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The more the merrier
From the author of One Pink Line comes a story about letting go of the past and finding bravery in the depths of fear. Set on the sun-soaked beaches of Thailand and the rough waters of the Indian Ocean, The Unimaginable paints a vivid portrait of a young woman on a journey to find herself—and her harrowing fight for survival.
After twenty-eight years of playing by the rules, Jessica Gregory moves from her small Indiana town to Phuket, Thailand. But her newfound routine is upended with the arrival of Grant Flynn, a captivating, elusive man who is sailing around the world while trying to move on from a past tragedy. Jessica volunteers to help crew Grant’s boat, Imagine, on a passage across the Indian Ocean and finds herself falling in love with him as the voyage gets underway. But when disaster strikes, Jessica must summon her courage as the crew is confronted by unspeakable terrors––and, aboard a boat named for such promise, comes the unimaginable.
My thoughts were elsewhere when I heard a man’s voice and then looked up from the dustpan to see him standing at my classroom door. His voice was strong and captivating, much like the rest of him.
“Can I help you?” I asked, and we locked eyes. His smile made me catch my breath.
“Sorry to interrupt. I would like to make a donation to the school.”
I brushed some loose hairs out of my eyes. “How are you with a broom?”
“Horrible.” He looked around. “But I’m a great storyteller.”
He was older than me, late thirties maybe, with rugged good looks. I guessed it’d been at least two days since he shaved. But he was tall and strikingly handsome, and his comment piqued my interest.
“Maybe you’d like to come to one of my classes and share your stories.”
He cocked his head and rubbed the back of his neck, then nodded. “Okay, you’re on.”
My face lit up. “Really? I didn’t think you’d actually say yes.”
“Then why’d you ask?” I let out a small laugh.
“I would love to.” He took a couple steps closer. “You look familiar,” he said with a knowing glance.
“Yes.” He crossed his arms. “I just said you did.”
I shrugged and then leaned the broom against the desk and extended my hand. “I’m Jessica. I’m a teacher here, and also the assistant director.”
He shook my hand, and I felt it in my heart.
“Grant Flynn. Nice to meet you, Jessica. You’re American?”
“I sure am. Sounds like you are as well.”
He nodded. “How long have you been in Thailand?”
“About four months.”
“Have you been with the school the whole time?” he asked.
“I have. It’s been a wonderful experience.”
He crossed his arms again and studied me. “I see,” he said, not taking his eyes off of me. “Are you the right person to talk to about making a donation? I’d like to leave a check if that’s all right.”
“Of course, yes.”
He grabbed his checkbook from his front pocket and pulled a pen from behind his ear. His presence put my nerves on high alert, and the irony that I was behaving like a giddy schoolgirl was not lost on me either.
“Thank you, Mr. Flynn. This is very kind of you.”
Many visitors to Phuket would come by the local schools and leave donations. It was sort of a ritual for some, a way to leave their mark, a gesture of kindness for many boaters to visit the schools and bring supplies or leave a small contribution of a hundred dollars or so.
“Please call me Grant,” he said as he wrote.
I stood behind him dusting myself off when Sophie walked in.
“Hey, mate, what are you doing here?” she asked.
Both Grant and I looked at her, but he answered. “Told you I was going to come by this week.”
“Right. You met my girl, Jess, did ya?”
He turned to me. “I did. She was helping me decide whether my donation should be manual labor or monetary, but I’m going to stick with my original plan.”
He tore the check out and handed it to me.
“You two know each other?” I asked.
“Grant’s been coming in to The Islander all week,” she said.
He pointed at me. “That’s where I know you from.”
I nodded. “Thank you,” I said, taking the check from him. “I’ll see that our director gets this today, and I look forward to hearing your stories.”
I glanced down and nearly gasped when I saw the check was for five thousand dollars.
“I appreciate it.” He touched my shoulder. “See you later,” he said to Sophie, then waved his hand over his head and walked out, allowing me to breathe freely once again.
Sophie and I went to the window and watched as he got into his rental car.
“You know him from the bar?” I asked.
“He and his mate have been coming in every night. I’m surprised you haven’t seen them. They’re docked at the marina, both Americans.”
“Niran had me on lunches last week.”
“He’s a charmer, eh?”
I nodded. “And quite generous.”
“How generous?” she asked.
“Five thousand dollars generous.”
“Shit, no,” she said, and whisked the check from my grip. “Skylar’s going to freak. You working tonight?”
“Nope. Not until Saturday.”
“All right then. See you later,” she said, and left.
I picked the broom up and saw the bus arrive, but all
I could think about was Grant Flynn.
When I came to school the next morning there was a package at the front door with my name on it. Inside were two DustBusters and a note that read: These are more my speed. I’ll see you in class tomorrow morning.
Dina Silver is an author, a wine drinker, and an excellent parallel parker. She is the author of Kat Fight, Finding Bliss, and One Pink Line, which was chosen as a 2012 Top Title by IndieReader and was a finalist in their 2012 Discovery Awards. She lives with her husband, son, and twenty-pound tabby cat in suburban Chicago. She’d prefer to live where it’s warm year round, but then she’d never stay home and write anything.