PAPERBACK BOOKS

WILLOW


WILLOW COVER

Willow James’ perfect life is destroyed when she is kidnapped and held captive for six long, horrific years. 

The James family and the love of her life, Noah Parker, are shattered at their loss.  

While Willow tries to endure a life with her obsessed  kidnapper Afon, her family try to move on with their own lives – with disastrous consequences.  

Willow escapes her kidnappers unexpectedly – and is reunited with her family at long last.  But as she learns of the things that have changed over the years, drama and conflict once again prevail.    

How will Willow handle returning to her old world which is now horribly different?  

Can Willow get the happily ever after she’s always wanted?   

In Store Price: $22.95 
Online Price:   $21.95

ISBN: 978-1-921731-43-3   
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 162
Genre: Fiction

Cover design: Paul Goldsak

Author: Dana Cherie
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2011
Language: English

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 About the Author 

Dana Cherie Andersen (nee Graham) was born in Townsville in 1985. She started working as a legal secretary after graduating form Ryan Catholic College in 2002, and still works as a secretary now.  

She married her husband, Jimmy, in 2009. In 2010, she relocated to the Gold Coast, which she and Jimmy plan to call home and have their own family. 

Willow is her debut novel.

One 

W

illow could see her father pacing up and down the hall. He was stressed—she could tell by the way he furiously rubbed his hands together in front of him. His voice boomed as he made orders, his secretary tapping away feverishly on her laptop, her eyes not leaving the screen in fear of making a mistake. Willow shrank back into the kitchen and made herself a milky tea. Her brother Oscar bounced in a moment later, greeting her noisily by giving her a brotherly slap on the shoulder.

‘Ssh,’ she snapped, tapping the teaspoon on the side of her mug, ‘Dad is having a meeting.’

Oscar rolled his eyes. ‘Just for something different. Doesn’t he have an office for that?’

‘He is on holidays,’ she retorted.

Oscar snorted, grabbed a juice and left again.

Willow knew Oscar was disappointed—she was too. They were supposed to be in Mauritius on their family holiday by now, her choice of location. They each took turns picking a place to go, and usually, they actually went. Her parents’ vitamin company became bigger every year, and although they were in a league of their own in wealth, the four James’ children were seeing less and less of their parents.

The younger two, Olive and Alessandro, didn’t seem to mind as much. Olive was going through a bad rebellious stage, so any time away from her parents was like heaven to her. Alessandro was more serious than the other three and a lot more private, so he wasn’t as worried either.

Oscar and Willow however were older and wiser and wanted to not only spend some time with their family, but wanted to get away from the company and their normal lives for a few weeks. Their father had insisted they all go without him, but they felt too selfish doing so. Their mother would never go without him, so the children had all agreed to move their holiday back a few months until the latest vitamin “drama” had been smoothed over.

Harvey James stalked into the room, glancing tiredly at his eldest daughter. ‘I would give anything to be in Mauritius right now,’ he said grimly, gratefully taking a cup of tea from her.

‘Me too,’ she said quietly, watching him lower himself onto a chair. He looked older and very tired, and her heart ached for him. He worked so hard for the family, and was a good man. ‘Relaxation would do us all the world of good.’

Harvey managed to smile at her. ‘Enough about me. How are things at college?’

‘Fine, fine,’ Willow waved her hand dismissively.

‘When do you start back?’

She stretched. ‘Three long weeks. I was thinking of flying to Paris in the next few days to visit Lola.’

‘Oh Lord, that will be trouble.’ Willow’s mother laughed lightly as she came through the back door. She was a gorgeous creature—tall and slim with thick blonde hair, twinkling green eyes and a soul to match, the four children and her husband all adored her.

‘Hello, love,’ Harvey offered his cheek for a kiss. ‘How did you go?’

‘Smashed them,’ Sadie enthused, twirling her tennis racquet. ‘And now I am beat. How is the crisis coming along?’

Willow tilted her head and looked at her father. ‘Old Harvey was getting very loud in his meeting, and there was a lot of pacing being done.’

Her father chuckled, rubbing his greying temples. ‘Things are coming along fine. One more threatening meeting with this damned company and I think it will be over.’ He stood up, wrapping an arm around Willow’s shoulders. ‘And if I hear one more “Old Harvey,” you won’t be going anywhere.’

Sadie clucked her tongue, ‘I think she is getting far too old for grounding, Harv.’ She looked across the hall to their small library. ‘Has Charlotte gone home?’

Her husband nodded. ‘I think I need to give her a raise. She was supposed to be on holidays too.’ When both his daughter and wife nodded in agreement, he sighed. ‘Damn, I was hoping you’d say I paid her enough.’

‘You scrooge,’ Sadie laughed. ‘I am going up and making myself a scalding bath with lots of bubbles. How about dinner with your father and I, Willow? I can call La’Brooy’s and make a booking?’

Willow shook her head, ‘Sorry, Ma, I have a few things to do.?’

Harvey winked, ‘Just you and I then, Baby?’

‘Okay,’ his wife pretended to be disappointed. ‘In that case, you pop the cork on the bottle of wine and pour me a glass please; I will be waiting in my bath!’

Her parents taking off in different directions, Willow smiled to herself and made her way to her room. She loved her room, and she loved being inside of it. She had painted it a breezy coral pink; she had a collection of records in one corner, a duchess overflowing with beauty products against the main wall, and a large stack of brown, vintage suitcases in another corner. She had a rack drowning in clothes, a private bathroom with shiny black tiles, and a walk in wardrobe almost as big as the room itself.

There was a carved wooden shelf next to her large bed, which was just a foot off the ground. The shelf was home to many of her book collections—years and years worth of reading stacked up. She loved buying books, especially preloved ones. There was something mesmerising to her about an old book; its browning pages, the smell, its travels. She often opened a book just to inhale the scent of the pages.

Her phone vibrated around on top of her dresser. Peering at the screen, she beamed as she answered, ‘Hey, Baby.’

Noah cleared his throat, ‘Hi, girlfriend. How are you?’

‘Great, and you?’ She flopped onto her bed, wishing he was there with her.

‘Just fine. And out the front.’

‘Now?’ she shrieked. ‘You’re back?’

Noah laughed throatily. ‘Yes. We have dinner reservations.’

Giggling, she raced to her window and saw her boyfriend’s car across the street. Mentally abandoning her plans for the evening, she grabbed her bag and ran through the house, shouting goodbye to her family.

Noah Parker waited for her calmly, listening to his music. His dark hair bobbed in time to what he was playing, and a wide smile took over his face as his gorgeous girlfriend ran out of the front door towards him.

Greeting each other with a long kiss, they chatted animatedly on the way to the restaurant. Noah had been away for work for a week, and for them, it was a long time apart. They had been together for a few years, falling in love instantly after being introduced by a mutual friend. They had moved out into an apartment a year after meeting, but Noah being away all of the time with his work had made Willow lonely, so she had moved back home to be with her family.

They had a long dinner, dining on seafood and drinking wine. They laughed a lot and when it was getting late, decided to go home to her place where he practically lived anyway, and watch a movie with her family. Harvey and Sadie loved Noah, which made Willow very happy. The thought of her beloved family not liking her boyfriend would make life very difficult for her indeed. 

*

The next day, Noah, Willow and her three siblings sat in the dining room having breakfast. Olive, unusually happy at that time of the morning, was laughing along with them as Noah told stories about his boss.

‘He sounds like such a dick,’ commented Alessandro, pushing his cornflakes around with his spoon.

Noah hid his surprise at Alessandro’s passion. ‘Yes, he most certainly is. But he pays me well, so he can be as much as a dick as he wants to be.’

Oscar, who looked at Noah in admiration and regarded him as a brother, agreed. ‘As long as you are getting the money for it, who’s complaining?’ He held up the coffee pot. ‘Anyone want more coffee?’

Willow extended her mug. ‘Yes please.’ She looked at her boyfriend. ‘And what was the hotel like this time?’

‘Nice,’ Noah said thoughtfully. ‘Not much in the mini bar.’

‘Shit, hey?’ Olive offered, buttering her toast.

Harvey and Sadie walked in the room, both dressed in matching yellow silk pyjamas. Harvey, smiling at his family, announced, ‘Great news. Everything was sorted out last night with the crisis, so the family holiday is back on!’

Sadie clapped her hands and beamed at her children. ‘We are leaving in two days! Mauritius here we come! And what about you, Noah darling, will you be joining us?’

Noah nodded, ‘I think I could manage that.’

Willow, beside herself with excitement, hugged him. ‘This will be the best James’ family holiday yet.’

Olive, suppressing a groan, looked at her father. ‘So do we all have to go?’

‘Yes.’ Harvey smiled sweetly at her.  

* 

Willow’s arms were aching as she made her way to the car. The parking lot was damp and almost empty, and she kicked herself for not roping Olive or her mother into going shopping with her. She was happy with her purchases however—three new bikinis and a white sarong for Mauritius. Wondering if she should have purchased the straw cowboy hat too, she dug around in her handbag for her car keys.

There was a screech behind her, and it was only later Willow remembered that a van had come speeding towards her from nowhere, coming to a brief stop at the base of her car. Her things had fallen to the floor as two strong men grabbed her and pulled her into the van. Something had hit her in the back of the head, and dopily, she had raised her hand to the base of her neck.

Then everything went black.

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