Elena_Alexandrina_Bednarik_-_ZΓ’na_apelor‘Allo. How was everyone’s holiday? My family celebrates all 12 days of Christmas and Epiphany, so our Christmas just ended. Beloved had the two weeks of winter break off from one job and the other job is slow this time of year. Between that and the kids having half as many therapy appointments as usual, we got lots of time together as a family. πŸ™‚ It was really nice.

I’ve decided to stick with Faerie Blood for a bit on WIPpet Wednesday. It’s coming out soonishly and I don’t have oodles of time to promo, so we’ll call this my big push. πŸ˜›

To play WIPpet Wednesday, post an excerpt from you WIP that somehow relates to the date, link up, and send puppies to K.L. Schwengel. She likes puppies. Alternatively, you can send bananas for her flying monkeys. Those things eat a lot.

My WIPpet math this week: month + date = 8 paragraphs. Not too complicated. πŸ™‚

Critique welcome. This section is new. You lovely folks can be the alpha readers.

Necessary background: Harsha hired Zeeb to find faeries for her and he has just offered to teach her what kind of evidence to look for.

Harsha imagined herself kneeling down to caress a beautiful flower, the spongy loam of the forest ground cushioning her knee, the petals of the blossom softer than silk to her fingertips, the rich smell of earth mingling with the delicate fragrance of the elusive bloom. Here it is, she would say. We found it at last.

Then she remembered the long hours she spent studying to squeak by with a passing grade in botany and her lovely daydream bubble popped. β€œI prefer to leave that to you two. Plants aren’t exactly my thing.”

One corner of Zeeb’s lips twitched. β€œNot into nature?”

β€œOh, I like nature a lot, but as far as identifying one plant from another…” She shrugged. β€œI can tell a tree from a shrub, but that’s about it.”

That elicited a chuckle. The hint of mirth dispersed enough of Harsha’s morning grouchies to bring a slight quirk to her lips without taking away her business edge. She opened her mouth to ask another question about finding a faerie, but Zeeb leaned close to reach for something beside her and the feelings of shyness returned.

When he leaned back, he held a sprig of flowers between his thumb and forefinger. β€œYou should learn this one at least.”

Harsha dropped her eyes to the flowers when he held them out to her. Petite, blue petals, five to each blossom, surrounded tiny stars of yellow and white.Β  His thick, powerful hand, the skin rough and craggy with years of exposure to the elements, Β embraced the delicate stem with amazing gentleness. She held her breath as her fingers brushed his to accept the small offering, afraid she might betray her nervousness and lose what authority she had left.

β€œThey’re called forget-me-nots.” Zeeb stood and walked away.