Maya Wells grew up in an emotional fog caused by a deep depression that hung over her household for many years. She knew her mom was not like most, but never fully understood the emotional impact it caused until later in her life.
When her father unexpectedly sold their family-owned orchard and vineyard, Maya was forced to give up her favorite peach tree. After climbing her tree for the last time she walked away from the only peaceful refuge she had ever known and invited a grey haze of pretense and hidden anxiety to blanket her world, thinking that it was the only way she could survive, and she did.
That was, until the night before her wedding when the haze began to lift and a trickle of unsourced strength meandered into her life. She panicked. Her breath became short. She knew she had to take action. She couldn’t marry him! She didn’t love him! She didn’t even really like him. She hated her life! What was she going to do?
After she’d cancelled the wedding, Steven, her ex-fiancée, successfully won over all their friends leaving Maya with just her best friend, Beth, and the messy life she had created. Three weeks later, after a spontaneous trip to the mall, the return of a wedding gift, and an entry slip dropped into a contest box, a series of events occurred that offered her a chance to come alive and to leave behind a lifetime of fear.
With only one phone call and a skill-testing question, Maya became one of eight contest winners who were off to the Netuno Winery in Portugal to challenge their culinary and photographic skills; neither of which Maya had any proficiency in. At the airport she bought a journal and was gifted with a beautiful pen. These two agents became a lifeline for her and set her on a path of discovery and hope. She no longer felt alone.
At the airport she also met Cristiano, a Portuguese flight attendant who aided Maya at the gate after she spilled a very important cup of tea. In an instant their unscheduled encounter created a paradigm shift in both their worlds, which left them seeking answers to questions they had not even asked.
Dalley, one of the other contest winners, made fast friends with Maya on the flight and ordered up several bottles of champagne for five of the contest winners to share. When Maya and her new friends stopped in Montreal to pick up the last three winners, a young viper was thrown into the mix with her own hidden agenda. Jade had one objective and didn’t care who got hurt in the process.
Arriving at Netuno, Puro the vineyard’s manager, greeted them with heart and many bottles of wine. It was then that the next stage of Maya’s learning began.
Maya would be stretched beyond anything she had ever experienced and Portugal would challenge her to come alive. She found herself enraptured by the beauty and culture of the Portuguese people, especially a little old woman she named, ‘The Candle Lady.’
Life bumped and turned in those first two weeks at Netuno and she took a leap of faith into a world of heart-felt friendships, food, passion, jealousy, love, laughter and most of all, a chance to become more than just The Girl in the Peach Tree. But life is never that easy, is it? Friendships aren’t always what they seem, and yes ‘mean girls’ do exist. And Love? That’s real too. But can it survive when things go wrong?
Soon Maya’s new life takes a turn, death whispers through the vines at the vineyard, secrets fall from the sky, and betrayal is just a blog away.
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