Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas on Wherever Island by Amber Polo Blog Tour!


Marti Bell is facing the prospect of a very unmerry Christmas. Reluctantly leaving her married lover, she travels toward ice, snow, and judgmental family until a magic Santa sends her to a surprise destination in the warm waters of the Caribbean.

Wherever Island would be paradise, except the only place to stay is the beachside cottage of gorgeous globetrotting photographer Cliff Holmes. Cliff wants to unwind and treat Marti to a little romantic Caribbean Christmas fun but she’s determined to stay in the warm ocean and out of hot water.


“We aren’t going diving?”
“No boats going out today. But the wind is right for sailboarding.”
“No big waves here. I just need a few shots out past the reef with the resort in the background.”

“There’s one problem. I don’t sailboard.”

“As they say in the islands, no problem.”

He certainly seemed confident that she could do anything. Could he do everything? His confidence made her feel safe. Physically safe, but not necessarily emotionally safe, now that there was no Sonja flying in to save her.

Cliff tossed Sonja’s red bikini to Marti. “Change into the model’s costume. Meet me at the marina.”

She stood holding the swimsuit while he packed two cameras in waterproof cases and left. She went inside to dress, if wearing two wisps of spandex could be called dressed.

Fifteen minutes later Marti arrived at the dock wrapped in her oversized robe. Cliff had laid out sailboarding gear near the resort’s twenty-foot motor launch. The day was magnificent and waves lazily lapped at the dock.

“I’ll show you how to handle the sail. You take a few practice passes, then let the wind blow you past the breakers. I motor out and film you from the ocean side.”

“Is that all?” she asked with more sarcasm than apprehension.

“No. One more thing. You’ll have to take off the robe.”

She glared at him. The red bikini was the smallest bathing suit she’d ever worn in public or private.

Fine for a very young woman, which she was not. “Promise no closeups.” She undid the sash, slipped out of the robe and hugged it to her chest. “Swear.”

He laughed. “I’ve seen you soaking wet in your mother’s suit.” He tugged the robe out of her hands.

“Relax. The closeups will be great.”

She felt naked, but stubbornly resisted crossing her arms as she listened to him explain the parts of the fiberglass sailboard and mast. He demonstrated how to place her feet into the foot straps and how to hold the mast. Next she put her feet in the holds and he stood close behind, showing her how to shift her body to keep the board upright.

“The worst thing that can happen is you get dunked,” he told her. “I’ll come by with the boat. No problem. You’re a terrific swimmer.”

She nodded. It did look like fun, and with Cliff’s encouragement, in a few tries the wind lifted the sail and with a whoop of joy she glided across the shallows.

Cliff filmed her from the dock, then yelled, “One more time.”

Through the sail’s window, she saw him get into the launch. Just then a gust of wind took her sail and her attention. She’d never imagined keeping the sail out of the water would take so much strength. The wind changed and she managed to stay upright as she flew across the bay. Seeing the rocks of the reef before her, she jibed and let out a breath. This was as exhilarating as flying.

She lost herself in the thrill, until looking back over her shoulder she saw the shore and the resort miles away. This was no longer fun. She gripped the holds, knowing there was no way she could stop this thing. She was in the ocean. On a tiny board. A tiny, tiny board.

What about sharks, stingrays, and sea serpents? Nessie? She wanted to stop and figure out what to do, but the wind blew her farther from shore and she held tight.

A Guinness bottle floated by. Was Wherever Island close to the Gulf Stream? She was in the middle of the ocean desperately trying to visualize a map. Her head began to ache. The sun was intense. She wondered if she’d die of heat stroke, dehydration, or starvation. Maybe she’d just go crazy, try to sail home to Minnesota, and wash up on some shore, a skeleton still clinging to this contraption.

Through her musings, she heard a roar and an engine cut out. Cliff’s voice behind her called, “Let go.”

She turned. He rode a jet ski.

“Just let go. I’ll pick you up,” he called again.

Her body did not move. Her knees locked in a crouch, her toes clenched, and her fingers froze to the grips.

The third time Cliff’s voice ordered her to let go, she believed he was really there and her fingers released. The sail collapsed and she slid into the ocean. She swam twenty feet toward Cliff, dragging the sailboard line. He reached out and pulled her up behind him on the jet ski. She grabbed him around the waist and laid her head on his bare back.

“I’m so sorry, Sunshine. The motor wouldn’t start.” He made no attempt to return to shore. “You were terrific.” His hands covered hers, warm and reassuring.

About The Author:

Amber Polo has had a lifelong love affair with libraries and dogs. A fascination with lost ancient libraries and curiosity about why werewolves outnumbered dog-shifters in literature inspired her new urban fantasy series filled with librarian dog-shifters.

“Released” Book One of The Shapeshifters' Library celebrates St. Nicholas Eve as a magic night for the dog-shifters. They celebrate in the old style with wassail, gingerkucken, and old fashioned traditions.  Share their fun. Read The Shapeshifters’ Library Book One.

Enter to win a copy of The Shapeshifters’ Library, a Starbarks Coffee Hound mug, plus some treats for your favorite dog.

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Buy links for Released:  Amazon

Book Trailer for Christmas On Wherever Island:

Wherever Island Christmas Fruitcake

2 cups sifted all purpose flour
Reserve 1 cup, re-sift the remainder with:
1 t cinnamon
1 t. ground cloves
1 t. allspice
1 t. nutmeg
¼ t. mace
½ t. salt
¾ t. baking soda
Use some of the mixture to coat:
1 cup raisons
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup citrus peel/citron
1 cup candied cherries
1 cup figs
1 cup nuts of your choice
1 10 oz can crushed pineapple
1 cup sugar
Until thickened about 30 minutes. Stir frequently. Do not burn. Cool.
When cool stir in:
 ½ cup apricot jam or marmalade
1 cup rum or pineapple juice or combo
Cream ½ lb butter until soft
               1 cup sugar
Beat in 6 eggs, one at a time.

Stir in dry ingredients slowly, alternating with pineapple mixture. Pour over flour coated fruits and nuts and mix well.

Preheat to 275 degrees. Fills 1 4x8 loaf pan and 1 9” tube pan. Grease cake pans (line with greased brown paper or foil if you do that). Fill pans 1” from top and bake until a skewer comes out clean - 3 ½ to 5 hours depending on size of pans. Cool on rack. If you make the cake ahead of time, go ahead and soak a cheesecloth in rum and wrap in foil, Freezing also helps blend the flavors. When ready to serve decorate with almond paste or icing.

Recipe can be doubled to fill 3 graduated wedding cake pans.

Serve with a dusting of magic!

Click on pic below to see the other blog stops!

Available now!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for letting me visit!
    Hope the Christmas spirit lasts and lasts…
    And if you need a lift listen to "Jingle Bells" played by steel drums on my book video.