From Carla Caruso - A chance meeting with a pro-surfer on an island getaway ...
From Maria Lewis - The world of women's surfing throws two recent bedmates together ...
From Alli Sinclair - A world-famous performer finds her heart and a way to fight her demons in Rio de Janeiro ...
From Tess Woods - A Cornish beach retreat proves a full reawakening ...
Fun facts: Rio de Janeiro
By Alli Sinclair
Before my very first visit to Rio de Janeiro, I had visions of sun, sand, and (of course) extremely well-buffed surfers. Luckily I found out I was right when I arrived in Rio but what I hadn’t expected was my heart to be captivated by an incredibly interesting city that has many, many layers. So it only made sense to choose Rio as my setting for Song of the Sea in the Hot Stuff: Surfing Love anthology. And, like all the stories in the exotic locales I write about, I research the city’s history and here are a few things I discovered:
Rio de Janeiro is named after a river that doesn’t exist
Rio de Janeiro translates from Portuguese to English as “January River”. When Portuguese explorers arrived in the early 1500’s they encountered a bay (now called Guanabara Bay) and mistook it for the mouth of a river. They named this site Rio de Janeiro that eventually became the city as we know it today (although there’s still no river!).
Street art is legal
In 2014 Rio de Janeiro gave artists free reign to create on many city dwellings (as long as they don’t have historical significance). The result is a colourful outdoor gallery that gives personality to an already gorgeous city.
There is an annual five-day street party
One of the biggest tourist attractions in Rio de Janeiro happens in the first part of the year (five days before Ash Wednesday). Millions take to the streets for Carnival, a noisy, crazy, thrilling dance spectacular that is an experience of a lifetime. Samba schools from all over the country come to compete in their gorgeous costumes (with feathers and sequins galore) at the Sambódromo and, if that’s not enough fun, you can join one of the countless street parties happening throughout the city.
Lightning strikes the same place more than once
Standing high on a hill with arms outstretched and looking over Rio is a 98-foot-high statue known as Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer). Due to Brazil’s propensity for lightning because of the weather and geographical location, Cristo Redentor is struck, on average, three to four times a year. Repairs are constantly needed but it is becoming harder to find the greenish-grey soapstone that the statue is made from.
Even though this city beach is only 4 kilometres long (2.2 miles), it is famous throughout the world, for its regular matches of beach volleyball and soccer, beautifully refreshing water and surfers (yes, part of my surfing story is set there!). For such a tiny stretch of land it is so famous that many people the world-over have listed walking across the sand and dipping in the cool waters of Copacabana beach as must-do on their bucket list (I can attest that is worth the trip!).
Even if you can’t get to Rio de Janeiro or any of the other gorgeous locations that my fellow writers in Hot Stuff: Surfing Love have written about, you can always dive between the pages and go on a journey – no passport required!
by Carla Caruso
That was the only thing on Sage Carlisle’s mind as she peered over her flat-top shades at the surfer emerging from the water at the resort’s private beach. She shifted on her Missoni beach towel, feeling clammy in places that had nothing to do with the late afternoon sun.
No strings attached, down-and-dirty hanky-panky. That was why she was paying a thousand dollars a night for her island stay. Okay, that and maximum pampering. Even her mum had encouraged her to go; Sage was that hard-up. It had been a while between, ahem, cock tales.
Ever since Aaron.
Not that she was meant to be thinking about him right now. This weekend was all about her needs and hers alone. So, instead, she let her mind wander to how the hunky surfer might be described by a beauty brand if he were a mascara. Makeup was how she made her living, after all.
Sage began with ‘amazingly waterproof’. The water seemed to bead off the guy’s chin-length tousle of sun-bleached hair, his deeply tanned face, and the skin-tight black wetsuit, like he was some kind of merman.
An extremely chiselled, handsome merman.
She threw in ‘sweat- and humidity-resistant’ for good measure. He looked like he could handle whatever weather extremes the Great Barrier Reef location threw at him. Unlike her. It had taken a gallon of hair serum to settle her black mane.
‘Intense gaze.’ His eyes looked dark from this angle. Puppy-dog brown possibly. A nice contrast to all the blond hair and bronzed skin. Sea-green would have been too obvious.
‘Infinite length.’ And she wasn’t referring to the wood-look surfboard tucked under his arm … no, siree. Yes, her mind was heading for the gutter now, but at least it was a six-star gutter, as went with her locale.
‘Long-long-lasting.’ Judging by his youthful looks — he had to be seven years younger than her at a minimum — she was sure he could go all night without wearing out. But then, when you were thirty-five, as she was, any guy in your line of vision without a woman hanging off their arm tended to be a juvenile. He never would have had the shocking discovery of a white hair in his eyebrow.
Hmm. Maybe he was a pro surfer, and a surf-brand sponsor had helped fund his luxury accommodation.
She dreamt up some more words. ‘Ability to extend (her) from roots through to tips and beyond. Stretchable. Magnetic. Lush. Daring.’
Yep, he could dip his wand into her formula any day of her overpriced vaccie. Sage looked down to rummage in her beach bag for her powder compact. This time she couldn’t blame the sun’s rays for her perspiration.
‘Do I know you?’ a gravelly voice cut through her thoughts.
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