In March of 2009, I was lucky enough to have a friend from college staying in Auckland for a couple of years. When she told me she was coming back to the States, I headed south of the Equator to visit before I lost the free place to stay and the local guide (and to see her, of course). Foolishly, I thought twelve days was plenty of time to see both islands of New Zealand with time to spare. I barely saw the north end of the smaller north island, and I didn’t see probably half of what that magical place had to offer. My friend told me there was beauty around every corner. Wow, was she right!
The Coromandel Peninsula has to be one of the most incredible places on earth. Beautiful beaches, dense fern forests, and commanding vistas. I’ve never see so many stars under a moonless, night sky laying on a beach with the soundtrack of waves gently hitting the sand. In the morning, exotic shells lay scattered all over the sand while the sun rose over the Pacific Ocean. I knew I had to write about this special trip.
In Memories of Coromandel, MacKenzie Wright had spent mere weeks in New Zealand on a work trip three years prior, but he’d met a guy and fell hard. Erik Parata had left his mark on MacKenzie, and he hadn’t found anyone to even come close to Erik since he’d left and broke both of their hearts.
MacKenzie’s well-meaning bestie and workmate, Alicia, manipulated a three-month work trip for MacKenzie back to Auckland, and almost immediately, MacKenzie stumbles into Erik one morning at the beach near Hahei. Their relationship steams ahead, and finally, MacKenzie has to make a choice: hurt Erik again and leave or give up the security of the life he’d built from nothing in Seattle.
You can order the seventh book of Rain City Tales, Memories of Coromandel on Amazon or Kobo. Checkout Brent’s website for the other Rain City Tales and for more details on upcoming books.
Excerpt from Memories of Coromandel:
The first morning glimmers of sunlight filtered in through the cabin’s curtained window. MacKenzie blinked and rubbed the granules of sleep out of his eyes. Taking his bearings, he pushed himself out of the single bed and tugged on his board shorts. Beach time.
Rifling around in his bag, he found a tank top and pulled it over his head. He slipped on his sandals, snagged his keys, and shuffled out of the small cabin. After a quick stop at the cinderblock building housing the toilets and showers, he headed to the thin, sandy trail between the grass-covered dunes toward the sound of waves washing against the shore.
A flush of pink over the horizon merging with the dark blue of the clear sky met his gaze when he reached the beach. A few stars still twinkled, but the predawn glow dimmed their light. He kicked off his sandals, feeling his feet sink slightly into the cool sand. He trod carefully around the brightly colored shells dotting the shore and strode into the surf. Small waves of warm ocean water rolled over his ankles, and he breathed in the morning sea air.
Movement caught his peripheral vision, and he turned away from the impending sunrise over the Pacific Ocean to track the motion. A man stood in the surf, balanced on one leg in a yoga pose, hands together in front of his bare chest. His tight, tiny bikini shorts clung to his substantial yet firm ass. Powerful legs held him upright as he stared out toward the approaching dawn. A sleeve of tattoos ran up one deeply tanned arm from elbow to shoulder, but MacKenzie couldn’t tell what the tattoos were at this distance. The design looked Māori.
Light poured over the man, and MacKenzie tore his gaze away to watch the sun bursting over the horizon and ascending into the sky. A gentle breeze blew off the ocean, giving him a rush of goose bumps over his chest and arms. The warm water pulsed with a wave and washed over his knees.
Once the sun had completely lifted above the horizon, a splash from the direction of the impressive figure in the surf drew his attention. The man had abandoned his yoga pose and dived into the water, emerging several yards farther out in the ocean. He bobbed for a moment then swam back toward the shore, mesmerizing MacKenzie with the powerful strokes of his muscled arms.
Reaching the shallow waters, he dove under and resurfaced closer to MacKenzie. The morning sunlight shimmered through the droplets of water cascading off him. MacKenzie raked his gaze over the man, stopping at the impressive pecs, and froze. A tattoo of a crescent moon stood alone on the rounded muscle, matching the necklace hanging around his own neck.
MacKenzie brought his hand up and clutched at the jade resting on his chest. He’d only ever seen one person with that particular tattoo before. The swimmer stopped moving, facing MacKenzie, with his head tilted to the side. Recognition slammed into MacKenzie when he met the eyes of the dripping man, and his heart leaped.
He moved again, wading through the shallows toward MacKenzie, his mouth slightly open and face set in an expression MacKenzie could only describe as awe. With a tremble, MacKenzie willed his legs to move, and he stepped through the submerged sand to meet him halfway.
After a moment, they stood face to face, and MacKenzie had no doubt he’d found the person he’d wished not to find. The man he’d fled Auckland upon his arrival to avoid. The man he’d never quite gotten over, even after three years. The man he’d hurt.
“It’s you, isn’t it?” The unmistakable voice of Erik Parata spoke across the short distance between them and crashed over him as strong as any wave.
Brent Archer began writing in 2011 at the nudging of his cousins. His first story sold, and he was hooked! Keep up with Brent Archer and his current releases at his website, and follow him on Instagram and on Twitter @brentarcherwrit.
Sounds like a great story. Will be checking out your website for sure.