In Ohio, the appearance of yellow daffodils in my front yard signaled the beginning of spring and two to three weeks later the crabapple tree blooms with an explosion of pink flowers, heralding the new season. Soon trees topped with white, red and pink crowns of flowers formed an honor row for our dead end street. We threw our snow coats and let the children roll their bikes out of the garage.
Now I live in South Florida where spring brings a very different scenario. While we enjoy the perfect temperatures that allow us to dive in the ocean, April also brings a horde of tourists escaping the freezing North.
Floridians love to see the snowbirds strolling on the Las Olas boardwalk in their bikinis, sitting at the cafes, dining at restaurants. Although true Floridians complain about traffic jams and carefully avoid the crowded public beaches during spring-break, they welcome with open arms the snowbirds who bring a much needed income to the local industry. If you live in the North, don’t hesitate to come. We’d love to have you.
In Russia, springtime marks the beginning of "dacha season," the time when many residents of Russian cities and smaller towns leave the wet bare soil of lawns and travel to the countryside to enjoy the bright sunshine of spring.
A few years ago I traveled to Minsk, Belarus, once a month for business. I was surprised by the unusual sight of icy monticules in the middle of avenues and small streets, often blocking the way. While zigzagging without slowing down, my chauffeur-guide-interpreter explained that drivers caught in a blizzard abandoned their cars. No one dared to complain since the local authorities didn’t have the means to clear them from their icy boxes. So they remained there until the weather improved. For Belarusians spring came when the ice melted and they were able to retrieve their cars. I wrote about spring in Belarus in my current release, Rx IN RUSSIAN.
Fyodor Vassilov is a Russian widower, surgeon and officer— Jillian Burton is an American pediatrician on a mission to improve medical conditions in Belarus. Jillian blames herself and her ex-husband for their son’s death, and has lost her illusions about men and marriage—Duty demands that Fyodor provide a mother to his four little boys and marry a woman who loves children and big family.
When they work together for six months in his hospital, their fascination with one another shocks them both. Can attraction and love overcome guilt, duty, and a clash of cultures?
“Yes,” Jillian said, her eyes skimming the bulging muscles of his arms and wide shoulders draped in green scrubs. “Yes.” She licked her lower lip as her gaze skittered down to his flat, hard stomach. She’d seen him naked, gloriously handsome, powerful and sexy. How on earth was she going to erase the picture from her mind?
“The ice is melting.”
“Huh... oh yes. The streets seem wider.”
“Because people are collecting their abandoned cars now that they can be freed from their covering of ice. Spring is here.”
Yeah, and soon she’d have to leave.
A sigh escaped her, and Fyodor glanced at her. His hand rested on the small of her back as he led her around the block. She recognized Fyodor’s old car. “Your car?” She frowned. “What for? Where are we going?”
“I wish you would trust me, Jillian.” He opened the passenger door. “Get in, please.”
“But what’s going on?” Why was he acting so weird?
Turning around, he jumped in, started his car, and took off. “Remember the Botanical Garden I wanted to show you in the spring? The flowers are blooming there, and the fragrance is heaven.”
Arching her eyebrows, she stared at him. Had he lost his mind? “We are leaving the hospital to admire the Botanical Garden?” When had he turned into a romantic?
“We are taking a break. They can reach us in case of emergency. We both have our cell phones. We are five minutes from the hospital, and the streets are clear now.”
He parked against the curb, opened the door for her, and tugged at her hand. Shaking her head, she followed him. She’d have one look at the flowers and go back. When they reached the end of an alley, she stopped in her tracks.
“Is that the Garden of Eden?”
“You said it right.” He sat on a bench and pulled her beside him.
Rows and parterres exploded in a rainbow of colors from an artistic chaos of daffodils, peonies, irises, and other flowers she didn’t recognize. A floral scent wafted on the breeze and enveloped her, relaxing her. Careful. Relaxing near Fyodor could only lead to trouble.
Mona is the author of two international romantic suspense novels available at Cerridwen Press: To Love A Hero and French Peril. Her contemporary romances, Babies in the Bargain, Prescription For Love and Prescription In Russian are available at The Wild Rose Press.