Bed of Flowers by Erin Satie is LIVE! First in a new series, Sweetness and Light.
About Bed of Flowers:
Bonny Reed is beautiful, inside and out.
A loyal friend and loving daughter, she’s newly engaged to her small town’s most eligible bachelor. She’s happy for herself—but mostly for her family, who need the security her marriage will bring.
An old enemy shatters her illusions.
First Baron Loel cost Bonny’s family her fortune. Now he’s insisting that her fiancé has hidden flaws, secrets so dark that—if she believed him—she’d have to call off the wedding.
How will she choose?
When the truth comes out, Bonny will have to choose between doing what’s right and what’s easy. Between her family and her best friend. And hardest of all—between her honor and the love of a man who everyone wants her to hate.
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This is from Loel’s perspective; he’s just kissed Bonny’s wrist.
“You know that you are beautiful,” he said.
She began to shake her head, but he didn’t wait for her to contradict him. He would not offer the courtesy of pretense.
“I do not think you understand how beautiful.” How could she? She’d never seen much of the world. He’d circled the globe and he’d never met another woman who could compare. “If you wanted a husband who would prostrate himself at your feet and worship you, you would have no trouble finding one. If you demanded this of him every day of your married life, year after year until his knees crumbled to dust, he would still get down on those ruined knees to thank God that you chose him.”
Miss Reed tittered. “Don’t be absurd.”
He was dead serious and she knew that, too. “If Charles Gavin has convinced you that he is your equal, he is a liar. When you chose him, it was an act of grace.”
Loel has been sick and Bonny has been nursing him back to health. He’s finally recovering and now that he can think straight, he realizes that he shouldn’t be all alone in his greenhouse with an unmarried woman. (They’re in a greenhouse because it’s warm, and because he raises orchids for a living).
“You shouldn’t be here,” said Loel.
Bonny abandoned the lever pump with the water tank only half full. She’d fought her family and she’d been ready to defend herself against the whole town of New Quay—all for Lord Loel. Who, it turned out, also wanted her to go.
“As you like.” She snatched up her things and waved at the basket. “That’s for you. It should see you through the day and perhaps most of tomorrow. Best of luck for a speedy recovery.”
Bonny flicked him a scathing glance. He’d work himself to exhaustion, fall over—probably hit his head on the way down—and lapse back into a fever. And he’d deserve it.
“I’m thinking of you,” he said.
“You and everyone else.” Bonny’s anger cooled. Without it, she was just… tired. “But I was thinking of you.”
“Well, stop.” He covered his face with his hands, breathing hard. “Did I ask for your regard? Did I invite it?”
“No.” Quite the opposite, actually. In the beginning, she’d intruded and he’d chased her away. Their encounters had proceeded more or less according to the same template ever since.
And yet she would have sworn that he was fond of her.
“Would you be more comfortable if I fetched you some clothes?” she asked. “If you tell me where—”
“Go.” His head sank further toward his lap. “Please.”
Bonny sank down to her knees. Something like curiosity drove her, a nagging conviction that she was on the verge of an important discovery. She gently pulled Lord Loel’s hands away from his face.
The torment she read in his expression startled her. He’d been sick and now he was nearly better. He ought to be happy.
“You’re upset. Why?”
“Because your kindness is wasted on me.”
“How? You’re better, aren’t you?”
“At what cost to you?” He grimaced. “Who will punish you for helping me? How? Miss Reed—”
“That doesn’t matter when your very life was hanging in the balance—”
“It matters to me.”
His anger was real and it had increased since her arrival. The harsh tone, the urgent delivery—he meant every word. And yet Bonny’s impression that she was listening to a foreign language that she only vaguely understood had increased in perfect tandem.
She might have remained confused forever if something bright hadn’t drawn her attention to the roof of the glasshouse. A ray of light caught on the dirt-clouded glass, then fractured into a brilliant sparkle. Bonny tipped her face up to the sky, attentive to this small miracle of nature for precisely the length of time required to identify, categorize, and dismiss it: just the sun cresting the horizon, dawn breaking into day, nothing to be concerned about.
She looked down, problem solved, and caught Lord Loel staring at her mouth. Hotly, fixedly, with a heat that struck an answering chord in her.
Oh, she thought, wondering how she’d been so stupid. Now I understand.
And she kissed him.
About Erin Satie:
Erin Satie is the author of the dark and elegant No Better Angels series of historical romances set in the early Victorian period. She’s currently hard at work on her new series, Sweetness and Light.
Erin is a California native who’s lived on the coasts and in the heartland, in tiny city apartments and on a working farm. She studied art history in both college and graduate school—research is always her favorite part of starting a new book.
Her favorite part of finishing a book, whether reading or writing, is the happily ever after.
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