Today I welcome Forbes Arnone to First Sight Saturday with her new release In My Mother’s Footsteps.
Here is the setup for her first meeting scene:
Anela Alborn’s life is a lie. After growing up without the love of a father, her mother reveals his identity. Tragedy strikes and she sets off on an adventure that leads to more than she could ever imagine. Bumping into Christian Sivers distracts her from the real man of her dreams, her father. Will he live up to her dreams? And does she follow in her mother’s footsteps?
The next morning, I found myself feeling a bit depressed when I woke up. Since I couldn’t see my father, I felt the need to start on my mother’s to-do list. My goal was to find some waterfalls that she suggested I check out. I drove for over an hour in the direction I’d found on the Internet but still couldn’t find them. Somehow, I ended up in a small parking lot, facing a dead end that looked like it was behind a remote hotel. I figured I could find someone and ask for directions, but when I pulled into the parking lot, I saw a small beach tucked away from the street’s view. Without hesitation, I parked the car, climbed out, and ran over to see if it I could hang out there.
Tall, reflective buildings sat to the right, with their name in grand letters: J.W. Marriott, Ko’Olina. Right in front of me, was a small manmade beach. A walkway lined the length of the beach, leading to a beautiful chapel on the left at which I gasped. That was the chapel my mother had painted. It clicked in an instant. The stained glass windows, the billowing palm trees, and the small beach that surrounded it was a complete replica. At first, it almost felt like déjà vu. The amazing details my mother had been able to depict in her painting awed me.
The name of the beach sparked the memory of the conversation I’d had with her while she painted that beautiful picture.
We sat side-by-side with our easels in front of us, facing a window with a gorgeous ocean view. Carla told me to paint what I saw, and as literal as I was, I began painting the view before me. When I peaked at her canvas, I saw that it was of a beautiful chapel. It looked so small compared to the vast beach surrounding it and the tall palm trees that appeared to sway above the church’s steeple. My mother had every detail of the stained glass windows done to perfection, and there were trees surrounding the building.
“Mom, what are you painting? I thought we were supposed to paint what we see,” I asked, very confused.
“I am, honey. I’m painting what my mind’s eye sees. It’s a place I’ve been to before and I thought it so beautiful that I took a mental picture of it, keeping it with me forever,” she explained with a sigh. She seemed so wistful, regretful over something that had to do with that church.
“I like it a lot, Mom, but what kind of trees are those?” I pointed to the semi-tall trees with a lot of branches shooting out in all directions. Each one was filled with blooms of little white flowers with a touch of yellow in the middle. They were magnificent and so different than anything I had ever seen.
“Those, my dear, are plumeria trees. The scent from those little flowers is so sweet and pungent.”
“Wow, they sound as good as they look. So, where did you see that chapel?” I asked.
Her eyes zoned out even more than they were while she was painting, and she answered, “Ko’Olina.”
That was it. With the flourish of her paintbrush, I knew the conversation was over.
My eyes followed the path all the way to the hotel, which sat on the right. Next to the small strip of walkway, lay a patch of grass littered with palm trees for shade and then the sand led to the water. Up and down the small beach, local families were lounging. Well, they seemed like locals. They didn’t look like the typical tourists: super white skin, dazed expression, always in awe, and crazy clothes — you know, like things they only wear to go on vacation. No, these people were dark, bigger, and wore everyday clothes, things people wear when they’re home: worn out shorts, shirts, and flip-flops. They had barbecues and floating toys for their kids. The adults lay under the trees on the grass, while some of the kids played in the sand making castles and others splashed in the water.
One more look at the beach and I knew I felt the same as my mother had: enchanted. That was where I wanted to be, so I ran back to the car and grabbed my belongings. That secluded little beach called to me and made me feel like I’d discovered a secret. Prepared for an outing around water, I already had my bathing suit on, a lunch packed, and a couple of towels. When I returned to the entrance of the beach, I began to scope a place to camp out. I preferred the grassy area but the whole stretch seemed full, except for a small area just to my left. With a shrug, I strolled over and placed my belongings under the single palm tree. It gave very little shade, but I wanted to feel the sun and I had enough sun block to get me through my transition from pale to bronze.
I had never felt better while I relaxed and enjoyed my day. The sun felt wonderful as I lay on my stomach and devoured one of the latest sexy Scottish Highlander books that I’d become addicted to reading. Looking up from my book, I noticed a group of rowdy guys setting up a volleyball net. Then, I noticed them dropping a pile of towels and T-shirts beside me.
Great! I thought with sarcasm.
Sitting up to lean against the tree, my eyes scanned the group and I noticed there were about twenty men — all soldiers. Their crew cuts, dog tags, and muscled bodies gave that much away. When I turned to look around at the locals, I noticed their scowling faces and heard a few that were close to me call them “haoles.” It was obvious they didn’t like the soldiers or want them on their beach.
The sudden volleyball game became more interesting than my book. Yeah, men in kilts were sexy, but so were soldiers in shorts and nothing else. It took no time at all before they were sweating and taking turns playing. While some of them played, others sat down or went for a quick swim. A few came toward the pile of towels next to me and I recognized Private Takata from the information office the day before. I turned my head, not wanting to be noticed, but it was too late. Our eyes met and I saw the smile on his face grow. I groaned a bit. My relaxing day had vanished.
“Hey, I know you. You came by the office yesterday,” he exclaimed.
“How are you today, Private Takata?”
He plopped down next to me and fished out his towel and blotted the sweat off his face.
“I’m good, thanks. Nice to have a day off,” he said.
“Hm-hmm,” I murmured in response.
“Dragon, throw me my towel. It’s the blue one,” a handsome man yelled, coming toward us. His crystal-blue eyes shined in contrast to his dark, black hair. He stood a few feet in front of me, but I could tell he was as tall as my five feet, nine inch stature. His thin, almost lanky body was filled with defined muscles. As he got closer, I noticed his eyes were like the petals of pale, blue forget-me-nots. There was no smile on his thin, long face, but it wasn’t harsh, either.
I looked at Takata, laughing as I questioned, “Dragon?”
“He sees dragons,” the other man replied in a serious tone and expression.
He’s messing with me! He has to be, I thought. My right eyebrow arched and I crooked my head expecting more of an explanation.
“Tell her,” crystal-eyes urged with a wave and chin jerk toward me.
Takata turned bright red and stared at crystal-eyes with a look of hope that perhaps he’d let him off the hook, but no. Crystal-eyes just raised an eyebrow to show his seriousness and Takata turned his head toward me.
With a shrug, he sat up straighter and in a determined manner began his theory. “Well, ma’am —”
I cut him off. “You can call me Anela.”
The ma’am stuff was getting old and I wanted him to knock it off.
He smiled, flushing red again.
END OF EXCERPT
You can find Forbes at the following places.
Thanks so much for visiting today!