I was so very pleasantly surprised and thrilled when I received this novella by Tracey Garvis-Graves for review. I had no idea she’d been working on a follow-up to her wonderful story, On the Island, that I read, loved, and reviewed last year. This story is about what happened on the island before T.J. and Anna were marooned there, and what a story it is.
Owen is a millionaire. He definitely lives the good life. But as with most good things, there’s an ugly side and he’s tired of it all. Tired of people only taking, wanting more, and never giving in return. So his solution is to isolate himself. Take time to learn who he is all over again. So after some research he finds a deserted island, hires a pilot, and plans to spend the next thirty days by himself. He’s taken every precaution he can think of, including a way of communicating with Mick to pick him up if something goes wrong.
Other than a few days of being battered by bad weather, all goes well for Owen. He’s enjoying his solitude, learning that he can take care of himself in such an environment, and slowly but surely figuring out what he wants to do next. Everything goes so well, in fact, that he decides to go back to the island after a break in a hotel with some good food and other amenities, so Mick flies Owen right back out to his new home away from home. On his next break is when Owen meets Calia Reed, a young Britain on holiday before she moves to South Africa to follow her calling of helping those in need. It might be a good thing to have a pretty girl on the island with him.
Looking for adventure, Calia is intrigued with Owen’s invitation and decides to tag along. As does her brother, James. Though younger, James is determined to keep an eye on his sibling, especially if she’s flying into the unknown with a man she’s just met. So they spend sunshine-filled days on a beautiful beach they have all to themselves, swim with amazing creatures in a warm lagoon, all the while James keeps searching for that shark Owen once spied.
At first Owen isn’t thrilled that James is along for the ride, but he understands, and he can’t help but like the guy. The situation does allow him and Calia to know one another as friends before they acknowledge their attraction and that they want their relationship to go to the next level. Once James is aware of Owen’s intentions, he leaves the soon-to-be lovers on their own. They share idyllic days before a monster of a storm hits, forcing them to take refuge in the small house Owen built. A bit unnerved by the storm, Calia is ready to head back to civilization, as is Owen, and their deadline is looming near. However, before they can make it off the island, tragedy strikes.
Fleeing the island as a ferocious storm approaches, full of grief and guilt, Owen promises Calia he’ll help in any way he can. He gives Calia his phone number to keep in touch, but the call he waits for never comes. Now Owen is facing T.J. and Anna to fill in all the missing pieces to answer all the questions they had during their three years on the same island. They listen to his incredible story – touched, amazed, saddened just as the reader is – and it’s finally time for Owen to tell them the hardest part of all, how their lives intertwined with his own before their plane crashed and they ended up on his island.
It’s good to see T.J. and Anna again, to see how they’ve fared over the years. They have children and are still blissfully happy, which is what you’d wish for them after their traumatic ordeal. It’s wonderful to see them as a family, especially after the way they were condemned in the press once they were home. Interspersed now and again in the chapters of Owen’s story are T.J.’s and Anna’s reaction to his telling of it all. Is there a happy ending this time around? You need to read these books to find out, because it’s one crazy, emotional, terrific ride. You don’t want to miss any of it!
When twenty-three-year-old dot-com millionaire Owen Sparks walked away from his charmed life, he had one goal in mind: get as far away as possible from the people who resented his success, or had their hand out for a piece of it. A remote uncharted island halfway around the world seemed like a perfectly logical place to get away from it all.
Calia Reed wasn’t part of Owen’s plans. The beautiful British girl—on holiday in the Maldives with her brother, James—made Owen wonder if getting away from it all might be a lot more enjoyable with a carefree girl who didn’t know anything about the life he left behind.
But Owen had no idea how much his carefully detailed plans would go awry. Nor did he realize that a decision he made would have such a catastrophic effect on two passengers who boarded a plane in Chicago.
And when Owen shows up at Anna and T.J.’s door with an incredible story to tell, everyone involved will learn just how much their lives are intertwined.
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