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Bloom and Doom by Beverly Allen

As the co-owner of The Rose in Bloom, Audrey Bloom creates magnificent flower arrangements for brides to be. Though helping to plan a wedding can be stressful, it’s nothing compared to the groom turning up dead. 

A designer of eye-catching bridal bouquets—many of them based on the Victorian meanings behind each flower—Audrey Bloom is used to celebrations that end with happily ever after. In fact, every couple she’s worked with is still together, living in wedded bliss. But her perfect record is about to be broken.

Her childhood friend Jenny Whitney has reeled in the most eligible bachelor in Ramble, Virginia, and she’s hired Audrey to design the bouquet. But before Jenny can walk down the aisle clutching her blend of anemone, scabious, and pussy willow (a floral disaster in Audrey’s mind), the groom is found dead—sprinkled with bits of a bouquet. This is bad for business—not to mention for Jenny, who has become the prime suspect. So Audrey decides to do a little digging herself, hoping she won’t be the next Ramble resident pushing up daisies…

Beverly Allen (aka Barbara Early) holds a degree in engineering, but her creative streak caused her to run screaming from the pocket-protector set. She enjoys cooking, crafts, gardening, home-improvement projects, board games, and spending time with her husband, daughter, and four naughty but adorable cats.

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Character Interview: Audrey Bloom

Tell us your name and a little bit about yourself?

Hi, I'm Audrey Bloom, and I'm a floral designer. I specialize in creating bridal bouquets (and other wedding flowers) using the old language of flowers. I enjoy using flowers specifically chosen because their meanings relate to the bride's personality or relationship with her future spouse. Maybe there's something magical in that, because I just learned that all of the brides who have carried one of my bouquets down the aisle are still together with their grooms!

Tell us about where you live and why you choose to live there?

I live in the small town of Ramble, Virginia. It's a cozy little town, and I have fond memories of spending my childhood summers in the area with my dear Grandma Mae and my cousin Liv. After Grandma Mae passed, Liv and I used the money she left us to put a down payment on the small shop right on Main Street. We called it Rose in Bloom, since she's Olivia Rose and I'm Audrey Bloom...but I guess I already said that.

What is a quirk of your personality that most people wouldn't know?

That they wouldn't know? Hmm. They might not know that I love old movies, especially musicals. I sing the songs when I'm in the shower. Well, my neighbor actually does know that, since he's constantly pounding on the walls. And I have a crush on Cary Grant.

Name two things you would hate people to know about you?

Like any woman, I guess my weight. I'm not exactly obese, but I'm not part of the health club set with all that sweating and juicing either.

And the second thing I'd hate people to know is probably why I switched careers and became a wedding florist. Liv knows, and I'm sure it's going to come out eventually, but...

Tell us about your special bloke. What makes him special? 

Well, nobody right now. I just went through a nasty breakup with Brad--aka Brad the Cad. The thing that makes him special to me right now is just how good his face looks on my dartboard.

But I did just meet this guy. His name is Nick and he just opened up a new bakery in town.

The first time you saw him, what did you think? Did you like him immediately, or did he have to grow on you?

When I met Brad? Oh, I thought it was love at first sight. Enough to slap that silly notion right out of my head.

Or did you mean Nick? When I first saw him, for some reason--maybe because he was dressed all in white in his bakers' clothes--I thought of the moonflower, which means, "I only dream of love." But I'm really not sure I'm ready for another relationship right now.

And now some silly questions.

Pepsi or coke


tea or coffee


elephant or tiger


roast dinner or burger and chips (fries for our US readers)

yes, please!

classical music or pop

broadway showtunes

sunrise or sunset


walk or run


chocolate or crisps (chips for our US readers)



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