The excitement is building! Friday sees the release of A Twist of Fate, my first full length book. Various themes occur in this story of unlikely love. In the build up to the release, I explore a theme a day and the part it plays in the story of Callie and Paul.
My first theme is guilt.
The story begins with a plane crash. This crash is cataclysmic and devastating and claims the lives of all on board save two: Callie Frobisher and Paul Mason. Through some extraordinary twist of fate they find that they have lived and have ended up on an uninhabited desert island.
Callie and Paul have survived and others have not. Inevitably, they feel survivor’s guilt. In addition, Callie has very few memories of the crash itself and, despite a certain amount of shock, she soon finds her circumstances – alone on a beautiful island with an equally beautiful man – not unpleasant. This draws out further guilt. She not only feels guilty for surviving, she also feels guilty for falling for Paul. Paul isn’t the sort of boy she’s supposed to like, and certainly not the sort of boy her mother wants her to like. Callie is torn between the ease of lust which comes from her extraordinary situation and her sense of duty.
Then there’s her ex-boyfriend: The One, everyone says. She’s not so sure, but her guilt over him seems to drive her decision making.
How often do we make decisions based not on what is right, but on what we think others will see as right? When Callie meets Paul – as unlikely a match as he seems – she has a chance to break out of her dutiful straight jacket, but will she have the courage to do so? Shaking off the familiar comfort of guilt is tough.
And what about Paul? Does guilt play a part in his mind set? Callie, for one, is determined to find out.
Here’s a taste of Callie’s guilt:
I laughed, then winced. My arm had been hurting for an age, but I’d tried to ignore it.
‘My arm.’ I touched it and a fierce pain raced through it.
‘Let’s have a look.’
He took hold of the sleeve of my shirt, and only then I noticed it was stained pink with blood. He lifted it with the tenderness of a brood hen. I made the mistake of looking into his eyes. Our tiff was instantly forgotten. After a searing moment where our gazes met and my belly somersaulted, he turned back to examine my arm.
‘Nice gash you got there.’
I glanced down and winced. I had an angry cut about three inches long running along my arm. It was still seeping blood a little. ‘You may need it stitching when we’re back, but we can bind it for now. Hold on.’
He stood and jogged nimbly over to some wreckage. After scrabbling about for a while he returned with a bandage. ‘Y’see,’ he grinned. ‘We’ve got all we need. First aid kit intact.’
Paul cleaned the wound with some saline then worked concertedly and skilfully to bind my arm. ‘It’ll have to be tight, I’m afraid.’
His fingers were warm and assured and, as they grazed my skin, I felt an unstoppable surge of desire flaming inside me. He was so close and so hard and firm. My head swam and I was unable to take my eyes off him.
He finished by tying off the bandage and smiling at me. ‘There you go. Good as new.’ He didn’t move his hands away, and stayed still, holding my arm tenderly yet firmly.
I held his gaze and smiled back. He was right there, strong and sure. Would it be so bad to just … But how mad this was. All of it. I averted my gaze.
Paul drew in a breath suddenly and turned out to look at the sea. ‘Not a bad spot really, is it? I mean, if you’re gonna be the sole survivors of an air crash, there’re worse places to end up.’
My stomach dropped with disappointment.
The moment was lost. Probably for the best. This was crazy. I couldn’t enter into some mad relationship on a desert island with someone I barely knew. Someone with whom I had nothing in common. Someone who was entirely wrong for me. Just because we were stuck together didn’t mean we should do anything. And there was Rupert. I was going back to Rupert, after all. I’d already made my decision.
A Twist of Fate is released in e-book format on 5th June and in paperback on 18th June. It is available for pre-order now.