posted on July 28, 2020 by Cathy Skendrovich

A Rose by any Other Name

I love roses. Most flowers, actually. Looking back, I probably could’ve made being a florist a career. My favorite of all flowers is the hybrid tea rose. I like to cut them and bring them into the house, let their fragrance fill each room. I guess it stems (no pun intended) from when my dad grew roses for my mom. I remember him saying their names, like Chrysler Imperial, Mister Lincoln, Gold Medal, and First Prize. Old roses that still provide lots of enjoyment for growers today. My favorites are Mister Lincoln and Chrysler Imperial.

When I started writing my military thriller Zone of Action, I knew I wanted to include some sort of floriculture as a counterpoint to the power and action of a military novel. And when I decided my heroine would be a former Army soldier, I knew exactly how I would tie my love of flowers into this romantic thriller.

Audrey Jenkins has seen action in Afghanistan and has been a witness to atrocities she wants nothing more than to forget. When she gets out of the Army, she chooses to be a florist, the farthest occupation from what she’d been before, a terror-cell expert.

She surrounds herself with flowers and makes a second career out of being a florist in her small town. She’s happy with her life, until CID Special Agent Cameron Harris bursts on to the scene, needing her help and embroiling her in danger.

Here’s an excerpt from Zone of Action where Audrey and Cam meet.

The bouquet was almost perfect. Audrey stepped back to study the Rhapsody in Blue sympathy arrangement she was preparing. While funeral and condolence floral arrays weren’t her favorite to compose, they were a necessary part of her business. They provided a sort of comfort to those left behind.

She cocked her head. It needed a few more white button mums to contrast with the blue irises and hydrangea blooms. The blues were overpowering the overall look. She adjusted her earbuds before going to the refrigerated mum case. Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” began to blast through them. She welcomed the sound.

She’d become addicted to the head banger music after the bombing in Kandahar. It was one of the few ways she could block the images and sounds that continued to haunt her from that day. Many soldiers sought solace from PTSD in music, while others found it a trigger. She didn’t consider herself a sufferer. She bet the Army shrink would differ with her even now.

The music echoed through her body, the thump of the drum rhythmic and primal. It freed her to feel, and let her thoughts roam free. Her head began to nod to the beat. The music, the flowers. They all represented the lack of restrictions she embraced. The words were immaterial.

The tap on her shoulder sent her spinning around, brandishing the mum stalks in an outside block that almost caught Elena in the face. Her friend must’ve expected that reaction, for she’d already retreated.

Audrey pulled the earbuds from her ears. “Damn it, Elena, don’t sneak up on me like that.”

“I wasn’t sneaking. I yelled for you, but that shit you listen to drowned me out. Like always. You have a visitor.”

“Who is it?” She nudged her friend before setting the flowers on the butcher block island and starting out to the front of the store without waiting for Elena’s answer. When she saw who it was, she understood why the other woman had hesitated.

In the relaxed uniform of white, short-sleeved shirt and blue trousers of the CID, stood the handsome soldier she’d last seen and admired at Brett’s court martial. His back was to her, but she recognized his attire, and she’d never forget the man himself, or her reaction to his appearance that day in the courtroom. She’d found him attractive then, and by the way she was studying his wide shoulders, narrow waist, and tight ass right now, that attraction hadn’t diminished.

Irritated at her response, she snapped, “What are you doing here?”

The man turned around. She swallowed the gasp that rose in her throat. The left side of his handsome face was bruised—black, purple, with an underlying yellow tinge. The gaze he pinned on her was direct, but she could see weariness in the depths of his brown eyes.

A sense of dread lapped at the edges of her consciousness. She knew she wasn’t going to like whatever he had to say. It didn’t take long to find out.

“Brett Gates escaped.”

For a chance to win an ARC of Zone of Action, please tell me your favorite flower. If you can upload a photo, even better!



Cathy Skendrovich

Cathy Skendrovich

Cathy Skendrovich has always loved a good story, and spent her formative years scribbling what is now called Fan Fiction. The current heartthrob of the time featured heavily in all her stories. Unfortunately, once she went to college, her writing took the form of term papers. Upon graduation, Cathy became a middle school English teacher. Along the way, she married her husband of now thirty-three years, had two sons, and moved to southern Orange County, California. She chose to work part-time in the school system there. She eventually joined the online writing site, Wattpad, and credits those followers for encouraging her to become a published author. She is a member of RWA, and writes contemporary romance for Entangled. Her Entangled titles include Prisoner of Love, available now, and the soon-to-be-released romantic suspense, Protecting the Nanny. She also has two historical romances published through Literary Wanderlust publishers.

11 thoughts on “A Rose by any Other Name”

  1. Avatar bn100 says:


    1. Avatar Cathy Skendrovich says:

      Me too.

  2. Avatar Lisa Sabatini says:

    I love the Orange tiger lily.

    1. Avatar Cathy Skendrovich says:

      OH, that’s lovely!

  3. Avatar Maureen Mick says:

    I love orchids.and have several, since they are easier to grow.

    I do day lillies. I was watching QVC once, and Horticulturist Phillip Watson was selling them. A lady called .in and told him she loved them, but they closed up at night. Phillip said, “Yes, Mam, that’s why they’re called day lillies.” LOL

  4. Avatar flchen1 says:

    My favorite flower is the tulip! I wanted them as a wedding bouquet, but they really aren’t fall flowers, LOL!

    1. Avatar flchen1 says:

      And great excerpt, Cathy!

  5. Avatar Kathy levernier says:

    Oh my goodness, I really appreciate this look at the Rose🌹
    in this way. This is the last place I would have thought to
    look for a story on Roses.

    I just adore this 🙂 Several reasons.
    First this story sounds very interesting 🙂
    Second, the beautiful bouquet caught my attention & made
    me ~Stop~
    My dad’s parents were our only neighbors 🙂
    Most of my life was with them.
    Granma had the most gorgeous Roses along 2 walls of their house in the back yard. (for life in the ’50s how did they learn
    No internet to look up info, just hand-me-down info?)

    Most importantly grandma ‘s Mom was Rose .
    It was not until I was an adult decades later did I put it
    together 🙂 Duh 🙁 How we miss cues & clues 🙁
    I spent from age 8-20 sitting with gran going thru All their
    photos in 2big boxes (after grandpa died ) They were the 1st to afford camera in 1920s. She kinda reminisced as she tried recalling. I put it in note book & names on lower part of photos. I NEVER could have known as an 8-9 yr old kid that this was the most vital information on both families.
    Roses have an enormous meaning to me. 🙂

    I find Your writing Fabulous to incorporate all these things
    Into this story. A bit of a twist.

    I have photos but can’t see where to upload?

  6. Avatar Nancy Shepherd says:

    I enjoy all flowers, but I truly love balloon flowers. I have the blue one…bought a pot of 3 plants years ago, and they are amazing. They spread by reseeding. so I have more than three now, despite the fact that I have shared some plants with other enthusiasts. If O deadhead thefirst flower, I often get a second blooming.

  7. Avatar Nancy Shepherd says:

    Thank you.

  8. Avatar Ginger says:

    I like Hollyhocks… wish I could figure out how to upload a pic here in the comments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest from our Blog

Beyond Disney’s Magic and Miami’s Glitz

When you think of Florida, do you immediately think 1) Spring break on the beach or 2) Disney? If so, you’re not alone. But Florida, believe it or not, offers much more than that. I live in Central Florida, and when we moved up here from S. Florida’s hustle and bustle 25 years ago, we… Read More

Read More