Tag Archive | Indian Summer

Notable Narrative – Indian Summer Shark Attack!

Notable Narrative

Sometimes, it isn’t just dialogue or a steamy love scene that captures the interest. This particular scene is one I wrote when I first started Indian Summer nearly 20 years ago. I began the novel, but couldn’t capture Gabriella’s voice. Discouraged, I put the notebook in a drawer and left it. One day, I was cleaning the drawer and found the notebook once more. I read through it, discarding most of it as crap, but this scene, I kept. I found Gabriella’s voice in this scene and was able to begin again. This scene is almost word for word what I originally wrote.

The ocean felt blood warm and comforting. I hadn’t realized how much my body ached from my new activities. The tension of the last few weeks washed from my body as the water closed over me. It buoyed me up, letting me float gently on the waves. I closed my eyes to the bright morning sun and rested. I didn’t realize how far I drifted, for the tide was going out. I heard a noise, a shout from the beach and looked up. I was much further out than I intended and began to swim slowly back in.

Before I saw what was happening, a man dove into the water and swam rapidly past me. It was not until then I saw the fin on the water. Shark! I could formulate no other thoughts but the horror of that image, that word. I had seen people attacked by sharks, their bodies torn and bloody, bloated from the water they died in. I swam for my life as quickly as I could. The man met the shark not far from the shore. I scrambled out, running to my clothing. I had the ridiculous notion that it would somehow protect me. There was a battle going on in the waves, but I couldn’t see it clearly. The man raised his knife, the sun glittering off the blade. He brought it down on the shark again and again with a dull, liquid thunk. Blood was everywhere, but whether it was his or the shark’s I didn’t know.

Forgetting my clothing for the moment, I grabbed my knife. Foolishly, I dashed back into the water as man and shark dove under! I couldn’t see either of them, just blood on the waves. A small ripple where they went down was the only other thing visible. Suddenly, the water beside me erupted as a huge shark leapt out of the water not five feet from me! I screamed, frozen to the spot. I saw the knife in its ugly, brutish head, between its eyes. It was fighting fiercely, despite numerous stab wounds.

Clinging to it stubbornly was a man. Sailfish! He was covered in blood, slipping from the shark’s hide. The vicious beast gave a last squirm as the life left it. It shivered once more and died. Sailfish drew his blade from it, racing toward me.

“Run!” He yelled.

I was stupefied, I couldn’t make my legs work. I stood there naked and dripping, too terrified to move.indian summer scanned cover 500 x 750

“Run!” He yelled again. “Gabriella, get out of the water!”

Before he finished speaking, I saw the fins racing toward all the blood, toward us! I turned and ran, splashing and flailing to get to shore. He caught up with me, righting me as I fell. Impatient at my lack of speed, he lifted me out of the water, carrying me to the sand. His long legs covered the distance in less time than it takes to tell of it. I stared in shock and horror as the dead shark danced crazily in the water, the others tearing its carcass to pieces in a horrific frenzy! A scream threatened to erupt from my throat. I opened my mouth, but no sound came out. Gradually, the furor died down and the sharks swam away. Nothing was left of the dead one. I sank to my knees, retching. I had not eaten yet that morning, so it was dry heaves. Sometimes that’s worse than actually vomiting. I became aware of strong hands helping me sit up, of the same hands dressing me like a baby and the muscular arms around me, holding me while I cried.

All the sorrow, anger, and fear that had built in me since the night of my capture, came pouring out in a flood of tears. I felt so safe in his arms. I clung to him, weeping as if my heart were broken. He held me, rocked me, and stroked my hair, all the while speaking in low monotones. None of it made sense to me for he spoke in his own tongue, but the flow of the words and the tone were comforting. I cried a long time, finally coming to a stop. He continued to hold me, giving me his comfort.

Soon, however, the touch changed, I felt the comforting become a caress as a lover would touch his beloved. I don’t know why, but I felt a tingling sensation for the first time since we met. He was so strong, virile, warm and so alive. He stopped rocking me, but continued to hold me, turning my tear-streaked face gently to his. I gazed into his jet black eyes, lost in their depths. His strong jaw was working, trying to hold the emotions in. I felt his manhood pressing against me and faltered in my resolve.

God help me, I loved Manuel! How could I dishonor him by kissing another man? Even as I thought this, Sailfish lowered his lips to mine and kissed me with a passion not even Manuel had equaled. I melted into his embrace, his lips locked with mine, his tongue probing my mouth. I burned inside, my heart fluttering like a trapped bird. I felt swept away as if the ocean waves had carried me off into the water once more. Wave after hot wave coursed through my body. He touched me all the places I knew he shouldn’t, but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to stop him. I was so tired of fighting desire, sick of saying no, weary of being proper.

I believe I would have allowed him to continue had we not heard shouts coming from on the mound. There was a ruckus on the river side of the island. Reluctantly, he let go of me, turning to the lookout. Sailfish called out to him, demanding to know what was wrong. I couldn’t understand his answer, for they spoke in their native tongue. Sailfish all but dumped me on the sand as he rose and ran toward the camp, shouting as he went. I gathered myself up running after him, curious and afraid all at once.

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Indian Summer Revisited – by Dellani Oakes

indian summer scanned cover 500 x 750

Indian Summer, Dellani’s Historical Romance

A few years after writing Indian Summer, I decided to write a contemporary romance, also set in St. Augustine. The interesting twist here is that the two many characters, Carina and Malin, are distantly related to Gabriella and Sailfish from Indian Summer.

Though they never consummate their relationship, Gabriella and Sailfish love one another. I got to thinking, “What if they were reincarnated? What if those reincarnations met up and fell in love?” And so Indian Summer Revisited was born.

Malin is a very talented musician, but his father doesn’t approve. Instead, he’s in college studying history. He meets Carina by accident, when they collide on the stairs. Since meeting her, he’s gotten a dream job playing guitar at a restaurant and has been contacted about a record contract. All the pieces of his life are falling into place.

The following is a conversation with his twin sister, Tess, who calls him because she found out, through their father, that he was working as a musician. She is more than a little annoyed with him for not telling her.

His phone vibrated in his pocket. It was his sister, Tess. He’d completely forgotten to tell her about the recording contract and he could only imagine how pissed she was going to be with him.

“Hello, brother,” she said cheerfully.

Sighing, he sat at the table to finish his beer. If Tess started out like that, she was furious and he was in really deep shit before he said a single word.

“I know I should have told you, Tess. But you see, there’s this girl—”

“Yes, I know. The beautiful brunette.” Her voice was swimming in honey.

It was the most lethal sound in the world and his insides knotted up.

“I just got off the phone with someone. I’m sure you can imagine who.”

“Dad?”

“Bingo! Right the first time! Give record boy a gold star! He’s rather upset with you. What the hell did you say to him? You didn’t goad him about Nora again, did you?”

“I swear I didn’t. I wanted to, but I thought, What would Tess do? and did the opposite. I was polite, nice, charming.”

“Suck up.”

“Tess, come on.”

“Twisted eel, evil brother, gonad king! You couldn’t tell me? I’m your only sister and you couldn’t reveal this tidbit of news when you called?”

“It just happened last night. I didn’t have this tidbit the last time I called. And I’ve been somewhat busy, Tess. I’m sorry. Didn’t Mom tell you?”

“You told our MOTHER? And you didn’t tell me?”

“Tess!”

He knew he couldn’t win. She was in full swing and he was totally screwed. If he thought he was going to get her to understand, he was dead wrong. It was better to ride it out and let her have her fit. Once she was done, then he could get a word or two in. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem like that was going to happen anytime soon.

“Tess, I need to get my stuff packed up.”

“Don’t you have servants for that, Mr. Rock Star?”

“No. I’m not a rock star, I’m just singing at a local restaurant.”

“Why didn’t you tell me, Mal? God, I had to find out from him!”

“Was he mad?” He couldn’t keep the gleeful anticipation from his voice.

“He was livid. I’ve never seen him so angry. He was all red in the face and spitting. It was a beautiful moment.” The anger in her voice subsided, changing to glee.

“He didn’t threaten you with a loaded gun, did he?”

“No. The Nora bitch took them away and locked them up after the time I told him I was pregnant with Clay’s love child.”

“Why would you tell him a thing like that? He hates Clay.”

There was a slight pause and a snort of laughter. Malin gathered up some of his equipment.

“Okay, answered that one myself. I’m sorry I forgot, Tess. The last few days have been completely surreal. I’ve had exams, the new gig and a new girlfriend all since Tuesday.”

“Is she amazing?”

“She bypassed amazing when she rammed me in the gut with her elbow. Honestly, I can’t find words good enough to describe her. She’s symphonic.”

“Oh, I have to forgive you now. You’re in love, you prick. How dare you?”

“Am I? How can you tell?”

She repeated what he said, giving it her own twist. “Gag me now, I might throw up.”

“Wouldn’t you like to be described as symphonic? I think it’s pretty cool.”

“I’d love it, but Gary doesn’t know any words that big. He gets as far as hot and sexy and starts to drool. I’m thinking of breaking up with him.”

“Why’s that? I thought he was great in bed.”

“He’s okay. Clay was better.”

“What?”

“I’m kidding. We never got that far. Not that I wasn’t interested, but we knew you’d kill us both if we even tried it. He kisses well, though. Is he dating anyone?”

“Yeah, he is,” Malin sounded very annoyed. “I can’t believe you liked Clay.”

“Malin, I know you’re just a guy and all, but Clay is nearly as gorgeous as you. It makes me sick to say that, but my brother is one of the best looking men I know and his dorky friend is pretty damn jacked and hot and I’d do him in a heartbeat.”

“Tess,” Malin was getting uncomfortable. “Remember that conversation where it was way too much information?”

“Yeah, so?”

“So, we’ve reached that point again, only it’s your turn.”

“Grow up, Malin! I like sex just as much as you do.”

“Not listening.”

“I’d venture to say I’m nearly as experienced as you are.”

“Still not listening.”

“I did have a thing with your friend Benji a few months ago. He’s kind of kinky, but the things that man can do with his tongue!”

“Tess!”

“What?”

“Bye.”

He hung up, flushed and angry. He really didn’t think Tess had sex with Benji because she was always complaining that he smelled like last week’s dirty laundry. He still didn’t like hearing her talk like that and he certainly hadn’t appreciated what she had to say about Clay.

“Who was that?” Clay asked him in passing.

“That was Tess.”

“Oh, yeah? How’s she doing?”

“She misses you and your tongue.”

Clay wiggled his tongue around, confused. “Me? What for? I thought she hated me.”

“Hell if I know. She’s in one of her moods.”

“Ooh, Evil Tess has come out. Must be a full moon.” He looked up at the sky.

“Clay, did you ever do my sister?”

“Do what? Oh, Do your sister. No. Not that I wouldn’t want to, she’s smoking hot.”

Malin gave him a black look, saying nothing.

“But in a purely virginal and totally untouchable way. I’m going over there now where no one wants to murder me.”

To purchase Dellani’s Books

Give Books for Christmas!

Books make amazing gifts. They’re the kind of thing that keeps on giving since your loved one can return to them again and again. E-books make a marvelous last minute present. Below, I’ve gathered the websites of several of my author friends for you to visit and (I hope) purchase from. Other author friends, please put your links below in the comments.

My book, “Indian Summer”, is an historical romance set in St Augustine, Florida in 1739. It’s available at http://www.secondwindpublishing.com and http://www.amazon.com The novel is available in E-book and Kindle form as well as printed form. My new sci-fi novel, “The Lone Wolf”, is coming soon form Second Wind. ~ Dellani

For William Beck’s great spy thrillers:
http://www.booksbybeck.com/

For the beautiful & moving Paradise Island, Heavenly Journey by Jon Magee
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Paradise-Island-Heavenly-Journey/133686193356313
And Jon’s other amazing book, From Barren Rocks to Living Stones
http://www.facebook.com/pages/From-Barren-Rocks-to-Living-Stones/283465875540

For books by Bethany Warner
bkwriter.blogspot.com

For the work of Olwyn Conrau
http://www.olwynconrau.com/books.html

Visit Karen Vaughn here
http://www.karenvaughan.info/ Karen Vaughn
Find her book, Dead Comic Standing at http://www.amazon.com

For the books & artwork of Mickey Hoffman
http://www.mickeyhoffman.com/

For the funny and poignant, My Bad Tequila by Rico Austin
http://www.amazon.com/My-Bad-Tequila-Rico-Austin/dp/0981978916/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1291941988&sr=1-1

For your copy of Activate Intuition by Jim Wawro
http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.activateintuition.com%2F&h=f0ed31wfI6BqSkTJ8l_Yv-1xBaQ

To find the work of Mark David Gerson
http://www.amazon.com/Mark-David Gerson/e/B002CQXFPM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

“From a Child’s Perception” is available at www.authorsden.com/annalfowler Anna Fowler

Susie Schecter http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=lifetimes+ago&x=14&y=1
Susie’s website is http://www/. lifetimesago.com

Character Interview – Gabriella Deza from “Indian Summer”

Last week, I interviewed Manuel Enriques, hero of “Indian Summer”. Today, his fiancée, Gabriella Deza, graciously agreed to answer some questions.

Second Wind: What is your story?
Gabriella: I haven’t much of one yet, I’m only just 15, but what there is of it is told in “Indian Summer.”

SW: Who are you?
G: I am Gabriella Deza, youngest daughter of Governor Ferdinand Deza.

SW: Where and when do you live?
G: I live in the village of St. Augustine, La Florida. The year is 1739.

SW: Are you the hero of your own story?
G: Me a hero? Heavens, no! That would be Manuel Enriques, my father’s aid du camp and the love of my life.

SW: What is your problem in the story?
G:Quite by chance, I found out a terrible secret. A British spy is trying to overthrow my father, capture the fort and take over the town!

SW: Do you embrace conflict or do you run from it?
G: I’ve never wanted to embrace conflict, but one must face it bravely. Troubles are sent by God to test us. Am I going to argue with Him? I never run when I can fight.

SW: How does the author see you?
G: Headstrong, demure, capable, passionate, honest, loving.

SW: Do you have a hero?
G: My father, Manuel and Sailfish are my heroes. They are all so brave and noble. Though, in their own way, all men are heroes, don’t you think?

SW: Do you have a goal and why that particular one?
G: My goal is to marry Manuel as soon as possible. I love him more than I can possibly express. I want to be with him forever. He is my own, true love.

SW: Do you have any special strengths?
G: My faith in God is my greatest strength. My faith has seen me through very trying times. I would not be the woman I am without it.

SW: What are you afraid of?
G: I’m terrified of losing Manuel. If he were to die, what would become of us? Papa says only he can save us in this troubled time. If I lost him, I would have no reason to live.

SW: Has anyone ever betrayed you?
G: Yes, the man who spies on us, using our friendship against us. He betrays me, my family and my home. I hope I have a hand in bringing him to justice.

SW: Have you ever failed anyone?
G: I hope not. I will only have failed them if I do not find the spy and send him to God early for judgement.

SW: What is your most prized possession? Why?
G: My peso necklace, because Manuel gave it to me. Though my parents gave me pearls for my birthday, the peso shows Manuel’s love for me. He can’t ask me to marry him, it wouldn’t be proper, but that shows each of us our promise to wed.

SW: What is your favorite scent? Why?
G: Sandalwood., because that is the scent of Manuel’s soap.

SW: What is your favorite color? Why?
G: Apple green, because it was Mama’s favorite as well, and I am most like her of all three of us girls.

SW: If you had the power to change one thing in the world that didn’t affect you personally, what would it be?
G: I think I’d like the Spanish and the English not to hate one another so much.

SW: What makes you think that change would be for the better?
G: There would be less fighting and conflict in the world.

SW: If you were stranded on a desert island, would you rather be stranded with, a man or a woman?
G: Do not think badly of me of saying this, but I would want to be stranded only with Manuel. I can think of no one else with whom I have enough in common to spend any period of time. Only if we were married, of course. Anything else would be scandalous!

Nine Questions to Ask Your Character

Writer’s Digest published these questions as a tool for an author to get to know their characters better. I decided to do this with some of them. I’ve interviewed them before, but these were different questions.

First is Manuel Enriques from “Indian Summer” (available at secondwindpublishing.com or Amazon.com)

Dellani: How do you learn best?

Manuel: I am a very visual learner. I see and remember things remarkably well.

Dellani: How open are you to new ideas and information?

Manuel: I am a warrior and a spy, I must learn to adapt. Were I not open to new ideas, I would be ineffective in that role. Information? My life’s work is gathering it.

Dellani: When you walk into a party, what do you notice first?

Manuel: All the beautiful women, of course. What would you have me say? That I look for the nearest exit and plan my escape should that prove necessary?

Dellani: Is one sense more highly developed than the other?

Manuel: I’ve never paid attention, I’m afraid. I do seem to hear extremely well, though Gabriella will tell you that occasionally I am deaf to the sound of her voice. I see very well and can hit a fast moving target with bow, pistol or rifle with great accuracy.

Dellani: Do you usually notice problems around you?

Manuel: But of course. My job as Governor Deza’s aid is to see that things run smoothly. Problems of any kind prevent this. I assess the problem and deal with it as needed.

Dellani: Would you say your are an optimist or pessimist?

Manuel: I am very optimistic. I would be a miserable failure in my position without it. I must believe that there will be a happy outcome or I can’t survive.

Dellani: Are you more interested in the past, the future or living in the now?

Manuel: My past holds no happiness for me and parts are best forgotten. My future with Gabriella is something I look forward to, but I must cope with the now or I won’t be able to see that future.

Dellani: How do you decide if you can trust someone?

Manuel: My trust must be earned. I do not give it easily. I trust my blood brother, Sailfish. I also trust Governor Deza. Other than that, I can’t think of anyone else I fully trust – not even Gabriella.

Dellani: Are you a deliberate, careful speaker, or do you talk without thinking first?

Manuel: I can’t count the number of times I’ve spoken out of turn. Why I haven’t gotten myself killed, I don’t know. I’m far too likely to blurt out random pronouncements without thinking. When I take the time to deliberate and concentrate on what I intend to say, I find life runs more smoothly.

“Indian Summer” excerpt

The following is from my historical novel, “Indian Summer” (available from Second Wind Publishing).  Gabriella Deza, her sisters & younger brother, Marcos, are in St. Augustine, Florida waiting for their parents to come back from Jamaica.  The weather is awful, a storm brewing out over the water.  Suddenly, the sky darkens, hail falls and the sea turns angry & wrathful.  Caught on the way home from church, many of the townspeople seek refuge in the Deza home.

Just as we were sorting ourselves out, there was more pounding at the door. I couldn’t imagine who would have braved such weather. Then Manual, drenched to the skin, hair clinging to his face, burst in!

“The ship!” He managed to gasp. “Your parents’ ship is foundering! They need all able bodied men to come to the wharf immediately. Hurry!”

He left to spread the word. I heard the church bell ringing, calling all men to give aid. The men in the room leapt to their feet. Ana rounded up the servants to help. They gathered stout ropes carrying them to the docks.

Marcos wanted to go help his Mamá, but I insisted he stay home. “A boy of five, though he’s big and strong, can’t go out in this weather! I forbid it. Go to your room, change into a dry nightshirt and get into bed at once.”

“I’m not a baby, Bella! I want to go help Mamá and Papa! I’m strong!”

“Marcos, you would simply get in the way. There is nothing you can do. If you won’t go voluntarily to your room, I shall take you there myself!”

He stuck out his tongue, crossed his arms and plopped on the floor, ready to have a temper tantrum for me. With that, I lifted him, kicking and screaming, into my arms, carried him up to his room and plopped him unceremoniously on the bed. I should have locked the door behind me, but I didn’t have the key. I went down to see to the preparations being made, grabbed my cloak and was ready to run out in the rain when I heard the front door slam.

“Marcos!” I screamed, for I knew it was he. “Marcos! Oh, God, why didn’t I lock his door!?” Dropping my cloak, I ran after him, calling his name.

The rain was so heavy, I soon lost track of him in the storm. I knew he’d be heading to the wharf, so I found my way there as best I could. Once I reached the shore I began to call him. My voice was drowned by the sound of the wind.

“Please,” I begged of the men that I knew. “Will you help me find my brother?”

But all were too busy to listen to a young lady who was too foolish to stay out of the storm. I could see Papa’s ship in the ocean heading toward the wharf, as the waves pounded it on all sides. It looked ready to break apart! I began to pray as I ran looking for my little brother.

“Oh Lord, protect them and help me find my brother!” I repeated over and over as I ran through the crowd, pushing my way in the press of men.

It was then I saw Marcos. He was trying to help deploy ropes. The men on the shore tied off stout hemp lines to the pier and were roping themselves in to wade out into the storm. They formed a life line should the ship break apart. Other men were standing and holding the ropes to bring in the others if they foundered in the waves. No one was watching my brother. They were all too busy with their appointed tasks.

I saw the approaching wave before he did, for he was not looking at the sea. He had turned briefly to implore the men once more to let him help, but none gave him their ear.

“Marcos!” I called, though he couldn’t possibly hear me. “Marcos, behind you!”

The wave moved faster than I could, with all my damp skirts around my legs. I knew I couldn’t reach him and he was going to die. Despite his faults, I realized I dearly loved my little brother. I didn’t want to lose him. I couldn’t even think what his death would do to Papa.

As I ran, I watched the wave build higher. It rose until I could hardly see the top. The ship rode the crest. The men on shore saw the swell approaching. They dropped the ropes, running inland as fast as they could in the wet sand. Several fell and were swept away by the waters. The ropes held them and they were able to pull themselves out of the waves.

Marcos was calling to them. “Where are you going? My mamá is on that ship!”

He hadn’t turned around, distracted by their flight. The ship loomed nearer and the wave grew. I couldn’t reach him through the wet sand and the press of men running against me.

“God, I beg you please save him! I swear I’ll be good to him all my days! Oh, Mother of God, protect him! I promised Papa!”

Lightning flashed across the sky illuminating the beach, lighting Marco’s face like a ghost! It was then he turned and saw the ship as the wave approached him. He froze.

“Marcos!” I screamed, “Marcos run!”

He heard my voice, but he was paralyzed with fear. I ran, screaming for him to move. There was no way he could escape. The water was too deep, its pull stronger than he. The darkness and rain enveloped him, obscuring my view. In the next flash of lightning, I saw the ship looming ever closer and screamed for all I was worth!

Suddenly, another figure appeared on the beach. A man, large and strong, was running toward my brother, a rope around his waist. He came upon Marcos just as the wave broke on the shore, grabbing him securely. He dropped to the ground, tucking the little head against his massive chest, holding my brother with an inhuman strength. He turned his body, taking the brunt of the wave on his back and powerful shoulders. Marcos grasped his
waist just before the wave’s surge covered them.

The ship swerved hard to starboard, hitting the corner of the pier not far away, shuddering to a halt. The water rushed around the ship, up the beach, over my brother and the man. I couldn’t see what happened next, for I had to retreat out of the wave’s reach. The greedy fingers of water clutched my dress, determined to drag me into the fray. Were it not for the aid of the men on shore, who held me fast, I would have been spirited away and surely drowned.

I babbled every prayer I knew, calling on God to help them. Little by little the waves receded and I could move closer, looking for them. I saw the rope tied to the pier, taut with weight, and began to pull. Men from the shore saw me and raced to my side. Together we hauled them in. I feared both were surely drowned. Finally, their sodden forms broke the surface of the waves. I rushed forward, but the men held me back, for the currents were wild and treacherous.

I couldn’t yet see the man’s face, as his back was to me. He clung to Marcos who was very white and still. I felt strong hands grasping me from behind. If it was a scene of death, then it was no fit place for a young lady. A man detached himself from the crowd, pushing his way up to them. I heard James’ clear baritone bite through the wind. “Clear off, you lot! Let me through!”

Wrenching away from the hands holding me, I followed James through the press of men. James got there as the men were lifting them to higher ground, cutting the rope around the man’s waist. His hair hung in black snake like tendrils across his face. I could see little of him or Marcos, but both were pale as death. I couldn’t tell whether or not they breathed. My prayers continued, ceaseless, intense.

“Turn them on their stomachs,” James ordered. “Quickly now, we may still have time! You there!” He yelled at some nearby men. “Get a couple barrels.” They worked without questioning his orders. The authority in James’ voice was unmistakable. Marcos and the man were laid over the sides of barrels. James took their heads, turning them gently to the side.

“Now look,” he said to one of the men. “Do as I do. You take him.” He pointed to the man. “I’ll take the boy.”

He placed his hands on Marcos back and pushed gradually, rolling him up over the side of the barrel as he went. He started slowly and then worked a little faster, but always in the same rhythm. The man copied his movements exactly.

We waited perhaps a minute, but it seemed like a lifetime. First the man and then Marcos gasped, choked and began to vomit up water; gallons of it! They were alive! I ran to James, thanking him, thanking God, and anyone else who would listen. I wanted to grab Marcos into my arms and hold him forever, but James held me gently back.

“Not yet, Miss Gabriella. He must expel the water or he’ll choke to death. Let him be until the retching stops and then you may gently roll him over.” He smiled proudly as I hugged him, kissed his wet cheek and thanked him again.

Our eyes on the two still figures before us, none of us noticed the wind had lessened, the rain and hail ceasing completely. All we could do was watch the scene before us play itself out. As the man stopped retching, strong hands slowly rolled him over. I was too busy helping my brother to notice right away. As I turned to see who it was had saved Marcos’ life, I looked into the dark, smoldering eyes of Manuel!

“You?” I gasped. “Thanks is not enough! Oh, bless you!”