Connor nodded. “Sure. Just give me a bit longer to settle in.”
Disappointed, she assented. And understood. After all, he’d only stepped off a plane after twenty-four hours two days ago, to see his father for the first time in such a long time. “No worries. I let the boys know. Skye moved away a few years ago.”
His look told her that the name didn’t ring a bell, either.
As soon as Jack had told Emily earlier in the week that Connor was coming to Fermosa Bay, her whole body had reacted. She’d laughed at herself for still having a crush on him, but even at the tender age of six years, he’d been the love of her life. They’d spent hours at the beach, searching for shells, building sand castles, or swimming in the sea. The famous five of Fermosa Bay, as they had been called: Emily, Connor, Ethan, Niall, and Skye.
Then there’d been the accident, and she’d never seen Connor again until today.
The simple touch of her hand on his shoulder brought back all the memories and the fun they’d had.
Yet, it seemed they were only memories for her. The fun and mischief were nowhere to be seen in his eyes. Standing in front of her, he seemed distant and withdrawn. The constant grin he’d worn on his face was gone.
She tried hard to put on a smile. “I’m sure the others would love to catch up with you. How about a drink at the pub tomorrow night?”
Jane, Connor’s mother, opposed the idea of him travelling to the other end of the world, but something inside him yearned to find out more about his paternal family. At the same time, it scared the hell out of him.
He crossed one foot over the other and spread his arms wide on the railing. “I’ve taken a year off work.” With a shrug, he added, “I suppose a few months. See how I go.”
Emily stepped closer and when she placed her hand on his shoulder, an unexpected jolt went through him. “Are you all right?”
When he’d received Jack’s phone call, telling him he was his father, Connor had thrown words at him he’d immediately regretted before hanging up without listening to anything Jack had to say. Thank God, Jack had been persistent and called again the next day. Consumed with curiosity, he listened for half an hour, making notes. Jack had provided him with all the details, date of birth, name, and even provided him with a copy of his birth certificate and a few photos via email afterwards.
Three hours later, his mother had confirmed Jack’s claim to be his father. It’d been a tumultuous few weeks. They’d talked a couple of times on the phone, and finally Jack had told him about his terminal cancer and the real reason for finding him: he had invited Connor to Fermosa Bay to spend some time with him.
He’d been barely over seven years old when he and his mother had left Australia and made their new home in London. There were vague memories in the back of his mind about the first days in school in London. He’d been the newcomer and learnt quickly to adapt and make new friends. He and his mother had lived with his grandparents until she had found a job and had been able to afford a small apartment.
Squeezing his eyes shut, Connor was desperate for the slightest bit of memory.
But he came up empty.
“Your dad appreciates that you’ve come here.”
Connor shot around and met Emily’s gaze. For a brief moment, he lost himself in her eyes, inhaling the subtle scent of her perfume. He had no idea how to reply to her comment, so he turned back to watch the virga above the sea.
Suddenly the humorous expression on her face changed, but he couldn’t figure out what she was thinking. It bugged him that he wasn’t able to remember anything from his childhood here in Australia, but it annoyed him even more to see the disbelief in these two. The next few weeks were going to be a steep learning curve about his past. She stared at him for a long moment. Although he wasn’t coy when it came to women, it made him uncomfortable, and he turned to look out across the ocean again. There was a big container ship on the horizon, moving along at snail’s pace. It was barely visible in the distance, despite being near the coast. Closing his eyes, he compared himself to a ship in the ocean, so close to everyone, yet out of everyone’s reach as he once again wondered what had happened. Or why he was here, at the other end of the world, twenty-four flight hours away, about nine time zones ahead of his family back in England.
His father’s and Emily’s voices were distant as Connor tried his hardest to remember anything about this place. Remember somebody called Ethan or Niall. But he came up with nothing. Zilch.
Not even the mention of a kiss triggered any memories.
Connor was struck by the intensity of his father’s words. I have Connor here. It was the way they were spoken, and the emotions behind them that confused him. Was there a bit of belonging or appreciation? Or did Connor read something into it when there wasn’t anything?
He watched Emily taking off the blanket. She waited patiently as Jack had another bout of coughing fits.
“Jack, did you take your medication this morning?” she asked.
He waved her off with his hand. “Nah, I’m sick of them. They’re making me drowsy and nauseous.”
“They don’t help,” Jack interrupted. “They delay the obvious. I wanna have a clear mind when I discuss matters with Connor.”
“You shouldn’t skip on the medication,” she persisted. “They help—”
“She’s not only as pretty as her mother, but just as stubborn,” Jack said with a grin.
Giving a slow nod, he said, “Right. That makes sense.” He held her gaze, absolutely mesmerised by her. It appeared he’d had good taste already as a child. He definitely had to find out about that kiss.
“Right,” he said again. “Jack’s outside on the deck.”
She looked up at him in surprise. The good-humoured face had lost its smile. “Jack?” she asked.
Connor raised his brows. “My dad?”
She gave a slow nod. “Yes, he is,” she replied slowly. “Anyway, the deck’s perfect. He needs a bit of Vitamin D. It’ll do him good.”
Watching her behind, he followed her outside. The storm was closing in, and Emily shaded her eyes with her hand as she looked into the distance across the ocean.
“Emily,” Jack greeted her, and Connor could’ve sworn he caught a slight smile on his father’s face.
In Echoes of The Past: Fermosa Bay Book 1 by Iris Blobel, Connor Walsh, a business lawyer brought up in London, returns to Fermosa Bay, a small coastal town in Australia to visit his long-estranged father who is terminally ill. Connor has little recollection of his earlier life at Fermosa Bay but gets reacquainted with his childhood best friends Emily, Ethan, and Neil. Emily had always loved Connor and he falls for her the moment he sees her again. As the days go by, Connor’s love for Emily as well as his fondness for Fermosa Bay grows deeper and deeper. He reflects on how different his life could have been there. On the one hand, he has his affluent lifestyle in London, and on the other, he has this newfound life at Fermosa Bay where he feels a sense of belonging and is complete. Which one should he choose?
While reading Echoes of The Past, I felt as if I was on vacation. The whole setting of Fermosa Bay was so calming. Iris Blobel has brought out the alluring charm of the place beautifully. Every interaction between Connor and Jack, as well as those between him and his friends, was heartwarming. The book revived a yearning in me for the sort of community that was depicted in Fermosa Bay. The love, affection, and care that each of them had for the other were captivating. I loved seeing how Connor and Emily navigated their way through the love and devotion they were feeling for each other. The tenderness and warmth with which they handled their relationship were also endearing, which made for an engaging read.
When Connor Walsh, a business lawyer in London, receives news that his estranged father is terminally ill, he returns to Fermosa Bay, a little coastal town in Australia. With the memories of his childhood years tucked away in the back of his mind, he finds his father and kindergarten friends rallying around to remind him of the past. But he’s unprepared for the growing attraction he feels for Emily, and it doesn’t take long for Connor to feel regret that his life could have been so much different.
Emily Bradshaw has waited for over twenty years to see Connor again. And although he can’t remember her, let alone their first kiss, her childhood crush is still in full swing. Eager to pick up where they left off as children, she’s determined to enjoy the short time he is in Fermosa Bay, accepting her heart will break when he returns to his life in London.
Will the echoes of the past lure him into staying in Fermosa Bay?