~A excerpt from Chapter One:
Elleah spanned her hand across her brow to massage her temples. Breathing through her nose, she struggled to maintain her calm as she faced her brother’s misguided indignation. In her quest for independence, she had chosen to use their mother’s maiden name as her own.
“Jaundoo,” Arthur barked and marched towards the hotel door. He paused, hand on the brass knob, turned, and trod back into the room to face her. “You’re a Mellon, Elleah, and should be proud of it.”
His temper reminded Elleah of when they were kids—arms overlapped across his barrel chest, nostrils flared. Red splotches colored his cheeks and her brother’s yellow-flecked, deep green eyes burned with passionate indignation. His golden irises—like a sun shining through the branches in the forest—bored into her, willing her to bend to his command. But she would not bend. Not this time.
Some things never changed, and a part of her was glad. Placing her hands on her hips, not bothering to mince words, she leaned towards her older sibling. “Mama was a Jaundoo. I am proud of my name.”
Arthur stood straight and dropped his arms. Hands fisted, he crossed the small suite, skirting the bed to pull the curtains aside and stare out the window to the expanse of golden beach beyond. The Mexican coastline was a shimmering mass, just visible on the horizon. The air simmered with heat and moisture, leaving everything the breeze touched with a tropical fragrance. Mid-morning sun blazed into the dim suite, casting a prism of color across the carpeted floor. His palm lay flat against the glass.
Did independence mean isolation? Elleah cursed the tightness of remorse rising in her chest and tamped it down. She would be strong. But, frankly, she missed her family. The loss of her mother a year ago ached like an amputation.
To Elleah, who watched his rigid back, Arthur stood statue flawless—the ideal cosmopolitan man of 1950—tall, broad-shouldered, cultured, and precise. Picture perfect of a classic New Yorker. Groomed to be the man he’d become-fit and ready to take the reins of the Mellon family business.
She saw no future for herself in the banker’s life.
Finally, he huffed and turned to face her. Pain stretched his features and caused his wide-set eyes to turn down. “Jaundoo’s not your name. It’s not the name she gave you.”
Elleah, too, dropped her hands and changed tactics. Her affection for their proud heritage warred with her turmoil, the need for her own escape from the pain of loss. “What does the name Mellon mean to the likes of me? What did the mantle of Mellon ever do for Mother—God rest her soul—her whole life spent trying to fit in with a bunch of snobs who would never—will never— accept us for who we are?”