Under the Rose Tree by Jillian Amena

Heat Level 2
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SKU 978-0-3695-1003-7

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City dweller, Lynette (Lyn) Desmond now turned unexpected heiress has inherited a quaint cottage property from her late grandmother, setting her to flee her urban cage to resurrect a weathered cottage in idyllic Acres Village.

She struggles to fit into this tight-knit community of people who seem to know more about her family than her. Including her new neighbor, Marshall Vale—a sun-kissed cowboy whose tender heart is rivaled only by his mischievous nature and is always without a shirt.

Lyn does her best to ignore the cowboy who seems to like getting in her sink, and focus on the task at hand: rebuilding her cottage. However, she is drawn to his charms, fate orchestrating their collisions, sparking a long dormant desire between Lynette and Marshall.



I stumble my way through the foliage and push past plants with outstretched branches. I have a scrape on my left palm and the beginning of a bruise on the right knee, but I press further forward. I manage to open up a shed tucked in the back of the garden. Fairy dust dances under the sunlight. There are things in here I expect to find in an old shed—gardening tools, an old school looking lawn mower, some water pitchers, garden rake, a water hose, and other junk thrown in here. I dig through the junk and spot a flowerpot stacked on top of other things. My fingers struggle to reach for it, considering it was so high up and I am blocked by other junk in my way.

 I force my way through the junk. Unfortunately that causes something in the back to inevitably crash into the flowerpot which shatters the moment it hits the ground. “Shit.” I hiss out from the annoyance of having to clean all of this mess.

“What’re you doing?”

I flinch at the sudden male voice behind me. “Stop doing that!” I tell Marshall, who is somehow in my garden, then I realize I don’t have a fancy fence like him so anyone can just walk right into my backyard. Marshall stands tall in my view. Today, he wears a skintight black shirt that I can see imprints of his muscles through. His overall pants hang over his waist, the red straps hanging loosely on one shoulder and the other sitting properly on his broad shoulder. He kinda looks like a firefighter. 

“Can I borrow some sugar?” he asks.

“You walked all the way here for sugar?”

He shares a sheepish smile. “Okay, I just needed an excuse to leave the house.”

“Don’t you have friends or something?”

“Ouch, it seems like you don’t want me here. Maybe I should drive to the other side of town to talk to my friends instead of my friendly neighbor.”

“Please do, I’m quite busy today.” I fiddle with the fallen junk in the shed. I can feel his stare linger on me, making my skin burn. He wears a slight grin once I turn to him again.

 “Word of advice, Lynette—bees love the color yellow.”

“Thanks for pointing out the obvious.”

Marshall’s gaze falls on to the shed … busy still lingering in my garden. “What are you planning today? I never really see you outside the house unless Rosemary visits you.”

“I’m trying to revive my garden.”

“Glad to know that I played a part in inspiring you to take care of your garden.”

“What makes you think that?”

“Don’t lie. I saw the way your face lit up when you saw my garden, playing with my cattle and everything.”

I breathe out. “Go away, please.”

“You can make a lot of money selling your flowers in the Annual Flower Fair. Tourists will love it.”

“I would love that, but I can’t keep myself alive.”

He chuckles. “Maybe I can help you with that.”

“Keeping me alive?”

“That too.” His lips spread lopsidedly.

Is he flirting with me right now on a boring summer day? I keep my composure, no matter how much he is eyeing me down right now. “Why are you even helping me? I’m sure you have other important things to do.”

“Since you helped me out with my garden, I suppose I can return the favor.”

I pause. “That is surprisingly nice of you.”

“I’ve always been nice, you just want to paint me as a bad guy.”

“Okay, since you’re in a nice mood today, then show me the basics.” The last plant I had was a rare plant my dad got me from Brazil. It was a pretty pink tulip that sprouted at least once every two weeks. I didn’t have to do anything other than water the plant twice a week. One day I was too lazy to water the plant so I left it outside to get watered by nature’s trusted water source. On that same night, there was a rainstorm that lasted the entire night. Let’s just say my plant was nothing but pieces of petals on the concrete floor.

Marshall takes the plant from my hand. Our fingers are brushing each other. “As you wish, Lynette.”