Eek! In twelve days time I’ll have my bags packed (I hope), and I’ll be getting ready to leave for the airport. Yes, I’m off again…my annual overseas trip—long may they last. This time though, I’m not going to the usual places like the UK, Finland, Hungary. This time I’m heading in totally the opposite direction. New Zealand (Aotearoa), land of the long white cloud. Hmmm, I’ve always thought of New Zealand as the land of rolling green hills, hobbits, and sheep.
I can’t wait to see this beautiful country. I’ll be visiting my niece, Evonne, who immigrated there a year ago with her husband. My sister, Lydia, and her oldest daughter, Natasha, wanted to go see their daughter/sister. I told Lydia when Evonne left that anytime she wanted to go, I’d be happy to accompany her. Because I travel and she doesn’t, I got the happy job of accompanying these two crazy women to visit another crazier woman on the other side of the world. It’s going to be three weeks of fun, fun, fun (with a capital F). I’ve already filled my NZ bucket list and the top three must-see’s are: the Hobbiton Movie set, a significant location for The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit; the Waitomo Glowworm Caves; and Whakarewarewa Maori Village—I just gotta see the Haka performed live.
One of the reasons I’m so excited about this trip is the fact that I get to visit the country that one of my secondary characters hails from. Luke Maskil is a wingsuit pilot and plays a major role in my second Passport to Romance book, Oslo Overtures. Luke is the best friend, and wingman (‘scuse the pun), of Oslo Overture’s hero, Kyle Sheppard. Luke is such an entertaining character that readers have begged for Luke to have his own book. To date, his story has eluded me. Hopefully a visit to his homeland will get the creative juices flowing. I’ll take a couple of bottles, um I mean notebooks, with me to store those juices in, just in case. Unfortunately, Luke and Kyle hail from the south Island near Christchurch, and we will be staying and sightseeing on the north island in Hamilton, two hours south of Auckland. Guess it’s possible Luke might just have made a move north since Oslo Overtures was written.
Now I’m wondering how I can bring romance to places like the glowworm caves and hobbit land. Knowing Luke, he’ll manage to make a love story happen in his usual, ‘devil-may-care’ style. After all, he and Kyle pulled off the Haka, along with their team, surrounded by nearly a hundred other wingsuiters. And I’m thinking that it might just be inside those same dark caves I plan to visit, that Luke Maskil is drawn to another light—the Light of the world.
Hmm, I think I feel a story brewing.
Before I go I’d love to introduce you to Luke, so I’ve selected two short passages from Oslo Overtures for you to read.
The organizers had booked all sixty-one rooms in this centuries-old hotel. They couldn’t have chosen a more idyllic location for the participants to stay. He looked up at the weather-vane high up on the spire of the hotel’s left wing and prayed the metal structure showed the same favorable conditions for the rest of the week.
A movement from his bedroom window on the top floor caught his eye.
“Bru, this place is awesome,” Luke shouted as he leaned out of the open window. He raised his hands to the heavens. “Whoop…”
Kyle shook his head and smiled. Crazy Kiwi. He wouldn’t put it past Luke to want to jump out of that window and fly like Peter Pan. With Luke Maskil as his roommate, his hands would be full. Kyle wouldn’t have it any other way though. Luke was his best friend. But ever since Kyle had sworn off women, Luke felt the need to be his wingman, too. He’d intensified his efforts to set Kyle up with someone.
“Sheppard…” Luke waved his arms in the air. His upper body balanced in mid-air two floors above the ground. Kyle sent a quick prayer to heaven as he jogged up the tree-lined path that led to the hotel entrance. Last thing they needed was Luke falling out the window and being eliminated from the event due to injuries.
Kyle smacked Luke on the back of his head. “What was that all about? ‘Very single friend’?”
“Just trying to help.” Luke rubbed his head then grinned. “Is she gorgeous or what?”
Much as he didn’t want to, Kyle had to agree. And it was refreshing to meet a woman who didn’t fall all over him. In fact, he was certain she disliked him. Immensely. Not that he could blame her.
Kyle walked over to the desk in the corner of the room and removed his GoPro’s battery from the charger. He placed the battery back inside the recording device before tucking it in the side pocket of the backpack housing his wingsuit and chute. Luke hovered, waiting for a response. Kyle would have to give him one.
“She is gorgeous. But it makes no difference. You know my standing on the feminine gender.” He slung the backpack over his shoulder, grabbed his helmet and made his way to the door. He’d be toast if he gave Luke any indication that he found this woman intriguing. “Besides, she totally does not like me, so no point going down that road.”
“That’s exactly why you should go down that road. The fact that she’s not into you is just what you want. And need.”
His friend knew him far too well. “We’re only here for a few days, Luke.”
“That’s why we have to move fast.”
“Of course. I’m your wingman, aren’t I?”
He returned Luke’s grin. “That you are, Maskil, in more ways than one. I’ll see you downstairs.” He closed the door.
I hope you enjoyed that short introduction to Luke Maskil, a daredevil hero who really does need his own story. Soon!
I’ll be giving away an e-book of Oslo Overtures to one person who comments on this blog by Saturday, March 31.
Images on New Zealand were obtained from Pixabay and are free for commercial use.
Wingsuiter image © Mark Harris (Used by permission).