What do you hope readers take with them after they’ve read it?
That an adverse past event doesn’t have to always color your future in a negative way. That love is a great healer and that love eventually wins, if you let it. That’s why we read romances. For that emotionally satisfying Happily Ever After scene.
Because I truly believe an HEA is what we all want. And I believe people can change for the better. That hanging on to old anger, hurts, and slights aren’t helping you move into a healthier place where you be open to finding happiness and love. Wow, that was a bit deep, but that’s what I think. What about you? Too much moonbeams and sunshine?
Guess what character says that?
“I think you’re making a mistake. There is nothing wrong with the chocolate. We’re in a crowded market—it’ll take some time to build a following. This isn’t a problem like last year’s issue.”
The issue Melissa so coyly referred to was the launch of their new soy milk flavor that had garnered scathing reviews. A first for Prince Organics. And the last. He’d admitted publicly that the fault was his, and it was. He’d been too busy and allowed the sourcing of the flavoring to be less than consistent.
Melissa Fontaine, his director of marketing, had objected to the coconut-soy launch, and she’d been right.
This time she was wrong.
“So, as you make your way in the world, don’t be a part of the status quo …”
Drew Hopkins tuned out the commencement speaker’s voice as a flock of swallows flew overhead at Stanford’s stadium.
She envied their freedom on this warm June morning, wishing she had the ability to fly away from all the responsibilities that kept her mired in the morass of financial statements and sales charts that had been her life for the past fourteen years at HH Chocolate. She was part of the speaker’s status quo, and not by her own choosing.
“I love visiting other places by reading a great story with an awesome setting such as this one. Once I started reading I couldn’t put the book down…
I highly recommend this book to other readers. It has a great story line, romance and plenty of drama to keep you interested.”
It has to. Maria must come back to me. She must understand that this is my way of saying I was a fool. I’m giving up my life’s work to get my family back again. It will be worth the loss to regain the love. Señor Cam turned away from the view of his harvest’s bounty to look at his sister, wishing she’d forgive him as well. At fifty years of age, only the smallest of lines graced the corners of her eyes. Her profile was strong, her nose straight, her teeth even and white. As she turned toward him, obviously feeling his stare, her brow knitted together over her deep brown eyes.
Isabelle was a lovely if somewhat matriarchal woman who deserved love and a family of her own. Perhaps at her age a family was too much to ask for, although she cared deeply for little Armando. But she wasn’t too old for love.
She’d lost one love but surely there was another man she could love as much as she’d loved her Paolo.
“Here for surfing?”
She glanced down at her linen capris, then back up to him with what she knew was a wry expression twisting her lips. She didn’t look like she was here for surfing, did she? Her pants, a once-crisp black big shirt and her favorite espadrilles didn’t feel like surfer attire to her. But then she’d never really been around surfers except those seen at the cinema, so what did she know?
Anyway, surfing wasn’t her adrenaline fix. Scuba and skydiving were her choices for physical and mental challenges. “Ah, no.”
He raised his shoulders in an exaggerated shrug. “High-end clothes don’t automatically rule you out of wanting to ride the waves. We get all types of people in all sorts of clothes. You come here one kind of person and leave another. Promise.”
Drew knew she wasn’t the only CEO invited to the sale of the plantation. But seeing Robert Prince dressed so casually in shorts and a dark green polo shirt, looking for all the world like he belonged here, created an anxious knot in her throat.
The fact that his jaw appeared to be tightly clenched and his brown eyes burned with competitiveness only increased her heartburn.
Drew fought to keep her nerves under control as she extended her hand to the señor, a man she’d guess to be in his midsixties, shorter than either herself or Robert. A wide smile creased his deeply tanned and weathered face. Yet his brown eyes startled her as she glimpsed a quickly hidden sadness deep within his gaze.
Robert had planned well, arriving in San Jose yesterday and driving over the old highway today, taking his time, getting the feel of the area. But the older compact car had no air conditioning and the humidity must be a hundred and ten percent, far greater than the thirty percent he was used to in Boulder, Colorado.
Now, nearing the noon deadline, sitting in the deep shade on Señor Camerillo’s covered veranda, Robert gratefully accepted the cold coffee the señor’s sister handed him. The glass sweated, sending rivulets of moisture down its sides. It took all of Robert’s self-control not to press the glass against his temple and cool off a bit more, but as his host looked totally unaffected by the weather, Robert took his cue from him.
He tried to smile his thanks at Isabelle Camerillo, but she turned to go back inside the villa as soon as she’d handed him the glass. It didn’t take a genius to realize that for some reason the woman disapproved of his being here.
“Come out to the terraza when you’re ready,” the older woman suggested and left the room.
Unable to wait another minute to shed the sweltering jumpsuit, Drew entered the bathroom, automatically closing the adjoining door.
Adjoining? No way.
She reopened the door a crack, wide enough to glimpse an opened suitcase on the bed. It had to be RP’s.
Her day just got considerably worse.
Robert watched as Drew, garbed in that ridiculous jumpsuit, followed Isabelle up the steps to the hacienda. Just before disappearing into the house, his nemesis hesitated, turned, and gave him a brief, provoking smile.
The furrows on his brow deepened. If this continued for four days, he’d have a permanent set of ridges.
How was it that the one person he avoided whenever possible was here now, after the same plantation?
It was ridiculous that Señor Camerillo would think of selling his rare cacao beans to HH Chocolate. They weren’t in the same league as Prince Organics. Or for that matter, any other gourmet chocolate company.
by L.A. Sartor
March 25th 2018
Cacao – long a symbol of wealth, love, and power – now the center of a powerful rivalry.
The fabled Costa Rican Plantation of White Treasure, source of the rarest form of the cacao bean, is up for sale. Though two fierce competitors have been invited to bid on it, only one can win.
For Drew Hopkins, purchasing the plantation is the perfect solution to escape a life she never wanted.
For Robert Prince, it’s the perfect route to revenge.
Drew, the founder’s daughter and now CEO of HH Chocolate, heads a company whose sales are waning. Robert, CEO of Prince Organics, a man driven by excellence, despises everything and everyone labeled Hopkins.
But it wasn’t always that way.
Will their forced proximity at the lush and exotic plantation rekindle old flames or will it fan the fires of antagonism?
I started writing as a child, really. A few things happened on the way to becoming a published author … a junior high school teacher who told me I couldn’t write because I didn’t want to study … urk … grammar. I went to college, moved a few times, came home and found the love of my life (that is another novel worthy story, but for later), and got married.
We were super busy with our respective careers, mine a custom jewelry business with my mom, who was also teaching metalsmithing at the time, and my husband a crazy law career. We had two fur babies, Fudge (and briefly her brother Smudge, but sadly he didn’t live very long) and Two. Our cats would sleep with us and when they’d stretch out to their full length, we’d end up sleeping on the edge of the mattress.
I have always been a voracious reader and one night after throwing a particularly bad book at the wall (even putting a small ding in said wall), I realized that I could do better. I told my husband, and he said go for it. I called Mom and she revealed the junior high teacher story and she told I’d been writing all the time up to that point.
That blew me away. I didn’t remember any of it. But I started writing again, nearly the next day, pen and paper, learning, making mistakes, winning contests, nearly getting an agent, becoming disenchanted with the publishing industry and moving away from novel writing to screenwriting, getting a contract for a script and doing really well in screenwriting contests.
But none of that was making me much money. After numerous scary robbery drills I wanted to move away from my bank job (yes, this is many years later and a lot of stuff in between) and write full time for the green stuff.
My husband told me repeatedly that independent publishing was becoming a valid way to publish a novel and people were making big dollars. I didn’t believe him even after he showed me several Wall Street Journal articles. I thought indie meant vanity press.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I started pursuing this direction seriously, retired from the bank and hit the keyboard, learned a litany of new things and published my first novel. My second book became a bestseller, and while I’m not rolling in dough, I’m absolutely on the right course in my life.
So if you have a dream, pursue it as hard as you can. Life can get in the way, but never give up.
Please come visit me at www.lasartor.com, see my books, some pictures, some screenplays and sign up for my mailing list. I have a gift I’ve specifically created for my new email subscribers. And remember, you can email me at Leslie@LeslieSartor.com.
– US PRIZE PACK: $25 Amazon Gift Card and book one in the Star Light, Star Bright Series, BE MINE THIS CHRISTMAS NIGHT (winner has choice of print or ebook)
– INT PRIZE PACK: $25 Amazon eGift Card and an ebook of book one in the Star Light, Star Bright Series, BE MINE THIS CHRISTMAS NIGHT