What’s Ordinary to Some is Magical to Others
Before reading an article about a woman who grew lavender to use in special dishes, I’d never considered the flower much. Oh, I knew lavender was supposed to soothe your nerves and help you sleep, and its purple blooms look very pretty swaying in the breeze. But then I began researching. (It’s an addiction, I can’t help it!)
Surprisingly, lavender’s history stretches back to the Bible, and its mention in the Good Book led many to believe the flower acted as a safeguard against evil. A lavender cross over the door protected the home. In some countries, people believe fairies congregate around lavender, bringing healing and protection.
Lavender’s healing properties aren’t fantasy. Doctors used it as an antiseptic during World War I. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
In my paranormal romance, The Magic of Lavender, my heroine grows the flower to make signature recipes for the inn she buys. Unbenown to her, lavender’s also an aphrodisiac. :)
Here’s an easy recipe from my heroine’s kitchen:
• 3 cups sugar
• 7 sprigs lavender (stems and buds), plus additional for garnish
• 2 cups fresh lemon juice (from about 12 lemons)
• 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from about 5 limes)
In a large saucepan, bring one gallon of water and the sugar to a boil. Remove from heat; add 7 lavender sprigs and lemon and lime juices. Cool to room temperature, strain, and chill. Serve on ice, with additional lavender for garnish.
The Magic of Lavender is the first book in The Goddess Connection series, which says: Every woman should embrace her inner goddess. What’s your connection? I have several more novels in this series in mind to follow. In each, the heroine will be somehow connected to a goddess. Her lifelong quirks will become strengths once she finds her true place in the world, and accepts herself for who she really is.
Jocelyn Gibson forgot about the realm of magic. But it never forgot her. Gram always told her: don’t ignore your magical gifts, it will insult the family. But Joss didn’t realize her gifts included channeling the energy of powerful ley lines. Or that her family included a goddess. Family connections come in handy when the Lord of the Underworld kidnaps local vet Eric Hendricks. He’s an amazing lover, but Joss didn’t know she loved him until too late. With a little help from the Goddess Iris, Joss defends the new life she’s forged, and helps save the town of Boiling Springs from destruction. Once Eric escapes Hell, can she stop loving him to keep him safe?
When her grandmother entered, fully dressed, Joss went to her. “Morning. Coffee’s on in the kitchen.”
Gram hugged her. “Jocelyn, are you all right? You had an eventful evening.”
To say the least. Gathering the votive candles, she spoke as if distracted by her work. “I’m fine.”
Standing slowly, Lydia’s blood-red nails clenched the air. “I’ve never seen so many fae invade a home at once.”
Neither had Joss. When she was a girl, swarms of glowing beings would flicker in the blades of grass, or leaves of trees. Sometimes flit to her window. But come inside? Only on occasions of rare importance. “Aunt Lydia—”
Her aunt came toward her. “The sign was very clear.”
Evading the interrogation, Joss wrestled a wing-back chair to the center of the carpet. “I can’t let myself believe in bad luck.” Safer to make her own luck through hard work than rely on luck bestowed by supposedly mythological creatures.
Gram stepped closer. “They’ve come back, Jocelyn. I’m not surprised, really, that you found their favor again, given our family history.”
Lydia added, “But you must treat them with respect.”
How could she admit she’d hoped they’d return? That in planting a field of lavender in the spring, she’d hoped to encourage them to stay?
Nor could she admit last night’s dream to her aunt. Like the lights, it had happened once before. The same night as before.
Long after saying goodnight to Gram and Lydia, Joss stood at her bedroom window and imagined a field of purple waltzing with the breeze beneath the stars. The image stayed with her as she settled into bed. It coaxed her to sleep, but grew more vivid with the lights out.
In her dream, the evening star shone more brightly than usual, and led her to the stone bridge. The silhouette of a man beckoned beyond the lavender field. She crossed the bridge into the lavender, and its blooms caressed her legs as she walked. Instead of its scented oils soothing her skin, it excited her. The thought of meeting him excited her too. Dusk deepened quickly, and she couldn’t see his face as he leaned down to kiss her. Pressing against him, her body fit snugly against his curves. He took her down into the lavender, filled her body and soul, with the stars glimmering so bright and low, they mingled with the violet blooms. He was so tender, yet strong. His caresses so loving, he brought her to heights she never imagined, and only after she was fulfilled did he allow himself release. Afterward, he rolled onto his back and pulled her close, his skin warm against hers. His voice rumbled through his chest. “Who needs fireworks with so many fireflies?” The reverberations made her fingers tremble, and she closed her eyes to listen to him breathing.
She’d awakened in a luscious afterglow, but bothered she had no clue who he was, or when she’d find him. Or what he’d meant about fireworks. In the dream, she knew exactly what he meant, but now...
Cate Masters loves stories with a dash of magic, mayhem and romance! Multipublished in contemporary to historical, sweet to erotic, fantasy/dark fantasy to speculative, she sometimes mashes genres. Reviewers have described her stories as “so compelling, I did not want to put it down,” and “such romantic tales that really touch your soul.”
When not spending time with her family, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com, and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.
Your post is so interesting, Cate. Was lavender the inspiration behind your story? Or did what you learn about lavender make its way into the book somehow?
Any other questions or comments for Cate?