feeling from a critically adored USA TODAY bestselling author.
home has left him exhausted and uninspired, with little energy to pursue his
passion for graphic art. Until he meets Gemma Henare, a vivacious out-of-towner
from New Zealand. What begins as a one-night stand soon becomes a turning point
for Josh. He can’t get Gemma out of his head, even after she has left for home,
and finds himself throwing caution to the wind for the first time in his life.
It’s not long before Josh is headed to New Zealand with only a backpack, some
cash, and Gemma’s name to go on. But when he finally tracks her down, he finds
his adventure is only just beginning. Equally infatuated, Gemma leads him on a
whirlwind tour across the beautiful country, opening Josh up to life, lust,
love, and all the messy heartache in between. Because, when love drags you
somewhere, it might never let go—even when you know you have to say goodbye.
This story is beautiful, wild, messy and sexy. And a love letter to New Zealand.
The author has written in incredibly vivid book about taking chances and throwing your carefully-laid plans aside to follow your true passion. I felt as though I was actually watching gorgeous pink sunsets, exploring underground rivers while floating in tubes and experiencing breathtaking mountain views. I felt transported to New Zealand while reading this story and for that experience, I thank the author.
“You won’t see anything more inspiring than this,” I say, gesturing to the sky, now gold. “Recreate it, capture it. Let it be wild, let it be messy. It’s the first sunrise of many more to come. You can’t screw it up. If you do, there’s always tomorrow.”
Joshua Miles has one night of mind-blowing sex with an incredible woman who is about to leave Vancouver for good to return to New Zealand. Josh realizes that his life in Vancouver is empty and that this is his chance to finally experience life before he begins classes at art school. He lives at home with his mother and works part-time. There is nothing really holding him back excerpt his disapproving mother. There’s only one problem: he doesn’t know the name of the woman he is following all the way to New Zealand.
Gemma was traveling alone, trying to make some changes in her life, when she met Josh. She, too, felt an incredible connection with him but leaves Vancouver as planned to return home. Little does she know that Josh will turn up in her hometown! The problem? She is already in a relationship. She is also noncommittal and believes she will only end up hurting Josh.
Circumstances then find Gemma and Josh along with two others traveling across New Zealand in an old VW bus. Karina Halle writes an amazing alternate POV story about finding yourself, falling in love and forgiving the past. Josh pretty much wears is heart on his sleeve from the very beginning, and it is Gemma who remains closed off and guarded. The dialogue is fantastic and the sex scenes are ah-may-zing.
Will Gemma end up breaking Josh’s heart? Will Josh let Gemma give up on her own dreams? This is an incredible story about finding yourself, and chasing your passion. I felt the longing and angst and ache right along with the characters.
“I think I ache for things I may never have. I long for purpose, for life, and yet sometimes I think I’m too afraid to live.” I pause. “Do you ever worry, that there’s something out there that you’re missing?”
Where Sea Meets Sky is a gorgeous story that shouldn’t be missed!!
(ARC provided by the publisher with thanks.)
But we don’t stop there like I thought we would. Gemma keeps driving until we come to a turn-off and then she’s gunning it toward the lake. On one side of us the road curves along pine trees and holiday homes; on the other there is a stream and a picturesque stone church surrounded by snap-happy tour bus groups.
At a gravel lot at the very end, not far from the shore, she angrily slams Mr. Orange into park and jumps out of the bus. Instinctively I do the same, jumping out after her.
As I stand there watching, I know the memory is being ingrained into my head. The van is still running and “Comfortably Numb” is blaring from the speakers as Gemma strips down to her underwear and runs to the edge of the lake. She’s barefoot and she doesn’t even slip on the rocks as she goes. She’s running from something, she’s running to something. The water will be ice cold.
It’s just what she wants. She wants to be numb.
I’ve listened to this album enough damn times now to know that “Run Like Hell” will play soon. So I do. I run like hell toward her. I leave Amber in the back of Mr. Orange, puttering on Lake Tekapo’s shore, and I’m sprinting toward the water, unwilling to let her out of my sight.
She’s already splashing into the water, like a mermaid returning to a kingdom of blue milk. If the cold is shocking her, she doesn’t show it, it doesn’t slow her down. The lake splashes around her in Technicolor brilliance, her darkly tanned skin shimmering from the reflection.
In seconds she is diving under and I hold my breath as my legs and blood pump me forward. I’m bizarrely, acutely, aware that she might not come up again. I think about what she told me, huddled in my rain jacket. I think I ache for things I may never get. I long for purpose, for life and yet sometimes I think I’m too afraid to live.
My fear is in not living.
We need to meet in the middle.
So I go into the lake after her. I’m stripped down to my boxers and T-shirt, my dusty jeans and flip-flops discarded somewhere between me and the bus, in a patch of purple and pink foxgloves.
It’s so cold I think I’m going to die. My lips open to yell, “Fuck me!” but my mouth is more intent on chattering my teeth together. Each step stabs stones into the soles of my feet and jagged knives of ice water into my legs until the feeling—all feeling—subsides.
I’m breathless, surrounded by ice blue, a color I’ve created myself when I’ve touched too much eggshell into too little cerulean. The shores are granite, a soft warm grey, peppered by the unimaginable greens and pinks of foxglove and whatever plants happen to spring up in this country. I’m swimming in a painting, numb, and I’m going for her, the bronze mermaid who wants to swim forever.
But she’s not mythical. She’s very real. It seems to take forever and eventually she breaks the surface, shrieking out in surprise and agony from the cold. It doesn’t numb her after all. Perhaps in this case, the number you are, the closer you are to death.
Though she swam for a while under, it doesn’t take me long to catch up with her. I used to be an avid swimmer for years.
“What the hell?” I say to her between chattering teeth, spitting out lake water.
She stares at me, wide-eyed, her head above the surface as she treads water. Her wet, dark hair is slicked back from her forehead, an inky wave between her shoulders, her cheekbones highlighted by sun and water.
“I told you I wanted to come here,” she says, as if suddenly abandoning your van and stripping to your underwear in public is the norm.
I can’t help but smile at how blasé she tries to be about it. “A little warning would be nice.”
“Don’t worry about me, Josh,” she says.
I pause because something in my heart has swelled. “But I do.”
Oh god, how I fucking ever.
She holds my gaze and my fingers itch to reach through the water and touch her. A few days ago I wouldn’t have, not in public like this. But I want to see just how numb she is.
My hand glides forward, sluicing through the water in slow motion until it rests on her light and silky waist.
She stares at me, her eyes glowing white against her brown irises, and her brows thread together in contemplation, as if she’s trying to unravel me, uncover some truth. I know something is bothering her and I know it’s about me more than anything else. It should be a good thing that it bothers her because it means she cares.
I want to tell her that she’s all I’ve ever wanted. I want to show her.
She relaxes into my touch for one sweet moment of victory before she slowly ducks her head under the water. I’m not sure what she’s doing so I take in a breath and submerge my head.
The cold shocks my face and when I open my eyes under water they seem to immediately freeze. Gemma is a hazy vision of pale blue, her hair swirling around her. She is so beautiful it makes my chest ache more than the cold does.
Her eyes hold mine and I see that yearning in them again. She reaches forward, grabbing my face and pulls my head toward her. She kisses me, full on the lips. It is so warm against the cold and I’m afraid I’m about to drown from happiness. I want this and I want more than this.
I don’t know how long the kiss lasts – we seem to float through time and space – but our bodies foolishly decide oxygen is equally as important. She breaks away and I am left sucking in ice water before I break through the surface.
I gasp in the dry air, fingers touching my lips as if I can’t believe it, but she’s back to the way she was before. Impassive. Immovable. Numb.
Don’t miss Karina’s next book, RACING THE SUN, on sale July 28th!