Hi, my name is Carol Oates. I live in Ireland and so Iâ€™m delighted to get the opportunity to participate in the March Book Brew here on Coffee Time Romance where we will be celebrating all things Celtic.
My debut Novel Shades of Atlantis was released in November 2010. Itâ€™s a YA paranormal romance that takes the main character on a journey from America to England and on to Ireland where she discovers history refuses to stay in the past. I like to think it has something that appeals to all ages.
Why did he have to ask that? I wasnâ€™t up to any more embarrassing conÂversations, and my reason for choosing London over every other place in the world seemed a bit stupid to most people. I could only imagine what Caleb would make of it. I desperately searched my brain for a suitable substitute for the truth. Calebâ€™s eyes sparkled at me, burning into me; he wanted to know the truth, and despite myself I had to tell him.
â€œYouâ€™ll probably think itâ€™s crazy,â€ I warned him, my cheeks flushing again.
â€œTry me.â€ He grinned and butterflies filled my insides.
â€œI donâ€™t have many memories of my parents. They died in a car crash when my brother and I were very young.â€ My breathing staggered when Caleb shifted in his seat, inching himself nearer to me. It wasnâ€™t much, but it was enough to make my heart beat faster. I lowered my gaze again to help calm my breathing. â€œThey met in London,â€ I continued. â€œMy aunt told me the story. They both grew up near here, but they never met until the summer after they graduated high school when they were both in England on vacaÂtion.â€ I peeked up to check if he was still listening, and he was absorbing every word I said. â€œMy aunt told me they were just walking down the road one day. It was love at first sight, they just knew â€¦ They never had a full day apart again until the day they died.â€ I bit my lip to compose myself.
Caleb sat silently, waiting for me to continue.
â€œI donâ€™t remember my mom ever telling me herself, but she must have the night she died. The very last thing she said before she put me to bed was I should never be afraid of who I am and that she loved me and would always be with me. She told me that she had to leave home to find her home and someday I would too. I remember the feel of her lips on my forehead so clearly.â€ I sighed, touching the spot with my fingertips briefly. â€œYou must think Iâ€™m insane to travel halfway across the globe because my dead mother told me I should.â€ I looked up to Caleb, watching me mesmerized, as if every word I spoke had great significance to him.
â€œOn the contrary, I understand about the lengths someone will go to for family.â€ He chuckled once darkly at something in the conversation or maybe thinking about the lengths he would go to for the blonde.
â€œAnyway,â€ I continued, frowning a little. â€œMy aunt told me my mother always said that sometimes home wasnâ€™t where you were born or raised, that sometimes it was a place or a feeling, or a person â€¦â€ My words faded as I remembered the first night we met.
â€œSo your parents were soul mates?â€ Caleb asked.
I pursed my lips doubtfully. â€œHmm, I donâ€™t know about that.â€
Caleb shifted again. He was almost as bad as Amanda for moving about in his seat. He reached out to me, and I realized I was rubbing my leg again. He placed his hand over mine to stop the movement, his skin so soft and warm it sent tingles coursing up my arm and through my body. I stared at him, disconcerted for a moment, and blinked several times before gathering myself enough to speak.
â€œWhat?â€ He had just asked me something, but in the fog his touch on my skin created, I didnâ€™t hear. He smiled again, amused by my reaction or my last answer, I wasnâ€™t sure which.
â€œYou donâ€™t believe in soul mates?â€ he repeated.
No was the short answer but it simplified it too much.
â€œIâ€™ve always thought the story was a bit sad,â€ I told him.
Caleb pulled his hand away and draped it across his lap, his eyes narÂrowed. â€œThe story?â€
â€œThe one about the perfect beings that were so happy before they were separated and forced to wander the world looking for each other.â€
He blinked in recognition. â€œYouâ€™re talking about Plato?â€
â€œYes.â€ I tried not to sound too pessimistic; my heartache was still raw. Did I really need to be discussing love and soul mates with the object of my unrequited affection? â€œWhat happens if they never find each other, or if they do and one of them is already with someone?â€ I paused thinking how that particular scenario reflected my own situation. â€œOr if one dies and the other is still wandering around aimlessly searching for their true love.â€
Caleb laughed at my insane ramblings, a laugh so vibrant that if it were visible it would be speckled with gold dust. I grimaced at him, but it only seemed to amuse him further.
â€œIâ€™d wager youâ€™re the type of person who needs to read the last page of a book first to see the happy ending implied throughout the story?â€
Yes, I had been known to read the last page first, but I didnâ€™t understand what he was getting at. I pouted childishly, waiting for an explanation to his mirth. The chuckling eased, but he was still grinning.
â€œThe elation of finding a soul mate, of being reunited? Becoming one â€” whole again.â€ Right. He was a hopeless romantic and had apparÂently found his soul mate wandering around New York. At least thatâ€™s how it looked by the way he was so enthused. I crossed my arms over my chest petulantly, keeping my fists clenched.
â€œMy parents died,â€ I whispered. â€œNot exactly what Iâ€™d call a happy ending.â€
Caleb stopped laughing then. Unexpectedly, the hand that was draped across his lap lifted to my face, the back of his fingers lightly grazing over my burning cheek. I flinched away from his touch, but not because I didnâ€™t like it. It felt as though my body recognized it and the nerves beneath my skin reach out to him; it sent shivers down my spine. He dropped his hand back to his lap. Even this small reaction to him seemed to please him immensely.
â€œIâ€™m sorry for laughing; I didnâ€™t mean to offend you.â€ His expression became more serious. â€œYou donâ€™t believe souls go on? That we get to be with the people we love some day for eternity?â€
â€œYou mean like heaven?â€ My brow creased in amazement at the direction our first real conversation had taken.
Calebâ€™s lips formed a straight line as he pondered my question and then relaxed into a smile again. â€œNot exactly.â€ He paused seeming to consider again. â€œNot in the way you mean, anyway.â€
We sat quietly for a few minutes staring at each other. Caleb looked like he was taking in every detail of my face. I couldnâ€™t take my eyes away from his. The only sounds were the engine, the music playing low, and the sound of uneven breathing.
â€œI have to go to New York for a few days,â€ he finally said.
I turned sharply to look out the window. He was going to her, and I didnâ€™t want to know.
â€œThere are things that canâ€™t wait any longer,â€ Caleb continued, as if I should to know what he was talking about. I watched the beams of the silver moonlight reflect off the black water that lapped against the shore of Curtis Island.
â€œIâ€™ll be back as soon as I can.â€ It sounded like a guarantee. I could tell he wanted me to say something. What could I possibly have to say about his relationship and the reasons he was going back to New York?
More on Shades of Atlantis.