Chance Matthews lost his wife and unborn baby daughter in a tragic car accident. On a dream vacation to Hawaii, he met Professor Caren Michaelson, a divorced mother of two, who takes a dim view of love let alone marriage. Caught in a riptide off Waikiki Beach, Caren nearly drowns. Chance saves her life but now finds himself helplessly in love and wanting much, much more than sex. He wants a future with her at his side as his wife. Having lost one wife, he is not about to let Caren go. Caren wants to take it slow but then a volcano erupts and the lovers might be separated by something bigger than them. Has she lost her chance to love again?
On the other side of the island, Mark Wheaton, owner of World Travel and Tour, shook hands with the mortgage broker and closed on the deed to his ultra-luxurious beach detached condo. The setting was a tropical paradise. Now, he could entertain Caren in the surroundings she professed to prefer. A smile of anticipation spread across his face. Maybe this setting would be the one that awoke Sleeping Beauty to the possibilities that he could bring her way. With a confident stride, he set out to find her.
Caren was ready and waiting to leave when Mark found her on the terrace next to the waterfall. Is there something different about her? Could she be returning his interest? Undeniably something was different. He hoped it had something to do with him. The sparkle he detected in her eyes might be on account of him. It hadn't been evident this morning. She looked more relaxed than she was earlier, more confident, more sure. Sure of what?
“Hello, Bright Eyes.” He greeted her by kissing her lightly on the cheek. “Sorry, I was longer than I thought but we can still see my new place if you're game.”
Donning her hat, Caren rose to her feet. “Is it that important to you to see it now?” she asked, answering his question with her own.
“Of course not,” he answered, and his shoulders slumped. “If you're not in the mood, just say so and we'll be off.”
“I'd like to get back.”
“C'est la vie tomorrow is another day.”
Caren gathered her things and they retraced their steps to the heliport and boarded. Once they were airborne Mark said, “Suppose you fill me in on what happened back there. You owe me that much at least.”
“It was not my intention to lead you on, Mark, had I met you first…”
“You did meet me first,” he cut in drily. “Remember?”
“I mean way back when, before Chance…”
“Chance? That's what this is about?”
“Look, you’re not about forever and I am not about now. I met Chance on this trip and he reminded me of all I've lost in the divorce. My family is fractured. I want it fixed. You’re not the one to do that.”
“You got that right, sweetheart. But somehow Chance is?”
“I think so.”
“Listen, Hawaii does strange things to people. The drinks, the sun...”
“Yes, I agree, but this isn't moonlight and roses or shall I say, sunlight and Vanda orchids, it's as if I am alive again and when Chance asked me to marry him…”
“What? You've known each other ten days!”
“I know that. It’s why I needed this break. Chance is a widower. He knows what he wants and it's me and my family.”
“What? He hasn't even laid eyes on your kids. At least I have.”
“Mark, you so do not want to marry me.”
Grinning he said, “True, but stranger things have happened.” They laughed and the air between them cleared and they flew on in complete accord. He frowned and his expression darkened.
“There are radio reports that Pele blew her top. The volcano is no longer threatening to erupt, it has erupted and we are heading right smack into it.”
Caren nodded. The sky was hazy, dark even murky. Steam rose in plumes from the ground. It made him nervous. All it would take was one volcanic outburst and they'd be finished. The ride was nerve-wracking and the tension grew with each and every mile they navigated. They grimaced and looked at each other in relief once their feet touched ground even if that ground lay smoldering now. Caren said her goodbyes and hurried inside.