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Genre: Young Adult
What do you do when the boy you love is afraid to let you touch him for fear you will learn all his deadly secrets?
Upon the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Iona flies to the Mediterranean island of Idylla to live with the father she never knew. She finds the island is a kind of modern-day utopia, a virtually crime free society filled with benevolent people. But beneath the serene surface lurk sinister secrets.
One of Iona’s classmates at the University of Idylla is visiting student Prince Ariston, the Crown Prince of the neighboring island Kingdom of Perdia. The two bond over their love for Elizabethan poetry and the Renaissance, and find they share a passion for reading and
But not all knowledge is safe. When the island stimulates Iona’s latent powers of contact telepathy, Ariston must shun her, or risk her learning that he is a dangerous paranormal creature who has killed before and will kill again.
Both know the other can destroy them. Yet both are drawn to each other like a moth to a conflagration. Will their obsession for each other devour them both or will they be able to survive and overcome the forces conspiring against them?
I paced up and down our small living room with its peeling walls and shabby furniture. My living room now. If I could make the rent.
I picked up a photograph of my mother from the mantelpiece. The small, pinched face had never looked this beautiful to me when she was alive. She had never been much of a companion to me, but right now I missed her acutely. At seventeen, I felt half a mother was better than none. If you’d asked me at thirteen, I might have felt differently.
The phone rang. I hesitated. It was probably yet another person calling to offer condolences. Let it ring.
But it wouldn’t stop, so I grabbed the receiver just to make it shut up. “Hello?”
“Iona?” The unfamiliar voice spoke in an accent I couldn’t quite place but which I took to be European.
“Yes, I’m Iona. Who’s speaking, please?”
“I’m Leon. Your father.”
My legs suddenly felt like Jello, so I sank into an armchair.
What was I supposed to say? Hi, Dad. Nice to hear from you. A shame you missed the first seventeen years of my life?
“Iona? Are you there?”
“I’m–surprised to hear from you.”
“I heard about your mother.”
“Oh. How?” Considering he hadn’t spoken to us in years and lived halfway across the world, it was a reasonable question.
“I keep informed of what happens to you, Iona. How are you holding up?”
“I’m doing okay.”
“It must have come as a great shock.”
I drew in a deep breath. “Yeah, well, you don’t expect most people to die of a heart attack at thirty-three. Of course, her heart was broken way before then.”
There was an uncomfortable silence. At least, I hoped he felt uncomfortable. Then he changed the subject. “What are your plans now?”
“The help wanted ads.”
“You’re getting a job?” He sounded amazed. Had they never heard of jobs in Idylla?
“Yeah. That’s what people do to pay the bills.”
“But you just finished school. You took extra classes so you could graduate early.”
Was that a note of pride in his voice? Could you feel proud of a daughter you’d never seen and barely spoken to?
Apparently he really had been keeping track of me. But why?
“You seem smart…don’t you want to go to college?” he asked.
Of course I did. I loved learning. “I’d love to, but they actually charge money for it.”
“Not in Idylla.”
“College is virtually free in Idylla.”
“How nice for Idyllans.”
“Iona, enroll here. The University of Idylla is a good school.”
“How could I even do that? Aren’t all foreigners pariah non grata in Idylla?”
“True, it’s hard to get in,” he said. “But I can arrange it.”
My hand tightened on the receiver. “And where would I live?”
I didn’t say anything. I didn’t have to.
“Iona, I don’t know what your mother told you about me…”
Nothing much. Just that you’re a liar and seducer and breaker of promises and…did I leave anything out? Oh yes, a murderer too. Just that she was crazy about you when she got pregnant with me at fifteen, only to have you tell her you couldn’t marry her. Her father, a solar panel engineer on a one-year visa to Idylla, threatened to make a big
international incident of the fact that an eighteen-year-old Idyllan had seduced his underage daughter.
Then said father was run over by a car and killed, and my mother was sent packing home to America.