Splash! From the moment he pulled the unconscious woman from the sea, Trevor Marlowe knew his life would never be the same. But even the celebrated restaurateur couldn't have predicted how passionately he'd fall for his beautiful, mysterious mermaid. Even if she couldn't tell him who she was. She couldn't remember her life before the compelling stranger rescued her. She only knew that this kind, sexy man who called her Venus made her feel as if she were the most special woman in the world. He made her believe they had a future together--even if she had no clue about her past....
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July 31, 2008
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Excerpt from The Bride with No Name by Marie Ferrarella
He was alone on the beach.
He'd hoped he would be. But despite the fact that it was almost midnight and officially one day into autumn, because this was Southern California, there was always a chance that a pair of lovers would be out, making use of the solitude.
Either a pair of lovers or a homeless person, seeking a little uninterrupted sleep on one of the benches that outlined a portion of Laguna Beach.
Half beach, half park, with a carefully crafted pseudo-Mediterranean backdrop in the distance, this particular section offered the best of both worlds, which was why, when he'd decided to finally take the plunge and open up his own restaurant, Trevor Marlowe had chosen this area for his locale.
The windows of his restaurant, Kate's Kitchen, looked out onto the sea. There were times when he thought his patrons came as much for the view of the Pacific as they did for the cuisine, but Kate, his stepmother and the restaurant's namesake, was quick to set him straight. She insisted that he cooked rings around anyone she knew. Considering he had acquired his love of cooking and learned to create culinary magic from her, Kate's words were high praise indeed.
Not that Kate was actually capable of saying anything even remotely negative, he thought now with a smile. Hurting feelings just wasn't in her nature; it never had been.
Kate Llewellyn Marlowe was kind. Kind, loving and nurturing, with just enough feistiness to prevent her from being sweetly dull. She kept things around her constantly moving. It was she who encouraged him to follow his dream, she who slipped him money on those occasions when he was short so that he could go on to that culinary academy in Italy. She'd supported him as he perfected skills that were already considerable.
Kate had turned out to be the best influence in all their lives--his, his three brothers' and his father's. He'd hate to think where all of them would be today if his harried father hadn't stumbled across Kate, armed with puppets, working a children's party. According to the story, his father had instantly sensed that this was the woman who could handle his overenergized brood.
He and his brothers had been a handful, acting out, mostly because of their bereavement over the recent death of their mother. There was no telling where he, Mike, Trent and Travis might have wound up had there been no Kate. Possibly juvenile hall.
But, thank God, Kate had come into their lives, bringing sunshine and patient understanding as well as her puppets.
Now Trevor believed that all of them would have been lost without her.
Had that really been twenty years ago? he marveled. It hardly seemed that long.
One long wave made it out farther than its brethren, soaking his bare feet before receding. He felt the sand eroding beneath his soles, the water symbolically trying to draw him as it retreated to the ocean.
He'd better start heading back, Trevor thought, though he made no immediate effort to turn around. He allotted himself a couple more minutes. He really did need to unwind. It had been a long, hard week and the weekend hadn't even arrived yet.
From where he stood, tomorrow wasn't overly promising. Without anyone calling in sick, he was already short one set of hands. That meant double duty for him until he could get a temp agency to send him a replacement for his salad girl. Thinking of the incident caused him to frown.
His previous salad girl, Ava, had quit, not because of any problems at work but because her boyfriend, a biker whose upper torso was all but covered with tattoos, wanted to go on a two-month road trip. Ava couldn't bear the idea of being without him for so long. So, amid profuse apologies this afternoon, she'd removed her apron and then just taken off.
But he'd handle it, Trevor thought. Somehow, he always did. Kate's influence had taught him that he could do anything if he set his mind to it.
He sighed. Sometimes the credo was harder to live by. Which was why he was out here now, after closing time, walking off some steam and maybe just a small amount of anxiety.
Trevor waited for the calm to come. It was obviously taking its time.
He realized that he'd stopped moving and stared out into the endless ocean. The full moon drew a long, almost white streak along the water. It trailed along like the tail of a kite. The night was so quiet, he could almost hear his thoughts forming.
The only thing that broke the sound of the crashing waves was the occasional cry of a passing seagull.
Here and there, he saw the gulls spreading their wings as they hurried to desert the beach, flying inland to seek shelter.
There was a storm coming.
How about that, the weatherman might actually be right for a change, Trevor mused.
He vaguely recalled hearing a prediction of rain hitting the coast by tomorrow. He'd believe it when he saw it. Granted, this could be regarded as the beginning of the region's rainy season, but the last few years had come and gone with less rain than was needed to sustain an aquarium. Southern California was all but bone-dry. It would have taken very little to officially declare a drought.
At this point, the so-called rainy season was going the way of the unicorn and the dragon, myths for the very young.
Sunshine was good for business, Trevor thought, but not for the land. When it rained, people tended to stay in their homes, or call for takeout rather than drive down to the beach to dine in a restaurant. Still, Trevor wished it would rain, at least for a little while. Parched brown was far from his favorite color.
Continuing to stare off into the horizon, his eyes narrowed. Was that some kind of a vessel silhouetted against the sky?
He squinted. He could have sworn he saw something large and white in the water.
Or was that just his imagination? Not that he possessed much of one outside the boundaries of his kitchen. But stress could be making him see things that weren't there.
"Get to bed, Trev, you've got a long day ahead of you tomorrow, remember?" he muttered. "Don't go conjuring up things that aren't there." No one in their right mind would be sailing this time of night with a storm brewing. It had to be a trick of the light.