In WHO WANTS TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE? (Harlequin Romance, January 2012) I have a scene-stealer of the legless variety…dolphins!
Gemma, my marine environmental scientist heroine, is trying to save a stretch of beach that means the world to her.
Rory, the CEO of Australia’s largest property developer, cares for the bottom dollar more than creatures.
Thankfully, through an afternoon exploring the marine life first hand in Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay, he finally understands what all the fuss is about.
Here’s a snippet from a ‘swim with the dolphins.’
An awkward silence stretched between them and she plucked at the rubber stretched taut on her thigh, when he said, “Gemma, I don’t want—”
Once the cry went up, everyone crowded to the side of the boat and the moment vanished.
As they re-entered the water, she wondered if he’d been about to say I don’t want complications, I don’t want a relationship or the worst possibility, I don’t want you. Before she slipped on her mask and snorkel, she waved at the small pod of Bottlenose dolphins nearby.
“Meet my friends. If they don’t convince you to look after the local beaches, nothing will.”
Wisely, he remained silent, but the understanding flash in his eyes before he slid his mask on gave her hope.
They slipped into the water in small groups and while they held onto mermaid lines and allowed the curious dolphins to come to them, Gemma watched Rory.
Saw the first moment a dolphin swam within touching distance and his eyes crinkled at the corners in delight, saw the awe on his face when a group of five dolphins leapt out of the water, saw the workaholic executive melt away beneath the onslaught of these beautiful creatures.
When they’d finally made it back on the boat and stripped out of their gear, it took him a full ten minutes ebfore he spoke.
“I get it,” he said, his voice low, his tone reverent and she refrained from flinging her arms around his neck and hugging the life out of him, just.
She settled for touching his hand. “I’m glad.”
He turned his hand over, sliding his fingers between hers, holding on tight and that’s how they remained for the return journey to Sorrento.
Holding hands, her head resting on his shoulder, watching the sun set in a dazzling display of mauve and gold and pink, streaking the sky with beauty.
Gemma didn’t believe in romance or fairytales or happily ever afters but this? Came pretty darn close to topping her list of life’s perfect moments.
To discover more about these wonderful creatures, check out this website http://www.polperro.com.au/stories.html
Better yet, come to Melbourne and swim with the dolphins!
If you could get up close and personal with an animal for research, which animal would it be?