Today is release day for my 20th published book, Forgotten Paradise! Even better? It’s 25% off at Dreamspinner Press in both ebook and paperback this weekend, in honor of Tax Day! It’s hard to believe I’ll have published twenty this month, let alone a single book. Much as the Blue Notes series was inspired by my experiences as a professional opera singer and before that, as a violinist, my Mermen of Ea series was inspired by my travels aboard our catamaran sailboat, Land’s Zen. Forgotten Paradise is no exception.
The concept for Forgotten Paradise was born on a family trip to the Dominican Republic in the winter of 2015. My entire family—my parents, my sister and her family, and my husband and kids—spent a week at a gorgeous resort in the southeastern part of the island, about 45 minutes south of Punta Cana. My husband and I dove every day in clear turquoise waters with some of the most incredible fish and aquatic animals I’ve ever seen.
The first part of Forgotten Paradise takes place in a resort in the DR much like the one we stayed at, complete with immaculately tended gardens, ponds with birds and fish, an enormous swimming pool, and a beautiful white sand beach where you can dig your feet into the sand and sip on a pina colada to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach. There, Adam Preston escapes for a week in paradise and meets the charming Jonah James, a scuba instructor at the resort. But Jonah has a secret: he doesn’t remember anything before he woke up on a Punta Cana beach 10 years before.
I hope you’ll enjoy finding out who Jonah really is and that you’ll be able to imagine the sand between your toes as you read Forgotten Paradise. I’ll leave you with the blurb and a short excerpt from the book. Oh, and be sure to visit the blog tour stops (listed at the bottom of this post) for a chance to win a December Diamonds cupid merman ornament! –Shira
Blurb: It’s dangerous diving for secrets.
When a megacompany threatens to take over his family-owned business, programming prodigy Adam Preston escapes the stress with a much-needed vacation in the Dominican Republic. There he meets attractive, intelligent, insightful Jonah James, a scuba dive instructor, and what starts as a holiday fling soon blossoms into much more.
But Jonah has a secret: ten years ago he woke up on an island beach with no idea how he got there… or even who he is. Their paradise may not be as perfect as it seems. When Jonah’s memories come crashing back like waves on the sand, will it be Adam clinging to the proverbial life raft, or will the two men find a safe harbor to ride out the storm?
WHILE HENRI washed down the patio, Jonah hung the last two wetsuits and sprayed down the rinsing bins. Small rivulets of sand and water streaked the painted concrete.
“I can finish,” Henri told him.
“Thanks.” Jonah walked over to the benches and retrieved his BC and regulator from a hook. “I owe you a drink.”
Henri laughed. “Good thing they’re free or you’d have to take out a loan.”
“Meet you at Giuseppe’s in an hour?” Jonah hung his gear inside the staff room.
“Not tonight. Got a date with Viola.” Henri stopped spraying for a moment and gestured toward the office. “It’s our six-month anniversary.”
“Six months? Impressive. So what’s for dinner?”
“Sushi,” Henri said. “At Yumi.”
“You’re taking her all the way to Punta Cana?” Jonah chuckled and slapped Henri on the back. “Must be love.”
“A man does as he does.” He winked and added, “I borrowed Torey’s car.”
“A man’s gotta do what he’s gotta do,” Jonah corrected. Henri’s English was damn good, so Jonah enjoyed teasing him the few times he made mistakes.
“So how about you?” Henri asked with a crooked grin.
“Me?” Jonah knew where Henri was going, but he wasn’t going to bite on that particular topic.
“You’ve been here a few weeks now. Met anyone interesting?”
Jonah shook his head. “If I had, I wouldn’t be telling you about it,” he teased.
“Fine. To be that way.”
“Be that way. Not ‘to be.’”
Henri laughed and headed over to the counter, where Viola was working on assignments for the next day’s dives. “The guests think I’m sexier when I get things wrong.”
Jonah pulled the elastic from his hair and ran a hand through his still-damp curls. He waved at Viola. “Have fun tonight!” He slipped on his sandals and headed down the path to the staff dormitories. He’d only made it to the towel-return shack when he noticed a man standing in the middle of the intersection of two paths, rubbing the bridge of his nose.
“Perfect,” the man muttered.
“Lost?” Jonah forced his gaze up from the dusting of reddish hair on the man’s nicely defined pecs.
He looked at Jonah with warm brown eyes. “That obvious?”
“Happens a lot,” Jonah reassured him. “Where’re you headed?”
“Dive shop. Although by now, it’s probably closed.” American, judging by the accent. East Coast. A hint of New Jersey but polished so it was barely noticeable.
Jonah glanced at his watch. “You have another ten minutes.” He pointed the way he’d just come. “It’s about a hundred feet that way. You can’t miss it.”
“No problem.” Jonah offered the man a reassuring smile. “Took me a few days to get my bearings.”
“My mother used to tell me I’d lose my way in a shower stall.”
Jonah chuckled. “That bad?”
The man nodded.
“I could think of worse places to get lost with you,” Jonah quipped, immediately regretting it. The man’s lean body was far too interesting, especially given the no-fraternization policy Jonah had signed when he was hired. Not that the hotel had ever fired someone for taking a guest to bed, but Jonah felt more comfortable following the rule. It made things easier. Celibacy was safer. Flirting was downright dangerous.
The man flushed. Even more interesting.
The man quickly regained his composure. “Do I know you?” he asked.
Jonah also got that a lot. “I’m sure I’d have remembered you,” he said truthfully. It wasn’t every day he met a redhead, let alone one this attractive.
“My mistake.” The man offered his hand. “Adam Preston.”
“Good to meet you, Adam.” Jonah shook Adam’s hand. Strong grip. Confident, but not overly so. “I’m Jonah. Jonah James.”
“I’d better go,” Adam said. “Maybe I’ll see you around.”
“I hope so.” Jonah watched as Adam headed toward the dive shop. No fraternization, he reminded himself with a sigh. Maybe it was time to rethink the celibacy gig.