it and I see the smiles on their faces.”
Walter walked in, helping Jennifer carry the plates. “Where’s Lily? And Rosie? Those two certainly have my admiration.”
As if on cue, Lily appeared in the doorway with Rosie at her side. “Here we are. Safe and sound. And exhausted.” She walked to the couch and fell into it as Rosie made herself comfortable leaning against Lily as she lovingly stroked her dog’
Suddenly, the food was forgotten, except
by Tamara who already had a plate overflowing with lasagna, salad and fresh bread. Iris, Daisy, Walter and Jennifer, crowded around Lily, waiting to hear the rest of the details. Lily’s head had fallen onto the back of the couch and her eyes were closed but she could feel everyone looking at her. “Do you want the short version?” One eye opened to see all the heads nodding vigorously. Lily pulled herself back up to vertical, inhaled deeply and recounted how the key to solving the mystery was a small piece of fabric that matched a temporary collar on Emma’s dog, Abby. Unfortunately, Lance was keeping a secret from Emma and she’d jumped to the wrong conclusions and thought she was protecting Lance from a scheming young girl. Everyone was ecstatic that Lance was a free man but felt horrible for him having to lose Emma over such a tragic misunderstanding.
Grumbling stomachs reminded everyone to dig into all the food
while it was still warm. Rosie was even given her own plate with a homemade doggie biscuit. When Ollie and Poppy came in, they were not pleased with that arrangement and tried to steal Rosie’s treat, so they each got a small biscuit, but not on a plate.
Lily sat in the sunroom listening to the chatter and the noise of the waterfall in the corner. It felt good to have all the thoughts of the murder out of her head and just be able to relax.
Instead, her head filled with thoughts of Ryan and having a romantic evening together, which he’d promised to have soon. Very soon. One without interruptions. She’d have to raid Daisy’s closet again for something extra special to wear. She smiled to herself as she thought she might even go commando just to see his reaction.
She was surprised when she saw Ryan walk in much sooner than she had expected. “
Ryan sat down next to Lily.
“Everything went smoothly, no hiccups to iron out so I have all evening to spend with you.”
Lily’s face lit up into
a smile so big she thought her face was going to crack. “Nothing I would like more.”
Ryan stroked her hair. “How’s that bump on your head? I was sure you must have gotten a concussion from your fall.”
“Hmmm, that feels nice. My head is fine.” She leaned into his massaging fingers and closed her eyes.
“Good, because there’s something I want to ask you.” Ryan got down on one knee in front of Lily. “Will you marry me, my beautiful bloom?”
Lily surged forward and felt her heart beat so hard she was afraid it might burst through her chest. “Yes, of course!”
She felt a warm wet tongue licking her hand. Her eyes popped open wide to see Daisy standing in front of her and Rosie with her head in Lily’s lap.
“Where did Ryan go?” she asked.
“Are you feeling alright? He isn’t here yet. You were mumbling something about a beautiful bloom.”
Lily felt her face get burning hot at the memory of what must have been a dream. Or she had gotten a concussion. “I don’t even remember falling asleep. Too bad it was just a dream.”
“What are you talking about?”
Lily shook her head. “Oh, nothing.” She certainly wasn’t going to tell Daisy or she’d never hear the end of it.
Ryan walked in with a big bouquet of flowers, smiling when he saw Lily. He walked over to where she was sitting and crouched down in front of her. “Daisy put these together before she closed up your shop, I hope you like them.”
Lily put her face in the flowers, inhaling the sweet scent of lilies, mixed among the hydrangeas. “They’re beautiful. Thank you.”
“I have something else for you too.” He reached into his pocket and opened a small box.
Lily’s hands covered her mouth and her eyes started to fill with tears—tears of happiness. The room was suddenly completely quiet.
“Lily will you marry me?”
“Yes, of course!” This time the words came out of her mouth, loud and clear for everyone to hear. It wasn’t a dream. She put her arms around Ryan’s neck, just about knocking him over as Rosie nosed her way in between them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lyndsey Cole lives in New England in a small rural town with her husband, dogs, cats and chickens. She has plenty of space to grow lots of beautiful perennials. Sitting in the garden with the scent of lilac, peonies, lily of the valley or whatever is in bloom, stimulates her imagination about mysteries and romance.
ONE LAST THING
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