Archive for August, 2014

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For Immediate Release:

Ottawa author signs with Solstice Publishing for the wide release of the romantic novella Jamaican Heat. Details of the release date and the new cover will be forthcoming.

“This is a fantastic opportunity and a new chapter in my life; a new adventure that will take me to new heights,” said William after signing with Solstice.
Jamaican Heat is a romance that excites the passion and a love story that ignites the file.

For details, please contact William DeSouza.

Ottawa Ontario Canada

Jamaican Heat – Availability Update

Posted: August 26, 2014 in Books

newWith the signing of the publishing contract with Solstice, ‘Jamaican Heat’ will be temporarily pulled from sales as there will be a NEW vendor list and pricing; as well as the availability date.

This will include both the eBook and a hard copy (paper) option.

Stay tuned for details……

Jamaican Heat – A Love Story

Posted: August 2, 2014 in Books

JamaicanHeat

Jamaican Heat

A Novella by William DeSouza 2014

 

The warm Caribbean breeze streamed down the Blue Mountain range into Kingston bringing with it the sweet odors of banana, sugar cane and mango. The gentle winds of the tiny tropical island felt like a warm blanket as it wrapped around me. The leaves of the mango and hibiscus trees in the yard bristled with each gust as if in anticipation of the next encounter between secret lovers.

I looked up toward the mountain and could see thin white wisps of clouds flow past the peek, traveling toward the ocean and parts unknown. I was content to sit here forever and let life unfold in front of me, content enough that I was only a watcher, not getting involved with the day to day turmoil that lay outside of my control.

As I sat on the veranda, friends and family mixed and mingled around me, catching up on the latest news, and of course the latest gossip. The women showed off their latest frocks and the men, well, they did what men did best in social situations. They found a quiet out of the way place to play games and drink beer.

The dominos slamming onto the wooden card table startled me as my uncle Brian exclaimed in joyous triumph, “Beat dat ya dog ya!” A boyish grin crossed his lips, his Jamaican accent was thick with the patois slang of the tiny Caribbean island.

“Ya workin it ard misa Brian. Ya need not worry bout ya winnings though,” replied Trevor, an old family friend. He slammed his double sixes down and jumped up with his hands raised in victory.

The table reverberated with the play and laughter boomed from everyone present.

I enjoyed watching these grown men behave and play like boys, as if embracing their youth for the first time. They were family, friends and strangers at the same time and I adored them all. There was a deep sense of familiarity about their faces, their voices, and this place. At the same time I felt as though I was an interloper as I watched with a kind of voyeuristic pleasure.

Truth be told, I was more a stranger these days. These hot blistering days where only the tourists ventured out in Kingston under the blazing mid-day sun.

I may have been born on the island but I left Jamaica soon after I married Jeffery. It’s been almost six years since I was last here.

Right out of University and in my very first job, I met Jeffery through a mutual friend. I used to read about love in romance novels, but only when I was with him did I understand what love really was. He was in the Canadian Air Force working at the embassy here; and being from Canada, Jeffery didn’t know much about the island. But that just gave me the excuse to spend time with him playing tour guide. It wasn’t long after that we decided to marry. I was nineteen and full of hope.

Six years ago, and a lifetime away, we left Kingston and the blissful tropical breeze of Jamaica to the frigid cold and snow of Northern Ontario. Jeffery’s home was Sturgeon Falls and it was as far from Jamaica as the sun is from the Earth.

Sturgeon is a tiny town that serviced the paper mills and forestry industry of the area. It also served as a bedroom community for some of the air force personnel posted in North Bay Ontario.

About a forty five minute drive West of North Bay, it’s nestled along a winding river and had some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen outside of my home in Kingston. It was the wild and rugged beauty of Canada’s North with vast spaces and rich forests I’d only read about in school. I used to think Jamaica was a green place. But for all its population, Canada was a vast open space full of trees and green fields dotted by the occasional town along a ribbon of railways and highways.

I smiled on the inside thinking about those first years in my adoptive home. The way Jeffery had to hold me tight those winter days, trying to keep the cold out. I was warm enough in the well heated house, but I liked the warmth of his body and the strength of his arms around me even more.

Nineteen forty seven was a wonderful year. The war had been over for two years and life on the island was grand. The signs of prosperity and hope were everywhere and I was marrying the man I loved greater than life itself. It was a year of change, discovery, anticipation and also sadness, for I was also leaving the island and would be so far from my family.

I remember the buckets of tears from my mother and sister – and myself of course, as I boarded the ship that would take me to a new home and a new life. I also remember the powerful, vice like embrace of my father as he whispered his love for me in my ear. He never said much before, but I always knew he was proud of me. To hear him say it now was bitter sweet as I was about to embark for the three week journey.

It wasn’t as if I wouldn’t see them again, but it would be a while and it would only be for short visits. That was life in the modern world though, and I was looking forward to it. I might even say I craved it knowing my new life was going to be shared with the man I love.

Canada was grand. We settled in Sturgeon Falls after buying a modest home there. It was a short drive from Jeffery’s work at the Canadian Air Force base in North Bay where he functioned as head of the signals and communication section. It was a quiet place away from the busy city.

In a way, Sturgeon reminded me a bit of the quiet life back home – well, if you take the snow and cold out of the picture, and the French language half the town spoke.

Jeffery and I lived and loved as much as any two people could, at least until that January in nineteen fifty two. We’d been married for almost five years by then and Jeffery’s job in the military, plus the now ranging conflict in Korea, kept him busy during the day and me socializing with the other military wives. He had his weekends off of course and was home anytime between four-thirty and six o-clock every day. It was truly a wonderful life we had.

By January the war in Korea had raged for two years. We had heard that things were going well for the United Nation forces, but many of us had our reservations.

Jeffery received new orders that month and my heart sank with the weight of a thousand suns.

The army needed experienced signal men to bridge the vast distances of the battlefield. Jeffery used to tell me that ‘communications was the key to winning any war’.

“It was only going to be a six month deployment in a safe area,” he had said as he comforted me.

“I won’t be gone for long; and I’m only going to train the signal’s people there on the new radios. There’s nothing for you to worry about,” he kept reassuring me.

Three and a half weeks after he left – I wince each time I recall the moment – just over three weeks into his service, I received a visit from Jeffery’s commanding officer and the base pastor.

I collapsed at the door the second I opened it and saw the big black car with the Government of Canada license plate pull up in the drive. I used to listen to the war correspondence on the Canadian Broadcasting Service and I knew how bad it could get over there. I knew what news was coming when I saw the car, and yet I wasn’t ready for it. How could I be, no one could be ready to hear your life was being ripped apart. I died on the inside that day.

Life has a funny way of changing stories in the middle. You start a life with big dreams that you’re going to live out the rest of your life with someone, raise children and grow old together. Then just as it begins, it ends unfulfilled.

Jeffery and I were having too much fun enjoying each other; we had made a conscious decision to have children later on. Now, I had nothing but bitter sweet memories and a pain in my heart that would not go away.

At the funeral, I relived that painful day the news arrived. Jeffery’s parents and family were very comforting and we shed a river of tears together. I ached from the pit of my body and my legs felt week. I wanted to crawl under a rock and never come out. My life, my future, was in a shambles and I had no idea what to do.

There was nothing left for me in Canada after that. Sure I had my work and of course Jeffery’s family, but I didn’t have mine. I didn’t have my supports that I so desperately needed at that very moment.  His parents understood when I told them I couldn’t stay.

I did try, lord knows I tried to stick it out. In the end though, they would have come to the same decision if they were in my place. I am going to miss them. We comforted each other with our shared loss and promised to keep in touch. Funny, the loss of a son and a husband – two lives lost in the death of one beautiful man.

So in the spring of that same year I put my affairs in order, including the sale of our home and arranged for Jeffery’s survivor and spouse’s pension to be deposited into the Royal Bank of Canada here in Kingston. After booking my passage, I took the train to Toronto and boarded a flight to Jamaica.

And here I am today, lonely but not lonely; alive and just a bit dead at the same time. Oh how I miss him, even after two years, it’s hard to move on with the everyday challenges that life brings us sometimes.

Still, now that I’m back in Jamaica, I have my family to lean on, and my sister has been fantastic. She’s been a sounding board for me and a pillar to lean on when my heart breaks.

Mind you, that may change now that she is engaged. That’s the reason for this party today – a celebration of love and hope.

My eyes begin to tear as memories flood back from the past. I need to get back to my here-an-now and get control of my emotions, I thought to myself.

This isn’t my day after all, it’s my sister’s and I’m not going to ruin it for her by stealing the show. Besides, I’m sure that everyone has seen enough of me cry with the uncontrolled sobbing of a hysterical woman.

“BaYa!” Shouted mister Tubbs as he threw down a domino. “Ya see, I am not finished wit yous just yet. So ya na jump to victory too soon.”

Everyone, myself included, burst out laughing again at the site of these men taking the game, and living, with such zeal and light hearted fun.

The urban sounds of Kingston also intruded on our gathering with distant car and truck horns, and the public address speaker booming calypso music from the tavern not too far away. A small grove of mango and hibiscus trees blocked much of the sounds and views outside our gate, but the distinct sound of the Kingston tram headed to Constant Springs pierced through the air as it squeaked to a halt.

I could just see just enough down the drive and from the trams open sides, I could observe men and women in various styles of dress, arms full of packages either heading home, or shopping and maybe even to work.

I also spotted one young and handsome man step off, a brown paper package wrapped tight with butchers’ string under one arm and a bouquet of flowers held tight in the other. I knew who it was the second I saw him.

The pressed white shirt contrasted nicely against the dark gray suite. The white porkpie hat, white patent leather shoes, his slim body, tight – oh my, I have to stop.

“Rodney!” shouted my sister as she ran down the drive to meet her fiancé at the gate.

I have to say that it was still a bit strange calling him her fiancé. While not arranged, it was as if the union was preordained in the boardroom of two major corporations trying to find common ground to work together. My father’s heavy machinery company and Rodney’s parents Bauxite factory joined not just by a common concern in making money, but also the unity of their children.

She reached the end of the drive and swung open the black wrought iron gate in mere seconds, practically jumping into Rodney’s open arms. He dropped the wrapped package but held onto the flowers with ease. His strong arms holding up my sister’s full weight as she fawned all over him.

Such public displays of affection are very rare in Kingston, frowned upon by ‘civil’ society – and I was so jealous. I envied her with all my being and missed my Jeffery the way he used to hold me like that. I put down my glass and ran inside to my room, closing and locking the door behind me as I collapsed on the bed – tears in my eyes.

I am an educated woman with years of life experience and I know that these emotions are totally illogical.  It’s been two long years, why do I still feel this way?

They are my emotions however and I wasn’t sure how to control them. I wanted to – no, I had to get control of myself. Seeing my baby sister and Rodney kiss in the drive should not send me over the edge after all this time.

So what was it? What was causing me to break down like this? Why should I lose control of my emotions when I spot that gorgeous body walking toward me? His strong arms, chiseled chest and – oh God, I just figured it out.

It wasn’t their love for each other and jealousy that made me lose it. It wasn’t me missing Jeffery, although I did. It was the man that I wanted. It was the strong arms and body holding me tight – pressing me into the bed!

OK girl, get hold of yourself. I am not that kind of person. I am a grown woman and widow and mature enough to know what is appropriate. I am not taken back by a man – with a body to kill for. Damn!

I laid on the bed for some time, not really sure how long. I could feel his weight press on my legs. I could feel his strong hand run along the right leg, moving toward my thigh. I knew it was wrong but that didn’t matter, it felt so good. His arms pulled me toward him as I turned on my back, my hand moved from my breasts, down my side and toward my….

“Elizabeth? Are you ok dear?” I heard from the other side of the door as I opened my eyes in surprise.

Shit. It was just a dream. A vivid and desperate imagination playing tricks on my fragile subconscious and emotions.

I didn’t realize I was holding my breath as I tried to answer, “Yes,” I sang out. “I was just a bit tired mama. I’ll be down just as soon as I freshen up.”

I was on my back starring up at the ceiling fan turn slowly, quietly. The shutters on the window were closed but a light breeze could be felt blow across my legs and face. I know I was smiling but not sure why. It was just a silly dream after all and didn’t mean anything. Just a dream I kept telling myself. A dream I was beginning to believe was, or could be real.

No, dreams can’t be real and this dream can never come true. I had to remain true to who I think I am, who I believed I am. My sister was engaged to marry this man in six months and I could not allow my illicit desires to wreck someone else’s life. Mine was a bit of a train wreck after all and it wasn’t right to toss others on to the same track.

“Don’t be long hon, I’m having dinner served in an hour now that Rodney has arrived.”

“Okay, thank you,” I said almost out of breath. I heard my mother walk away after a few seconds.

I knew she worried about me even though I kept reassuring her that I was alright. That wasn’t a total lie since I did feel better. The hard part right now was trying to control my – desires. This was the nineteen fifties after all, women were not supposed to feel these things. At least I didn’t think we were supposed to have lustful thoughts.

I wish I could talk to someone about this, about how I felt. I definitely couldn’t talk to my sister about this. That wouldn’t do, as I tried to explain to her that I lusted after her future husband.  Ya, that would go over well. I could see the headlines in the Gleaner – ‘Woman Kills Sister in Fit of Rage!’

As for my mother, well, that was almost as bad. Damn, I could still remember when I first started to have my period all she said was, “the pads are under the bathroom counter.” What a way to begin womanhood. She was definitely not one to have a conversation with about these types of emotions.

Jamaica in the fifties might as well be England in the Victorian era of prudish ideas, behaviours and attitudes. Even back in Sturgeon Falls it was never this bad. The women there talked about anything – including who was sleeping with whom and the sexual escapades of some of the single men. It was most enlightened compared to Kingston.

I dusted off my funk and gathered my thoughts. I looked at my watch and realized I should be out there with everyone. I took a bit of time though to straighten my dress and after looking in the dressing table mirror, wiped off my mascara. Having black bags under the eyes didn’t go with the curried goat that was being served with dinner; and quite frankly I looked worse than the goat right now.

“Blast!” I said out loud as I noticed a rip in my nylons. It must have happened when I – well it was a vivid dream after all. I grinned at the memory; it felt good in more ways than one.

“Ah well, it’s too hot for nylons anyway,” I said as I removed them and tossed them in the waste basket under the dressing table.

I stood in front of the mirror, just far enough to see all of me. The white cotton dress I wore hung loose; and you know what? I looked really good in it. I grabbed the hem, lifted it up and twirled, playing with my look.

I slipped on my white strapped sandals and took one last look in the mirror before taking a deep breath, then opened my bedroom door and headed outside.

The sun was still high in the sky but a few white clouds had moved in, helping to cool things off just a bit. It would set within the next two hours.

Thelma had begun serving dinner and the long table set up in the back yard was a site to behold.

“Thelma, you have outdone yourself,” I said quietly to her as she passed by with a platter of cut and roasted breadfruit.

“Tank you misses,” she said with a smile.

Ripe mangos and bananas adorned the centre piece. The wonderful odour of fried plantain, dumplings, callaloo, codfish, roasted breadfruit and rice and peas filed the air.

Ginger beer, sorrel and of course Red Stripe beer was also placed strategically on the table. The boys of course having easy reach of the stubby Red Stripe bottles.

Some people had already begun to gather at the dinner table but I could still hear the domino game in full swing around the front of the house in the carport. My mother told Thelma she could bring the curry goat out as she marched toward the front to break up the game.

I chuckled to myself as the sound of my mother’s ‘persuasion’ drove the remainder of the men to the table. There was nary a protest to be heard from them as they scampered to the back yard.

I chose my seat with some purpose and sat down, across from Rodney, who sat beside my sister. I have to admit in hindsight it wasn’t the best place to plant myself. I wondered what possessed me to do such a thing when I quickly remembered why. I chastised myself for playing with not only my own emotions but that of my sister, who quite frankly was a very innocent party to my lustful thoughts.

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