Enigmatic and spirited Anna Lucera is gifted with an uncanny sixth-sense and is intrigued by all things mystical. When her green, cat-eyes and long, black hair capture the attention of a young lawyer named Kevin Townsend, a romance ensues which leads them to the hauntingly beautiful region of California's Carmel-By-The-Sea where Anna is intuitively drawn to the Madiera Hotel.
Everything about the hotel and Carmel-By-The-Sea heightens her senses and speaks to Anna as if she had been there before. As Anna's memory unravels the puzzle, she is drawn into a past that's eerily familiar and a life she just may have lived before.
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September 23, 1907
She walked down the lane, braced against the gusting wind twisting her skirt into tangles around her
ankles. Sweeping her hair to the left, she clasped it firmly in the same hand that held the top of her cloak.
Determinedly, she marched forward until the lane veered to a sharp right and headed straight down to the sea.
When she reached the place where the lane met the sand, she leaned over quickly and removed her lace-up shoes. Securing them tightly in her right hand, she walked onto the beach, barely breaking its surface.
The waves came forward in a mounting swell and with their forward progression, more of the beach
disappeared into the steel-gray of the Pacific Ocean. It was the end of the day, and the tide labored forcibly beneath the fading blue sky. She stood listening intently to the fury of the wind as it intermittently drowned out the pulsating rhythm of the sea. Gathering herself, she turned to the right, to the place in the water she had come to see.
Shielding her eyes from the setting sun, Valeria Sienna Kristiansen steadied her gaze and spoke into the wind as a chill began to creep up her spine. “This place will now be a portal in time.”
“Father?” Valeria stood at the drawing room door. “May I disturb you for a moment?” She entered the large, lavishly decorated room and closed the heavy mahogany double doors behind her. She turned again and walked softly, stopping a reverent distance before meeting his gaze.
Domenico Sienna, as he was known in the business world, put his cigar in the crystal ashtray that gleamed upon the cherry-wood side table and stood up slowly, as was his habit when a female entered the room. Tightening his favorite burgundy smoking jacket—the one sent to him by her uncle in northern Italy who owned his own cigar shop—he held out his hand to Valeria. “Of course. Please sit with me.”
Valeria perched lightly upon the serpentine-backed Sheraton sofa and crossed her legs at her ankles. She folded her hands in her lap for a moment but then immediately began to smooth the creases in her long white linen skirt.
“I’ve had a calling card just this day sent to me from a young man Mother and I met at the art gallery two days ago. I’d like to tell you about him.”
“The art gallery? You and your mother fraternized with a stranger at the art gallery?”
“Yes,” Valeria confirmed.
“And who is he, this young man with the calling card? An admirer of art? A curator perhaps, or is he simply a stranger in the crowd admiring your beauty?”
Valeria’s cheeks burned. “Mrs. Davenworth from Pacific Heights introduced him to Mother and me quite properly.”
“Mrs. Davenworth?” He nodded, looking at her with a steady gaze under raised eyebrows. “What more do you have to tell of him?”
“He is a painter himself, not long in San Francisco. His name is Mr. Anders Kristiansen.”
“And he sent his calling card?”
“And do you know where he is from? Who are his people? What about his connections, does he have any?”
“As I said, he is not from here.” She wished they could move quickly through this part of the conversation.
“Where then?” her father inquired.
“Norway.” Valeria fidgeted in her seat trying to sit up taller. “Where Mrs. Davenworth grew up. He knows her uncle, and I believe Mrs. Davenworth is his champion.”
“Norway,” her father repeated in a voice that implied there would be no further reason to pursue the subject. He picked up his cigar and walked across the drawing room to the cathedral doors that led out into the side garden. “I’ll open these now.”
The air blew into the room, shaping the white muslin window treatment into billows that floated just inches above the dark wooden floor. Throughout the room, rich area rugs of crimson, green, and gold covered the floor.
Valeria waited, knowing the next word was his.
“Norway,” he said again. “Not Italy, not even America.”
“No, Father,” she confessed, looking down at the floor below her feet.
“And he wants to call upon you,” he stated as he walked to his chair and sat down again.
“Yes, he does, and I would be happy to receive him…with your permission.”
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