by Elsa Winckler
Touched to the Heart is the first story in a series about the four very sexy (of course) South African hotel-tycoon Cavallo brothers. They own and run boutique hotels in South Africa and the Seychelles.
About fifteen years ago my father, who always entered every possible competition he found in a newspaper, won a boat trip. The very sad part of the story is that he already had cancer and was too weak to go, and he gave the two tickets to me so that my husband and I could enjoy this lovely prize. This was our very first trip anywhere outside the borders of South Africa, and we were so excited.
It was a magical experience. Days were spent lazing around the pool or exploring whatever island we stopped at. And we ate—four meals every day, and there were tea-time croissants in case you became hungry!
One of the most miraculous things we experienced was the intense blue colour of the deep ocean—nowhere else on earth do you find a blue in exactly that hue. Fifteen years later I can still close my eyes and see the indigo blue of deep waters.
We reached the Seychelles about halfway through our trip. At the time it wasn’t as developed as it is nowadays but the islands, the friendly people and the breathtaking scenery stole our hearts.
The 115 Seychelles islands fall under two distinct groups. The tall granite Inner Islands cluster mainly within the relatively shallow plateau of the Seychelles, while the Outer Islands lie mainly beyond the plateau up to 10 degrees south of the equator, and are divided into five groups.
The Seychelles is home to no less than two Unesco World Heritage sites: the legendary Vallée de Mai on Praslin, where the wondrously shaped coco-de-mer nut grows high on ancient palms, and the fabled Aldabra, the world’s largest raised coral atoll, first seen by early Arab seafarers of the 9th century AD.
The biggest island, Mahé, boasts the popular white powder beach of Beau Vallon. But then all the beaches are beautiful. Again, the shades of blue iridescent waters simply stop your heart.
So when I started my story and had to decide where the brothers would have their hotels, the first place I thought of was the Seychelles, and in particular the lovely island of Mahé. A more romantic setting is difficult to find.
This is where the brothers have one of their hotels, it’s where Caitlin rushes when her sister needs her help, and it’s where she and Don finally tie the knot. It’s difficult not to think about romance when you think of the islands—the setting is ridiculously romantic!
On my bucket list is one more visit to these magnificent islands.
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