Huzzah! We're in our new home at last. Meet Laila the date palm, named after the young woman with a Zillow habit who found us this house.
I know we've officially tipped over into autumn, but we're expecting 96 degrees today. Yikes! The only autumn leaves falling here are the palm fronds the gardener saws off. Las Vegas is full of well-groomed palm trees.
We had much more storage in the previous house, and the current shipping delays and wood shortage mean it'll take a long while to get the shelves and cabinets we need to sort our stuff. Ah well. Visitors will just have to pardon the boxes for a few months more. I've yet to visit the community pool, but I'm having a blast taking Zumba and belly dance classes again at the community gym, and I've joined the art club! Turns out I love the texture and control of oil painting. I wonder where I'll set up my easel.
Speaking of artists, most of my romance characters are artistic in one way or another. Love, Art, and Other Obstacles: Book Nirvana 3 takes place in autumn and features two young artists who are rivals in a competition for an art grant both desperately need. Margot is a graphic artist who works with computers, and Elmer is a potter who creates whimsical ceramicware. Here’s Margot’s first look at Elmer’s work.
“Here’s a piece I sold last summer.” He tapped the screen to life and showed her a large urn glazed in shimmering earth tones with a similar river-ribbon spiraling up the side. “But the figures on this one were mostly adults. I thought, since she wants a donation for the Rainbow Center, I’d glaze the column in rainbow colors and populate it with kids.” His hopeful smile, the passion sparkling in his eyes, the tenderness with which his fingertip skimmed the image…
Damn, I want him. And he’s going to win this competition.
She cleared her throat. “Impressive.”
He flashed an aw-shucks grin. “You know how it is. You try different projects until you figure out what your thing is. Mine seems to be little figures hidden in the leaves. Like this.” Leaning across her lap, he lifted a shallow bowl from the nightstand and placed it in her hands. The glaze shimmered in bronze and red, and a garland of autumn leaves ringed the rim. Merry faces peeped out from between and behind, woodland sprites swapping jokes.
She turned it round and round, her stomach sinking lower and lower as she examined the exquisite detail. I am so out of my league.
He nudged her shoulder with his. “So, wanna bounce some ideas off me?”
No, she damn well did not. She’d made some preliminary files for her collage of images and text. Like Elmer, she wanted to incorporate a rainbow and kids, something about rising from negative to positive, from uncertainty to confidence, something about diversity and acceptance and hope. But her vision was a nebulous jumble compared to Elmer’s detailed plan. “I, uh, need to do more work on it.”
He replaced the bowl on the nightstand, his back muscles flexing as he leaned across her lap.
Her fingers itched to explore the slope from broad shoulders to narrow hips.
“But you’re gonna do something with kids and rainbows, right?”
Her throat tightened. “I’m not copying you, if that’s what you mean.”
To read more of Elmer & Margot’s steamy, artistic exploits, get your copy of Love, Art, & Other Obstacles. https://books2read.com/u/bar2RP
Thanks for reading! Until next month, I wish you a glorious, golden autumn—or spring, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere.