On the first night on the cruise, Kelly’s standing at the railing of the ship, staring into the water while she ponders what to do now. She thinks she is alone until she hears a man warning her to come away from the railing. He mentions that people sometimes disappear in the area that they are traveling through and she should return to her friends or to her cabin where she’d be safe. Kelly promises him that she only wants a few minutes to herself and then she’d go to her cabin but right after he leaves she hears a horn blowing in the distance. Seconds later she loses her balance and tumbles overboard.
The next thing Kelly knows she’s laying face down over a strange man’s lap coughing up sea water. She assumes that somehow she made it to one of the islands that the man mentioned but something strikes her as odd about the speech and clothing that her rescuer is wearing, and why would he be using a horse for transportation? It isn’t until morning that she gets her first glimpse of the isle - she expects to see a tropical paradise. Instead there are ancient structures which resemble a medieval kingdom. Kelly will soon learn that she’s been summoned to the isle through an ancient rite in the hopes that she’ll birth a daughter to their leader, Halen, and future generations could be assured. No female has been born on the isle in many years and now there are no women of childbearing years left. Kelly is their last hope. Can Halen convince her to STAY?
Isabella Jordan’s STAY is one of six stories that make up Amber Quill’s DESIRATA collection. I was fully prepared to not like Kelly because of her involvement with a married man but the more I read the easier it became to understand how that could happen. Halen is a genuinely likeable man who actually feels guilty for taking Kelly away from her former life. He’s also worried about the future of the people who live on the isle. I adored the dialogue between Kelly and Halen - she’s a modern day gal who is used to doing exactly what she wants, he is a leader used to being obeyed. It makes for some very interesting battles between them. Ms. Jordan has created a fun and imaginative book which I thoroughly enjoyed.