by Hannah Fielding
Published: April 15th 2015 (first published April 1st 2012)
Published by: London Wall Publishing
Page count: 290
Genre: Historical fiction, Contemporary romance
An unforgettable passion ignited in the heart of Africa. A fragile love tormented by secrets and betrayal.
Coral Sinclair, a beautiful but naïve young photographer, learns within days of calling off her wedding that she has also lost her father. Leaving her life in England, she sails to Kenya to take up her inheritance – Mpingo, the plantation that was her childhood home.
On the voyage, Coral meets a charismatic stranger and their mystifying attraction shakes her to the core. Later she finds out his identity and is warned that the man is not to be trusted. Rafe de Monfort, owner of a nightclub and the neighbouring plantation, is not only a notorious womanizer, but also his affair with Coral’s stepmother may have contributed to her father’s death. Or so the rumours go.
As Coral is swept up in the undeniable chemistry between her and Rafe, a tentative romance blossoms in the exotic, dangerous wilderness of Africa. But when Coral delves into his past, she questions his true motives. Is the infamous lothario just after her inheritance? Or does Rafe’s secret anguish colour his every move, making him more vulnerable than Coral could ever imagine?
Silence descended. Coral’s attention shifted, and the spectacle began.
The overture was dramatic, evoking the crack of thunder and torrential rain; stage lighting gradually turned from red to gold, conjuring the breaking of daylight. Two sculptural figures became outlined against flashes of lightning: a man and a woman, naked except for a most exiguous loincloth, like the first humans at the dawn of time — alive but not yet awake.
The music built to a crescendo together with the humming of the chorus, and the dance opened. As the sun began to rise, the man reached out to the woman, and they clasped hands. He cradled her, and languidly they lifted themselves up to their feet, their bodies brushing, their eyes lost in each other’s. Sensuously, deliberately, they danced, moving as though they were one, their body language smooth as their limbs carefully unfolded. They twirled and rocked, intertwined and separated, nearly leaning onto one another but barely touching, their movements sometimes tender, sometimes almost violent. The man’s erotic movements against his partner were at first tentatively inviting, then inciting, before becoming more and more demanding and forceful. The woman was hesitant and shy to start off with, then increasingly yielding as his caresses seemed to excite her. As she watched, Coral felt contrasting emotions ignite in her as the furious energy of the dance alternated with sudden scenes of silence.
Finally, clasped together, making full contact for the first time, the couple swayed and spun around the stage in a flowing wave motion to the provocative rhythm of the music. As the frenzy reached its paroxysm, the orchestra’s fury intensified and stopped. Moments passed while the dancers held tight to each other, as though their bodies were melting together. The expression on their features as they lifted their faces to the sky was one of unimaginable joy. The show had come to an end. The dancers, still panting, their bodies glistening with sweat, took their final bow from an audience who were stamping, shouting, and throwing flowers at them in appreciation of such masterful art.
As the lights came on, Coral was still feeling goose bumps rise on her skin. It had been a captivating story of man and woman — the eternal combat between the two sexes — an unflinching tale of lust and love vibrating with uninhibited passion and primitive eroticism.
About the author
Hannah Fielding is an incurable romantic. The seeds for her writing career were sown in early childhood, spent in Egypt, when she came to an agreement with her governess Zula: for each fairy story Zula told, Hannah would invent and relate one of her own. Years later – following a degree in French literature, several years of travelling in Europe, falling in love with an Englishman, the arrival of two beautiful children and a career in property development – Hannah decided after so many years of yearning to write that the time was now. Today, she lives the dream: writing full time at her homes in Kent, England, and the South of France, where she dreams up romances overlooking breath-taking views of the Mediterranean.
To date, Hannah has published four passionate, evocative novels: Burning Embers, a ‘romance like Hollywood used to make’, set in Kenya; the award-winning Echoes of Love, ‘an epic love story that is beautifully told’, set in Italy; and books 1 and 2 of the Andalusian Nights trilogy, set in sultry Spain, entitled Indiscretion and Masquerade. She is currently working on her fifth book, Legacy, which will publish this spring.