Upon the death of her mother, 26 year old Leia York is left bereft and grief stricken. An old college professor extends her an invitation to join him in one of the most beautiful, yet most dangerous, places on earth – the Amazon rainforest. She embarks on an impulsive journey, hoping to forget the sadness of her life in Chicago. After being nearly killed by a man who belongs to a dangerous group of Indians that hate outsiders, she stumbles into the Matis village. A handsome native man sees to her injuries, and they soon form a friendship. Leia is among those chosen to go on a quest that is vital to the survival of the natives. Along the way, Leia finds a strength within herself that she never knew she possessed. The six week quest is fraught with danger, adventure, and unexpectedly: love. A love which is strictly forbidden. Will Leia respect an indigenous law that prevents her from pursuing the only love she has ever known? The Blue Amaryllis is a unique story that blends romance and adventure, while exploring the very real ecological issues threatening the Amazon rainforest and tribes within. It is a story of a proud people whose unique way of life faces extinction, and the passionate love that develops between one of their own and an outsider.
Leia spun around, clambered up the high, muddy riverbank, and stared at what lay ahead. The jungle walls rose like a living parapet in front of her; a verdant tsunami of vines and darkness. She ignored the chill that crept up her spine, and began sprinting into the jungle. The thick canopy shielded most of the sunlight and reduced the thick, clammy air to a pleasant coolness. The run allowed her to stretch her legs after being cramped from the past few days of travel, and she soon reached the river. She turned left and followed it. The jungle began to dim and darken at an alarming rate, so she pushed herself to run faster. Trees and vines whipped past, some snapping against her skin. Many times, she splashed directly into the river to skirt areas of the shore that were too overgrown to run through. After about three more miles of hard running, Leia began to slow and her breathing became uneven. She needed hydration, but the camel pack she had filled back home in Chicago had been empty since lunchtime and she refused to stop. How could she know whether this water was safe? A movement in her periphery caught her attention as something black streaked through the trees across the small river. Please don't let there be animals looking for a meal, she prayed silently as she ran a list of possible creatures through her mind. Finally, Leia reached a place where the grass and leaves looked matted down. She slowed her pace to a jog and turned to follow the path. Across the river, foliage erupted as a black shape burst through. Leia turned to look, her eyes wide and startled. A menacingly large man, his entire body blackened, stared at her from across the narrow river. His top lip curled up, exposing his teeth as he advanced on the river. The black coal smeared over his face made the whiteness of his eyes and teeth almost glow against the darkness of the jungle. Slowly, Leia began to back away, keeping her eyes trained on the man, and with a leap and a splash, he bounded into the river, coming straight at her. A scream ripped from her throat as Leia spun and began sprinting as fast as her burnt out body could manage. She couldn't hear him, but somehow she knew he was close behind. A searing panic rushed through every nerve in her body as adrenaline pumped her forward. A quarter mile ahead lay a large grassy dirt clearing, scattered with raised huts on stilted legs. Leia didn't notice the ground drop, and lost her footing, slamming her forehead into a low hanging branch. She lurched upward, pushed herself off the ground, and stumbled into the village. In the center, a group of native people sat on logs eating a meal. Leia ran into their midst. There was drawn out silence as they stared at her, wide-eyed. She wheezed for breath, hunched over, while her hands gripped her shaking knees. “Please! Help!” she choked out between heaving gasps. “I have to see James McDonald, where is he?” A man with a tall, broad-shouldered frame unfolded from where he had been crouched on the ground and walked toward her. His lean, muscled body moved in a smooth, prowling manner that brought to mind wolves and panthers. To describe him as handsome would be a grave injustice. This man was beautiful. Her eyes widened when she saw that he was mostly naked, with just a thin cord wrapped around his bare hips. Leia tried to prevent her eyes from drifting lower, but they dropped to his feet and then ran up the length of his body. He was magnificently built; a splendid creation. Multiple strands of long, dark-brown beads crossed diagonally over a powerfully sculpted chest, meeting in an X in the middle. Hanging from his neck was another strand of white, triangular-shaped beads, which contrasted against his bronzed skin. The same white beads wrapped in a single strand around each of his biceps. He was very tall, and his features were breathtaking. Dark eyes and high cheekbones gave way to a straight, defined nose. A strong, angular jaw framed his wide, full lips. It was as if God himself had gathered the dust and molded the impossible creature before her with his own hands. It really was unfair that she had to encounter the most attractive man she had ever seen, while at her most unattractive. She didn’t require a mirror to know what she looked like after a long run and knew her stubborn flyaways resembled a lion’s mane framing her bright red face. Leia's mouth hung open as she stared at him. A strange feeling overcame her, and it seemed as if the entire universe shifted, then locked into place with a loud, resounding echo of finality. No, wait, it was her head spinning. Her eyes began to blur, a roaring sound filled her ears, and she crumpled to the ground, falling into a velvet-enmeshed blackness.
I live in the suburbs of Chicago with my husband and three daughters. When I'm not busy being “Wife and Mother of the Year”, you can find me working on my procrastination habit, while diligently avoiding any and all forms housework. During that time, I make a mess of the house by baking, helping my kids do artwork, or by going out with some friends to find the best food Chicago has to offer! The following day is spent, sadly, cleaning.