If anyone ever asks you why you read romance books, tell them to read this book! The perfect escapist summer read, Leylah Attar’s latest gem is everything I’ve come to expect from this incredibly gifted storyteller—evocative, moving, witty, exquisitely written—and it’s the kind of story that fills you with delight from the moment you start reading it. Attar transports us to an exotic paradise of sun-kissed beaches and crystal-clear waters, a place where reality looks and feels like a dream, and where a young woman finally finds herself in the arms of a man who makes her feel brave, loved, and weightless in a world that has held her down for too long. This is one of my favourite books of the year, and I’m so excited to share a little sneak peek with you.
Sitting cross-legged on a sea of quilts, I settled the bowl on my lap and licked the spoon. I could hear the gong of tiny bells and the bleating of goats. In the distance, the sea sparkled with the promise of a new day. A rhythmic, metallic sound came from the garden below. Snip, snip, snip.
I walked to the edge of the roof and looked over. Alex sat on a plastic chair under a trellis of grapevines, getting his hair cut by his father. Shirtless under the sun, his skin took on a warm, bronzed hue. Bare arms, bare chest, bare throat. My cheeks flamed as locks of thick, dark hair collected on the patio stones. I sat on the half-wall circling the roof, observing their ritual.
Every once in a while, Vasilis would stop, take a puff from the cigarette Alex held for him, and step away from his handiwork like a painter assessing his masterpiece. Then the comb would come down and off he’d go with the scissors again.
All through the garden, dozens of CDs were strung, row after row. They dangled over elephant-eared zucchini plants and reflected off buckets spilling the most brilliant red geraniums.
A sudden burst of white light blinded me. I held my hand over my eyes and squinted.
“Kalimera, asteri mou.” Alex flashed a CD straight in my face. “Sleep well?”
Sleep? I flushed, only remembering the feel of my nipples swelling like ripe berries in his mouth. Then I double-flushed because Vasilis had caught me in nothing but Alex’s T-shirt.
“Kalimera.” I waved to them both, tugging the shirt over my knees. “What’s with all those?” I gestured to the CDs sparkling in the sun.
Vasilis tugged the string holding them up, making them jingle and jangle like little mirrors. “They keep the birds from eating the vegetables.”
“Clever,” I said, finishing the last of my yogurt. Then I gasped as he cut a big chunk of Alex’s hair. “How much are you taking off?” Bye, bye, Man-Bun.
Vasilis shrugged. “I keep going until he says enough. I’m the only one he’ll let cut his hair. Since he was a baby. This time he’s been away too long. I have been cutting and cutting, and still…” Vasilis lifted Alex’s hair to illustrate his point. “This time his hair is like Dimitra’s.”
I stifled a snicker. Nothing about Alex was like a woman.