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Where Do You Find Your Peace and Harmony?

Where Do You Find Your Peace and Harmony?


Anne Ashby

 Not only was I fortunate enough to be born in the best little country in the world (New Zealand), I was also fortunate enough to have spent my childhood in the best part of that best little country. Am I biased? Of course I am. Would the majority of New Zealand’s population liken my hometown to Utopia? Most definitely not. They’d say the southern coastline of the South Island – remember we’re talking Southern Hemisphere here – is the coldest, bleakest, most isolated, inaccessible, desolate hole anyone could ever imagine. Wrong! Rural Southland was an ideal place for a child to discover what’s important in an ever-changing world gone mad. Far away from the soon-to-come technology explosion, the noise and bustle of progress, I grew up appreciating the simple things, the important things in life.

Now, even though my lifestyle is so different - yes I live in a city – and the pressures of today’s fast-paced world has taken so much from us, the contentment I discovered and learnt to value as a child has remained with me. I love the countryside. I look at the farmland and see the hard work involved in the annual path from fallow to harvest, from birth to death. I look at the bush and am in awe of the multiple species of plant life that abound there. To stop and strive to find the birds responsible for the music all around always calms a troubled spirit. How can we not be filled with wonder at such beauty?

But it is not to the land that I turn in times of angst or sadness, but the sea. In another life was I a fish or a dolphin? A turtle or a whale? Or is it just that I was born under the sign of the fish? The sea is so much a part of me, it’s like the salt air is essential to my life. I’m so grateful to still be able to live within walking distance of our coastline. To me, the sea is always breath-taking in each of its many moods. It sooths, it scares, it strengthens, but most of all it empowers me. In its enormity it reminds me that while I am but a speck upon its shore I am still essential. The sea has never failed to provide me with peace and harmony, or the inspiration and adventure I seek.

 Where do you find your peace and harmony? In Wilderness Liaison, the bush is my heroine Jodie’s Utopia.    WILDERNESS LIAISON By ANNE ASHBY

Jodie knew the next four days would be a battle of wits the second she laid eyes on Shal Gregory. While the New Zealand bush provided solace for Jodie, where she found peace or harmony, inspiration or adventure, depending on her mood, Shal’s arrogant glare burned with apathetic condemnation. Why was she reacting so emotionally to his presence?

Her breath caught in her throat as Shal appeared in her line of vision. Dropping a towel onto a small manuka bush, he proceeded to shed his clothing at the water’s edge and wade into the lake. Her heart thumped in her throat. Jodie boggled as for a moment he just stood there knee deep, in all his glory, before wading further out and diving under the water.

Jodie couldn’t breathe. Her pulse was racing, the roaring in her ears was deafening. What’s the matter with me? I’ve seen a naked man before. It isn’t as if he’s nearby. She could hardly see anything from this distance—except that his body was beautifully sculptured and flawlessly set off by his olive skin.

She gasped as he rose from the water before diving under its surface again. He looked as perfect as any image she’d seen on the silver screen or doing the rounds of the internet. Trying to shift her thoughts away from the erotic journey they were taking, Jodie moved cautiously. Pain would dampen them, she determined.

Clenching her muscles a little at a time, she isolated the worst of the pain to the small of her back. She turned her head, inadvertently looking out the open door again. Gasping, she froze. Shal stood on the lake’s edge. He threw back his head, shaking the water from his hair as he invited the sun to worship his magnificent body. Jodie felt a long-dormant yearning deep in her stomach as her eyes feasted.

Shal reached for the towel and mopped his face, ignoring the rest of his naked body. Jodie willed her head to turn away, her eyes to close—but they ignored her bidding. She recognised the stirring in the pit of her stomach. Lust, she berated herself, it’s only lust. She almost groaned aloud as he turned and she was given an even more detailed look at his golden physique. Blood roaring in her ears, she continued to stare. She wanted to look away—knew she must look away—but instead ached to run her fingers across those rippling muscles.

So mesmerised, when he swung his head and saw her, Jodie could do nothing. Breathing was impossible as heat burned her whole body. Making no attempt to cover himself, Shal stood there, hiding nothing.

A faint, knowing smile was visible even from this distance.



Available in print and e-format from: The Wild Rose Press, Amazon,
Barnes & Noble, other booksellers

Purchase from the AdC Bookstore

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LaVerne Clark said...

Another proud Kiwi here! I was lucky enough to be a preliminary reader for your story as it was going through the initial query stage for TWRP. I was thrilled to be assigned this story and fell in love with Shal and Jodie immediately. I got such a kick out of reading about a setting I was so familiar with too - but when combined with such great writing - I was in heaven! I encourage everyone to read this story - I can't recommend it highly enough. Now, I'm off to buy my own copy. It'l be interesting to see what if anything has changed during the editing stage :)

Posted March 13, 2012 02:22 PM | Reply to this comment

Ella Quinn said...

I loved your description of your home and the excerpt.

Posted March 13, 2012 03:31 PM | Reply to this comment

Ruth said...

Anne said: "But it is not to the land that I turn in times of angst or sadness, but the sea. In another life was I a fish or a dolphin? A turtle or a whale?" I LOVE the ocean! If I could choose to live anywhere in the world, it would be near the sea. It's so peaceful, yet fearsome. It's so full of life, constantly moving, always changing. I love it! And I enjoyed the excerpt, too. Thanks for taking the time to visit with us!

Posted March 13, 2012 05:08 PM | Reply to this comment

C. K. Crouch (aka Kathy) said...

Nice post your book sounds very intriguing and nice hook ending there. Congratulations on the book.

Posted March 13, 2012 05:42 PM | Reply to this comment

C. K. Crouch (aka Kathy) said...

Nice post your book sounds very intriguing and nice hook ending there. Congratulations on the book.

Posted March 13, 2012 05:42 PM | Reply to this comment

C. K. Crouch (aka Kathy) said...

I didn't mean to post twice it kept rejecting the code I typed in. GOOD LUCK with the book and may it sell off the shelves.

Posted March 13, 2012 05:46 PM | Reply to this comment

Anne Ashby replied to LaVerne Clark...

Hi Everybody, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Kathy, I'm not sure if I'm that good at hooks so thanks for your comment, dont worry about the extra post, adds to the numbers and looks great lol. Ella, thanks for commenting, come visit NZ one day.

Posted March 13, 2012 06:58 PM | Reply to this comment

Anne Ashby replied to Ruth...

Hey Ruth, Are you a Pieces? I often wondered if that helped me appreciate the sea so much. Or maybe it was just growing up beside it. Thanks for sharing your love

Posted March 13, 2012 07:00 PM | Reply to this comment

Anne Ashby replied to LaVerne Clark...

LaVerne, I messed up my last post, sorry. Hey we have got to meet sometime. You going to conference this year? What lovely things you've said, thank you so much. I didnt know you were my preliminary reader - you will find some changes, its a little spicier now, only a little, mind you. Thanks for your encouraging post

Posted March 13, 2012 07:04 PM | Reply to this comment

LaVerne Clark replied to Anne Ashby...

I'd love to be going to conference this year - but since being in the South Island, found it just that little bit harder to find the money - especially with other family commitments up that way throughout the year. When I do though, it'll be great to meet up! :) I'd been to two conferences when I lived in Auckland and they are what encouraged me to keep writing. What an amazing organisation!

Posted March 13, 2012 07:19 PM | Reply to this comment

TJ said...

What a lovely post, Anne! you make me want to visit that bleak, isolated but magical south Island :) Good luck on the book!

Posted March 13, 2012 08:52 PM | Reply to this comment

Amanda Wilson said...

Anne, your book sounds wonderful and the cover is gorgeous. As a fellow RWNZ member (Auckland chapter) I wish you all the very best. Cheers - and happy writing. Amanda :)

Posted March 14, 2012 12:15 AM | Reply to this comment

Anne Ashby replied to TJ...

Hi TJ, I'm not biased or anything (yeah right) but you'd be welcomed for sure. Southland is actually warm and green and filled with friendly people. Nothing bleak about it. Thanks for stopping by and commenting

Posted March 14, 2012 04:12 AM | Reply to this comment

Anne Ashby replied to Amanda Wilson...

Hi Amanda thanks, I actually hoped to have Waitakere bush in the foreground of the cover with Sky Tower behind - it would have expressed more about what the story is - but was still happy how it turned out. Look forward to seeing you next month

Posted March 14, 2012 04:16 AM | Reply to this comment

Casey Clifford said...

I love your comment about the sea and the emotions it inspires. Our Lake Michigan which is really an inland sea, as it is so large, does that for me. Since I live right on the shoreline and all my major windows look onto its panoramic views, I am constantly awed by its emotions and thus the feelings those inspire within me.

Posted March 14, 2012 10:54 AM | Reply to this comment

Sheila Griffin said...

Sounds like a good book!

Posted March 14, 2012 03:07 PM | Reply to this comment

Rae said...

Sounds like a wonderful story. Makes me want to go and visit NZ.

Posted March 15, 2012 08:42 AM | Reply to this comment

Pam said...

I love reading stories that are in other countries. I feel like I am actually visiting the people that live there. :-))

Posted March 16, 2012 08:22 AM | Reply to this comment

Heather Files said...

New Zealand is pretty high on my list of countries I'd love to visit (not just because of Lord of the Rings, though the movies sure helped). Your article adds a specific desire to see the South Island. I very much enjoyed your book's teaser as well!

Posted March 25, 2012 02:24 PM | Reply to this comment

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