Sense, Sensibility, & the Mediterranean Sea
Sense, Sensibility, & the Mediterranean Sea
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- Culture clash
- Star-crossed lovers
- Beach read setting
Love knows no borders, but can it bridge cultural differences?
Picking up where Pride, Prejudice, & Turkish Delight left off, follow the conclusion of Eliza’s journey as she navigates love, family, and friendship in the beautiful coastal city of Antalya, Turkey.
After a summer back home in Michigan, Eliza is thrilled to return to Antalya and the arms of Deniz, her Turkish love. Though they have already overcome professional obstacles and misunderstandings, now their relationship is complicated by the fact that Deniz's traditional family has yet to learn of their romance. As Eliza struggles with the cultural barriers that threaten to keep them apart, she finds solace in the unwavering support of her best friend Crystal, who is learning some lessons about love of her own.
In a city where old traditions meet modern customs, Eliza must learn to balance her head and heart as she faces unexpected challenges that test her loyalty, her resilience, and her capacity for love. Will she be able to bridge the gap between her sensibility and her heart's desires, or will she lose everything she holds dear in the process?
Set against the backdrop of Antalya's stunning landscapes and colorful culture, this novel is a poignant and heartfelt tale of love, friendship, and self-discovery.
Start reading Chapter One...
Start reading Chapter One...
No matter how Eliza felt about sticky Michigan summers, there was something special about being home again. Even if it wasn’t really home anymore. She curled her legs up onto the seat of the porch swing, reaching for her lemonade. It was so hot that her ice cubes had barely stood a chance, transmuted into wetness on the outside of her glass rather than coldness inside it.
“Whoo,” she exhaled, fanning herself. “So hot!”
Eliza’s mom Susan quirked an eyebrow in her direction from the yard, where she was pulling weeds…in the middle of the day…when it was ninety degrees with a humidity rating Eliza couldn’t even bring herself to look at with both of her eyes open.
“You live in Turkey, dear,” said Susan. “And you think this is hot?“ She shook her head at her daughter. “What’s going to happen to you when your plane lands in Antalya?”
“I’ll manage somehow.” Eliza smiled, eyes dropping to her lap where her phone was sitting. Because as much as she might not be that excited about the peak summer heat, she was definitely excited to be seeing Deniz again.
She picked up her phone, scrolling through their recent text messages. It was getting late in Turkey, but if she had learned anything about what her boyfriend was like when he was back in his parents’ village, he was a night owl. Not like her, adjusting to her parents’ schedule: in bed by ten and up at six for coffee. No, Deniz was frequently texting her when it was evening in Michigan, making it the wee hours of the night in Turkey. She didn’t remember him being like that in Antalya, but nobody could be too much of a night owl with stacks of papers to grade and early morning classes to teach.
A message was waiting for her from Deniz; she must have missed it in the very rare moment that she wasn’t glued to her phone.
Can I pick you up at the airport?
Eliza smiled to herself, her fingers already flying with her response. …no. Thanks, though.
Three dots popped up, suggesting Deniz was working on his response, but nothing came through. She decided to put the poor guy out of his misery, sending another message to follow the previous one.
Just kidding. Of course you can pick me up. Did you really think I’d rather take the tram? Dude, I’m going to be barely coherent by the time I come to the end of my 18-hour journey. Public transportation would be unwise if I don’t want to wake up at the last stop of the tramline.
Deniz’s response came quickly. Wow, that was a joke, huh? It was a pretty weak one, if I do say so.
“Yeah, right,” she scoffed. I’m rolling my eyes at you so hard right now. You can say whatever you want, but I know you believed me, at least for a second.
Maybe. I thought I had overstepped on your American independence. Or on your friendship with Crystal, since I’m pretty sure she’s going to be eager to see you, too.
Leave it to Deniz to be concerned about Eliza getting quality time with Crystal, her oldest friend and current roommate. And while it was true that Eliza had missed Crystal all summer (she had stayed in their apartment in Antalya while Eliza had returned to Michigan), it wasn’t quite the same as missing Deniz, her crush turned nemesis turned friend turned boyfriend.
So she told Deniz just that. Crystal can deal with it. She might miss me now, but she’s about to see so much of me she’s going to be sick of me. Actually, maybe I should be worried about the same thing happening with you…
His response was immediate. Not possible. I’ve missed you too much this summer. Be warned: I might not let you out of my sight again for a very long time.
The man normally had a way with words, but something about that didn’t sound quite right. Um. Was that supposed to sound creepy or…?
Definitely not. You have to remember that they didn’t teach us “English for flirting and seduction” in my university courses.
Eliza laughed out loud, imagining a college-aged Deniz taking diligent notes on his lined paper about proper flirting technique. Good to know. So you’re telling me there’s a hole in the curriculum? Maybe I should suggest a seminar to Dr. Yılmaz. I’d be happy to teach it.
She knew the laughing emojis Deniz was sending her now were sincere, and she could almost picture him throwing his head back and laughing from deep in his belly. That was one of her favorite surprises when the two of them had begun dating, seeing the unbuttoned version of him. The side of him that laughed with abandon, that relished a good meal, that expressed his normally closely kept emotions openly. She had had no idea just how passionate and free Deniz Aydem could be (apart from kissing her for the first time right in the middle of Kaleiçi), and the time they had spent together had been full of happy surprises.
What are you up to today, anyway? she wrote. I miss you.
The rapid fire responses she had been getting died out instantly, almost enough to make Eliza wonder if she had said something wrong.
She was still scowling at her phone when her mom stepped up onto the porch. “If I didn’t know you were texting that boyfriend of yours, I would think there was something wrong with you,” Susan teased. “Giggling away up here like a schoolgirl.”
Eliza stilled the porch swing so that her mom could take a seat next to her before the two of them began rocking again, setting a new, gentle pace.
“How is Deniz, anyway?” Susan asked.
“He’s good.” She smiled at her mom, wishing she could introduce this woman she admired so much to her new boyfriend. Alec, Eliza’s ex-boyfriend, had been bad news, and Eliza knew Susan had worried about her the entire time they were together. Even if her mom was a bit wary of Deniz, Eliza knew she had nothing to be concerned about. He was a good guy, and Susan would come to see that for herself. Just as soon as he was back some place where he had better phone coverage. Video chatting had been an impossibility the entire time he’d been in his parents’ village, but she was grateful they could at least text each other.
“What’s keeping him busy these days? Do you know yet when he’ll head back to Antalya?” Susan’s interest was genuine, even if she didn’t mask the concern she was feeling.
“Well, you know he’s in the village, right?” Off her mom’s nod, Eliza continued. “His sister is there now, too, so he’s been keeping busy spending time with her.”
“I see. He’s close with his sister, then?”
Eliza nodded. “Really close. She’s younger than him, and I know he feels like he needs to look out for her. And also push her. Support her to their parents.”
A wrinkle of worry appeared on Susan’s face. “What do you mean? Why does he need to do that?”
“It’s nothing sinister, Mom. Just…you know. Parents worry about their children. Especially the baby of the family. Or so I hear.” She leaned into her mom’s side, elbowing her ever so slightly. “You didn’t worry about me at all when I moved to Turkey?”