WHISPERS OF LOVE
Life is what happens while you’re making other plans…
Connor Anderson leads a charmed life and knows exactly where he’s going. Men want to be him, women want to be with him, and Hollywood simply wants him. When he crashes his car in the backwaters of New Zealand on his way to the location of his newest film, it’s just an inconvenience. Right?
Claudia is rebuilding her life with her new daughter, her beloved farm in stunning New Zealand countryside, her treasured animals, and without a husband. Her recipe for happiness is to stop chasing pipe dreams. She lacks nothing. Should she see something she wants, she knows how to get it. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.
But best-laid plans aren’t always working out when Hollywood stardom collides with down to earth Kiwi sensibility.
Here is a short excerpt from chapter one:
Connor flinched as lightning cut through the angry, black sky followed by waves of thunder rolling through the night. He checked the rear-view mirror and swore under his breath. Damn leeches are still chasing him. His maneuver to shake them off a few intersections back didn’t work. How did they do it? Did they stick a tracking device to his car?
Everything went crazy today, starting with the two-hour delay in Tokyo and arriving late in Auckland in pouring rain and thunderstorm. He should have taken the taxi the producers booked for him instead of driving himself, in a foreign country, at night, and on the wrong side of the road for crying out loud. What was he thinking?
He checked the mirror again. Blinded by the headlights of the following car he swore. They’ll win and get their shots of him, but not tonight. Tonight he’s an ordinary bloke driving through the sticks of New Zealand. Stunning sticks, they told him. He’ll be the judge of that. Right now he could only make out trees and fences that appeared in the beam of his headlights.
At the signpost to Dargaville, he slammed on the brakes and flung the car to the right into a small side road. Had he outfoxed his followers? He checked the rearview mirror again and, his foot hard on the gas pedal, raced around the corner up the hill. Too late he noticed the street change from asphalt to gravel. His Jeep skidded.
Illuminated by another lightning flash, he caught sight of two cows standing at a fence, staring at him with their big eyes. He threw the steering wheel around, but his Jeep slid and swerved out of control across the road. The animals bolted in panic, and the car crashed into the wooden fence.
Under the impact of the collision, his body propelled forward, and his head slammed into the windshield. Dizzy and disoriented he moaned as blood ran down the right side of his face. The headlights cast an eerie light onto the scene, the silence only disturbed by the drum roll of the rain on the roof, the squeaking of the wipers, and the hissing steam escaping from the bonnet.
He should get out of the car, but his legs didn’t move. Maybe he was already dead? Like Patrick Swayze in Ghost before he realized he was dead? So this is how dying is feeling. Interesting. He expected more… His vision faded.
I wish I knew what I’m doing!
Claudia snorted. The course facilitator was a real wise guy. Two hundred fifty dollars spent on a weekend course that told her what she already knew. So much hope and money wasted to find new answers. Any answer would’ve done. She was open like a hay barn for good suggestions at this particular juncture of her life. A dozen volumes of how to parent books only confused her more than she already was.
Startled by the bright lightning cutting through the dark night followed by sharp, loud cracks of thunder she gripped the steering wheel with both hands. She should slow down, but the headlights of the idiot racing ahead in front of her gave her decent enough vision. She shrugged. How many times had she driven on this road in the last thirty years? She could drive here with her eyes closed and her hands tied behind her back.
She knew raising a ten-year-old orphan would be a massive adjustment for her. Not that Isabella was a difficult child. Far from it. But it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that losing her parents only six months ago would cause ripples and bumps that would be hard on the child and her.
Nothing, though, prepared her for the emotional roller coaster where she found herself. It was an easy decision back then to take care of the dying mother and promise her to give the young girl a home. She and Howard always wanted children. Not being able to have a child of their own weighed heavy on their marriage. It didn’t help she discovered Howard’s affair with his best friend, Patrick, only a month after Isabella moved in with them. It put an abrupt end to their thirty-year marriage. She had no stomach for lies and betrayal.
She snorted and shifted down into second gear to take the right turnoff. Almost home. Her eyes snapped open as the car in front of her swerved like a leaf in the wind and slammed into the fence. Her fence. Bloody idiot. Who drives at breakneck speed on a gravel road during a thunderstorm? She pumped her breaks until her pickup truck stopped right behind the Jeep. There was no movement in the car in front of her. Without a second thought, she jumped out of her truck and ran into the pouring rain to help.
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