The hero of Fijian Princess, Bosco Brookes, is on an idyllic Fijian island for his sister Callis' wedding. Bosco has fallen hard for the island princess, Adi, whose past lover, Ethan, has returned to the island to reconcile with Adi.
Here is a heavily-edited extract from Chapter Twelve when the wedding takes place the morning after a cyclone has hit the island.
Here Comes the Bride
“Bosco!” Callis. What now? He checked his watch. Son of a bitch. The wedding! God! What a loser of a brother he’d turned out to be.
He threw a soggy towel around his waist and wrenched the door open. Callis stood there, her dress white, her face red.
“What the hell are you doing, Bosco? Everyone’s waiting for us. And…look at this room!” She pushed past him. “Looks like the cyclone went right through it! Why didn’t you shut the windows, you idiot?”
She snatched up his soggy board shorts and wet towel…then spied Adi’s ripped thong.
“Sorry sis. I…er…”
“I know.” She scowled, kicked the wet clothes under the bed with her satin high heels. “You slept with Frieda. I’m sure she’s a tiger, but hey, today’s about me and Manuel.”
Adi must have left before first light. Why didn’t she wake me? He shrugged. Maybe she’d tried.
Callis grabbed him by the shoulders and turned him around to face her. “Speak to me, bro’.”
“Adi spent the night.”
“No shit.” Callis grinned. “But she was with Ethan this morning. I thought they’d reconciled.”
“She and Ethan have been over for years. They run this wedding business together. They’re not together anymore.”
Well, he got back last night, so I put two and two together. He was a hero during the storm—but we couldn’t find you…or Adi.” She hugged him. “I was so scared, bro’, and Ethan was furious when he couldn’t find her.”
“Sorry, sis. Adi and I were…distracted. But you were never any good at math. It was me and Adi all the way last night. Not Frieda.”
“Well, that’s a bit of a worry then. Tell that to Ethan.”
“You think he’ll call me out?”
“Well, there might be some repercussions when an Aussie bloke comes and steals a Fijian princess from his betrothed. But, hey, don’t worry about that now, bro’." She pushed him towards the bathroom. "Hit the shower. We gotta get this show on the road. That wind last night! How come you didn’t hear it?”
Bosco recalled the magic of Adi in his arms as they lay in the soft sand protected by the rocks, oblivious to the wind and wild waves until it was nearly too late. “I…must have slept through it.”
“Never mind. Move it.” She nudged him. “Shower.”
Bosco had a feeling today wasn’t going to be all wine and roses.
Callis rapped on the door and dumped his trousers on the chair. “Throw these on quick smart. No arguments.”
“Bloody hell Callis. Do I really have to wear this poncy stuff?”
“Shut up and hurry up.”
He gave his teeth a quick brush. No time to shave. Sky blue trousers. How did I ever allow this? “Are you sure you don’t want to back out, sis?” he called. “There’s still time.”
Callis handed him a white floaty shirt with ruffles. She leaned against the door and watched him struggle with the silly little studs.
“Look bro’, Manuel and I have worked hard at our relationship. We come together today with matching wounds. His are worse than mine, I’ll admit, as I draw the line at a guy wearing make up, but we’re a match made in heaven. I love him. He loves me. It’s simple when you work it out to the common denominator…see, I am good at math.”
She grabbed his arm and snapped shut the last row of studs.
“It’s that simple, is it?” Bosco had never, ever, thought it might be simple. If he could get Adi to love him, it would be simple.
“Put on this bandana.” Bosco grimaced. Could this day get any worse? Well, Callis could have made him wear a skirt.
Arm in arm they headed to the wedding.
As they walked up the flower-strewn path, the Fijian choir’s haunting song made the hairs on Bosco’s arms prickle. It was the most important walk of his life—delivering the beautiful woman he’d been a father to for so many years—to her groom. The responsibility weighed heavily on him as he remembered how close he’d come to losing her to the ocean yesterday.
Bosco felt like a peacock in his weird clothes, but he pasted a happy smile on his face. Mum, you would have been so proud of your little girl today!
He hugged his sister, finally ready to relinquish her to Manuel. As he placed Callis’ scratched hand in Manuel’s torn one, he thought, yes, they are a match made in heaven.
Adi was nowhere to be seen. Ethan stood at the edge of the wedding party, arms folded, scowling, eyes raking the crowd. His eyes lit on Bosco. Bosco saw the loathing.
Ethan knew he’d slept with Adi.
And Ethan hated him for it.
Callis’ pink diamond ring caught the sun. She’d told him that pink diamonds symbolized an everlasting and rare relationship. Well, hers and Manuel’s relationship was definitely rare; he hoped it was everlasting.
“Yesterday, today, forever.” Callis and Manuel kissed. The crowd hooted and clapped.
Bosco needed Adi. Where is she?
He gritted his teeth through the traditional Meke. He sat cross legged beside the happy couple, watching the Fijian singing and dancing without interest. He had to get out of here and find Adi.
Ethan disappeared into the jungle.
Bosco stood up, leaned back against a palm tree. I can’t bail on the bride and groom for my own selfish reasons. Callis and Manuel were sitting in their special chairs, a little table with a tapa cloth and a vase of hibiscus flowers between them. They were feeding each other fingerfuls of food. They wouldn’t miss me.
“Bruvver dear…what’s on ya mind?” Callis hugged and tickled him.
Bosco held her at arm’s length. “Callis. Behave yourself. I thought you were drinking punch.”
“Yep. Punch with a punch.” She gjggled. “But I had to come and tell you, sweetie, that you’ve been the best father and brother a girl could ever have.” She hiccupped. “I love you s’much. I want you to find happiness too.”
Bosco scanned the crowd.
“You go find her bro’. I think she’s run away.”
WORD COUNT: 1035
FULL CRITIQUE SOUGHT
- I hope you enjoyed the extract from my novel which I am currently editing and sending to critique partners before submission. I'd be happy to receive feedback and suggestions for improvement.