Thank you, Carol, for having me, and a big hello to all readers!
Well, I’m in paradise. Lounging on a chaise under the Tiki Hut, I can’t get enough of the fresh air, azure sky—not a cloud anywhere, balmy sunshine, and frothy waves. I take a sip of my third ice-cold Sea Breeze cocktail (Belvedere vodka and cranberry juice with a splash of grapefruit). Ah, perfectly blended. I can’t get enough of those either. Hey, no judgment allowed in the Tiki Hut.
After one more hour of unwinding, I’ll pull my attention from the idyllic horizon and focus on starting my next novel. At least that’s what I tell myself. I glance at my laptop to my left and cringe with guilt. Then I turn to my right. My muse is napping, quite peacefully yet again, sprawled spread-eagle in the powdery sand. Nothing is stopping her from relaxing. So, what’s my problem?
Down the beach, a couple approaches, strolling hand in hand. Toned bodies, flawless tans, and rock star shades. Touching my tummy, I’m grateful I didn’t order the artichoke and cheese dip. Major bling on the wife’s left hand catches the sun and my gaze. The perpetual breeze acting like their very own wind machine doesn’t help the image percolating in my mind. They’re that couple. You know the one. Gorgeous, wealthy, not a care in the world. Lost in a bubble of love.
I suddenly miss my husband, who graciously offered to hit the gym back at the hotel to give me time to write so we could enjoy the rest of our day with none of the characters in my head barging in. Guilt pricks me once more, but a long drag on my drink seems to help.
The hot husband says something to his beauty queen wife. I expect her to smile or laugh. She doesn’t. Yanking her hand from his, she stands still as a palm tree. Her flowing curls make her stance seem more rigid and hard. The husband drags his fingers through his hair, letting out a sigh so deep even I can see his chest heave from this distance.
Finally, she says something, stabbing the air in his direction. He shakes his head, wraps his hands around her shoulders, his mouth moves faster than a lip-reader could decipher. For the first time, I wish I could turn down the volume of the waves. So I can eavesdrop. Does that make me a bad person?
The wife wrenches free of his grasp and slaps him. Hard! Throwing her arms up in the air, she paces, yelling. Darn those loud waves. He massages his brow. His head continues to whip from side to side. She rips something off her hand—her left hand—and throws it to the ground at his feet. Whirling on her heels, she storms off down the beach. Alone.
He drops his gaze to the sand, where her wedding bling sparkles. His shoulders slump, giving him the appearance of something beautiful and strong that is now horribly broken.
My heart clenches and I remember my rule about no judgment.
The husband looks in the opposite direction, perhaps back at the hotel. As he stands, deliberating, his wife marches farther away. Then he turns, picks up the ring from the sand, and races after her. Although she’s walking, her pace is enviable and he’s got a lot of ground to cover.
When catches up, he stands in front of her, palms up. “Please!” he begs. Now that they’re closer, it’s the one word I do hear.
Not only does she slow down, she actually stops. He drops onto his knees, throws his arms around her waist, pressing his cheek to her bare stomach. She tries to break away, but he doesn’t let go. The wind shifts, whipping her long locks behind her. Tears stream down her cheeks, past the shield of her sunglasses. She clutches his head. Their bodies sway to and fro.
He dares to draw back slightly. Just enough to slip the ring onto her finger. Holding her, he speaks. His free hand gesturing, emphasizing the passion I can’t overhear. She nods and kneels in front of him. Foreheads pressed together, they linger, sandy fingers stroking cheeks.
Talk about great inspiration. I’m pumped, creativity on full throttle. No thanks to my muse, who is now snoring. I set down my drink and crack open my laptop.
So, what are some of the elements that made a particular book one of your favorites? Passion? Conflict? A dose of the unexpected? Grab a beverage and share.
Big hug to Carol for letting me visit!