Crying in Paradise

March 2013.
The jungles near Quepos, Costa Rica.
A young man lounged on the dark hardwood deck of a cabin overlooking the converted plantation where he and his young family were staying. The air was hot and heavy and thick enough to drink. His wife and 11 month-old sun napped inside the cabin in the relative coolness of the shade and ancient ceiling fan. Needless to say, travelling internationally in the tropics with a baby, the man was also exhausted.

Except he was far from sleep. In one hand, he held a frosted bottle of the local beer Imperial and in the other, his eReader. He brought the bottle to his mouth, looking from the corner of his eyes so that he didn't need to stop reading. The wife and kids would be up soon and he had to finish, though he didn't want this story to end...

The man laughed out loud.
In the jungle, a howler monkey bellowed, sounding more like a lion than a primate.
The man shook his head, jealous of some brilliant line.
A neon-blue Morpho butterfly fanned on the deck's railing.
The air stilled...the man might be holding his breath.
The beer bottle sat on the floor by his bare feet, forgotten and growing warm.
The man blinked something back.
In the cabin, a baby cried out.
The man's eyes darted, dreading that the end was coming too was his free time.
The cabin door opened and a bleary mommy stepped out, holding a groggy baby.
The man dropped the eReader next to the beer as he was yanked back into reality.
It was time for their afternoon swim.

Later that night, listening to the quiet sounds of his family sleeping, the man watched the ceiling fan though his mind was centuries away again, reliving Katherine Longshore's epic telling of a love story in the Tudor court.

I'll never forget reading an early draft BRAZEN for the first time down there in the jungle...just about as far away from the cold, damp world of Mary and Henry. Even sitting here, a year and some month's later, I still feel a ping in my chest when I think about this book. And it hurts. 

So congratulations, Katherine, for making a "grown" man cry while in paradise. 


I consider it one of my greatest achievements, Bret. Thank you.

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