“I quit.” Michael Northington tossed his PJ insignia, a metal angel enfolding the world in its wings, across his boss’ desk. At the end of the tumultuous 1980’s, Michael’s idealism snapped when he discovered his assignment had not been to protect a patient but to prevent a friend from receiving life-giving care. He left behind the world that had dealt him one too many betrayals and sought solace on St. Croix. Life settled into a rhythm of working out his anger in long runs along the beach, teaching scuba to tourists, and acquiring a taste for classical music until his battle buddies showed up on his island paradise. Born late in life to doting, upper-class parents, Elise Eisler’s life feels like a song out of tune after her parents die. Prodded by muse, the artist moved her work home from the studio she shared with her father and listed the cottage for rent. Busy keeping her father’s musical legacy alive, the historic atmospheric concert theater in repair, and exploring a natural romance with her childhood sweetheart; Elise has little interest in the mysterious stranger who has taken over the cottage. Coaxed back into the field, Michael travels overseas to rescue the liberal daughter of an even more liberal senator eyebrow deep in an international organ harvesting industry. As Michael follows a barely discernable connection, he discovers the political forces behind his friend’s death. When the deadly players who market human organs blow into St Croix at the same time Hurricane Hugo unleashes its fury on the island, Michael must employ all his skills to protect Elise and those important to her. Settling his painful past, and learning to forgive, provides Michael the freedom to embrace a new chapter in life. And at the center of his promising future is the beautiful and distant Elise.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
My son was in the military at the same time my daughters were involved in an international classical music camp. Sitting in the stellar concerts listening to the top conductors and musicians performing timeless compositions, I wondered what life was like for my son. The two came together to feature a hard rock-loving, life-saving spec ops military guy who goes to an island to recover after a tragic assignment and meets the classically trained Elise.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I completed the whole book from the hero’s point of view and was content with it. I began with the scene when Michael returns to the island after he nearly lost his life and realizes life is too short to live without Elise. I thought it would be the final scene in the story but as I wrote the tale took on a life of its own – rather like our children – and as I went back and wrote Elise’s point of view, that scene is more in the center of the book. Having been to St. Croix twice and a beach girl at heart, I wove Elise from all the things best about the island and elegant music.
He coughed and choked, convulsed and vomited. Michael had never been so scared in all his life. That had been too close. In that immediate moment he thought of Elise. He wanted to see her more than he wanted anything in the world.
“Yo, Dog.” Bryce’s familiar voice danced at the edge of reality. He felt strong hands grip his trembling shoulders, and then Bryce’s thumbs kneaded his shaking arms.
Feeling waterlogged and heavy Michael opened his eyes. Bryce’s grinning face was as welcome as a cold beer on a stifling day. His buddy was at his side in the dark water. Michael’s head rested on a flotation ring supported by Claire, whose teeth chattered violently. A tugboat idled next to the sodden trio. Looking up he watched Corbin and the boat’s pilot securing the underwater attacker who had obviously been gaffed and hauled aboard, thanks to the tug’s towing equipment.
“Breathe,” Bryce coached. “In slow.” Michael inhaled a lungful of oxygen and held it in an attempt to calm his quaking body. “Exhale,” Bryce instructed. “Nice and slow.” Obediently Michael released the air in his lungs. He squeezed his eyes tightly closed and pictured Elise as he had last seen her. Facing him, her blue eyes framed by her blonde hair as the trade wind carried the fragrance of plumeria, frangipani, night jasmine, and gardenia to him—the piece of paradise he’d brought along when he left the “You okay?” Bryce patted his cheek. “Stay with us, Mikey.”
About the Author:
“How can we make this happen?”
This is the life motto for PeggySue Wells. Whether she is co-authoring someone’s compelling story, penning her own riveting novels, in a board meeting for a global non-profit, or turning her home into an art studio where her seven children live, learn, and love, PeggySue is a dream driver.
PeggySue connects people to their hearts, dreams, unlimited potential, as well as to others with similar passions.
The author of two dozen books and thousands of articles, PeggySue Wells is a broadcast co-host, columnist, and writing coach.
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