TITLE: The Wildflower Season
GENRE: Women's Fiction
Julie Portland believes that, ten years ago, she killed her best friend. When she learns of a missing diary that may tell a different story, she knows she has to get her hands on that book--even if it means returning to a Southern town she despises, uncovering scandalous secrets about the friend she thought she knew, and finally accepting her own guilt...or innocence.
She only has lovers in wintertime.
In summer, the days stretch long like lazy animals and the sun's rays reach like warm fingers down between buildings and slide across her face and arms, gentle. It's harder, then, to think of dark things. But winter in New York is suffocating, and it is all she can do to breathe, to take in the icy air through her nose and mouth, to taste the cold on her tongue as it slides in and leaves her insides frostbitten and numb. It is all she can do to survive. Even Beck must feel it, or something similar, because those sweet smiles grow smaller and fade faster.
Maybe it is the skin in summertime. She can see it everywhere when warm weather finally arrives. The skirts swishing and swaying around bare legs like a tribe of dancers, the bright exposed toes peeking, jubilant, from beneath stylish sandals. Even the almost-always covered arm muscles and elbows of businessmen in the Financial District when they wear short-sleeved Polo shirts on Fridays. Light cottons, a subtle breeze teasing ears, calves, shoulders. In summer months, skin finds freedom from the confines of layers. Walking to the subway, how easy it might be to brush, light as a kiss, a hand against the unsuspecting arm of another. A common electric accident, when so much skin is on parade.
It can't happen in the cold. Bundled tightly in her scarf and parka, she is alone, insulated from the warmth of another.