My latest novella The Honeymoon Prize was released earlier this month. The story combines two of my favorite tropes—marriage of convenience and friends to lovers. But I must admit the setting, a luxurious island resort in Fiji, was my absolute favorite thing. Why?
Writing the story reminded me of my own tropical-island honeymoon nineteen years ago.
My husband and I were married In New York where he grew up. I was a west coast girl living in San Francisco at the time, but a family illness made an east coast wedding a must. The location played into our choice for a honeymoon. We decided on two weeks in the Caribbean, some place I'd never been. I did a little research, and we came up with two islands to visit—Antigua and Grenada. My then-fiancé was really into sailing and loved to race so this helped narrow down our choices.
In Antigua, we stayed at Galley Bay in one of their Gauguin Cottage. Imagine two thatched huts connected by a breezeway. One was the bedroom, the other the bathroom. Romantic, yes. Ad in a beautiful beach, and we only went into "town" once. Who needed to leave paradise? We had plenty of activities to keep us busy or just take down time to relax. While my husband wanted to keep sailing or swimming, I could take a break on the beach, read and sip from a fruity drink with a paper umbrella sticking out.
I called upon those memories as I wrote The Honeymoon Prize. Though I also relied on the Internet to show me accommodations and offerings from resorts in the South Pacific. After the first thirty-minutes of research, I was ready to pack my suitcase and take a second honeymoon! Unfortunately I could only travel there in my imagination. But I still had fun!
This is how Addie describes seeing Starfish Island for the first time:
The seaplane made a pass around Starfish Island, giving her a bird’s eye view of her vacation home for the next ten days. She stared in wonder at the gorgeous sights below: white beaches, several hidden among rocky coves, lush greenery and rolling hills on the island’s interior and clear, blue water all around. “This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. I need to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.”
Nick leaned over her shoulder, as if wanting a better look himself. They were the only two passengers on the small plane. “Welcome to paradise, Addie. This vacation is going to be good for you.”
And once she arrives:
The pilot cut the engine. “Enjoy your stay on Starfish Island. We locals like to think of this place as a tiny slice of heaven on earth."
Addie would agree. The plane’s small door opened. They stepped outside. A fresh breeze blew across her skin and played with the ends of her hair. Waves lapped against the dock, a sound she knew well but held a different echo here, like the air was lighter. Music played on the beach. Two men strummed guitars surrounded by colorfully dressed singers.
Warmth pooled in her head and heart. Who was she kidding? She felt warm all over.
The hours of travel had transported Addie to another world, to a place where she could escape reality and relax. The problems and troubles of the past no longer mattered. Her entire body felt as if it were smiling. “Wow! We’re not in San Diego any longer.”
I remember feeling the same way Addie felt when we arrived at Galley Bay. Newly married (though ours was for real, not convenience) and so excited to start this new chapter of our lives together. Though I wish spa services would have been more popular back then. I would have loved a couple's hot rock massage like Addie and Nick had together! I'm sure my hubby would have, too. But no complaints about the wonderful honeymoon we shared together! I wish we could do it all over again. Maybe someday.
Have you ever taken a vacation in a tropical paradise? If so, where? If not, where would you want to go if you could? One commenter will be chosen randomly to win a $10 Amazon gift card.