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The Ladybug Jinx

Part of the Rom-Com

Celia Briggs has always lived her life for everyone but herself. With the death of Celia’s mom, Celia realizes life is too short not to follow her dreams. In her small town of Grandberry Falls, Kentucky-Celia decides to open up, The Ladybug Florist, which is only fitting due to her love of flowers and ladybugs.

How can she not love ladybugs? Her deceased grandfather always said ladybugs bring luck and love.

Marty Briggs, Celia’s father, never dreamed his life as Grandberry Falls’ only flower delivery boy is harder than the job he’s retired from.

Sam Barber jumps in his car leaving his Hollywood life behind. He didn’t know stopping in the cozy town of Grandberry Falls, was about to change his life forever. Especially after answering the help wanted ad at The Ladybug Florist and giving a fake name so no one would recognize him.

Celia knows something is up Sam’s sleeve. Why would a thirty-year old man want to deliver flowers? Marty doesn’t care, he’s just happy to be retired-again.

Will Celia ever figure out Sam’s true identity? Does Sam reveal the big family secret Celia’s parents have kept from her all her life?

Celia’s about to find out if ladybugs are lucky or a jinx?

The Ladybug Jinx

Part of the Rom-Com

The Ladybug Jinx


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Chapter One

Celia stood on the cobblestone walkway looking at the name, ever so elegantly painted over the bay window in beautiful cursive writing: The Ladybug Florist.

“Will that be all?” the painter asked, poking his head out of the doorway. 

She followed him inside and admired the Chinese proverb he’d painted over the cash register. “You do fine work,” she said. 

She was pleased with the details. Except for one thing. “Before you go, can you make the dot on the ‘I’ in Florist a ladybug?” Celia asked.

It’s all about the details to Celia, all the way down to placing a ladybug sticker in each arrangement, in the right spot. 

The painter didn’t question her. He set his ladder up behind the cash register and began to work his magic. Celia left him alone to finish. There was new inventory to put up, flowers to cut, and arrangements to be made. With orders flowing in, she wasn’t about to complain.

Celia had dreamed of owning her own English floral shop, and when the two bedroom cottage on the outskirts of Grandberry Falls, Kentucky, went up for sale–Celia snatched the opportunity. 

Celia bent down to stop Charlie from barking when the bell hanging above the front door rang. “Shh! You’re going to scare the customers.” 

After Celia’s mother died, she went to the pound in Lexington to look for a dog for her father. A companion of sorts. Instead, the silver-haired miniature schnauzer found her. She was perfect for him, as Charlie was for her. He gave her two things a man never could: loyalty and unconditional love.

“I can’t keep up with all these deliveries, Celia.” Marty Briggs’ voice boomed throughout the old clapboard house. “You are going to have to hire someone. I’m just too old.”

She started to snip away the bright orange Gerber daisies as her father came in. She didn’t have to look up to hear the anger in his voice. He was good at letting her know how much he dislikes being the only flower delivery boy in town.

“I know, Dad, but you’re retired, and it gives you something to do. Everyone in town is always telling me how much they love visiting with you.” She continued to cut one daisy after the other, keeping a cautious eye on her father. 

“When you started this business you told me that I would be delivering on a temporary basis.” 

Marty looked at the arrangements left to be delivered.

“You need to hire someone else. Place a wanted ad in this week’s paper.”  

“Don’t you enjoy getting out of the house and visiting with Mamie down at the Fatted Pig during your coffee breaks?” Celia looked up to see if her dad would react at the mere mention of Mamie Beale’s name.

Celia’s heard faint rumors about Mamie taking a fancy to her father over the past few months.

“Celia Briggs, what are you implying?” Marty’s voice gave off a distinct displeasure at her accusations.

“I’m not implying anything, Dad. I think you need to get out of your house, and if you’re not delivering flowers you might not ever leave your TV.” Celia wasn’t about to tell him not to court Mamie, or press him for more information when he clearly wasn’t going to be forthcoming.

“Well.” Marty bent down to pick up a couple arrangements. “I can’t do them all anymore. You’re business is growing, and I’m more tired now than I was at Benton’s.”

Celia had several fond memories of her father being the manager at Benton’s IGA, the only grocery store in town. Many times she’d fling the Coke bottles down the bottle return as fast as she could so they would break in a big pile at the end. And many times she heard Mavis Prattle scream, “Marty Briggs, that child of yours has got to go home!” It only caused Celia to fling them harder the next time.

She knew her dad was right. The job was getting bigger than she planned.  But, every since he’d been delivering flowers, she’d seen a difference in him. It was hard on all of them since her mother passed a couple of years ago. 

Besides, Celia only gave him what she called “happy orders”: birthdays, anniversaries, births, just because occasions. He wasn’t ready for funeral homes, the sick or death deliveries. She left those for herself, which she found was leaving her little time to fulfill the orders too.

“Oh! Dad, wait!” Celia grabbed the ladybug stickers and ran after him. 

“That’s the first words out of people’s mouth, ‘Mr. Briggs, where’s the ladybug?’” 

Her dad made the funniest excited woman’s voice causing Celia to giggle.

“I love when you make me laugh. Now shoo.” Celia signaled for him to get going.

“Don’t forget about the delivery boy wanted ad. I mean it, Celia.” His face became stern. “I can’t do this all by myself anymore. It’s just getting too big.”

She shooed him out the door before she heard another word.

“Anything else?” The painter asked.

Wiping her hands on the apron, she then retrieved a tip for his time. “It looks great.” She held the tip out.

Pushing the money aside, the painter said, “If you don’t mind, I wouldn’t mind having a few daisies to take home to my wife.” He pointed in the other room toward the freezers. “My wife loves the simple daisy.”

Celia held back from laughing. If he only knew the complexity that simple flower has made upon the world. A whole philosophy was born when Buddha held up a single lotus. The simple flower was what made her love her job. Flowers make everyone happy, even the grumpy painter.

She opened the freezer, taking in a deep breath. The freeing feeling she got from the whiff of the fresh flowers caused her heart to glide along with soaring memories of her grandfather’s words. “Cee, if you are ever sad, go over to my freezer, and put your nose up to the seal. Inhale through your nose, open and shut the door. All your cares will melt away as the scents mingle, and swirl around.”

She held out the bucket of daisies. “Pick a stalk. Three.” 

The painter eyed each one carefully and pulled out the prettiest three.

“Good choice.” Celia placed the bucket back in the freezer, and took the stems from the painter. 

Silently he followed her back to the old kitchen where Celia worked her magic. Placing the final touch, she stuck a ladybug on a single white petal.

“You really like ladybugs.” The painter admired the arrangement.

“My grandfather always told me they were good luck.” She handed the vase to him. “They haven’t let me down yet.”

“My wife will love these.” The painter admired the flowers, rotating the vase at all angles before walking out to his rusty beat-up truck. 

Celia sat next to Charlie on the window seat watching the painter carefully place the daisies on the passenger seat.  A feeling of satisfaction flowed through her as the phone rang.

Charlie licked Celia just before she got up to answer the phone.

“Ladybug Florist, how can I help you?”

“Hi, Celia. It’s Megan down at the Record.” 

Celia talked to Megan a lot. She was the obituary editor at the Grandberry Falls Recorder. When Celia needed funeral arrangements, Megan was her go-to gal.

“Hey, what’s going on?” Celia was a little confused. She had already gotten her funeral updates for the week and unless something really unexpected happened. 

“Your dad came in yesterday, and told me to give you a call today about a classified.” Megan said.

“He did?” Celia couldn’t believe her dad took it upon himself to go see Megan.

“Honey, he said delivering all those flowers is killing him.”

That’s one thing Celia didn’t embrace about her community, town gossip. Technically it was only gossip, but it would be all over town that she was killing her father.

“Megan, he’s just being dramatic.” Celia was becoming increasingly aggravated at the fact her father would go to such tactics to ensure she followed through. Or maybe she should be mad at herself for slacking on something he obviously felt was important. 

“Either way, Celia, I need to know what the ad should say.” Celia could hear Megan rummaging for paper.

Celia sighed, feeling herself give in. “Wanted delivery boy.” 

“Okay, got that. And?” Megan paused.

“And what?”

“That’s it? I don’t think you’ll get a lot of response.” Megan paused again. “Listen, why don’t I ask one of our paper boys if they’d be interested?” 

“No. I want the ad.” Celia was going to do exactly as her father asked her to do. After thirty-two years of doing as she was told, why would she change now? “Obviously, put my name and store. I want them to apply in person.”

Though a little hesitant, Celia was somewhat relieved when her father pulled back in for more flowers to be delivered.

Celia was in the back hiding a ladybug in the last arrangement for the day when she heard the bell ring. “Hi, Dad.” 

“Hi, Cee. What’s going where?” She could tell by the wear on his face he was tired. The circles and wrinkles under his eyes gave him an almost eerie feature. Suddenly she felt guilty. 

“Just a couple drop-offs on the way to your house.” Celia held up the arrangement adorned with a beautiful bouquet of roses, sunflowers, lilies, daisy poms, seeded eucalyptus, and salal, accented with preserved fall leaves. She loved this time of year. The fall foliage colors added wonderful colors to any arrangement. 

“Megan called about the ad.” Celia followed him out to his truck, carefully placing the flowers on the dirty floor along with his used sugar packets from the day’s coffee.

“I hope you don’t mind. But Cee, I am tired.” He rested on his open driver’s side door with his foot propped up on the side step. “I can do a couple deliveries here or there, but not all day.”

Her heart sank at the creases in her father’s face. He’d aged so much in the past couple years. She didn’t want to add to it. Only she knows that once she hires a delivery boy, her dad will have too much extra time. 

“Actually I like the fact my business is growing, and maybe I need two delivery persons.” She added the second part to make her father feel better.

With a quick kiss and a hand off of MapQuest directions, her dad was on his way.

Celia couldn’t help but think about how far their relationship has come. He never seemed to take up for her when her mother continually told her, “Cee Cee, you’re going to get out of this small town and make something of yourself.” 

Celia always replied, “But I want to be a florist just like Grandpa.”

Her mother’s face would always curl in displeasure. Celia’s mother claimed grandpa had picked flowers over his family. “Pick a noble career, Cee. You are going to be a lawyer,” her mother repeated week after week until Celia graduated from law school. “There’s no honor in playing with flowers all day.”

end of excerpt

The Ladybug Jinx

is available in the following formats:

Tonya Kappes Books

Jun 9, 2011



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