Today I am so pleased to welcome Lily Velez to Joyfully Jay. Lily has come to share an excerpt from her latest release, Lavender in Bloom. She has also brought along a HUGE tour wide giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
At one point, they happened upon a storefront with bricks the color of sand and a weathered, plum awning. Above its doors hung a faded, wooden sign: Boutique de Lavande. All about the storefront’s walkway sat baskets overflowing with bouquets of lavender. Some baskets contained lavender sachets and others lavender soaps. There were also crates filled with summer wreaths of all sizes for doors and mantles.
“It’s certainly the most pleasant-smelling shop in Avignon,” Jeremie said, and they breathed in the heady fragrance at the same time. It was strong, sweet, like a rich and full-bodied wine. It immediately transported a person to the countryside, where stretches of lavender fields flowered every summer and colored the plains violet.
Jeremie lifted one of the smaller wreaths. It was fashioned from dried grapevines and twigs, and woven around its frame were daisies, flax seed pods, and dried lavender.
“I once read,” he said, “that in times of old, the Capetian kings would crown their heirs young to protect the royal house’s claim to the throne. That way, should a monarch suddenly pass unexpectedly, things would remain as they should be.”
He inspected the wreath for a few, quiet moments, fingering the lavender the way someone might caress a memento replete with bittersweet memories. Then, gently, and without a word, as if he were the holy man officiating a blessed coronation, he brought the lavender wreath to a soft rest upon Noah’s head. It became a crown.
“As they should be,” he repeated softly, his eyes dropping to catch Noah’s for the briefest moment. His smile was faint.
“Bonjour!” A heavyset woman hustled toward them from inside the shop, not wanting to lose a sale.
Noah, face hot, quickly removed the wreath from his head, twigs scratching against his cheek as he did so, his breath trapped in the back of his throat.
It’s the year 1802 in Avignon, France…
Noah Capet has spent most of his young life living simple and unvaried days in the hushed countryside of southern France. Quiet, reserved, and diffident, his preference for existing is to do so in solitude, keeping to himself both in town and on his family’s farm—a predilection that’s altogether disrupted when a newcomer to town by the name of Jeremie Perreault begins an unremitting quest to befriend him.
Jeremie is everything Noah is not. Charismatic and gregarious, he leaves a trail of charmed admirers in his wake wherever he goes. Expressive and idealistic, he talks without end about his deep love for old books and his spirited dream to one day travel the world on a literary pilgrimage.
Over the course of a single summer, the two form an unlikely friendship, but just as quickly as it develops, it soon entirely dissolves as they’re forced to face the truth of what has unexpectedly emerged between them.
Lavender in Bloom is a tender and tragic coming-of-age story about first love and self-discovery, and a poignant reminder that time is fleeting and always takes with it the choices we’re too afraid to make.
Buy link: Amazon
Lily Velez has been writing stories since she was six years old. Not much has changed since then. She still prefers the written word and her overactive imagination over the ‘real world’ (though to be fair, her stories no longer feature talking dinosaurs). A graduate of Rollins College and a Florida native, when she’s not reading or writing, she spends most of her days wrangling up her pit bulls Noah and Luna, planning exciting travel adventures, and nursing her addiction to cheese. All this when she isn’t participating in the extreme sport known as napping. You can learn more about Lily and her books at www.lilyvelezbooks.com.
Laura has brought a $100 Amazon gift card to give away to one lucky reader on her tour. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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