The symbolism of flowers goes well beyond their pleasing appearance. Does the phrase 'as soft as rose petals' ring a bell?
In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, his heroine says, "What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." The scent of roses has been associated with romantic love and seduction since long before the Bard's time. When you use flowers as symbols or telling details in your descriptions, don't forget their scent, their feel, even their taste - for those that are edible.
Early in my soon-to-be-released paranormal romantic suspense novel, BLINDSIGHT, this scene takes place at night in an unlit rose garden (which turns the tables on the sighted hero.) Neither character can see the flowers. I layered in the blossoms' potent symbolism by referencing their scent.
[Note: Undercover FBI agent Hector and wedding singer Melisenda have just met and danced one dance together, ending on a patio outside the drug lord's mansion. Hector must protect her from being kidnapped - without blowing his cover. Melisenda want's to try to control her psychic power while kissing Hector. Every other man she's ever kissed has passed out.]
Night air perfumed with blooming jasmine cooled Hector’s face. After a moment the music ended. Relaxing his hold, he hooked Melisenda’s arm through his and scanned the area. The potheads were gone, but several couples milled about on the patio. He needed privacy.
Melisenda squeezed his arm and leaned into him. The soft swell of her breast pressing against his biceps stirred his pulse. She tilted her head and the rhinestones in her dark glasses sparked in the lantern light. “I adore the rose garden in back of the mansion.” Her tone turned wistful. “Did you know each type of rose has a unique scent?”
The unlit rose garden was an ideal location for a private conversation. “I’ll take you there,” Hector said. “You can educate me.”
He led Melisenda onto the white gravel path he’d taken earlier. They crunched around the corner of the mansion and the pale ribbon ahead faded into shadow. His footsteps slowed.
“What’s wrong?” Melisenda said.
“It’s dark as hell.” Shit. Had he offended her?
She laughed and tugged on his arm. “Can’t you smell the roses? Just follow your nose.”
Her scent filled his nostrils. Vanilla and—? He shook his head in frustration and let her lead him through the darkness, her familiar territory.
After he convinced her she was in danger, he had to find her a ride out of here. “How did you get to this place?”
“I rode with the Mariachis from Portland. Mr. Mendoza hired a limo. We’ll ride home in the morning.”
He didn’t carry enough cash to bribe the musicians and the limo driver. But, judging by the way the mariachis treated Melisenda, they’d agree to leave tonight if she faked an illness. The tricky part would be hiding their departure from Killingsworth until after the fact.
He recognized the outline of the stone gazebo silhouetted against the starry sky. The mezmerizing, honeyed scent of roses teased him. Mendoza's staff used the small, open-air building as a preferred hook-up spot.
Melisenda let go of him and tapped up the stone steps as if she’d done it a hundred times before. “There’s something I want to do with you in the gazebo.”
In spite of the desire heating his blood, he tasted bitter disappointment. If she meant what he thought she meant, she wasn’t as innocent as she appeared. He followed her inside, his pulse spiking into the danger zone. Could Killingsworth have recruited her? Had he misread the situation totally, been disarmed by her blindness?
He followed her into a deep, smoky shadow between two square openings that let in the glow of the stars. Her wholesome perfume mixed with the seductive scent of roses. Disappointment morphed into anger. And lust. Definitely lust, damn her.
Copyright 2015 Sarah Raplee McDermed ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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