TITLE: COURTESY OF THE NORTH
GENRE: YA fantasy
"My Anastasha, I've loved ya like the poppies love red since I was five an' three-quarters and, now that we're both fourteen, I think we oughta marry."
This was it. These were the words. The words that had eluded him so deviously this time last year. He had stood before Anastasha, grabbed her muddy, lovely hands with his freckled fingers and attempted to do what he would successfully accomplish today. Back then, the words he meant to say turned into "ums" and "ers" and stutters of similar intelligence. Foul, crafty words!
But not today. Words loved him today. As soon as the fluid string of poetry left his lips, they would infiltrate Anastasha's chest and strike her heart with all the heat of the summer sun.
It would be too much! She would swoon and he would rush forward to catch her in his arms. And then she, his darling Anastasha, would open her glorious green eyes to see his face above hers. Love blossoming like crimson poppies in her cheeks.
Oh yes. This was it. Aleksander's heart hammered in his throat as he snuck through a forest of oak and apple trees. He ducked under a low branch and skirted around the thorns of a hackberry so methodical and habitually as if he'd done this every day.
Alek slowed down. Looked at his feet. The grasses and clover beneath the soles of his loafers lay wilted and brown, packed into the dirt.