Excerpt from ’Hibiscus Bay’ by Debby Allen
Here is an excerpt from ’Hibiscus Bay’ by Debby Allen available from The Wild Rose Press
"Remmao, I…" she interrupted, but words failed her. She knew what she wanted to say, but to say I love you would sound ridiculous.
He noticed her discomfort and, gently withdrawing from her, he picked up their clothes and carried her into the sea. It was soothing upon their scorched skin and cooling on the sensitised surfaces of their bodies.
"What were you going to say to me?" he asked her.
"I…I’m going to miss you," Ashleigh suddenly whispered. Remmao frowned, but before he could speak, she halted him. "All of this," she smiled, gesturing to the bay with its surround of hibiscus flowers, "and everything you have shown me will forever have a special place in my heart. I don’t know how to thank you."
"You do not have to thank me," he gasped. "I did not do it as a favour. I did it because I wanted to."
"You did it out of habit," Ashleigh corrected, averting her eyes.
Remmao held her chin and turned her face toward him. "Is this what all the tears are about? Because you thought I did this out of habit?" Remmao shook his head. "All this has not been because of habit."
"It’s what you do." Ashleigh shrugged.
"What I did! How do I know that you are not reliving the feeling of a man’s urgency? You know that I am crazy for you!"
"Are, are you?" she stammered.
"Like it is killing me," he whispered.
Ashleigh looked back at the bay. "You have made all my dreams come true, Remmao…except for one."
He took hold of her face and frowned.
"I cannot keep you." She shrugged, then released herself from his arms and stepped away, dressing herself beneath the water.
"You do not believe that I am crazy for you?" he insisted.
"What has happened between us is all so sudden, all too…you’ve done this many times before. It’s easier for you to say goodbye."
"Wake up to reality, Remmao," she pleaded. "Soon, you won’t even remember me. I will just be a memory…like all those other girls you…"
"No!" he intervened. "We will see each other again. We have to!"
"When? How will I find you when you spend most of your time cruising or…or in harbours?"
"You will not find me," he murmured. "I do not know where I will be from one day to the next."
"But I will find you," he gently reassured her.
She let the waves silently roll over her shoulders before beginning her swim back to the yacht.
"Ashleigh!" Remmao shouted after her. But he couldn’t stop her. Although her stroke was strong against the incoming waves, she was beginning to struggle to keep the pace. Remmao could see exhaustion setting in but, as much as he shouted after her, she continued to swim with all her strength.
"Ashleigh, slow down. You will lose your energy too fast." But she continued to struggle, choking on seawater as she continually sank and then swam again.
"For goodness sake!" Remmao growled as he hauled her into his arms.
"Let me go!" she fought, but gave up the fight more quickly than she had anticipated. Swimming back with her in his arms, Remmao helped her on board.
She marched off to his bedroom and the change of clothes she had brought. He followed her in pursuit.’