Me Time Short Story Collection
The Mia Perez Story
The title was changed for the purpose
of posting to the FREE venue
K. Lorraine BOOKS
This publication is also available online at
Also at Amazon.com and Kindle Books
Copyright © 2017 by K. Lorraine Books
Taken from the Mia Perez series
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or
transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission
from the author.
Editor: Louise Stone
Cover Design by: Bing Public Domain
Based on the
Me-Time Mia Perez Series
Here’s the story you’ve all been waiting for… taken from the Mia Perez series book four, ‘Locked Away.’
In a seductive and sexy glance, he was holding Mia’s hand tightly. He raised it to his lips and said, “It’s nice to see you again, Miss Perez. I don’t blame my brother for keeping you a secret.”
It was years later and obvious that he still had lustful thoughts about her. She laughed recklessly. “Your gentleman’s kiss has re-awakened some wanton desires in me.”
She was terrified and panicked. Mia was sure that Ashton Callan would leave her too. But she decided that she wasn’t going to be left alone again.
Mia couldn’t afford to lose Ashton Callan before she trapped the man of her dreams; Tobias Callan; rock star and movie superstar.
(Play Me) could be considered a second chance story with growing suspense about the sex tapes coming out of Mia’s sordid past.
The story is drenched in the entanglements of love and the supporting characters are flawed. Will Mia finally get her fairy tale marriage and family with one of the Callan brothers or will tragedy fall upon one of the men?
The complete Mia Perez series is available at the Amazon Kindle E-books store. Also at CreateSpace, K. Lorraine website, http://korraine.com, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads.
It was the next morning, the day after Mia made the decision not to marry either Callan brother. She kept the decision quiet and to herself. She knew the sex tape was in her possession and she would do whatever necessary to keep it from prying eyes. Her life was about to change again, but this time, she promised that she would stay in control.
Mia had shown Dr. White the tape and they discussed its content. She was relieved when Dr. White helped her understand that she had done nothing wrong. Dr. White assured her, the subject matter was being reviewed by the appropriate authorities. She had nothing to worry about because she had the only copy.
Mia was still in bed and not fully awake yet, when she heard Berta talking to Ashton in her dressing room beside her closed bedroom door.
“What are you doing?” Berta said in a loud whisper. Ashton was startled by her sudden presence and he fumbled for the words to answer.
“Oh, good morning Berta, you surprised me,” he replied and stepping out of the bathroom dressing room.
“I’ve come to pick up the rest of my personal things. Remember, Mia gave me the boot yesterday and she put an end to any future life we might have together. So I guess I’ll be taking up residency in the guest house until after the birth of the twins.”
“Okay, Sport, but hustle and get your things,” Berta stated, “And then don’t come back into the main house unless Mia gives you permission. She won’t be happy to know that I let you into the house and I allowed you to go through her dressing room.”
Berta left the room, leaving Ashton alone to gather his things. He walked back into the closet to get some shoes on the shelf. One of the boxes fell to the floor. The lid of the box popped off, and he picked it up to look inside. It was an object wrapped in white tissue paper. He saw the small rectangle shape and was curious about it. He removed the tissue paper and found a videotape. The label said… ‘Play Me.’
Ashton slipped it in his duffle bag and guiltily retreated to the guest house where he popped it into the VCR and hit play.
He sat down on the sofa to watch the opening scene. The words were familiar to him. He was watching Dr. Robert Chase walk toward Mia’s hospital bed and sit down beside her. Robert Chase abruptly asked, “Mia, have you ever had sex with a man before?”
She didn’t seem embarrassed by his question, She paused a moment, “Oh, Dr. Chase, I am a virgin because my papa would not have approved of me having sex before marriage.”
Ashton knew that she lied about not having sex before marriage. What he didn’t understand was why she lied to Dr. Chase. His curiosity was piqued, so he continued watching the video.
Ashton watched the tape as Dr. Chase, Mia’s ex-husband, discussed openly about sex. Ashton looked over his shoulder to make sure he was alone. He felt squeamish and uncomfortable watching Mia’s intimate conversation with her husband… doctor.
Mia was telling Dr. Chase that sex was more than a physical act. Her mother told her sex was the love a man gave to a woman and a way to make babies. He realized this was seventeen year old Mia talking about sex through the eyes of a young girl. Ashton felt sorry for her and that she was so young and naïve when the tape was made.
It shocked Ashton when he heard Mia tell Aidan that she was not afraid to have sex with him. She didn’t care if her father wouldn’t approve.
She boldly said, “Dr. Chase you look at me with your heart and you don’t care that I am a helpless cripple. You find me desirable. I am so happy that you want to have sex with me. It felt like my life was over and no man would ever look at me again.”
Dr. Chase said, “Mia, speaking to you as a man, I do know from experience that having sex is 90 percent mental, and the rest is physical. I don’t want you to worry if you don’t get it right the first time. Half the fun of having sex is exploring all of the possibilities and practice makes anything perfect. Sex is more about imagination and fantasy and not so much about consummation.”
Robert was holding her hand. “Mia, it will help if you find a place in your mind that you have never gone to before. Honey, I want you to relax and imagine the beauty and mystery of lovemaking.”
Ashton watched as Robert’s kisses became longer and deeper with each newly formed kiss. Robert was now removing his clothes, and he crawled beneath the sheets alongside Mia in her hospital bed.
He then slid her night gown down, placed his hands on her soft, bare flesh, and began to caress her breasts. He was feeling her naked body, and he started kissing her neck and shoulders. He began stimulating the nipples of her breasts with his tongue until they were erect. As he leaned in toward her, Mia’s lips slowly parted, and Robert’s mouth lightly touched hers in a gentle tease.
His sensual kisses and caressing touches deepened within her. She told him she did not want to stop him, but she said, “Robert, it is thrilling and exciting to have sex but please STOP! I am afraid to have sex now that I am a cripple.”
Ashton watched in horror as Robert was oblivious to her request. He moved his hand down between her thighs and into her labia. Did he not hear her plea to stop? He was gently sliding his finger inside her warm vagina. She responded by whimpering. Next he grabbed her hand on his bare penis and forced her to rhythmically stroke it to an erection.
Ashton continued to watch the non-consensual sex that Mia was forced to have with her doctor on videotape. She told Ashton many times about how controlling Aidan was. Robert even left his marriage to have an affair with Grace, the nanny.
It was certainly obvious to Ashton why Dr. Chase left town. He had taken his doctor patient-relationship a bit too far and to save face and his career, Robert chose to leave in order to cover his tracks.
Ashton knew that Mia did marry Robert Chase, but he thought she had gone through with the wedding ceremony only because Mia was pregnant with Robert’s child. Ashton didn’t have any idea that her doctor raped her.
Ashton wanted to stop the tape, hunt Chase down and kick the shit out of him, but his curiosity wouldn’t let sleeping dogs lie.
Dr. Chase was now kissing Mia’s lips, and he slid his tongue slowly into her mouth. Aidan moved his naked body, and he lay on top of her. His breathing was labored and heavy. He thrust his penis in and out as he was slowly pushing his way into her, and then Aidan’s body tensed at the moment of climax… and then he relaxed. Robert continued to caress her naked breasts. Mia kept still, but she silently wept.
There was a brief pause, and Ashton thought the movie had ended, but there was more, and the continuation of the videotape was even more shocking.
The setting was familiar to him; it was Mia’s bedroom in her campus condo. He was now watching himself as he pushed Mia in her wheelchair to the bed. He was soon sitting beside her on the bed, nervously saying, “Honey, you may need to help me understand how to have sex with you.” He nervously repeated himself saying, “I mean with a paraplegic woman.”
Mia was smiling, “Relax Ashton, don’t worry if we don’t get it right the first time. Exploring the possibilities is fun and practice makes perfect.”
His eyes widened as he was now watching himself appear in the video. He was horrified that he had heard these same words, not long ago on the tape. What the hell was happening and who was there with the actors running the camera?
Ashton held his breath as he saw his hands cup Mia’s face and their lips met in passionate, sweet kisses. She was helping him remove his shirt, and he slipped her dress off over her head. Mia had nothing on underneath, but a soft naked body. He picked her up from her wheelchair and carried her to the bedroom where he sat her down on the edge of the bed.
Mia was now coaching him, “Ashton, you’ll need to put my legs up on the bed for me because I can’t lift them myself. Remember Ashton, I’m a paraplegic.”
It was exciting though, reliving the first time he made love to her. But then, his face flushed and his shoulders tightened as he ogled her naked flesh, and her nipples hardened. And then it hit him, who would do this to him without his consent? How many other men unknowingly did Mia dupe?
Loudly, Ashton asked himself, “My God, ’NO’! She wasn’t capable of engineering something like this… she was so young and naive.” His head was spinning… he reached across to the television and ejected the tape. Ashton held it in his quivering hand.
He needed time to absorb what he had just seen. He settled back into his sofa and remained motionless for a long time. Was all of this at the root of Mia’s dumping both him and Toby? For the moment, Mia’s secret was safe with Ashton. Ashton needed to keep her secret until he looked deeper into the sex tape.
Ashton knew it was imperative to find the origin of the tape and find the person responsible for filming it. Ashton hid the tape in a wall safe that he found behind a picture in the guest house. He was worried about Mia… she was nearing the end of her pregnancy and she did not need the added stress..
Mia’s parents died within months of each other and she inherited the wealth of her father’s Brazilian coffee plantation. Ashton knew she had enough on her plate, and she needed to return to her roots and run the multi-million dollar enterprise.
At the moment, The sex tape was not her highest priority. Mia Perez was about to meet the first challenge of her new beginning as CEO of the Perez Enterprises and there wasn’t anyone to help her.
Ashton loved Mia and he would die before he divulged her secret. Mia was about to give birth to his daughters and his love superseded anything that would destroy his family..
Mia Perez, CEO
It was bright and early on the Monday morning after the nuptials were to have taken place. Berta helped Mia select a professional business suit and style her hair appropriately for the day ahead.
She glanced at her watch and said to the reflection in the mirror, “I don’t want to be late for my first day as CEO of papa’s business.” She paused a moment, and an involuntary grimace crossed over her face. It was almost an expression of embarrassment in a sheepish sort of way, and she added, “I mean, the Mia Perez Coffee Enterprise.”
Mia made her way to the routine production meeting with the Brazilian plantation comptroller Joel Ramirez. She was nervous, and Joel was unusually distant that morning. He seemed reluctant to talk with her and the workers were uneasy too. She chose to ignore their behavior until the tension became unbearable, “Joel, why are the workers so restless and please tell me what is bothering you?”
Turning away, he mumbled beneath his breath, “Oh, it’s nothing, Senorita.”
Gently she pried, “Joel, I have worked with you for some time now… do you, and the workers think that things around the plantation will change because I did not marry Senor Ashton? I can promise you that I will do everything in my power to grow the coffee business, regardless that I chose not to get married. I will also promise everyone that I will not sell the plantation to Senor Santiago.”
Joel looked sincerely at Mia and said, “Senorita Perez, we thought that Senor Ashton would be taking charge of the business when you became a married woman. It is our culture for a man to be head of a household and take care of his family. Senorita, I fear that the plantation will lose business because a woman sits at the head of the table.”
Her eyes look glazed. There was no eye contact with Joel because she was thinking about sometime far away, “Joel, do the workers think that I have made poor choices and had I made uneducated decisions?”
He answered politely, “No Senorita Perez, you have not! I think you have made the decisions that Senor Perez would have made. The crops are plentiful, and the sales are good. The workers are cautious about having a female leader when we expected that Senor Ashton would be our leader. I am sorry if I have offended you and I will speak to the others and assure them that we are in your good hands.”
“Gracious Joel” Mia smiled and said, “It is an honor to have respectful employees, and I am flattered that you think I am a good leader. I know I have much to learn, but I am confident that with your loyalty and the Perez plantation’s valued employees, we will grow the business, and I will bring honor to my father’s legacy.”
After a brief pause to reconsider, Joel remarked positively, saying, “Yes, Senorita Perez, I have a great deal of confidence that if we continue working together, we can preserve the reputation of the honored name of Senor Juan Perez.”
Mia said, “I’m so glad we had our talk Joel, and I am grateful for your dedication and respect for my father and the coffee business. I would like you to consider a promotion I’d like to offer you. Joel, you are my most valued and trusted employee and I have learned so much from you during my training period. I will soon need to take leave to give birth to my twin babies. Will you take my place and oversee the daily operations during my time away?”
Joel’s face lit up like fireworks at a Rio Carnical celebration. “Si, Senorita Perez, I will make sure that everything runs smoothly and efficiently and we will bring many profits in the coffee business. I promise that I will make you proud to be part of your father’s legacy.”
Satisfied that the plantation was stable and would continue to be prosperous without her leadership and Ashton’s expertise, Mia turned her attention to the cesarean birth scheduled in two months. Her Brazilian doctor suggested that she stop swimming until after giving birth, but Mia continued to swim daily.
She used her water therapy as a stress reliever and a way to maintain her endurance level. Mia worked tirelessly to help her mother regain some memory of the family, but the Senora never again recognized her daughter. More than ever, Mia longingly wished for her mother’s advice and support during childbirth.
Berta stepped into the role of her surrogate mother. Together they prepared the nursery and found Theresa, a nanny, for the twins. After the fiasco of Lourdes’ nanny, Grace, Mia was thankful for Berta’s no-nonsense approach and her on-hands supervision of the household staff. She was grateful that Berta was also her go between with Ashton.
Ashton became a recluse in the guesthouse, and he was rarely seen. He kept his distance from Mia… never checking in on her. The staff kept her informed about his activities that seemed clandestine. He told them that he was working on a compilation of research papers for publication on seismic energy because he was no longer interested in the coffee plantation.
Mia often thought about Toby. She wondered where he was at and if he was all right. She was pretty sure that he was aboard his boat, the Celebrity, but the world was a large place filled with a lot of water, and Tobias was good at hiding, or not leaving any trace of where he might be found.
The celebrity tabloids reported sightings of the famous Hollywood Celebrity, Tobias Callan, but Mia was too busy with life in general to follow his escapades. She tried to forget about Toby, but there was a part of her soul that desperately missed him.
The twins, Evangeline Magdalena and Eletta Guadalupe Perez, were born healthy, though smaller than her first child Lourdes. It took longer for Mia to recover from the cesarean surgery, but with the help from Joel, Berta, and nanny, life on the estate shifted to accommodate her slow recovery.
Ashton was there for her during the birth of the twins and Mia was grateful that he was the father of the babies. His stability and support provided her with two newborns who helped with a quick recovery, enabling her to return to her duties on the plantation. She would always be grateful for Ashton being an integral part of the twin’s life and she vowed not to interfere with his parental love or responsibilities.
It was supposed to be a happy time for the Perez family, but the death of Mia’s mother diminished the joy of the twin’s birth. The Senora never fully recovered from her husband’s death, and she never again recognized her daughter.
Mia took comfort in a pearl of wisdom her mother told her, “Mia, the birth of a child means an old soul is refreshed, but not replaced. The memory of the dead will always remain in the minds and souls of loved ones left behind.”
Tobias Callan returned to the California beach house. He found it echoed with the loss of his brother’s trust and Mia’s love.
He wandered into a church near his Malibu retreat. He was on his way to the marina to board his boat. In the church, he met a priest. The priest suggested the two men go outside. They sat under a shade tree and talked for several hours about love.
Out of the blue Toby handed the priest a diamond engagement ring. Stunned, the priest said, “My word, young man, what is this about? Would you like me to bless the ring?”
“No Father, I want you to have it.”
In disbelief, the Priest asked, “Why would you want to give me this expensive ring?”
“Father, I’ve committed a sin that I need to confess and the ring is my penance. I went to break up my brother’s wedding a few days ago. I was in love with his fiancé and I didn’t want to lose her. I proposed marriage to her on her wedding day. It was just before she was to meet my brother at the end of the aisle.”
“This caused a fight with my only sibling. Afterward, his fiancé just looked at us. Father, when she finally broke the silence she said, “I can’t marry either of you.”
Father, I needed her, but she didn’t need me. This ring won’t help me now. Maybe it can help you.”
“Son, I know who you are. You know, priests often go to the movies too. Tobias this is a most generous contribution. Yes, son, we most certainly can put the money to good use.”
He paused a moment and said, “Is the ring given at the whim of a broken heart and to appease the guilt you feel within. Or is this ring given with generosity from within your heart? Tobias, are you sure this is what your heart wants to do?”
“Tobias, are you taking the easy way out to make restitution for your guilt?”
Toby sighed and looked up toward the sky.
“No Father, it is not what I want to do, but I know that I need to do something, or I will go crazy. I know myself well. I know I’ll drink and do drugs to avoid the guilt. I’ve destroyed my brother’s love for the woman we both love.”
The priest placed the ring back into Toby’s hand. “Tobias Callan, perhaps you should keep the ring for a while. Sleep on it, as they say, before you commit yourself to giving this expensive ring to the church.”
“Tobias, you said the bride would not marry you or your brother. Her reason was that she valued the love you shared with your brother. She chose to lose you both for the sake of a brother’s love.”
“Yes, Father, she said she would not come between me and my brother.” He paused and then continued. “That just makes it worse. Not only did I lose the only woman I have ever loved, but I also ruined my relationship with my brother.”
“You see, Father, I also need to confess that it wasn’t uncommon for me to drug young beautiful women. And take advantage of them.”
“Tobias, did you exploit these young women?”
“Yes, Father. I did this to Mia. It happened when we first met, but I swear to God, I didn’t mean to hurt her or cause her shame.”
“Tobias, to have sex without consent is rape.”
“I was a coward Father. But the truth is, after she won the beauty pageant, I took Mia to my dressing room. I put something in her juice so I could seduce her.”
“Father, I’ve done many unthinkable things for most of my adult life. Blaming my evilness and inexcusable behavior on my profession is a cop out. I started to abuse drugs and alcohol as a young star after my first big break. Beautiful starlets and the media stalked me everyplace I went. I justified my behavior because I sought the attention and my ego soon took over my existence. But, it soon became too much. That’s when drugs and alcohol became my crutch. The truth is that I loved the power my stardom gave me.”
“Father, I confess that I would be glad to give up my wealth and fame to have Mia back in my life. She’s the only one who looked past all the bad stuff and loved me for the man I am. And now Father, I have messed it up.”
“Tobias, you know what you did to those young women was a crime and punishable by imprisonment, don’t you?”
Toby buried his face in his hands and started to sob.
“Yes, Father, I know that drugging someone and then taking advantage of them is a crime. I never planned for anyone to know that I had done such heinous things. I admit my crime and you should turn me into the police. There isn’t any punishment too great to erase my sins.”
“Tobias Callan can you confess to me that you will never use drugs and alcohol again. Or that you will never manipulate women ever again. But, the Lord is the only one who can absolve your sins. To perform sexual acts against a woman’s consent is a violation. Go to the police, my son and turn yourself in.”
“Son, did you make a full confession to Mia and disclose what you did to her?”
“No, Father. How could she think of forgiving me? I defiled her. I took pictures while she was under the effects of controlled substances.”
“She was a willing participant. She was in love with the actor, Tobias Callan. Turning myself into the police doesn’t fit the crime.”
“Tobias, when you love someone, a clear-cut answer is sometimes hard to find. It sounds like she needed time to sort out her feelings and discover what was best for her. The challenge for you, Tobias, is to find a way to forgive yourself. Turn to God, he will help you, and it will bring you true freedom and healing. Don’t give up hope Son. God works in mysterious ways. Maybe you will find a way to have both the people in your life. And you won’t need to choose between Mia and your only brother.”
Toby closed his fingers around the ring and put it in his shirt pocket. His thoughts were echoing the priest’s final counsel. He knew in his heart that the priest was right. But he doubted that he could ever forgive himself for ruining Mia and Ashton’s life together. He would always wonder if his confession would have made any difference.
Toby thanked the priest and walked along the beach pondering the advice given by the holy man. The next day he found himself aboard the Celebrity. He set sail with no particular destination in mind. The calm of the ocean seemed to give room for his busy mind to escape his painful thoughts.
Weeks later, he found himself in a South Pacific paradise. He rested beneath the tall coconut palm trees. And he watched the pretty Marshallese girls playing on the beach. They amused him as they splashed and frolicked in the warm ocean water. The pain in his heart had subsided some, or maybe he was just getting used to it.
He checked the charts. Guam sounded like an interesting island to visit next. It was in Tumon Bay when he met her. Tobias was at an island show. She was a beautiful island girl. She swayed her grass skirt to and fro.
After the show, he walked up to her and introduced himself, “Hi, my name is Tobias Callan. I enjoyed your dancing and I wondered if you would like to join me for dinner tonight?”
“It’s nice to meet you, Tobias Callan. And I’m glad that you liked my performance. My name is Ivy Day, and I would like to go out with you, but I need to change my costume first. There is a restaurant about two blocks from here called the Lazy Parrot. I can meet you there in an hour.”
While he waited for Ivy, Toby’s steps were slow as he walked down the street called Tropical Way. During his stroll, he saw a blinking sign. It blinked ‘Tequila.’ With time on his hands, Toby stepped into the bar for a quick drink or two.
An hour later he finally made his way to the Lazy Parrot. Ivy wasn’t there yet, so he sat in a corner booth and ordered a fruit juice laced with Vodka.
Ivy entered the saloon. She scanned the room looking for the handsome American actor. Toby looked up and whistled to get her attention. She was definitely pretty. Her evening dress was tight. Her long, dark hair, cascaded over her shoulders. She reminded him of Mia. He stood as she came close. He leaned down to kiss her cheek, and invited her to sit beside him.
“I have to say Ivy, that you are very pretty. Are you ready for some dinner. What is good here?”
Ivy touched his hand. Her kiss was whisper light on his lips. The waiter interrupted and said, “Mister, do you want a refill?”
“Not now, but I want the Mahi-Mahi dinner for two.”
Ivy looked at Toby and said, “I know you are the American actor Tobias Callan. I recognized you after my hula performance. I’ve always been a fan of yours, and I have seen most of your movies. I like your new scruffy appearance. It gives you a rugged and sexy look.”
The actor side of him appeared. “You flatter me, Ivy. Please, just call me Toby.”
“Toby, why did you stop making films?” she asked.
“Your fans miss you. It would be wonderful if you would act for us again on the big screen.”
“Honey, the story is too long to tell.”
Toby let out a sigh of relief when their dinner arrived. He wasn’t sure he wanted to tell Ivy about Mia. But Ivy wasn’t to be denied. As they finished eating, she brought it up again.
“The night is young, Toby, and you still have some time left with me. I want you to tell me this story that is so long.”
Toby had sobered a bit.
“Well, the short of it is, the woman I loved wouldn’t marry me. I confessed a terrible thing I did to her without her knowledge. My desire to act has gone from my heart and my reason to live is gone too. So now, it’s my destiny to wander the world until the day that I die.”
Ivy placed her hand on his and said, “Toby that is a sad story, but I’m sure the woman had her reasons. Do you want to tell me about this terrible thing that happened?”
“No Ivy. It’s better to let it die with me.”
“Toby, don’t you think that she would want you to find happiness again, even if it was with someone else? Perhaps you will find happiness in the arms of another woman. Or maybe you should return to acting and bring happiness to your fans.”
Toby thought about the reason that Mia had sent him and Ashton away. He knew that she didn’t want to break the bond of brothers. Instead, she felt hatred for him. Lost in thought, the silence stretched. Ivy’s kiss on his cheek brought him back to her questions.
She asked him one question after another about the years he spent out at sea. Toby wasn’t truthful about his sea journeys. He didn’t tell her about the loneliness.
Instead, he lied. “Ivy, I like being alone. I passed the time by writing a screenplay. My audience was the sea. I played my guitar and composed songs for the whales and the porpoises.
Something in his eyes told her that he was fooling himself.
“Ivy, this is enough talk about me. Let’s walk down to the marina and I’ll show you my boat, the Celebrity.”
They walked hand-in-hand along boardwalk. The moon was full and it glistened on the rippling water. The island setting was a beautiful night for romance. The ocean mist wet their faces. And the palm fronds rustled in the gentle breeze like Ivy’s grass skirt.
They stopped in front of his ship. And Ivy gave him a glance that made his heart race. Her naked soft peach colored lips parted. She kissed him. She had been drinking Passion Fruit Mojitos. Toby savored the sweet taste of the liquor on her soft lips.
While his body responded, his heart objected. Toby kissed her forehead. His eyes narrowed. “Ivy, a part of me wants to take you inside and devour you, but the other part of me won’t allow me to take advantage of you. I recently made a vow that I would never again use a woman against her will.”
“Toby, this woman must be amazing. She has captured your heart so completely, but a man has needs.”
“Who said that having sex with you was against my will?”
Ivy led Toby by the hand onto the boat and they went to the bedroom. She began to undress Toby. He began salivating. Her nipples poked from beneath her light weight dress.
His stomach reacted like a man with hunger pangs.
His attention was on Ivy as she undressed. Ivy wrapped her arms around him. He instinctively slid his hands down her waist and squeezed her buttock. He fondled her ample breasts and gave her the condom to put on his already erect penis. It had been a long 18 months without a woman and Ivy was available.
Toby knew that Ivy was a working girl, so he rationalized that he was not cheating on Mia. He did not force her to have sex. In his drunken haze, Toby thought, it isn’t a sin to pay for sex… right? Besides Ivy seduced me!
Tobias took full advantage of her skills. He was quick to learn that Ivy was good at what she did. He just lay there and enjoyed every pleasurable moment. This was just sex and he was into it for his own satisfaction.
Ivy handed Toby his wallet and he opened it.
“Superb. Ivy, whatever you pull out of my wallet is what you were worth tonight.”
She reached into the wallet and removed a crisp green bill. But before she looked at the denomination, she said, “Tobias Callan, even if it’s only a one dollar. Meeting you. Getting naked with you. And having sex with you, was worth it. This is one night I’ll never forget.”
Ivy looked at the money. “Thanks Tobias, I can use the hundred dollars.”
“Toby, this woman you love, she is a lucky woman.”
He tried to shake himself out of his sadness.
“I know you were expecting more from tonight. Maybe I can at least walk you back to the Lazy Parrot?”
“No Toby, I’m good. I know where to find my next date.”
He watched her walk away until she was a mere shadow in the misty night air. He stumbled on board the Celebrity and stripped the sheets from his bed. He took them outside and crammed them into a trash barrel.
Toby took a shower to wash away Ivy’s scent. He collapsed on the naked bed and buried his face into his pillow to drown the tears that welled in his heart. But tears seeped from his eyes anyway.
Toby had not been able to erase Mia from his mind. So much love for her remained in his heart. Aching to hold Gidget, sleep came.
Toby didn’t want to remember anything about the previous night. So, the next morning, he set sail deeper into the South Pacific. He continued to island hop. He found serenity and peace during his days of solitude on the ocean. He sailed among the thousands of islands that extended along the equator.
It was a long, lonely trek and Toby fought hard to not go into the dark recesses of his mind. The beauty that surrounded him remained unseen.
His only visitors during the several months were porpoises, whales and sharks. They often swam close by in hope to prey on his flesh.
The ocean mist filled his nostrils with its fresh scent. He fantasized about the sweet taste of Mia’s soft lips and bare flesh. Their last kiss was a nice kiss that led to another and another. Each one more intense.
In his fantasy, Tobias kissed her neck and his mouth touched her earlobe. Vision of Mia Perez filled his dreams. He could not rid her from his heart or sex starved body.
Toby had been alone on his boat for months. The loneliness began to create a separation of mind from body. Delusions became a normal part the day. His tongue salivated for a taste of alcohol. But there was none left on board the boat.The image of Mia and Ashton was ever present in his thoughts. Tobias could not free his mind from the wrong he caused Ashton.
While alone at sea, Toby began reading books about spirituality. In the silence of his journey, he faced his greatest fear. He feared that Mia had returned to Ashton.
He tried to accept the union of Mia and his brother. Toby began working on his internal battle against his own selfish desires.
As Toby’s delirium progressed, he began to hallucinate. He imagined he saw Peisinoe. She was half woman and part fish. She was a beautiful woman who lived on the large rocks far out at sea.
She mesmerized him with the lyrics of her song. The beautiful sea nymph was a virgin. In her song, she looked for the right sea worthy man.
In his delusion, Tobias volunteered to hear her song whilst tied to the ghost ship’s mast. She was a femme fatale with magical powers.
It was her job to capture seafaring men and cause them to step into the sea. But in a more lucid moment, Tobias realized he was hallucinating. He was suffering from drug and alcohol withdrawal.
Tobias dangled from the railing. He was ready to fall overboard and drown in the arms of the beautiful sea maiden. But, he knew it would be stupid and cowardly.
On the last day of his spiritual quest, Toby awoke clear headed and famished. He was awestruck by the beauty surrounding him. He heard the noise of hundreds of seagulls.
Toby had not seen any dolphin or seagulls for days. And now he could hear birds everywhere. He wasn’t sure whether it was real or an illusion caused by the sea mist.. But the fog had disappeared.
“Land Ahoy,” Toby shouted as he limped into Port Victoria on fumes. He stepped onto the pier and his legs wobbled. He smiled and thought, I guess I will need to get my land legs back before I fall on my face.
For the first time since leaving California, Toby was glad to see people again. A scruffy Toby felt the“albatross” lift from his shoulders. He felt like a new man. A man who was hungry for red meat and human companionship. The “albatross” he carried for so long, lifted from his mind and heart.
Toby checked into a luxury hotel and cleaned up. He was back on dry land. He was ready to live again. He desired good food, liquor and beautiful women. But, the only woman he longed for, was Mia Perez.
Tobias Callan was back on dry land. He ate rich food, drank an ample supply of booze, and had meaningless sex.
The scruffy sea worthy mariner paid to have his boat serviced and detailed. He was in need of a haircut, a beard trimming and a manicure.
He checked into a luxury hotel where he asked the concierge for the location of a church. Toby sat in the last pew. His thoughts returned to when alone at sea.
Toby had partaken in something spiritual. In the silence, he had faced his greatest fear – that Ace would convince Mia to return to him.
During this last leg of his sea journey, he found a way to accept this possibility. His love for Mia and his brother, won out against his own desires.
At last, he was free to explore the beautiful world around him. At the hotel he saw a pamphlet about the huge turtles on a nearby island.
He refueled the Celebrity. He bought provisions, stocked some beer. He set sail to find the island of Praslin. To avoid the tourist areas, he anchored his boat off the beach and motored into a remote cove.
The island was a perfect tropical paradise. A lush jungle of dense vegetation, it was just the place to relax and explore. Toby lay in the warm white sand.
He watched the large tortoises that occasionally strolled his way. He drank his beer and cooled himself off in the inlet water of the cove. Later, he wandered around the island through the dense vegetation.
The sun would soon be going down behind the horizon. He headed back to the beach to return to the Celebrity for the night. He was preparing the dinghy to return to his boat when he heard a female voice.
“Hello!” she said.
It surprised Toby that there was another a human being on the desolate island.
Toby returned a polite “hello” to the stranger as she walked toward him. The young, lovely island girl said,“My name is Lu Lu. Who are you and where did you come from? Few people find this secluded cove.”
“My name is Tobias Callan and I’ve stopped by your lovely island to see the giant turtles. I’m from California.”
“Ooh, California, in America. I’ve heard how wonderful it is there.”
“It can be, Lu Lu. But, I’ve been at sea for about two years and it’s good to have my feet on the ground again.”
“Wow, that sounds exciting, but why would you want to travel alone?”
Toby reflected on her question for a moment.
“It has been an incredible journey, although at times, I wondered if I would live through the trip. Lately though I have been thinking that after I rest up for a while, I may go back home. I’ve been collecting my thoughts along the way, and I think I’ll write a book about my life at sea.”
“Tobias, that sounds exciting, but you didn’t answer my question.”
“I don’t mean to be rude Lu Lu, but I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Okay, Toby. Maybe I’ll read your book. I hope to take an adventure across the sea someday too. So far, I’ve never been any further away from here than to Victoria.”
“Lu Lu, you are young and there are many adventures that lay ahead for you. Just follow your dreams and help them to grow along the way, and you will make your own adventures happen.”
The expression on her face became thoughtful.
“I have heard the name Callan before, but, it wasn’t Tobias Callan. I think the name was Ashton Callan. Is it possible that you are a relative?”
Tobias was thousands of miles away from home and far away from his brother. How could this young girl have heard of his brother?
“Yes, Lu Lu. But where did you hear that name?”
Instead of answering, she asked another question.
“Are you the American actor Tobias Callan?”
Toby wasn’t surprised that she had heard of him, but how did she hear about Ashton?
“Yes, Lu Lu, I am that Tobias Callan. But why do you ask me another question before you answer mine about Ashton?”
The pretty girl reached for Toby, and put her arms around his neck. Tears formed in her eyes.
“Tobias, when I was in the Port of Victoria, the authorities were looking for an American. His name was Tobias Callan. I am so sorry Toby, but the news wasn’t good. It said that Ashton Callan, the American actor’s brother, died in a car accident in Mexico City. Did you not know about this?”
Toby slumped to the sand and leaned against a palm tree. He grabbed for her and she fell to the sand. She could see that Toby was in shock.
He held on to her and choked back his tears.
“Lu Lu, are you sure this is true? I haven’t heard anything about an accident. Oh my God, please Lu Lu, help me to understand how this happened.”
Toby cried out in pain. His grief was overwhelming. His thoughts turned to Ace, and then to Mia. Did Ace go to Mexico to see his nieces, my daughters? Had Mia gone with him? Is Mia dead too? Toby composed himself enough to ask.
“Lu Lu, did the news report say why Ace was in Mexico? Can you help me to understand how this happened? Was a woman named Mia Perez with him?”
She told him what she had heard on the radio.
“Tobias, Ashton had been in Mexico to see a woman named Isabella Francesca. Do you know her?”
“Yes. She is the mother of my daughters, Isla and Ixora.” Lu Lu gasped.
“Oh no, Tobias, Isabella Francesca is also dead!”
“God, no – this can’t be happening. She can’t be dead too. Lu Lu, did the reporter say where my girls are? Are they all right? Did the report say anything about a Mia Perez? Tell me Lu Lu. Tell me everything you know.”
She held him as he cried.
“Tobias, the news reported that the Mexican and American authorities looked for you. They wanted to tell you about Isabella’s death. But they could not find you.”
“They looked for Ashton and found him in Brazil. He went to Mexico. There wasn’t any mention about a Mia Perez. I am sorry, but that is all I know.”
We do not get much outside world, news here on our little island. But news this big reaches even the smallest and most remote areas of the world.”
Toby was numb and dazed. He sat there in the sand for a long time and Lu Lu stayed with him. Ace was dead? Isabella was gone too. His thoughts then focused on Isla and Ixora. Where were the girls now? Were they all right? And where was Mia? After endless torturous thoughts, he finally fell asleep.
When the sun rose in the morning, he was alone. Tears welled in his eyes as he remembered the painful news. He thought to himself.
Bella, can you ever forgive me for what I have done? I’m sorry that I deserted you and our baby girls. And Ace, why did you have to die too? It was not supposed to have happened this way. What went wrong with the plan? It should have been me! Where are my girls? Are they safe? How is Mia? Who will take care of her babies now that Ace is gone?
He needed the answers to his questions. He wondered if Lu Lu was a figment of his imagination. Was everything she told him nothing more than a nightmare? All he wanted to know, was that it wasn’t true.
Toby’s thoughts focused on Mia. He tried to convince himself that she knew the truth about Isabella and Ace. He believed that she had sent Aston to Mexico to stop Isabella.
He took the dinghy back to port. He stocked the Celebrity with up on enough supplies to get him to Cazumel, Mexico.
A few months later, Tobias wheeled his motorcycle off the boat. He went into the city looking for the post office.
It had been years since he used the PO Box. It was set up as a way for Isabella to leave him messages. No one else was aware of its existence. His mail would just sit there until he went to get it.
His hand was shaking as he inserted the key into the lock. He opened the cubicle. Inside was a letter in Isabella’s handwriting.
He tore the envelope open and read the note.
“Toby, I am broke and desperate for money. I owe a powerful drug lord in Mexico City, a large sum of money. He will kill the girls if I don’t pay him the money.”
“I have never counted on you for much financial help, but I’m desperate. I have been trying to find you, but you have gone off the grid. So, I’ve asked Mia and Ashton to help.”
“Mia Perez is sending your brother Ashton to Mexico with a half million dollars. But Toby, this is only part of the money that I owe. I need your help, Toby. Will you please pay the other half of my debt? You owe me Toby. It’s because of you, that I am afraid. I know they will kill me. Please, I beg you to come out of hiding. Bring the money to Mexico City before the enclosed date.”
In the cheap Mexico City motel, Tobias tried to find his way back from the dark recesses of his mind. As he lay in his bed, he stared at the ceiling. The cool breeze from the ceiling fan soothed his body and lulled him back to sleep.
Toby’s dream took him back to the day when the Callan brothers stood side by side in Mia’s dressing room. She was about to begin her life as Ashton Callan’s wife. Toby saw himself opening his hand. He showed Ashton the diamond ring.
And then he heard himself say, Mia, it wasn’t me, I didn’t cause Ashton’s death.
In a split second, his dream shifted. Tobias was in the midst of a different night terror.
The dream was about another event in the lives of the Callan brothers. This time, it had taken him back to the beach house. Ashton brought Mia to the reunion of the brothers.
Mia Perez was as beautiful as the red roses from the night she became Miss Junior Brazil. Tobias tried to awaken from the dream.
The imagery now shifted back to Mia and Ashton at the altar. His worst fear had materialized. Ashton convinced Mia to marry him for the sake of the babies.
In a flash, the image was gone and his eyes opened to the ceiling fan whirring above his hotel bed. His mind overflowed with knowing that Isabella Francesca and his brother were dead. But why? He didn’t know why.
The imagery of Mia and his brother, Ashton, foreshadowed his thoughts. Tobias could not free his mind from the distrust that Ashton had for his own brother.
He feared that Ace convinced Mia to marry him for the sake of the babies. Toby was hopeful that Mia and Ash reunited, but only because she needed a man in her life.
But, his selfish heart was hopeful that she had turned him down a second time. Now, it seemed surreal that Isabella Francesca and his brother, Ashton Callan, were dead.
Toby couldn’t find the courage to go to the Mexican police. He wanted to tell the authorities what he knew about Isabella’s death. But, would it help? In fact, he was fearful they would accuse him of the crime. He wasn’t into rotting in a Mexican prison.
He flashed back to the last time he spoke to Bella. She just talked about their girls. They were in a private school under the guardianship of Isabella’s parents. Toby was happy to pay the private school tuition. As long as he wasn’t required to be a father.
And now, he understood that his children should have their father.
Isabella did allude to her money troubles. But she didn’t ask for any help from him. And he didn’t bother to quiz her either. But now, she was asking him to pay off a drug debt to the tune of half a million dollars.
Toby wanted to call Mia and question her about Ashton and Bella. But he didn’t think a telephone call was going to help. He needed to see Mia in person.
Toby’s thoughts scrambled in his head. And his gut churned. He collected his things from the hotel. He drove his motorcycle back to his boat. He paid the mooring and maintenance fees, and booked a flight to Rio.
During the flight, Toby felt the guilt. He realized it was time for him to become a real father. He prayed that Isla and Ixora were with Mia. For a moment he thought. What if they are dead too, I don’t know what I will do.
As the plane touched down in Rio, Tobias Callan knew that he was about to see Mia again. Would she welcome him back into her life? Had she forgotten his evil past? There were so many questions that he needed answered.
He hailed a cab and swiped his credit card into the card machine. He shuddered to think of the rampage of world crime. Bulletproof glass shielded the cab driver’s head. And all that Toby could think about was, what he would say when he saw Mia?
At the entrance to the Perez Estate, Toby stepped out of the car at the guard shack. Before closing the car door, he reached back inside and grabbed his duffle bag.
He walked up to the guard and said, “My name is Tobias Callan and I am here to see Senorita Perez.”
The guard phoned the main house. A familiar voice answered. The woman said, “Yes, send Mr. Callan to the house.”
Tobias Callan entered the estate grounds. He rang the bell. He stood there frozen in time. A series of memories flooded his vision.
He remembered when he placed the crown upon her head. He saw the note he left. But, loving her wasn’t too hard. And he was the right Callan brother.
He relived the pain in Mia’s eyes when he showed her the engagement ring. But the worst memory was the confession. He had drugged Mia to have sex with her.
The front door opened and the spinning thoughts stopped. Berta’s face lacked a smile. She shrugged and called out, “Senorita Perez, you have a visitor!”
Tobias thought… Self, so you had it under control, huh? So why are your knees knocking and you feel like you’re going to pass out?
“Berta who is it? I’m busy. If it is Joel, you know that you don’t need to announce him. Just have him come to my office.”
“Well, Missy, it’s not Joel. But I sure want to witness the beauty Queen’s tantrum when she sees who it is!”
“Berta, you are testing my patience. Send him in.”
“Whatever you want. I’ll send him in.”
She whispered, “The beauty queen’s office is the second door on the right and good luck, Toby.”
Berta pointed in the direction. Toby found it alarming that Berta had not changed at all.
Tobias didn’t know exactly what Berta meant by her comment. But he didn’t care. All he wanted to do was to hold Mia close. He needed to feel her warm breath against his face.
In the doorway, he stood silent. Mia felt the presence of someone close-by. She swiveled her wheelchair around and saw him standing there.
Toby walked toward her and knelt down. He drew her close and whispered, “Mia, I have just learned about Ashton’s death. I am so sorry for your loss. Your daughter’s have lost a father and I have lost a brother.”
“I’ve come back, because I needed to be with you. And I needed to hear your voice. I have so much guilt in my heart for Ashton’s death. Sweetheart, you are the only one who would understand my pain.”
Tears filled his eyes. Toby felt relieved Ashton had been there for Mia, but there was a sadness that took his breath away. He had chosen to run from love and replace it with selfishness. His brother was dead because of his irresponsibility as a father to his own children. Their mother was gone and it was now time for him to become a part of their life.
“Mia, I am the only Callan man left and I need to ask you. Can you find it in your heart to forgive me and love me again?”
Mia looked at his beautiful face. It was a strong face browned from the sun. His body hard and firm. His dark blonde hair, kissed by the first streaks of morning sunlight. His facial hair also streaked by the sun, covered his face. His beautiful blue eyes glistened from the tears that welled in them.
She knew in her heart she loved that face, but it had been a long time since she had seen that face. So much in her life had changed. She was the CEO of a thriving coffee enterprise… she was a widow and a single mother.
Tobias Callan had aged, but he was still a sexy and virile man. He had aged well. He still had the ability to excite Mia with style and charm. The feelings from long ago had not faded from separation, or time. And there still was a seductive aura around his being.
Mia touched his cheek with her fingertips. He reached for her hand and kissed her fingers one by one. He brought her hand back to his face, because he needed to feel her soft touch again against his flesh.
She continued to brush her fingers through his beard. And she could smell the salty sea mist that lingered in his hair. She felt his breath upon her face as he leaned closer to her mouth. He longed to taste the soft petals of her lips. He feared that this was nothing more than a dream.
Mia Perez was a beautiful red rose plucked from the bouquet he had once given her. He lingered to inhale the fragrance of her perfume. He held her and their love starved bodies pressed together.
Toby had been gone a long time, but in his mind, it was as if they had never parted. She was his passion and their love was a test of time. They had once been two lovers in the throes of unencumbered passion soaring free.
Mia’s pink lips parted, “Let’s go to my room where we can be alone and I will tell you everything that I know.”
Toby closed the door behind them after they entered into her private sitting room. Toby knelt down in front of Mia. His words were soft.
“Mia, I know why you sent Ashton to Mexico City. He went to help me.
“Yes, Toby I asked Ashton to go to Mexico City. Isabella said she needed money because she wasn’t getting enough financial support from you. I couldn’t find you, so Ashton went in my place with the money.”
She wiped the tears that wet Toby’s face and he struggled to find the words.
“Mia, please tell me. Where are my girls; Isla and Ixora? You must know where they are?”
“Tobias!” Mia gasped, “Oh my God. I should have told you. I have your girls here with me at the plantation.”
Toby breathed a sigh of relief.
“Mia, I was so scared that I wouldn’t find them alive. I prayed that Bella’s parents would send them to you. Bella had instructions for their care. If she ever needed help, she was to make sure they would come to the Perez plantation. Your father and mother promised that they would be safe. Sweetheart, I needed to find you. The pain of our separation has been so hard to endure. Tell me Mia, did you ever marry Ashton?”
Touching his chest, she said, “No Tobias! I told both of you that I would never destroy the love between two brothers. So no, Ashton became a part of my life. And he was a wonderful father to our daughters. But I stayed true to my words when I said that I would not marry either Callan brother.”
Toby felt relieved that Ashton had been there for Mia, but there was a sadness that took his breath away. He had chosen to run from love and replace it with selfishness. His brother was dead because of his irresponsibility as a father to his own children. Their mother was gone and it was now time for him to become a part of their life.
Mia looked into his eyes. The moment was quiet.
“Toby, I am not the same woman that you left behind. I’ve had to grow up and take responsibility for my action. I discovered beauty is not a tool to use on a man to manipulate him for selfish reasons. Love is being close to a person who lives within your heart.”
Toby’s twin girls walked by her sitting room. They were curious about the visitor with their Aunt Mia. Isla asked Berta, “Who’s that scruffy old man I saw kissing Aunt Mia?”
“Never mind, she knows him and that’s all you need to know for now. Girls, it isn’t polite to spy, Go to your room or find something to do and give them some privacy.”
After their brief reunion, Mia led Toby back to her office. She had a file with some newspaper clippings for him to read. The article was about Isabella’s murder. There were a few small pieces written about the American who died in an automobile accident. The deaths seemed unrelated.
Toby began reading the articles. The police speculated Isabella Francesca was a ‘good girl gone bad’. It seemed she had crossed a drug dealer in Mexico City. The outlaw wanted revenge for informing the police of his activity. Isabella was into him for a large sum of money. Her death was because he didn’t get the money she allegedly owed him.
Mia interrupted his reading.
“Tobias, you need to know that Isabella’s parents took custody of the twins. But when they began to get death threats, were too scared to keep them. It seemed the drug people wanted the old folks to pay off their daughter’s debt. But, Bella’s parents didn’t have that kind of cash. They feared for their life and for the twins too. Desperate to protect the girls, they tried to contact you. But you were off the grid. Toby, Bella’s parents contacted me and asked me to bring the girls to Rio.”
“Shortly after that day, I felt that I didn’t have a choice other than to send Ashton to Mexico City. I had the half million dollars she needed.”
Toby moaned in pain and guilt. “God Mia, I was in the middle of the ocean. I didn’t want anyone to find me. I should have been there to keep him and you safe from Isabella. She never told me how dire her situation had become. I heard rumors about her death on an island in the South Pacific.”
“I left immediately for Mexico. When I got there, I went to my general delivery post office box. I had set up for Bella in case she ever needed me. That’s when I found the note. She said she needed half a million dollars. But I was too late. I hoped out of desperation that she might reach out to you.”
“Toby, I only know the police investigation was ongoing. And Ashton’s death was questionable. The police thought it might be a homicide and not an accident. I’m sorry Toby, but I think there is a connection between both deaths.”
“Toby, your girls don’t know that you are their father. Bella never told them and her parents kept the secret. The twins think they are here because I was their mother’s friend. They only know that once the threats died down in Mexico, they will be going back home.”
“Mia, do the girls know their mother is dead? I’ve been an awful father. But they deserve to have at least one parent. I want to become the father that my girls never had. And now, they need me.”
“Yes the girls know about their mother’s death. Bella’s parents have asked me to keep them here until the investigation is complete. Now, you are here and everyone’s life will change again.”
Mia didn’t tell Toby about the videotape Ace found in her safe. She kept quiet about the sexual assault Dr. Chase committed and taped. He’d covered up his crime by telling her it was for medical research.
But, Dr. Chase had taken advantage of her. She suspected that he married her to control her and keep her quiet.
Mia didn’t want to tell Toby about the sex tape. With Ashton dead, she figured the past was better left unsaid. That chapter of her life was dead and buried. Her new life gave her the confidence to face the challenges ahead.
Mia realized her youthful boast to marry Tobias was still a possibility. She liked her new found independence. There was a huge, ‘but’ that stood in her way.
The truth about what happened to Ashton and Isabella in Mexico City. Toby needed to know the truth. But she needed to know what linked Tobias to the deaths.
Why, She thought to herself. Why had Isabella wanted her to send Ashton to Mexico with the money? Who killed Isabella and why did Ashton die too?
Mia told Toby he could stay in the guest house. The investigation was ongoing and he deserved to be with his girls. Toby questioned whether he should stay in Rio or return to Mexico to hunt for Ashton’s killer.
His final decision was to keep his paternity secret. He needed to find the reason for his brother’s death. And this could only happen in Mexico. Just maybe, he would find the gang that killed Isabella too.