I don’t quite remember the exact moment this story came to me – I think it was over a number of days and dreams and ‘what-if’ pings I seem to get before committing words to ‘paper’, but I do remember I had called it ‘An Isolated Incident’ before the first few words were down.
At the time, I was working in an industry which hosted travellers into very isolated places, and on their journey one of those isolated places was on an island very much resembling the island I created for my stories, Australis Island.
At one point an unfortunate travelling couple happened to be placed with another couple in what they’d been sold as their own private space for three days. Needless to say the agents who made the booking were a little red faced and things were quickly sorted. But I got to thinking from there...
What-if things couldn’t be sorted as quickly and quietly as the two real life couples’ dilemma had been sorted?
What-if these two singles were majorly cranky and tired of their jobs, been strung out on an horrendous last minute assignment with the world’s worst client /world’s worst contractor – each other - and both longed to get away to relative isolation for four weeks with no modern communications to link them to civilisation – each on their own?
And what-if they both had the same place in mind on the same island and both used the same agent? Far fetched? Not really, not when they both lived in Adelaide, a small city, both mixed in similar circles and both knew the same corporate go-to people.
So, what-if their agent made a boo-boo about which of these two people had what timeslot in a cabin perched high on a cliff overlooking the ocean?
From there, Tilla and Kent found out what it was like to live for four weeks away from any civilisation, without phones of any sort or the internet. Thankfully, they were in the most beautiful place on earth. Together.
The story was going to be centred around this particular isolated incident and have a very different ending but then it became ‘Anything For Love’ when I realised it had to have an ending which showed how powerfully the time alone had affected both of them.
Tilla Cormack loves her job, and she’s the boss of her own company so what’s not to love? But lately she and her staff have been run ragged by one of her biggest clients who turns out to be the meanest, crankiest individual on the corporate planet.
And just who does he think he is? Enter Keith Taylor ... or is it Kent Taylor?
One magic, long awaited holiday; one case of a double booking; two cases of expensive wine and the sparks fly for Ms Cormack and Mr Taylor in the wilderness on isolated Australis Island.
His gaze was thoughtful. “What are you doing tonight? My major client is hosting a dinner to launch his new offices down town and I'm invited with a guest. Perhaps you’d like to accompany me. I know it’s very short notice.”
She stared back at him.
A smile played at his mouth. “Little bit of networking, et cetera. Good for your boss, as well.”
Et cetera. Tilla thought quickly. She could very well see the benefit— and the drawback. What if some of her other clients were there? The whole business community would know that Tilla Cormack was working for Kent Taylor. Not a good idea. Especially when Kent Taylor didn’t know it.
“Thank you, no.”
“I insist,” he countered. “I'm sure Ms. Cormack would welcome the idea of you representing her agency this evening, not to mention the added remuneration.”
Tilla conceded he was right on both points. “I would have to be home early. I have other work to do.”
“I’m sure.” He inclined his head, smiled that lazy smile. “Be at the Convention Centre by eight. Wear something black.”
She laughed that her last reserves of strength would be spent with him this evening. She must be mad.
Wear something black, he said.