Hi, I'm Maxi and thrilled that you are here.
If suspense, romance and mystery
take you away you're gonna love this.
It all began…
When Lance Legouri reveals romantic feelings toward his
best friend—and drives her into the arms of another man.
Garden of Soul
In his months away on the Pacific Island of Yanga, Lance slowly recovers from the turmoil in his life. Only the long separation from his best friend brings about a glaring discovery; he is in love with her. It is Marci who holds the key to his heart, she always has.
Lance writes her a letter but Marci has just accepted André's proposal. She has been under a lot of stress and this revelation is more than she can handle; the Wentworth twin disappears. When Marci is found she has lost her memory...
This would not be just another day in paradise for Marci Wentworth. It was early morn, her favorite time of day, and the Connecticut horizon had begun to stir. Sunlight flickered through the Sycamore trees and danced across the surface of Borgia Bay. The fog had lifted, leaving the countryside awash in a surreal glow like a Thomas Kinkade painting.
The young entrepreneur sat at the wrought iron table on the veranda, elbow deep in paperwork. She looked up and let the moment soak into her soul.
“Balconies were made for mornings,” Marci sighed.
The housekeeper stood in the doorway, “What is that you’re mumbling?”
“Oh, just talking to myself.”
“Well, save the answers," Bella smiled, "you will need them for the little ones someday.”
“Oh, Bella,” Marci laughed. “Do you have the mail?”
Bella pulled the stack from her apron pocket with a glint in her eye.
Marci tilted her head, “What?”
“Ooh … nothing.”
“Come on, Bella, I know that look.”
The silver-haired matron turned to leave, “There may be something special is all I’m saying.”
Marci pushed aside papers from the office, and flipped through the mail until the ‘special’ envelope showed, then pulled it from the stack and let the rest fall to the table. The envelope bulged full and thick, and personal. Her best friend had posted a letter.
Why? In all the years she had known him, Lance had never written her a letter. Besides, they had been in touch through texts and calls ever since he left. What news was so sacred it had to travel all the way from the Pacific sealed in an envelope? Marci reached for the opener and carefully slid it under the sealed flap. Her heart raced and hands trembled, she couldn’t wait to read what Lance had to say.
As she reached inside, the abrupt tone of her cell phone caused the letter to fall. Marci rummaged through the papers on the table until she found the phone. It was Madi, her twin. “What’s up?” she answered.
“You won’t believe it … I’m pregnant.”
Marci sucked in her breath, “Madi, that’s wonderful.”
“Yes it is, after all this time.”
“Finally, I’m going to be an a unt,” Marci bubbled. “How far along are you?”
“Nine weeks,” Madi giggled.
“Does anyone else know?”
“Not yet. You’re the first, except for Matt.”
Marci laughed, “He must be ecstatic.”
“He has called everyone. Poor man had almost given up.”
Mardi shifted in her chair. “Have you picked out any names?”
“Not for a boy,” Madi hesitated, “but it’s Elisa for a girl.”
Marci raised her voice, “You mean with an E?”
“Yeah, what do you think?”
“I like it,” Marci enthused, “it’s different.”
Madi’s voice quivered, “Marci, I have never been so happy.”
“So tell me,” the twin asked, “do you two have any preference?”
“Not me, but Matt wants a girl. At first I thought he was saying it for me, but he wasn’t. He’s partial to girls, it’s what he really wants.”
“Oh my sister, how much better can it get. You are a lucky woman.”
“Yes I am,” Madi choked, “and so grateful. Well, I have to go and…”
“…call mom,” Marci finished. “Give her my love.”
“I will. Love you.
“Love you too.”
The slender brunette sat for a few minutes to take in the good news. She had been tempted to tell Madi about the letter, but couldn’t steal her sister’s thunder. With a smile and a sigh, she reached for the teapot, poured a fresh cup, turned off the cell phone and got comfortable. Once again anticipation filled her up as she pulled the pages from the envelope, took a deep breath, and began to read:
You may be as shocked to read this letter as I am to write it, but something incredible has happened that I must tell you. This can’t be told in a text or an e-mail. There is the phone, I suppose, but it would be too awkward. I really don’t know of any other way.
I can see those big brown eyes flashing now–just get on with it, Lance. Okay. Remember the night I came to you about Isabella? She had ended our affair and I was devastated. Everyone had warned me to stay away from her, that she was cold as ice. Only I couldn’t help myself.
The first time I laid eyes on her, I was mesmerized. No woman had ever electrified my emotions in such a way. Yet, she made it clear that there would be no romance ¼ with me or any other man. Still, I took my chances, hoped I could change her mind. I couldn’t. When the fun and excitement ended she called it quits and I ran to you, my best friend.
It was hard to take when you advised me to leave, but you were right. Had I stayed, I would have continued to try to see her. It was also true that I had to stay away long enough for my return to be brand new, free of the old baggage. Now I know what the songs are all about.
The retreat to Yanga Island has been a true learning experience for me. I had not intended to be here for so long. Still, I had to stay when the storm hit and shattered the island. Yanga may be modern and well-constructed, but the damage was horrific and extensive. Besides, many people had befriended me; it was my turn to give back.
Soon I will return home, and need to share something with you before I arrive. Many realities have come to me in this time away. But it’s the most recent discovery that has me unraveled. Hopefully, I can find the words to make you understand.
When I first came here, there were mornings I pulled the covers over my head and surrendered to the misery. Gradually, I began to walk the beaches and mix with the friendly people of the island. Before long, I met the Karanu family. They are wonderful people, have been truly kind and helpful.
Still, the days were a constant struggle, Lance continued. Eventually, in a special garden behind my cottage, it would be the night that eased the pain and gave me solace. The sky was my shroud, the stars my companions. Night after night, I gazed at the star-filled sky. Soon it became addictive, a heart-cleansing ritual.
It was in this small, magnificent setting that I was thunderstruck by a new discovery. It concerns you, and was very profound. The experience took place a couple of weeks ago, and the shock has been almost physical. First, I need to explain what led up to this incident.
I was at rest in the garden, staring at the midnight sky, when I realized something was different. It had been for some time. What had changed? What was so different? Slowly a smile spread across my face, as the light began to dawn. It was me, I had changed. I was at peace. There was no sadness, no mourning and no misery. The past had slipped away. I was free.
I looked up as a shooting star streamed across the heavens. In that instant, my thoughts turned to you. The way you used to take my hand and make me close my eyes, say we had to make a wish. It touched my heart, the way you were so solemn and sincere.
Then something happened that defies explanation. The star appeared, you came to mind, and just that quick the star was gone. For some reason it stopped me cold—scared me. As if the star represented you. Afterward, I couldn’t stop thinking of you. What if you disappeared from my life? How would it feel never to see you again? Never to hear the sweet sound of your laughter? Never to feel the softness of your touch? Never to see the brightness of your smile?
After that night, something took hold of me that I have never felt before. An emotion I can’t describe anchored itself to my mind, refused to loosen its grip. It was there when I awoke, it clung to my thoughts all through the day, wrapped my body in sweetness throughout the night. One evening, at the island cabaret, I was so overcome with this new feeling that I released it through my music.
I have told you of Delmar and his wife, Renatta, how good they have been to me. (Lance thought it best not to mention their beautiful, young daughter Dayana; that he knew she cared). Well, they built the cabaret years ago, when they first came to Yanga. It’s called “The Hut,” it’s the most popular nightspot on the island. Everyone was devastated when it was nearly destroyed by the storm. We all worked fast and furious to restore the cabaret.
Del is a great guitarist and has taught me the latest Reggae, which I truly enjoy. I can see you now. Lance, the concert pianist, so stuffy about my music, but it’s true. I have learned enough to play with the group on a regular basis.
Marci, this feeling had me in such a whirl, I couldn’t make sense of it. Didn’t even care to tell the truth. As this night wore on, I played with more and more abandon. Del and Renatta are not the kind to ask questions, but the locals were buzzing.
After the club closed, I made my way to the cottage. A quick shower and I headed to the garden out back. The space is limited but nature has filled it with lime-shaded plants, blue-tinted boulders and a small pond of emerald satin lily pads. It’s a magnificent spot.
I eased this six-foot frame onto the bamboo chaise and began to relax. As I focused on the sky, slowly my mind cleared and my heart saw the truth. It was you. I have been drowning in you every day: your face, your voice, your laughter, every little thing that is you. I am in love with you, Marci. My heart belongs to only you; it is you that I adore; you that I need and desire.
All these years you have tried to tell me. Not with words, but in everything you did. Even when you told me to leave, it was a loving sacrifice on your part. You have always been there for me, always been that soft place for me to fall. How could I have been so blind? Or is it that I took you for granted?
Now it’s too late. You are with André, and he will never let you go. Please don’t hate me, Marci. My heart aches for the love we have been denied, but I could not stand to also lose our friendship.
I will be home in a few weeks. If you wish, we can discuss what I have written. Otherwise, this letter shall remain forever silent.
Love You Always,
Marci stared at the letter. She couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe. Nothing had prepared her for this. Minutes passed. Suddenly, as a cat would leap from a sofa, she sprang to her feet and bounded down the balcony stairs that led to the shore of Borgia Bay.
She ran until her knees buckled and dug into the sand, her face fell into her hands. For years she had been in love with Lance, adored him, worshiped him, would have no other. She had waited … and waited, until finally she realized it was hopeless and moved on. One week ago she had accepted André’s proposal. The wedding was six months away.
Marci pushed up from the sand and trudged back inside. She climbed the stairs in a daze and shuffled along the corridor to her suite. She changed into a pair of jeans and lifted the keys from the dresser. Moments later, her indigo Jaguar was headed along the open highway.
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