Butterflies on Breezes takes place in the city of Spokane, Washington, which is close enough to where I live in Canada for day trips. My husband and I have popped down twice to do specific research for the Urban Farm Fresh Romance setting.
I blogged at valeriecomer.com in May about the real life neighborhood of Pleasant Valley that I morphed into my fictional neighborhood of Bridgeview, the main setting for the entire series.
Today I want to share Manito Park with you. It’s a spot that Linnea visits several times during Butterflies on Breezes. It’s her oasis, her calm in the storm, and her inspiration as a landscape designer. These photos were taken in April, so I had to “guess ahead” for what would be in bloom during Linnea’s visits in summer and autumn.
Excerpt from Chapter 2:
The rose gardens had been about to bloom the last time she’d taken time to walk through them.
Today the heady fragrance permeated the air. Linnea breathed deeply, filling her lungs with the sweet scent from the thousands — maybe millions — of riotous blossoms in every color and every variety that could possibly grow in the Inland Northwest. She walked reverently down the grassy center toward the sundial and pergolas at the far end. A fat gray squirrel darted between the bushes and disappeared amid the conifers beyond.
Excerpt from Chapter 9:
“This is amazing.” Logan slipped his arm around Linnea as they stood on the bridge over Kiri Pond in the Japanese garden section. “I can’t believe the size of those koi.”
A waterfall tumbled into the pond behind them, barely rippling either the surface or the muted sounds.
“It’s my favorite spot in Manito, next to the butterfly garden.”
“I can see why. It’s so tranquil.” A Japanese maple spread branches sprouting feathery red leaves across the pond. They weren’t the only ones enjoying the space, but everyone seemed to respect the meditative ambience. “Have you ever designed a garden with these elements?”
Linnea was silent for so long he turned her to face him, looping both hands around her waist.
She glanced at him. “I haven’t really designed any other spaces.”
“Really? Marietta’s lot is your first? It’s going to look fantastic. I wouldn’t have thought of using native stone instead of decorative concrete blocks, but I see where you got the idea from.” Gray basalt outcroppings had been left throughout Manito by the park developers in the early twentieth century, yet plenty also edged walkways and created the park’s headquarters and other buildings.
Excerpt from Chapter 16:
Linnea crouched in the butterfly garden at Manito Park and lifted a milkweed leaf.
She caught her breath. There. A monarch chrysalis. This little beauty would migrate to California and warmer climes soon, unlike the season’s earlier generations who lived their entire short lives right here. Was there a lesson to be learned from the life cycle of butterflies?
If you’ve already read Butterflies on Breezes, I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of one of the settings! And if you haven’t read it yet… I hope these tiny snippets intrigue you to give the story a try.
Love rarely lands where it’s expected.
Working for her dad’s landscaping business stifles Linnea Ranta. When she’s invited to design and build a community garden with an intriguing master carpenter, she seizes the chance to unfurl her wings, but at what expense to her heart?
Logan Dermott eases back his flirting when he senses Linnea’s fragility, but she has more backbone than he suspected. As they work together, Logan finds he’s falling for her, but it may be too late to win her love.
Will Linnea break free of her chrysalis and fly away before Logan realizes what he almost had?
Paperback coming soon!