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Dark Side of Paradise

Dark Side of Paradise by Connie Crow
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Meg Morton has come to Kauai, Hawaii, with a promising career, a business-deal marriage proposal to consider and a very empty heart. Motherless since she was small, Meg has tried to be a good daughter, following in her father’s footsteps to become the brightest star in the family’s internationally known auditing firm. All of which has left her cold and empty inside. She’s looking for something—or someone else in her life. Something to give her life purpose and make her feel really alive. She's had a marriage proposal that sounds suspiciously like a business merger offer. Certainly not one that brings joy to her heart. Her bloods stirs, when she sees a surfer stud, golden and tall, riding the waves in Lihue Bay. The golden one, Marco Akilahu turns out to be the perfect host for her get-away week before going to work on a huge audit. Marc, however, has his own problems. He’s the only son of a wealthy native Hawaiian family. A son destined to inherit a fortune on his 30th birthday, provided he’s married to a native and has no hint of scandal in his past. However, he has no bride in sight. He’s been running from eager bridal wannabees since college. He’d like a wife to love him for him, not just for the money and he hasn’t found a likely candidate yet. The two meet at his family’s luau, a concession to the hard times plaguing his family. He isn’t introduced and decides not to tell Meg his real identity. It’s just easier at the time. He becomes Meg’s guide for her getaway in Paradise. They try to keep their time light and fun but their lustful feelings for one another quickly build to a passionate climax in torrid lovemaking on a secret beach. Marc isn’t good at keeping secrets. Nearly everyone on Kauai knows him, so his true identity soon surfaces. They confess to one another that neither is free. They each have family obligations that come first in their lives. The only time they will have together is this short fling in Paradise. They separate at the end of the week, each trying to put the other in the past, into their private world of secret dreams. However, once in Honolulu, Meg finds her audit will be of the cultural foundation Marc heads, and he’s the prime suspect in the disappearance of close to $60 million in foundation funds. Meg has to sort through the minutia and prove who really took the money. She has to decide whether or not she believes Marc. As she digs through Marc’s business and life, she realizes that her feelings are much more than lust, she is falling in love with him and his way of life. In her search, she finds clues to her past and a part of her own life that had been denied her. She must confront her past before she is free to move into her future. Marc has to chose between his love for Meg and inheriting his share of the Queen’s money. He must devise a plan to save the plantation, meet his family obligations and still be free to love and marry Meg. They both have to learn that there are many ways to happiness and that love has "everything to do with it" in life. When the chips are down and things are the "Darkest " they must learn to trust in one another and believe in "Paradise".
Awe-Struck Publishing; August 2005
236 pages; ISBN 9781587495205
Read online, or download in secure PDF format
Title: Dark Side of Paradise
Author: Connie Crow
. . . Meg hung up. What a mess. How did her carefully ordered world fall apart so fast? So much for being the star junior partner of Morton and Morton. She’d be lucky to have a job left after this was over. At least her father seemed to be on her side and not too upset. A long-forgotten warm glow washed over her. Maybe she and her father had truly found one another again. Perhaps he was finally coming out of that private cavern of grief he’d entered when her mother died so many years ago. Meg stretched out on her suite’s couch. Her mind ran in circles. It was too late to go back to the office, yet too early to turn in. When had she eaten last? She didn’t remember. From the rumblings in her innards, she should think about food. But nothing sounded remotely interesting. She grabbed the menu. Maybe something from room service would sound good. Her hotel phone rang. She reached over the arm to grab the receiver. "Yes?" "Miss Morton? You have a visitor in the lobby. Shall I send him up?" Meg clenched her teeth. Al again. Would he never stop? "No. I’ll be right down." She grabbed her key card from the counter. They might as well settle this right now. Dad had okayed sending him home. She might as well tell him to leave one more time. She didn’t want Al in her life. She wanted Marc. And if she couldn’t have Marc, she’d go it alone. Hesitating, she snatched her purse off the couch. She might need a drink after this confrontation and she certainly wouldn’t let Al pay for it. She tapped a toe impatiently, waiting for the elevator. The ride down seemed to take forever. She stomped out of the car, ready to do battle with her spurned suitor and stopped--dead still. Marc stood by the elevator, newspaper in hand. He waved the Tattler. "We really do need to talk. Please, Meg, talk to me now." She sighed. Marc was the last man she expected to see. It never occurred he might know about the Tattler already. Grapevines work, even across the ocean. She might as well talk to him. It wouldn’t make any difference now. "Yes, we do need to talk--the lounge is still open." He nodded and they walked through the palm tree-lined lobby to the torch-lit lounge. They found a secluded corner booth, tucked cozily behind a palm tree. Meg slid in on the bench seat, with Marc right beside her. He ran a tentative hand over her fingers resting on the table. "Meg, I don’t know where to start." Meg looked up into his blazing dark eyes. "Then let me. I’m sorry we’ve made such a mess of your life. I don’t know how we made the front page of the Tattler. I had nothing to do with that photo, I swear." His fingertips deftly brushed an unruly curl from her face and caressed the curve of her jaw. "Of course, you didn’t. I know that. It was my own stupidity that got that photo in the paper." She wouldn’t be put off. "Carol called me about it earlier today. I’ve already called my father about the bad publicity. I’m sorry if I’ve cost you your fortune." A slow smile spread across his face. "That’s what I wanted to talk to you about. I’m working on a deal in Shanghai to save the plantation. I won’t need the inheritance and I can marry whomever I want." "Oh?" Meg didn’t know whether to be excited or horrified. What if his deal was with the Senator and the unauthorized account? What if her father was right? He took her hand between his, caressing it gently. "You said you took my advice--well I’ve decided to take it, too. Love is more important than money and I’ve fallen in love with you, Meg. It’s that simple. We’ll work something out. The Queen’s money doesn’t matter any more. If it’s gone, it’s gone." Warmth washed over her. She scooted closer to him in the booth, allowing him to drape an arm around her shoulders. She shivered with delight as his fingers kneaded the taut muscle in her neck. "Can it really be that simple, Marc? Are you sure you mean that? " His other arm found her waist and he pulled her to him. His voice came soft and low. "I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life." His mouth found hers, oblivious to the rest of the people in the lounge. His kiss carried her far away, into her own version of paradise. Her mind retreated as her emotions took control, sending hot spikes of pleasure through her, deep into her very core. But it didn’t last long. "Well, isn’t this cozy! " Marc broke the kiss and looked up into the angry eyes of a stranger. "Excuse me?" Meg’s voice cracked. "Al!" Marc glanced at her, never loosening his hold on her waist. "You know him?" She nodded. "Marc, this is Albert Anderson, my stubborn ex-boyfriend..." she glared at Al, "...who shouldn’t be here at all."
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