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Ella Rowe's soul-deep fear of the sea is perpetuated by lifelong tragedies and loss of loved ones surrounding the sea. Haunted by related secrets, lies, spirits, and memories of living through disasters lifetimes ago, Ella’s fear forces her to run from new experiences, love and relationships—until the sea brings a man and possibly a new life perfect for her—with a Navy fighter pilot, triggering her every fear.
A powerful and fated attraction draws them together in Key West. She wants to run and he wants to love her, but it could mean his death. An odyssey spanning time and place filled with mystery and peril leads to Europe, Spain and to Ella’s ancestral home in Maine. Alone or together, will they have the courage to face fear and death to find love and life? Destiny could be fulfilled, or tragedy will be repeated.
Page Count: 358
Word Count: 99445
Soaring through a world of infinite blue, of sky and sea with no horizons, no beginning or end, was like flying off the earth into the arms of God. It was as close to heaven as Daniel Ellsworth imagined it to be. There was no greater thrill than catapulting off a carrier flight deck in a Navy fighter jet with engines roaring, cutting through the air at insane speeds. He entered the zone,as he called it—defying nature, commanding the space above the Atlantic Ocean and loving every minute with his senses tuned in razor-sharp to every sight and sound in the cockpit. But today there was something wrong. An odd sensation tugged in his gut. Approaching cruising altitude, he did another flight check: no problems; the sea was calm, the sky was clear and welcoming in this routine flight. His rational mind knew there was no basis for concern, but Daniel’s trusted inner voice said, Something is coming, and this is fair warning. He knew he’d have no control over whatever it was, like going in for a landing into destiny.
With a death grip on the steering wheel after an hour’s drive from the tip of south Florida heading toward Key West, Ella Rowe saw a bridge in the distance. It was seven miles long and suspended over open water with not a speck of land in sight. It was Ella’s idea of hell—driving over ocean and sky through an endless blue nightmare, trapped in a car with no way to get off but over the side. Even worse was an hour and a half more of driving through the Florida Keys mostly over water, over forty-two islands connected by forty-two bridges. As much as she had tried to suppress it, the war inside her between the fear, love, and hate of the sea raged. The longer she drove, the stronger it got, and the fear was taking over. But there was no place to escape as she approached the Seven Mile Bridge with no exits, just road and sea. An accident here would send you to a watery death, she thought. I’ve heard Key West is a paradise, like heaven on earth, but driving through hell to get there doesn’t seem worth the trip.
She’d never been to Key West before, let alone driven there. On a map, the Keys appeared as tiny dots of land slung over the water like a strand of pearls. Just the sight of them on paper gave her chills as she imagined how quickly the ocean could swallow them up. Janie, her best friend and a photographer at the newspaper in Tampa where Ella worked as a reporter, had assured her the actual drive couldn’t be as unnerving as the aerial view on a map. But the reality was worse for Ella. Even driving over what little land there was, the water was so close on both sides of the road that there was no doubt she really was driving out in the middle of the ocean.
With over an hour of driving and about twenty more bridges to go, her fear grew exponentially, wrapping her in a suffocating grip. Ella needed help, but all she had was Janie asleep in the passenger seat. Attempting to calm herself, she thought, This is not happening. I’m a sane, rational person. I must rise above this. I can do this. But that only made her feel worse, as if she were talking herself down off a ledge.
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