How fortunate to be on Sydney Harbour, one of the most romantic backdrops in the world, for the e-launch of House of Diamonds.
Couples of all ages are drawn to these foreshores in the mild fresh air, to enjoy everything from first dates and Valentine’s Day picnics to proposals and even weddings.
With their spectacular views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and city skyline, the much loved harbour parks and beaches offer an ever changing view of sunsets and flotillas of ferries, yachts, kayaks, tugs, tankers and party boats, and bring joy all year round.
How I wish you could be here with me!
But I can still offer you a reading…
First, to meet Stella and James—the duelling jewelers of Bondi Junction—you can actually read the first three chapters of House of Diamonds for free via Amazon!
Skipping ahead, Stella and James agree to have a harbourside picnic together, and the evening begins well enough …
James swung them down Ocean Street under a glorious green canopy of plane trees. When they stopped at lights, Stella was acutely aware of his hand resting on the gearstick, so close to her knee. She calmed herself by turning the other way and admiring the classy home wares and fashion on display in the windows of the small shops.
As they accelerated again, her hair escaped the bun in the mild evening air, she clutched it to hold it out of her eyes, and he glanced across at her with a grin.
James’s 10 out of 10 smile was catchy. The corners of her lips floated up in an answering grin, and she threw back her head and laughed. It was lovely being driven around by James in this extraordinary car.
He looked across and laughed along, as they scooted along the edge of Rose Bay past mansions on one side and the yachts and pleasure cruisers on the other.
The car engine sang like Shirley Bassey as James changed gears and they vroomed up the “s” bends of New South Head Road.
Suddenly he pulled off the main road and dived down a side street, past more manicured gardens and fancy fences, then down to a park on the edge of the water.
“Lots of places I could take you, but that ankle’s still sore. You won’t want to walk too far. This place is good. Great view. Quiet. We’ll have it to ourselves.”
When he shut off the engine the silence roared. She was doing better without crutches now, and he drew her arm around him and put his own supporting arm around her shoulders. Slowly they walked together down a path towards the edge of the water. Crickets stilled and resumed their chirrups again as they passed. At last, with a welcoming whisper, came the hush of gentle waves against the shore.
The cut grass smelled sweet, so far from the traffic. All lit up, a huge cruise ship slid out of Sydney Harbour, lights reflecting in the glossy water in front of them, as it headed back to sea. The breeze brought wafts of jazz from the band on deck.
Stella flicked out the beach towel on a flat patch of soft grass, and James placed the picnic basket on one edge, suddenly grabbing her around the waist and clasping her close. He swayed her to the beat of the band, and when she laughed, he pulled her off her feet and spun her around with him. A good dancer as well! Bonus. Her flouncy scarf-skirt swung out as he set her down.
“Enough of that,” she said. “I promised to take you to dinner, and really, you’ve taken me. The least I can do is offer you some wine for starters.”
“Sure. Thank you. Need a hand?”
“Screw top. Easy. Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc, sir?”
“Why thank you. Pretty good restaurant.”
“Best table in the house, for you.”
“Best company for sure.”
“Flirt. Fairly limited menu, though. Stuffed olive?”
“Love a stuffed olive.”
“Antipasto? Fancy crackers? Cheese?”
“Love a fancy cracker.”
They touched their glasses together before they sipped.
But all was not as it seemed…
You can order a copy for yourself or a friend here on Amazon or from Books2Read, or explore my website.
House of Diamonds is the debut book in the international House of Jewels series, featuring the romantic fortunes of the Huntley family, Australian jewelry business heirs with a problem or four.
As I say in the dedication, it takes a community to raise a writer, and I warmly thank my family and friends, old and new, who have supported my efforts by critiquing earlier versions and simply believing in the potential, beauty, joy and power of the words we share.