One of my earliest memories is of a plane ride. I remember being very small, looking out the windows into bright sunlight on the way to Jamaica. My family is Jamaican, and so I was well into adulthood before I realized how different that travel memory was from those of my friends who’ve been to the island. They described a kind of party atmosphere on the plane and at the airport, a merriment rising from lots of honeymooners and tourists getting ready to start an island adventure. When I finally flew into Montego Bay, I understood what they were talking about.
All this time I’d been flying into Kingston. For my family, there was still the experience of joy, but without all the fanfare that goes with Montego Bay. Traveling into Kingston means you’re traveling like the locals.
Even without the luxury, though, I love vacationing in Jamaica’s local authenticity for a few great reasons.
1. The food’s fantastic. I’ve never been to one of those all-inclusive resorts, so I can’t speak to what the food there is like. I can tell you, however, that the meals I’ve had in some of the island’s roadside stops are some of the best I’ve ever eaten. Delicious doesn’t begin to describe the freshness of ingredients that were literally growing on trees earlier that day. Breadfruit roasted in its husk. A mango’s slippery golden flesh. Fluffy yellow ackee, mixed with slivers of saltfish and rich green callaloo. I could write about it all day if it weren’t already making me hungry.
2. The scenery’s breathtaking. On my last trip, my family took a day trip to the riverside. We spent an afternoon wading in cool water so clear I could see the tiny stones of the riverbed, and we watched a little group of elderly gentlemen playing dominoes on a tree stump. Later that week, I watched waves crashing against rocky cliffs at my uncle’s place, where the sea was a dark sapphire blue. And one night, from the hilltop near yet another uncle’s home, I looked over the water at Cuba’s city lights, as they flickered out in one of the neighboring island’s frequent blackouts.
3. Diversity. Remember the Volkswagen ad from a couple of Super Bowls ago? The one with the white guy speaking to his coworkers in the Jamaican accent? I remember shaking my head over the controversy that briefly surrounded that ad. So many people took offense at the idea that a white person would dare to take up a Jamaican accent, when the reality is that the island is home to many, many white Jamaicans. The island’s motto — out of many, one people — is very much alive on Jamaica. Jamaicans from Great Britain, India, China, and locations all over the world have contributed to the island’s inimitable mix of cultures for hundreds of years.
I’ve been fortunate to see the Jamaica that lies outside the resorts, and I’m hoping to share a little peek at it with Turnabout Day. In just a few pages, you’ll get to visit a sugarcane estate, have a taste of Jamaican cuisine, and meet a hot Scot who left Jamaica after a period of indentured servitude. The story might be set in a Jamaica that never was, but I think it’s true to a Jamaica that’s very real and not so far away.
In the story, sugarcane heiress Chloe Newton said goodbye to indentured servant Peter Darrow with her first kiss, on a hillside one long-ago summer night as mechanized cane cutters worked the fields below them. Now Peter’s returned, no longer a boy and no one’s servant, to take charge of the fleet of machines that work Chloe’s estate. On Turnabout Day, Chloe takes on the uniform and duties of a maid, and she seeks the courage to offer Peter more than a celebratory drink. By giving in to his commands, she’ll surrender to his need and become mistress of her own desire.
Here’s just a touch of the action:
“Listen to me, Chloe,” he whispered before releasing her hand. “I won’t be like those rich boys you’re used to. I won’t treat you as if you’re made of glass.”
His promise, his desire-laden voice, made all her empty places ache, and she sighed. He slid his hands down her bare arms.
“Tonight, you must do as I say, love. You must do anything I say. Is that what you want, Chloe?”
She flattened her hand against his chest. “What do you think?”
He leaned down toward her, moving with a torturous slowness, and she pressed her lips to his. Her skin burned where it met his. The smooth, soft surface of his generous mouth teased her. Need erupted in her, and she fought the desire to wrap her arms around him.
He pulled away from her. “Chloe, kiss me. Kiss me.”
She pulled him to her and kissed him hard, the way she’d wanted other men to kiss her. She locked her mouth to his, but she’d only begun to ease his mouth open when he parted his lips for her. Then he took control, his tongue eagerly taking possession of her mouth.
Oh, yes. Yes!
Turnabout Day arrives at Musa Publishing today; pick it up for a short trip into Jamaica’s alternate history! And be sure to catch up with me on Facebook, on my website, or on Lady Smut every Sunday morning. I’d love to hear from you!
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