PINTEREST

 

For images that remind me of this story, check out the Second Chance Honeymoon Pinterest inspiration board here

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

One of the first holidays I took with my husband was on a Pacific Cruise and it followed this exact course so there are definite odes to that holiday in this story.

 

As for the other bits of the story...you'll just have to guess which ones!

 

Here are some pictures from our trip and my favourite island stop over in Lifou

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"Second Chance Honeymoon"

 


 

 

 

Wrong place, wrong time, right man?

 

Juliana Jones is 27, single (divorced), and out of work (again).  But for the next eight days and seven nights none of that matters. A citizen of the Royal Pacific cruise ship, she’s going to put it all behind her and with the aid of sun, rum and fun she’s gonna get her wild on. Then JJ discovers that she’s on a Second Honeymoon Cruise and is the only unattached passenger on board and the only one under the age of sixty!

 

Enter Kane Phillips, former star athlete turned ship’s Fitness Director. Kane can makes JJs knees melt with a glance, but he’s staff and therefore off limits (right?). Besides, JJ’s not looking for a guy who has faced his own disaster and come out the other side of it all self-aware and ready for a relationship. Better to leave that to those who know have a single clue how to go about it (everyone else on board the ship, for example).

 

Stuck in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, JJ has no place to hide from her growing feelings for Kane, no place to run. And even if she could run… Is Kane just the man to keep up with her?  


 

You know that trick in movies where the camera swirls about the hero, the background a blur, in that moment in which they realize they’ve made a huge mistake?

Our scene is the deck of resplendent cruise ship the Royal Pacific; sunlight glinting off of her bright white hull as she prepares to depart Sydney Harbor.  Our hero is Juliana Jones – mid-twenties female, eyes and hair brown, a lone figure in head to toe black amongst a dazzling sea of tropical prints.

And at this stage JJ’s mistakes have yet to reach critical mass...

 * * *

A cool change took the edge off the sultry summer heat; the accompanying breeze spinning and bumping a mass of red and silver decorations dangling from the ceiling.  While Juliana Jones in her sky-high black ankle boots, black sunglasses and little black roller-suitcase nudged their way through the crowd to find a spot at the railing.

Anticipation bouncing through her veins, JJ gripped onto the Happy Holidays! card her best friend had given her as she’d set off in the cab early that morning - filled as it was with increasingly immoral ideas as to what she might get up to the next few days - and tilted up onto her toes, leaning leaned over the barrier, breathing deep in search of an expectant hint of sea air.

Even before Erica had gifted her the card, JJ’s hopes for the week were big.  Probably too big.  But if a Pacific cruise couldn’t give a girl a shot in the arm, what could?  In the cab ride to the dock she’d indulged in glorious visions of a weeklong party filled to the brim with flirtation and fun.  An uncomplicated fling with some buff bronzed beach bum wouldn’t go astray either.  After the events that had led her to booking the cruise in the first place, she figured she was due a break on that score.  Hence the fact she'd dusted off her bikinis, waxed unmentionable places, spent ridiculous sums on sunny highlights in her long dark hair.  Now she was sooo ready to sink into a sun, rum, and fun daze she could burst.

JJ glanced along the railing to scope out her fellow passengers, wondering who among them might be up for some fun right alongside her.  But the view was obscured by a mass of multi-colored streamers twirling out into the sky before dropping in great looping curls down the side of the ship towards those waving goodbye below.

She could forgive her best friend for being at work instead of waving from far below as it was the fact that Erica had a newfangled travel agent job that she’d been able to hook JJ up with a great deal so last minute.  As for her family...

JJ rolled her shoulders and shook out her hair.  Re-gathering her fighting spirit she smiled beatifically at the crowd below.  She could afford to be so magnanimous, as for the next eight days and seven nights she was leaving them all - the people, the city, and her entire hot mess of a life - behind.

A great clanking groan rent the air as the last of the huge chains tying the ocean liner to land were unhooked, and with the hum of the engine buzzing deliciously through the floorboards, JJ felt the leaden weight of her past few days begin to lift.

It was only when a clutch of crew below began to unhook a huge banner spanning the main gang plank that JJ felt the first flutters of her impending panic.

The words ‘Welcome!  Love Birds for a Lifetime!’ were branded into her mind’s eye, but the banner was already folded and being carried by the crew into the belly of the ship, so she couldn’t be sure.

And yet...  Curling her hands around the metal railing JJ glanced over her shoulder at the fall of red love hearts and curls of glittery silver ribbon hanging from the ceiling.

Skin prickling with a sense of impending doom, she tipped her sunglasses lower on her nose, her frenetic  gaze finally able to focus on those around her, swerving over face after face of her jubilant fellow passengers, until she found --

Nothing but couples; everywhere she looked.

Apart from the occasional staffer in a purple polo shirt and beige cargo shorts there were couples holding hands, couples laughing, couples leaning into one another in that way that meant so much more than simply ‘you have my back’.

And – because fate can be a bitch that way – not a single other guest was a day under sixty-five.

For a second JJ seriously wondered if she was dreaming.   The possibility was high that she was actually in a crčme de menthe induced coma.  The wild night at their apartment when Erica had booked her on the cruise went down mere hours after JJ had quit her latest job subsequent to having been groped by her married boss.  Not a pretty thought.

But the alternative was that she was a twenty-seven-year-old divorcée with a string of dismal temp jobs trailing behind her like a piece of toilet paper stuck on her shoe.  And that she was wide awake.

Cue panicked hero, blurred vision and swirling camera sensation as JJ gripped the railing hard enough to bend the metal with her bare hands.

Cheers pelted up and down the deck, snapping JJ from her trance as poppers popped and the air rained down twirling rainbows of tiny streamers.

Blinking away the long strand of curling pink paper caught in her eyelashes, JJ watched in mute freak out as the grey Sydney dock - and any chance of getting off the boat - slowly but surely moved out of reach.

Despite the sharp sunlight shimmering in the water below it looked cold.  But it wasn’t the cold that worried her.  An intrepid soul from way back she’d jumped into plenty of icy water holes near her small town home.  Enough to know intense pleasure of an adrenalin rush of that magnitude made the possibility of peril worth the risk.  It was the kind of thrill that made a girl feel alive.  But unlike leaping from a tire swing, a jump off the side of a 70,000 ton ship would certainly be her last.

The crowd surged, the couple next to her bumping her elbow.  She twisted, her ankle turning in her "lucky" boots.   Sucking in a sharp breath she glanced up to find the pair in matching white slacks and Hawaiian shirts smiling so smoochily into one another’s eyes that the cold dark water didn’t seem like such a bad option after all.

Instead of finding herself buoyed by a plethora of buff bronzed beach bums with whom she could blissfully while away the hours she drowned in a sea of ‘lovebirds for a lifetime’.  And her next several days flashed before her like a neon sign:

Now Here’s What’s Really Missing From Your Sucky Life!

Happy holidays!

v

 

From "Second Chance Honeymoon" by Ally Blake
Publisher: Holiday Books
 Copyright: © 2014 Ally Blake
Excerpt and cover reprinted with permission of Tule Publishing.
 

 


To anyone lucky enough to hear the voices of characters in their head and the moxie to get the entire thing down on paper.

 I don’t know where the urge comes from to make up stories, but I do know better than to question it.  Because it is a beautiful thing that we do; nothing short of transcendental.  Even when, like in this tale, the magic runs to septuagenarian tantric yoga, towel-buddies, and the unfortunate revival of parachute-fabric tracksuits.

 Keep writing, please, even if only so that I have stuff to read for the rest of my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Second Chance Honeymoon

Her Hottest Summer Yet  |  The Dance Off  |  Faking It to Making It  |  When Honey Got Married...  |  The Secret Wedding Dress

50 Days With Rose  |  The Rules of Engagement  |  The Wedding Date  |  Millionaire Dad's SOS  |  Getting Red-Hot with the Rogue

Dating the Rebel Tycoon  |  A Night with the Society Playboy  |  Hired: The Boss's Bride  |  The Magnate's Indecent Proposal

Falling for the Rebel Heir  |   Steamy Surrender  |  Millionaire to the Rescue  |  Billionaire on Her Doorstep

Getting Down to Business  |  Meant-To-Be Mother  |  Wanted: Outback Wife  |  A Father in the Making  |  The Shock Engagement  

A Mother For His Daughter  |  How to Marry a Billionaire  |  Marriage Make-Over  |  Marriage Material  |  The Wedding Wish

 
 

 

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