Thank you to Leigh Ellwood for hosting me on her blog today.
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Today, I’m posting an unusual excerpt from the book.
Seven years earlier, a young and serious Tessa Calitz wrote a letter to free spirit Ryan le Roux promising her undying love. As time passed she forgot about that letter...but Ryan did not.
When he walks back into her life, Tessa is in a relationship and busy setting up her art gallery in Johannesburg. She has plans to start a family, and the arrival of Ryan throws her for a spin. He is the worst thing that could happen to her dream of stability...or is he?
When everything she clung to starts to crumble, Ryan is right beside her to inspire her to greater things. But her compulsion for having marriage and children on her terms alone pushes Ryan away--until she falls in love with an orphaned baby.
What can Ryan do to make Tessa realize that being with him is what her heart has longed for all along?
Here's a trailer of the book for a foretaste: Dragonfly Moments Book Trailer
“Lilly’s already four months old and doesn’t have a home allocated yet. Not many people want a baby who is HIV positive.”
Tessa blinked back the tears as she watched Madeline feed Lilly. What future did the pretty girl with her caramel skin and tight curls have? She was probably part Indian and part African, beautiful and so vulnerable. Lilly opened her eyes and focused on Madeline, fluttering her delicate eyelashes at her.
“How long do you think she will have?” Her voice came out like a croak.
“She hasn’t got AIDS yet so I think she could live for many years or even a full lifetime, if she gets good care. But no one wants to take the chance of getting attached and then possibly losing their child before she hits the prime of life. Or to have that daily medical burden.”
Tessa nodded, but inside everything was screaming against the injustice. “I would.”
Madeline looked at her. “I don’t think they would consider you as a candidate, being single and having no parenting experience. Caring for a sick child is a full-time job. You wouldn’t be able to run your gallery properly.”
“My gallery’s so quiet. I could take her with me.”
The older woman gazed at her with softness. “You’re not the first single girl who’s had stars in her eyes at the babies. It’s hard work to look after an HIV child.”
“Isn’t it hard work to look after any child?”
Madeline shrugged. “Even though the government will subsidize her medicine for the rest of her life, there are the extra medical costs should she get sick, plus the medicine has to be taken at certain times and can never be forgotten. Even one dose missed could cause problems. She also needs to have checkups on a regular basis. It’s a huge responsibility.”
Tessa focused on Jabu as he glugged down the rest of his bottle and noticed how much longer little Lilly took. She put him down in his cot and came back to find Lilly only halfway through hers.
“Can I take her?” She drew closer and peered at Lilly’s tight, black curls.
“You can try.”
Tessa sat down as Madeline passed her the little bundle. All her insides melted as she received the warm, soft person in her arms.
Lilly didn’t stir or cry, but continued to feed off her bottle. Just before she dropped off to sleep, she fluttered her eyelashes at Tessa and then closed them gently like dragonfly wings against her fudge-colored cheeks. So much for being testy.
Tessa had fallen in love. This baby was perfect. How she longed to protect her, nurture her, and give her a happy life, no matter how short. She would do everything in her power to make this child hers. Nothing in the world was going to stop her. Lilly was the start of the family she’d been waiting for. The realization dropped a deep satisfaction in her soul. Finally.
With her eyes on Lilly, she heard Ryan sit down next to her on the other side and Madeline disappear to attend to someone else.
“She’s beautiful, isn’t she?” he asked.
“I know. Her eyelashes are so long.”
“I’ve held her many times, and she’s cried herself to sleep in my arms.”
“Oh.” He’d held her many times? The man next to her was wonderful, so warm and nurturing. He would make the perfect father.
He bent over Lilly and brushed a kiss on her smooth, narrow forehead. Joy spurted into Tessa’s soul at the simple gesture. Lilly opened her eyes briefly, batted her eyelashes, and fell back to sleep. The movement of Lilly’s chest as she took tiny breaths pressed against her lap. It felt so right and fed some empty hole inside of her. She hated to know that Lilly was sick, but she was willing to protect her from as much of it as possible and try to make the years that she was alive as happy as she could. She would visit here as often as possible.
“I want her,” she said to Ryan whose face was near them.
“We all do.”
“No, I’m serious. I’m going to get her.”
“We can change that.” The idea came to her in a moment. It was perfect. Ryan loved her and said he wanted to start a family with her. They could get married so Lilly could have a family. The adoption would be simple as she wouldn’t be single anymore. Instant family. The excitement pumping through her was almost too much to bear.
Ryan said nothing, his eyes large, brown, and steady.
“What are you saying?” he asked, still in a hushed voice.
“If we get married, we can have her.”
He took her free hand and clasped it. “I love you, but we’re not ready for that.”
She was on a roller coaster and was about to take the loop and go upside down, but she was loving the ride. It didn’t matter if their love wouldn’t last forever. It only had to last long enough for Lilly. She’d never fallen as hard as she had for this baby.
I hope you enjoyed my excerpt. I wanted to work in an orphanage years ago but it never materialised. I loved writing about Lilly because secretly I’ve wanted to adopt a child and give them a home, but I think my family is big enough already.
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Here's a pic of one of them: