Series: Ulara #1
Author: Leesa Bow
Genre: Contemporary Romance/
Women’s Adventure Fiction
Release Date: March 21, 2021
An exciting new adventure romance from best selling author Leesa Bow.
Imagine, Eat Pray Love – meets Avatar – meets Outlander…
An exotic holiday with girlfriends sounded like fun. A chance to get away from work and a certain ex.
Before I left, my protective father gave one warning: Stay out of the jungle.
In a culture vastly different to my sheltered upbringing, I find adventure, confidence, and excitement.
In a city of love, and a city of heartbreak, I find both.
I wasn’t searching for the man of my dreams.
He found me.
Then he disappeared…
My father also taught me to never give up. So I set a challenge to find the man who swept me off my feet.
He’s hiding a secret and I’m determined to find answers.
Even if it means doing the one thing my father warned about—entering the jungle.
I won’t come out the same.
The water spray dances over my face like tiny fingers massaging my forehead, temples, and cheeks. After the last two days, a warm shower hands down equals that of a luxury spa treatment. I’m going to make an appointment as soon as I get home, and right now, I don’t give two fucks of the cost.
My stomach drops.
I owe my family and friends a call.
Lathering soap over my body, I cringe when soap stings the small scratches on my shins.
Securing one towel on my head and another around my chest, I check if my phone is still charged. My room is closer to the reception area than the previous one, and it picks up the Wi-Fi, albeit slow. I flop on the bed and send a text to my friends to confirm my safety. While I’m waiting for the little blue line to cross the top of my screen, I open the last message I sent to my father. It will probably take a while for all the replies from my previous texts to come through.
“Eden.” Knock. Knock.
I spring up to open the door.
Blue eyes lock with mine. A slight breeze carries his freshly showered scent into my room, and it jolts my memory of us together in Ilheus. His Adam’s apple bobs. “May I have a word?”
“Sure.” I widen the door for him to enter.
“I see you’ve showered.” He turns in a slow circle as though assessing my room.
“I did. There was room for two.”
When his gaze shoots to mine, I turn away and casually towel dry my hair. “Are you heading to dinner? I’ll be ready after I call my friends and arrange my flight out for tomorrow.” I hate talking about leaving him, especially not knowing where I stand makes the effort of finding him somewhat pointless. I understand his commitment, but it doesn’t have to be forever.
I push the comb through my hair with extra force. “Ouch.” My knots are glued together since I haven’t used a brush in two days. The wind factor from the river ride was a formula for hairspray.
“Is it what you want?” he questions and takes a seat on the edge of the bed.
I stop combing. “I’m sorry, what?”
I shake my head. “I don’t have a choice.”
He stands and walks to the door. “I’ll wait in your hammock while you make the calls.”
I’m gaping at the closed door. He walks by the window and slides into the hammock on my porch with the slightest rock. He folds his hands behind his head and stares out at the lake.
I yank open the door. “Don’t put this on me. You said I wasn’t allowed in your village. There are restrictions, and you can’t touch me.”
He flies out of the hammock and pushes me inside. “Yes, we have limitations.” He spins me. His lips caress my bare shoulder. His hands wrap around my waist, so I feel the length of him pushing into my back. “We don’t have any here.”
“What did you expect when you came searching for me?” His lips are close to my ear, where hot breath caresses my neck.
“To find out if you cared about me as much as I you,” I rasp out.
“You knew I did. I showed you my feelings in Ilheus. You’ve complicated everything in a way I’ve never felt before.” Hands tighten around my stomach and travel down and touch me where heat builds. “I don’t want you to go. Is that what you want to hear?”
“Yes,” I grate out. “Of course, it is.”
“Then, you’ve won. You drive me crazy. I hope you’re satisfied that I’m a mess.”
I attempt to turn because I want to take him in my arms and kiss him. Only he halts my action, his strong arms keeping me still, my back to his front. We’re both peering toward the window to the view of the rainforest beyond the lake and waterfalls.
“You honestly believe you could survive out there?” He raises an arm and points. “Live like me?”
After my short experience—no. I couldn’t do it. If it meant giving us a chance, an instinct tells me it’s a place where I could find myself and truly question my happiness, challenge my abilities, overcome fear, and grow. It’s what this trip is meant to be—a journey of growth. Finding Samuel and love was a bonus. Then it dawns on me why I wanted to find him so much. By finding him, I also found my strength.
“I’d like a chance to try,” I whisper.
He stiffens behind me. His chest expands and releases faster with every breath. His forehead touches the top of my head.
I listen to him breathe for a while before his arms loosen around my waist. “I want to kiss you. We need to be careful, and you haven’t been in quarantine long enough to—”
“Stop talking. If I do this, I’m not living on the outskirts. I’m coming with you into the village.”
“We can’t sleep together.”
“I know. Wait. I thought the chief said no?” I push his arms off me and turn to face him.
“Turns out the shaman sees something in you.” He smiles at me. “He has granted you time, and I’m going to request for you to stay longer.” A dent forms between his eyebrows. “That’s if you want to—”
“Longer, as in the rest of my holidays?” What’s he saying? Shit, I have four more weeks.
Samuel’s expression softens. “If you think you can handle the four weeks, then yes.”
Pfft. If I can handle it. Does he even know me?
I’m smiling like an idiot.
It’s enough time to form a solid bond and see if we have a future together. Our initial connection can’t be ignored, and now that I’ve made all the effort to bloody get here, I’m not going to walk away wondering what if?
“Yes, of course, it’s what I want. Give me time to make those calls, then we can head over to dinner.”
He shakes his head. “We don’t associate with anyone, only Asoo, as he knows to keep his distance. No handshaking or embracing tourists. We eat in our room. I’ll pick some fruit from Victor’s organic garden and bring it to you.”
I nod. Damn, I was looking forward to a schnitzel or steak and a glass of wine at dinner.
A small sacrifice, really.
His eyes glaze over. “Talking of… you and I have some catching up to do. Less limitations,” I remind him.
When he doesn’t tell me to stop, I untie my towel, throwing it aside on the bed. His eyes bore into mine, then lower and glaze over. I watch him take his fill as I take a few steps toward him.
When I reach him, he spins me, takes my hands, and places them on the bed. “I’ll take it from here,” he whispers in my ear.
#2 Wild at Heart – Releasing August 30
Leesa Bow is a romance author who began her writing journey years ago when her daughter fell ill. After writing for therapy Leesa now can’t imagine doing anything else. Thankful to be following her passion for romance, she is living out her own happy ever after with her husband in Brisbane, Australia.
In her spare time Leesa enjoys watching sport, having beach days with the family, catching up for coffee with girlfriends, and taking long walks. Most importantly the cinema dates with her husband to watch all the Marvel movies.