There’s magic on Santorini, beneath the beautiful bougainvillea, under the blue domes, and in the enticing Aegean Sea.
Angela Walker spent three glorious weeks on Santorini after she graduated from college. Three weeks that changed her life forever. Thirty years later, it’s time to go back to that beautiful island and the warm blue sea, the only place where she was ever completely happy.
Thirty years ago, Xandros Daskalakis fell in love with a summer girl who came to his beloved island. When Angela had to return home, they agreed they’d meet in one year, and he believed he’d spend the rest of his life with her. But Angela never returned. Not for thirty years.
Now she’s back. And she’s brought her daughter with her. Suddenly they all have questions that could cause an eruption massive enough to destroy their lives. Or bring them the happiness they lost so long ago.
Take a holiday to the gorgeous Greek Isles and feel the magic for yourself in this later in life, second chance romance.
All books in the Once Again series are stand-alone stories. No cliffhangers!
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Memories of Santorini
© 2022 Jennifer Skully
“You should just tell her the truth.” Teresa rolled the stem of her wineglass between her fingers on the cloth-draped table. Everyone except their parentscalled her Teresa instead of Teresina.Their mother had never allowed nicknames.
“You know I can’t tell her,” Angela said, her teeth clicking on the words.
She’d had ample opportunities to tell Sienna the truth in the two years since the divorce. But her relationship with her daughter was already on tenterhooks It had been for years, probably since Sienna was eight years old. And the truth was not going to endear her.
“Angelina,” Teresa said her name the way her mother would, as if she’d done something wrong. “It’s time Sienna knew what he’s like.”
They didn’t need to define who “he” was. Her ex-husband Donald had been the driving force in her life for the last thirty years, controlling everything, from the way she interacted with the kids to the charity endeavors she participated in to the country club ladies she was supposed to make friends with.
Angela breathed in deeply, pursing her lips. “Sienna adores him. If I tell her anything, it’s only going to backfire. If I didn’t think so, I would have told her the truth years ago. But I know that somehow he’ll use whatever I say to break the last link I have with her.”
Teresa spread her hands, cajoling, her voice suddenly gone soft. “I know that things seem to be just a tiny bit better between the two of you. And Sienna—”
Angela cut her off. “That’s why I’m not going to endanger anything. At least not right now. I need time.”
The waiter chose that moment to ask if they wanted refills on their wine. They were born of Italian parents, and they’d been drinking wine with just about every meal since they were ten years old. Of course, when they were youngsters, it had been watered down. But now that she was fifty-three, Angela chose the best wines, never watered down. Both she and Teresa knew how to handle their wine. They were Italian. They were from hardy stock. Their father was a multimillion-dollar contractor, and even though her husband wasn’t in the tech industry, their mother had been trying to make it to the top of the Silicon Valley elite for thirty years.
The restaurant, an upmarket establishment in San Francisco, was relatively quiet for a mid-week lunch in March. The conversations were quiet, the ambience sophisticated and elegant even at lunch time, the tables decorated with fresh hydrangea blooms, crystal goblets, and real china.
Nothing but the best for the Corelli girls, even if neither of them really cared about that.
When the waiter was gone, Angela went on with her thought. “That’s why I want to take Sienna on this trip to Santorini. I want to give us the chance to make things better. I want to tell her the truth about everything. Or try to explain.” She came from good Italian stalk, and she used her hands to describe everything. “So I want to do anything that could jeopardize the relationship right now. And the truth would definitely jeopardize everything. She doesn’t want to hear about things about her father. She only wants to think bad things about me. Just the way he always wanted her to. I’m not going to give him any ammunition before I’m ready.”
“It’s not ammunition. Haven’t you ever heard the old saying that the truth will set you free?” Teresa looked at her sadly, and Angela wished she’d never told Teresa the truth about her marriage.
Sienna blew in then, all eyes drawn to her lithe figure, her beautiful chestnut hair curling in ringlets to her shoulders. While Angela’s hair was closer to black, in her twenties, Sienna had decided to dye hers. As if she didn’t want anything that resembled her mother. But now, at thirty, she couldn’t erase the likenesses. Sienna had Angela’s classic bone structure, the patrician nose, and the figure of the classical Roman statue of the Empress Livia, married to Augustus.
Over fifty, Angela knew she was a pale imitation of her daughter. She no longer turned men’s heads. A good thing, because turning men’s heads was the furthest thing from her mind. But she did wish, oh yes she wished she still had her youth, her beauty, and the alluring figure of a twenty-two-year-old.
The hug Sienna gave Teresa was effusive and heartfelt. “Aunt Teresa, I’m just so glad you’re here today.”
When she turned to Angela, the hug could only be called standoffish, as if she couldn’t bear more than her fingertips on her mother’s shoulders and the air kiss that never quite connected.
Angela accepted that the rift was her fault. She’d allowed this to happen. She’d never done anything to stop it, because she could never fight Donald. And now, after all these years, she realized her mistake. She should have fought for her daughter’s love every step of the way. If only she had.
Sienna practically threw herself into her seat. “Oh my God, thank you so much for the ordering the wine.” She smiled glowingly at Teresa as if her aunt was responsible for everything good.
“Happy birthday, sweetheart.” Angela forced enthusiasm into her voice. “I’m so glad you could make it today. I know your birthday was last week.” She held her hand out in a that-doesn’t-matter gesture even though it mattered a lot. “But I’ve always said we should have a birth month, not just a birthday.”
Teresa raised her glass. “Here’s to turning thirty. And may the next ten years of your life be just as amazing as the last ten.”
Angela was sure her daughter’s face pinched before, in the next moment, she painted a beautiful smile on her lips.
If only things between them could be different. Maybe on Santorini, they would be.