So I have a thing about love letters. There’s something about a person taking the time to put all their focus on you, to put thir other responsibilities aside to send anotehr person a letter, a card, whatever. I think tey’re beautifully intimate and sadly, not a common as they should be. Here’s an excerpt from INSIDE OUT, where Ella receives her first package and letter from Cope…
BROWN SIBLINGS: INSIDE OUT by LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2010, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, The Berkley Publishing Group
When she checked her mailbox on Friday afternoon, it was stuffed with a fat manila envelope. Brow furrowed, she worried until she saw the return address and last name in the upper left corner. Cope.
Once inside her apartment, she opened the envelope and treasure after treasure slid from it.
Leaves pressed between wax paper.
An antique postcard from the Seattle World’s Fair. To someone’s Aunt Rose, from Josie. The handwriting was that of a young girl, enamored of the city, of the press and flow of traffic and people.
Three packets of tea, all described in some other language, the furls and pitch of which she was unfamiliar with. One was perfectly square and covered with a sort of parchment. The ink was deep purple. One deep sniff, and smoke met her nose. Spice and smoke. She’d have this one first.
He’d torn a page from a magazine. A feature on best breakfast places to go in Seattle. He’d written in Sharpie at the bottom: “We need to have waffles after a long walk in the morning mist. Then I can take you back to bed.”
And then a small square of paper. Turning it over revealed a pen-and-ink drawing of a woman’s neck, collarbone and the upper curve of her breasts. From the freckles so accurately placed, he’d drawn her body.
She couldn’t tear her eyes away for the longest time. It was stunning.
Simple. Elegant and sensual. All things she never considered herself. But there it was. Through his eyes, she was all those things.
The sketch was most likely the !nest compliment she’d ever received.
At last the folded sheaf of paper. She held it, drawing out the unexpected pleasure he’d given her. The weight of the paper was substantial.
It pleased her to think he’d chosen it specially for her. He may have kept a sheaf of writing paper for general reasons, but she preferred to think he’d done it for her.
Unfolding it, she realized what beautiful handwriting he had. Each new thing she discovered about him only made her like him more.
She had no idea he was such a talented artist with pen and ink as well as wood. Who knew he’d have a fountain pen with ink the shade of a bright summer sky? Andrew Copeland was one complicated man.
Something confirmed as she read his words.
The tea is to take you away from your desk, from your dreary day and off, far away. Warm breezes, time to simply drink and enjoy the sights, sounds and scents of the world. When you come to me here at my house, we can share a pot as we laze about on a cold and rainy evening.
The sketch isn’t nearly as good as it could be, as strong as my memory of that part of you I love so much. The long line of your neck, your skin so pale and perfect. And like a surprise, freckles spattered here and there with artful chaos. I saw the postcard in a bin at an antique store in Marysville. I’ve been saving it, not knowing you needed it until after I slid the leaves into the envelope.
Upon night’s breast, I fly to you each time I close my eyes . . .
She fanned herself a moment, trying to keep her bearings, when in reality, he’d shaken her. Her defenses against him crumbled.
No one got to her the way he did.
She sat, the sky outside darkening, and realized her feelings for Andrew Copeland were beyond her ability to control.