This romantic adventure begins with Sophia's discovery of magic hidden in her jewelery box, a cursed heirloom which takes her to a past life where as the Princess, she is entangled in the politics of a mad man trying to force her into marriage for the throne. Along the way she learns of an ancient script from a magician and meets three men who are tied to her and fighting for her heart. One of them will trap her soul with his for eternity unless she can discern who he is and sever his spirit.
Chapter One - Ruining the Ruins
Tulum, Mexico 2001
The light from the terrace door came streaming in, illuminating Sophia Alexis Marcil who sat brushing her hair in the bedroom of her beautiful Spanish casita. Each stroke making the deep chocolate strands shine. It was only 8am in the beautiful Caribbean tropics but it was already hot and sunny.
Her private retreat was hidden behind a courtyard, and gave her a perfect view of the palm fringed beach and calm aquamarine ocean with its stunning clear cobalt waters that had provided a welcoming relief all week. Sophia loved the smell of the islands in the morning, a mixture of the exotic coconut palm, mango trees, and hibiscus shrubs entangled with the fresh ocean breeze.
Colten Riley Bexx, heir to a European airline fortune stood staring at her; he couldn’t help but notice how beautiful she was, even with the marks that he left on her from last night’s fight.
She had the kind of face that made people stop and stare, but that was the problem wasn’t it. Cole was a jealous man despite how attractive he was and he didn’t like the fact that every man who looked at Sophia wanted to rip off her clothes and claim her. Beautiful almond shaped steely blue-grey eyes that looked cartoon-esq in photos. Her hair was full, luxurious and dark enough that most people thought it was black but it was really a rich deep brown. She could have down played her looks but she didn’t and he could tell that she liked the attention and so she flirted with men, women and children alike driving him into a blind rage.
Her dark silk robe had begun to slip off, leaving the beautiful sharp bones of her exquisite shoulder exposed. Her tanned olive skin enticed Cole and he felt a stirring in his shorts. As he walked towards her, he though about kissing the top of her head but then the bitterness clenched within his gut. That was just what she wanted, he steamed at the thought.
She was trying to seduce him so he would be forced to apologize even though she had deserved it. Cole was not use to feeling vulnerable. He liked the feeling of power and the art of winning and so he turned sharply and walked out the door letting it slam behind him. She could meet him at breakfast and gravel there, he thought to himself.
Sophia flinched and turned sharply as the door slammed shut then rolled her eyes and resumed her brushing. Just another day at the beach.
It had all began last Monday on a trip to the Mayan Ruins of Tulum. Given the celebrations of the night before, she had half expected him to sleep in and miss the planned tour but just as the bus rolled up so did Cole. Her heart dropped a little at the sight of him in the rented sports car. She had written a paper on the Mayan culture two years before and was looking forward to the historical solitude of this trip. Cole had never even been remotely interested in anything educational or historical and had suggested she go without him. This had been fine by her as she was not interested in having it tainted by the black mood that Cole had suddenly developed yesterday. However, since he was there pointing at the passenger seat and making a scene, she let the bus pass and hopped in the little red convertible he had rented. Cole would never have ridden a bus and she wasn’t interested in arguing.
Upon entering the city through one of the original tunnels, the modern-day majesty of Tulum revealed a sweeping landscape of tiered stone buildings framed in green grass against a turquoise blue Caribbean backdrop. It was hot and balmy but the guide, a real Mayan native who had grown up in a village not far away assured Cole that the cool turquoise sea below would feel all the more refreshing after the tour ended, to which Cole mumbled some sarcastic response.
The guide, whose Mayan name she had trouble remembering explained how Tulum, which meant walled city was not the original Mayan name but instead the name given by the explorers.
She heard the steady rhythm of his voice and the mention of sunrise but her eyes were automatically drawn to the center of the city, atop the cliff where the tallest building stood. The guide explained it housed torches that, when aligned properly with the two watchtowers allowed safe navigation through the reef to the sandy beach below.
The sun beat down and they moved from temple to castle listening to the stories of sacrifice and conquer. Fascinated by the intricate upside down deity carving on one of the temples, she failed to notice Cole chatting up a group of younger girls on the tour. The guide however didn’t miss a thing and shot a warning look in his direction to shut him up before continuing with his history lesson on the Temple of the Descending God.
Once the guide finished, they broke away to take some photos of the magnificent ruins. Sophia wandered up the hill climbing towards that looming ocean with Cole following in tow.
“So my father called yesterday.” He said, speaking softly in spite of the fact that there was no one around. He paused, and climbed to the top to stand beside her. “He wasn’t very happy with me. Insulted me with the usual playboy bullshit and demanded I move to Europe upon our return next week to help expand the company.” Cole sounded uneasy.
Having had this discussion once before, Cole knew that Sophia flat out refused to move with him so once again they were forced to visit this unpleasant topic.
“Cole, I don’t want to go round on the Merry Go Round anymore. We’ve been through this.” she murmured, looking into the mysterious small space of one of the temples before climbing alone the rest of the way to the top of the bluff.
As she stood in front of the temple on the bluff facing the rising sun she assessed the spectacular view of the Caribbean Sea and thought about her great grandmother, Veronika whom she had coined ‘Gigi’. How would she ever find the words to gently let him down? Cole materialized out of the shadow of the looming temple, startling her.
“You can’t ignore this issue Sophia? What do you want me to do? Go alone?” She did continue to ignore him and went on, staring into the crashing waves below.
“Sophia” His voice peaked with anger.
“Cole, I’m sorry but I’m only twenty-six, I just finished school and besides, think of how Gigi would feel if I left.” She whispered softly hoping not to bait him and cause a scene in front of all the other tourists.
“Gigi” he uttered her name slowly and with disgust as if the very letters in her name tasted of sour milk. Apparently she had struck a nerve.
“Always, in the way. What about me? He said very dryly. “She’s your great grandmother for goodness sake, Sophia, not your life partner. What the hell kind of name is Gigi anyway? So damn annoying, why don’t you just call her your grandmother or grandma, like everyone else?
“You know why” She said, floundering. She drew in a deep breath drifting back to the happy memories of her childhood. Drawing her weekly pictures to G.G since she couldn’t spell Great Grandmother. “Gigi is like a mother to me and I will not leave her.”
“I barely even see my grandparents, why does she matter so much.” Cole’s voice was cold. “She’s old, you’re supposed to be starting your own life.” he hissed vehemently.
“It’s different Cole and you know it. My Gigi raised me and I can’t abandon her now when she has no one left” She paused slightly hoping he’d let up but the look on his face told me otherwise. “Besides I need her.”
Sophia had just finished her master’s degree and had been working in the local library since she was eighteen waiting to finally become a librarian.
“What do you want me to do, just pick up and leave after everything I’ve worked for?” Annoyance dripped from her tone.
“Sophia” his voice grew softer as he reached for her hands. “Honestly, who cares about that small pathetic, shitty little town?”
Sophia winced at the vulgarity of his words. His face softened as he noticed the disgust on her face.
“Baby, don’t be mad at me. I’m sorry. It’s just I know you and I know you were meant for more. You love traveling, you love history and what better place than Europe.” Then as he dropped to one knee and pulled something from his pocket, Sophia increasingly grew more nauseous and the trees began to spin violently making her sway.
“Sof” he smiled as he whispered his annoying nickname for me. “I had planned to do this anyway but considering the old man’s phone call, well this is all just falling into place. Say you’ll marry me and come to Europe?” he smiled sweetly.
“How could he be so blind?” Sophia thought as she fought the urge to vomit. The ring was hideously large with a huge pink diamond and a band that resemble a bow. “Gaudy as sin” she thought although the sparkle of the diamond was very alluring. It reminded her of Gigi’s jewels. Her willpower wavered as she gave some thought to his words. He was partially correct. She did love history and it would be nice to live in Europe.
“I know I could have it all with you Cole” she said turning and pausing to contemplate the scenario. “But” She waivered, her good sense kicking back in as she thought of home. “I also know that my time is limited with Gigi so that’s why I have to say, I’m sorry but no, at least not right now.”
Sophia winced as the black flashed in Coles eyes. He was not a man used to rejection and something told Sophia to be wary. He snapped the ring box shut and stormed off towards the parking lot leaving her alone to make my way back to the resort via a taxi.