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This is a full-length, STANDALONE romance.
Aimee’s wedding is supposed to turn out perfect. Her dress, her fiancé and the location—the idyllic holiday ranch in Brazil—are perfect.
But all Aimee’s plans come crashing down when the private jet that’s taking her from the U.S. to the ranch—where her fiancé awaits her—defects mid-flight and the pilot is forced to perform an emergency landing in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.
With no way to reach civilisation, being rescued is Aimee and Tristan’s—the pilot—only hope. A slim one that slowly withers away, desperation taking its place. Because death wanders in the jungle under many forms: starvation, diseases. Beasts.
As Aimee and Tristan fight to find ways to survive, they grow closer. Together they discover that facing old, inner agonies carved by painful pasts takes just as much courage, if not even more, than facing the rainforest.
Despite her devotion to her fiancé, Aimee can’t hide her feelings for Tristan—the man for whom she’s slowly becoming everything. You can hide many things in the rainforest. But not lies. Or love.
Withering Hope is the story of a man who desperately needs forgiveness and the woman who brings him hope. It is a story in which hope births wings and blooms into a love that is as beautiful and intense as it is forbidden.
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Tristan pours a few drops of shower gel over my board and then over his. It’s not enough to clean the clothes, but it makes them smell better. That’s as high as we can hope given our circumstances, and we’re very careful to waste as little shower gel as possible.
“What’s your favorite color?” Tristan asks. At last he’s enjoying our little questioning game and initiates it almost as often as I do.
“That’s a non-color,” Tristan says with a smile, tsk-tsking.
“Well, it’s the one I like most,” I say defensively.
“That’s why you have so much white clothing?”
“Yeah,” I say, surprised he noticed that. I wore white a lot in L.A.
He nods, as if considering something. “You look good in white.”
I blush slightly. One of the wavy short sleeves of the dress I’m wearing falls off my shoulder. I raise my hand to put it back in place as Tristan does the same. Our hands meet mid-way, and when our fingers touch, electricity zips through us. It’s so intense, I feel a burning sensation in my fingers even after we break contact. The warmth spreads from my fingers, rising to my cheeks, and I blush, confused, even more so when I realize Tristan is avoiding my gaze.
“You look good in everything you wear,” he says, “Aimee.”
I flinch a bit at the sound of my name. I usually do when he says it. And he says it often, ever since I asked him to. I can’t pinpoint how or why, but it sounds different now.
After a few minutes I ask, “What’s your favorite meal?”
He doesn’t miss a beat. “Omelette.”
I snicker. “That doesn’t qualify as a meal,” I say, seizing the chance to get back at him for mocking my favorite color. “No one dreams about an omelette. That’s a last resort food anyone can cook. Pick something else.”
“Well, that’s what I like. I love an omelette for breakfast. It’s a privilege to be able to eat one while sitting in a comfortable chair, reading the newspaper.”
That’s a bit weird, but I let it go. Every day here must be a privilege for him since we eat eggs almost every morning, though boiled, not an omelette. Maybe it’s his guilty pleasure. Like coffee is for me.
“I don’t know about omelettes, but I like my coffee in the morning.”
“I know,” he says, smiling even wider. “At 7:00 a.m. sharp. With one spoon of sugar.”
“You’re perceptive,” I say. “What else did you notice about me?”
“You like to change your haircut every six months and—”
“Wow. You’d make a perfect boyfriend,” I say, stunned. “Most men don’t notice things like that.”
His expression hardens, and I bite my lip. Stepping into forbidden territory again.
“I meant it as a compliment,” I add, though I have the feeling that won’t help.
“I just like to observe… the little things,” he says, clipping out the words. I mull them over for a few seconds in silence.
About the Author
Welcome! My name is Layla Hagen and I am a Contemporary Romance author. I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later. I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world. And I drink coffee. Lots of it 😀