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Lost and Love: Thailand (Book One of the Lost and Love Series)

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How far are you willing to push a fantasy? I thought all Johnny and I needed was a holiday. A vacation to help us find what I felt was missing in our marriage. Stumbling upon an amazing Thai beach, I knew I was in a place that would change me forever. Golden sand and endless turquoise water. Coconut palms swaying in the breeze. The perfect place for us to relax and act carefree. Amongst a sea of bronzed bodies, we created a game. Something exciting. Something more than our ordinary life. But I wasn’t clear on the rules before diving in. As we continued to explore, we invited an illusion into our lives. I should have known better. I should have known that some fantasies are best left to the imagination. What do you love about wanderlust? The Lost and Love series takes you to real places with real characters you will both love and hate. Book One takes you through the alluring destination of Thailand where Savannah explores more than just beaches and temples. At some point in every love story, one must choose if what they have is enough. You will laugh and cry as you follow Savannah's adventure as she jumps down the rabbit hole and confronts the reality of love and what will make her truly happy.

Romance / Erotica
Stella Knights
4.7 3 reviews
Age Rating:

Chapter One

“You see, I fell asleep and forgot I left the…” The female voice trails off into my earpiece, drowned out by the repetitive sound of my fingers tapping against the keyboard.

No matter how hard I hit the keys, I cannot escape the pitiful excuse she gives for flooding her bathroom.

Is this really my life?

Examining my nails under the hideous fluorescent lights, I check to see how my lilac polish is holding up after all the typing. Manicures are the one guilty pleasure I allow myself in our budget. I could use a few more guilty pleasures, but my husband and I are trying so hard to pay our mortgage and have a little left over. I sigh, forgetting to cover my microphone.

“Are you getting all this? You don’t seem to be listening. I need this fixed before my husband gets home.” The caller’s shrill voice ratchets up the tension headache building around my temples.

“Yes, ma’am. I’m going to get an emergency plumber and carpenter to your home as soon as possible.” I try to do that responsive, courteous voice that’s expected of me. But I honestly couldn’t care less about her stupidity and how she’s going to break the news to her husband that she screwed up again.

Usually, I feel bad for people when they make mistakes, but lately, my patience has worn thin.

“How long will this take? I’ve got a hair appointment at—”

“All I can tell you is a plumber will get to your home before the end of the day.” I try with all my might to sound cheerful like our training manual dictates, but my voice exudes everything but sunshine.

“What? This afternoon?” The woman screeches into the line. “I can’t possibly wait that long. I need someone now.”

Taking a slow breath, I remain calm. After a few years at this job, it still amazes me that people think screaming will make their insurance claim move faster. I guess since they can’t see my face, they believe it’s all right to verbally abuse me. “Ma’am, I have prioritised your situation, but that is all I can do.”

“Well, you’re a useless arse…”

Well, you’re the one who flooded your bathroom. I’m sure that makes you the arse, not me.

I bite my lip and wait for her to finish ranting. Again, just listening like the training manual advises. Sometimes, I swear it would be easier to yell back and explain I’m not that powerful. I’m simply a call centre worker on minimum wage trying to help every idiot that forgets to turn off their tap. The plumber is not my best friend, and I can’t order him to drop everything for a complete stranger.

She continues her rant. “You keep me on hold for over an hour and now you can’t do shit…”

I can see on my call registry she only waited thirteen minutes and twenty-four seconds before I answered her call. I’d love to correct her, but in training we were told never to correct the customer.

“Are you even in Australia? Or am I calling somewhere in fucking Asia?”

Speaking calmly, I answer her question, again in the manner we’ve been trained to. “Ma’am, I’m working from our office in Melbourne. I’ve got a view outside and can see it’s your typical rainy day.”

“Well, you don’t sound Australian, and I only want to deal with Australians. You fucking foreigners are taking all our…”

I guess she finally noticed my American accent. I’m not quite sure why she thinks talking to someone from her own nationality will affect how quickly her claim is processed.

Using my sweetest Southern drawl, I ask, “Would you like me to transfer you to a different representative and they can help you with your claim?” I hover my finger between the transfer button and the one that will hang up this insufferable call.

“Don’t you dare fucking transfer me. Just get a goddamn plumber to my house now or I’ll—”

Smirking, I accidentally disconnect the call. I’ll have to write in my notes that I mistakenly hit the wrong button because I was shaking with fear over the abusive rant she directed at me. Then again, that is my third accidental hang up this week, and it’s only Tuesday.

As I wait for the next caller, I scan around the room. Grey desks are arranged in pods with each person separated like a pizza slice waiting to be gobbled up by the mind-numbing abyss of a call centre. Supervisors walk around, constantly checking their tablets to make sure we’re online and poised to serve with a smile. Not that any customer can actually see us and our robotlike grins.

I haven’t had to fake this much happiness since some of the horrible sex I had in college. At least then I usually had a half-decent face to stare at or I was too drunk to care.

Staring at my computer screen, I’m still in denial that this is my real job. How is it that after all those years studying to get a biology degree, I’m stuck taking calls for an insurance company?

I thought I followed the right path in life. Go to college. Get a job. Get married. But the truth is, I forgot to ask what happens after that. Like, what am I meant to do now that I’m married to Johnny? I guess we could have kids, but I’m not sure I’m ready for that—

Interrupting my thoughts, my designated supervisor, Melinda, rings into my earpiece. She does this even though she’s standing a few metres behind me. “Savannah, you can take your break now.” Her nasal voice pierces my eardrums.

“Ok, thanks.” I grab the empty mug off my desk and bolt into the break room.

I press a few buttons on the coffee machine, hoping to get the right combination for a hot latte. Leaning against the countertop, I wait for the machine to do its thing.

The sound of falling paper pulls my attention across the room.

A poster has fallen onto the white tiled floor.

I bend over to pick it up and tack it back against the cork board. Checking to make sure it’s secure, I see it’s an ad for this year’s staff competition. It seems whoever wins ‘employee of the year’ will get an all-expense-paid holiday to Thailand.

I sigh, knowing I’m mediocre at best when it comes to this job, so there’s no point in deluding myself that I stand a chance to win. I could make the effort, but I don’t care enough to try. Too bad it’s not a competition for the most accidental disconnections.

This is not my career of choice, but according to everyone else I do work for a good company. So, for now, this is just a job of necessity to help pay the bills, mortgage, and somehow have enough left over to occasionally go out for dinner or a few drinks. I’m grateful to have a job and I realise that everything is a step towards something better. But lately, every day feels like I’m stuck on repeat and not getting anywhere.

Staring at the poster, I’m mesmerised by the white sand and palm trees.

Thailand would be a dream to visit.

I’ve wanted to go there ever since I met my friend Eileen the first day of middle school. She moved to America from Thailand and was one of the friendliest people I’d ever met. Her stories of jungle treks, temples and monks in bright saffron robes always captivated me.

My shoulders droop with the realisation that I have yet to make a trip to a country I’ve dreamed of visiting since I was twelve. I’ll have to add it to the list of things I thought I’d achieve by now. Right behind running my own company, losing fifteen pounds and eliminating world hunger.

One of my colleagues, Pam, saunters in and heads towards the cabinet above the coffee maker. “Hey, sweetie. How are you?” Her positivity fills the room every time she walks through a door. It’s no wonder she’s not only my co-worker but one of my closest friends.

“Hey.” I take a sip of coffee and yawn. “I’m all right.” My attempt at sounding upbeat fails and I see Pam’s expression soften.

She puts on the electric kettle and grabs a tea bag from the cabinet. “You don’t sound okay. What’s on your mind?”

Still staring at the poster, I sip from my mug. “I don’t know. Boredom. Fearing all my best years are behind me.”

She laughs. “Well, I hate to tell you but they are.”

“Not funny.” I gently smack her on the shoulder. “I’m being serious.”

“Try having a few kids waking you up all night and a husband that believes laundry and dishes magically get done by themselves. You’ll be too sleep deprived to have these thoughts.”

“Sorry, I know I shouldn’t complain.” I push my fringe to the side of my forehead. “People have it worse than me and I should be grateful instead of focusing on what’s missing.”

Pam’s right. I have a nice husband, a terrace home and a closet full of clothes. Things some people dream of having. So, why am I struggling with feeling like this isn’t enough?

“Oh, honey, complain away. It’s what friends are for.” Pam takes two gingernut cookies from the tray sitting in the middle of the table, hands me one then bites into the other. “What exactly is bugging you?”

“I can’t figure it out. Something feels off. But I don’t know what.”

“That’s life.” She smiles and drops a tea bag into her cup. “But I do know what you mean. Reality’s not always what we picture it to be. But hang in there. Things will get better eventually.”

Eventually? I’m not sure I’m patient enough right now to wait for things to change.

I sip my coffee. “Maybe.”

“Savannah, don’t let this job get to you. We all know it sucks, but there’s not much to choose from at the moment. I’ve lived long enough to know the economy will swing around and then you’ll be able to find someplace else to hate working.”

My stomach twists with anxiety.

I’m not sure it’s work that’s bothering me.

Pam smirks and bounces the tea bag twice before pulling it out and letting it plop onto the table. Not caring if it stains. “In the meantime, just do what you can to get through the day. Then after work come have a wine with me to drown your sorrows.”

“A drink would be good, but…” I glance over my shoulder to make sure we’re alone. “It’s more than just work that feels out of sync.”

“What do you mean?”

“I have this niggling feeling that won’t go away. Like I’m forgetting to do something. Or I misplaced something important. I keep looking around and searching, but I can’t quite put my finger on the problem.” I yawn and scan the room, my eyes skimming over the competition poster.

“Maybe you need to try something new. Like a hobby or something. What about doing a graduate degree?”

“I don’t think I could afford that right now. Johnny wants to pay down our bank loan before doing anything frivolous.”

“There are ways the government can help with paying for study.”

“True.” I drum my fingers against my mug. “But going to university would be a big commitment.”

“You could try learning a new language or something. One of the girls in accounting was talking about some French class she does once a week.”

“Hmm, that could be something I might enjoy. It would definitely occupy my time while Johnny is dealing with work during the week.”

As a real estate agent, I understand my husband’s job goes beyond a nine-to-five schedule. But for the last few years, he’s not allowed himself to take a moment to relax and completely disconnect from the pressure of making sales.

“Pam, what was it like for you and Ryan? Like after you two got married?”

“You mean after the sex-filled honeymoon phase was over?”


Pam exhales. “Honestly, about six months after we got married, I thought ‘holy shit, how do I get out of this?’ and at one point even considered leaving.”

Raising my brow, I try to hide my surprise. I never suspected my friend, who seems to have it all, went through difficult times in her marriage. “You wanted out?”

“Oh, yeah. You remember when you found out Santa wasn’t real?”

I nod and pick up another cookie.

“Well, it was sort of like that. I felt lied to, like marriage was bullshit and I was trapped.”

“What made you stay until things got better?” I lean closer and wait for Pam to give me one of her infamous pointers on how to handle life. I can always count on her to either cheer me up or set me straight.

Her eyes light up as she shakes her head. “Lots of fights, good makeup sex and the realisation that I could leave if I wanted to.”

“But you didn’t leave.” I sink into the cold plastic chair.

“Nope. I knew I loved him too much to leave. For months, almost a year, I watched him sitting on our couch drinking beer and yelling at football or cricket or whatever he was watching. I’d stare at him and wonder if I could truly give him up.”

“Your picture doesn’t sound that appealing.”

She grins and gives me a friendly slap on the shoulder. “Let me make my point before you say that.”

I laugh and put my palms up in defeat.

“I would picture him with another woman. The thought was so painful that I knew I wasn’t done with him yet. I couldn’t leave him even if he was excelling at being a lump on the couch while I took care of everything around us.”

I rest my knuckles against my lips. “That’s an interesting way to look at it. But was it really enough?”

“It was for me.”

“So, did you two find passion again?”

“We did. Things got better over time. But honestly, the passion part was never a problem. My grandmother used to say that as long as you have passion, everything will be okay. Because when you have that, then you aren’t really done with the person. Even if you think you are. She loved to point out that passion comes in two forms, the romantic kind and its opposite, when you fight. So, I always saw our fighting as a good thing. And I knew to start worrying if he stopped arguing back.”

I stare at my hands wrapped around my mug. “Johnny and I never fight.”

Pam grimaces and scans over the cookies, stopping to pick up another gingernut. “Never?”

I shrug. “Nope.”

“Hmm.” She bites her cookie but says nothing.

Tilting my head, I glance at her. “You think that’s a bad sign?”

Melinda pokes her head through the break room doorway. “Savannah, we needed you back on the phone like two minutes ago.”

I roll my eyes and stand. “I better get back to work. Melinda already warned me once this week that I could be fired.”

Pam waves her hand in the air. “Don’t worry about that woman. She threatens that all the time, but I’ve never seen her actually follow through with firing anyone.”

I grumble, “She’s so going to be the death of me. I need this job, but I don’t want to have to grovel again during my next performance review.”

Laughing, Pam jokes, “Just tell her you love her red lipstick.”

“Pam!” I smirk and hold back my laughter. “Be nice.”


The last few weeks Melinda has been walking around with her latest lipstick colour smeared across her teeth. She’s unfortunately become the butt of many office jokes because of it. As much as everyone loves to make fun of her, I’d rather not partake in it. I can’t fault her with trying to look good while doing a difficult job. I’m sure it’s not easy being the boss and putting up with pressure from senior management. But it would be easier to take her seriously if she didn’t have such a glaring faux pas.

I grab my mug and push my chair against the table. “Back to the grind.”

As I turn to leave, Pam reaches for my hand. “Don’t stress so much. Johnny’s a nice guy. I don’t think you have anything to worry about.”

I force a smile. “Yeah, but sometimes he’s too nice.” Like when he helps everyone else and then he’s too exhausted to have time for us.

“Count your blessings, honey. You guys are still in the early years of marriage. Just relax and give things time. Marriage is a roller coaster, and you might just be at the bottom of your next big upward run.”

“I hope so.” I exhale and walk towards the door, trying to picture my husband being a lump on our couch. Actually, if he was, then that would mean he was home more. So, maybe I do want it that way.

Pam hollers as I leave the break room, “Come over to my house and have a drink with me.”

After work, I walk to the train station, meandering along the busy platform, hoping to find a seat while I wait. Sighing, I give up and let myself be lost amongst the standing crowd.

Everyone is staring at their phones, not noticing, or just simply ignoring, the homeless woman panhandling near the stairs. A pregnant woman stands near me, tightly gripping a pram filled with a sleeping toddler.

I flash her a smile and then look at her child.

Are we ready to take that step? A baby would definitely be something new.

Staring at the sleeping child, it doesn’t seem too hard. But I know it must be more work than I could imagine. And it would be better to wait until we’re in a better financial position.

The woman bends awkwardly to rub her ankle.

Glancing around, I try to find an empty seat for her without any luck.

A few people look fit enough to stand and give up their seats. Unfortunately, they’re too engrossed with their tablets or smartphones to notice that someone needs their seat more than they do.

I glance at a teenager bobbing his head to whatever music is coming through his headphones. He must be listening to some latest trap hit, but then again it’s been so long since I’ve had a night out dancing that I’m not sure what the latest craze is.

The train pulls up to the platform. People move back from the doors, creating a haphazard gap to give disembarking passengers a chance to exit. Within seconds, the herd of waiting people heaves against the entrance.

Pushing my way through the crowded car, I grab onto a handle to keep from falling when the train lurches forward.

The woman next to me chats loudly on her phone as though she is not surrounded by a hundred strangers. She giggles and pushes back her violet ombre hair. “Yeah, I’m so excited. We head to Bangkok next week.”

Bangkok. Isn’t that the capital of Thailand?

She bumps into the man next to her as the train jiggles along the track. “I’m going to shop and hit the Sky Bar. It’s going to be wild.”

The woman’s voice and her level of excitement begins to grate on me. But I know it’s only bothering me because I’m jealous she’s able to escape and go on a holiday.

Shaking my head, I glance at the smartly dressed man standing mere centimetres away from me.

He raises his eyebrows in agreement about the annoying behaviour of the vociferous woman.

The train comes to a halt. Both the businessman and woman disembark.

As the train moves forward again, the woman’s words ring through my ears.

Wild. Crazy time.

That’s what’s missing. A wild, crazy trip is exactly what Johnny and I need.

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