As Temmin walked to the Keep's mudroom from the stables, he saw Ellika in the gardens, cutting carefully chosen roses in fastidious little snips. She wore a dress of tiny pink and white stripes, with a neckline that would have gained their mother's strong disapproval without a modest lace fichu tucked into it. Atop Ellika's pile of blond hair balanced a wide straw hat covered in a ridiculous mound of silk roses, tied under her chin with trailing pink ribbons.
Temmin pulled her closer by degrees. She smelled of hay and tea, and he wanted to bury his nose in her neck. Her quick pulse beat at her wrist beneath his fingers, her corset bones stiff beneath his hand at her back; he wondered how soft her breasts were, whether her nipples were the same sweet, rosy color as those of the girl in the hedge, and he grew impossibly, uncomfortably hard.