Publisher: Rosewind Books (October 11, 2022)
Paperback: 326 pages
“[An] atmospheric romance … Gomez and Polaha’s descriptions of Hawaii are postcard worthy. The breezy pace and gorgeous setting will stoke readers’ wanderlust.” —Publishers Weekly“A sweet, closed-door, multicultural romance [that] will resonate with readers.” —Booklist
“Gomez and Polaha craft a compelling, clean romance that centers not just on business ambitions, but the impact of deception, honesty, and change in relationships. Its story of love, not giving up, trust, and reinventing one’s life grips readers with promise and hope for a different future. Moments Like This is highly recommended for romance readers looking for an exploration of the fine line between a woman’s strength and her ability to accept the vulnerability and promise of love.” —Midwest Book Review
Book Two in the From Kona with Love series depicting multicultural romance, love, loss, and redemption woven into a family saga set in the beautiful islands of Hawaii. Though connected, each installment can be read as a standalone.
When Maele Moana is paired up with Adam Yates to walk down the aisle together at her friend Andie’s wedding, it isn’t exactly a perfect match. Maele is the daughter of a plantation worker, and Adam is the son of one of the richest men in Oahu.
Their worlds couldn’t be more different. But they have one thing in common.
Dreams that will take Maele back to Kauai while Adam pursues an incredible opportunity in Los Angeles.
Adam wants to be in her life, and slowly, Maele lets him in. He inspires her to face her fears, and she restores his faith in redemption. But with love comes sacrifice, and the goals they’ve worked so hard for may end up tearing them apart.
Book Two in the From Kona with Love series is set on the island of Kauai. Where the Sun Rises is a story about overcoming adversity, the promise of young love, and the valor in letting go.
When everything seemed settled, Maele took her stance as bridesmaid at the end of the expansive garden aisle, observing the crowd of people who bustled around while waiting for the ceremony to start. Her feet throbbed, caused by the inordinate amount of tissue paper she’d stuffed in her shoes to make them fit. She was a size seven and a half, but the shoes were size nine. The resale store had a limited number of styles, and these—white satin pumps with a pointy toe and two-inch heels, which she had dyed to match—had been perfect for the dress. She had practiced pushing her heel against the back of the shoe to keep her feet from slipping out.
The happy moments of the day were enough to make her forget about the pain she endured in those shoes. When Andie had come running to show off her blue necklace, Maele had thought she would cry with joy. Seeing Warren and his father, standing on the balcony overlooking the ocean in quiet conversation, was too beautiful to be overshadowed by ill-fitting shoes. Or Lani’s excitement as she’d pointed out the Waterford place settings on the tables. Shoes two sizes too large were the least of her concerns.
This event wasn’t a replay of the past. The décor was definitely understated—white hibiscus and colorful hydrangeas covered every post and column around the garden. There were lilies floating in the pool. To the right of the makeshift podium was a life-sized painting Warren’s mother had created before she’d passed away. It was the perfect backdrop, placed right as the focal point where the bride and groom planned to recite their vows, with his mother looking on as their main witness.
Maele shifted her weight uncomfortably from one foot to the other. Families from the plantation were not workers that day, but valued guests. Maele beamed with pride as Duke, Kukane, and Kaku walked past her, looking so dashing in their slightly wrinkled suits. Around her were pleasantries, well-wishes, and shrieks of joy for those reuniting. Hugs and kisses and gentle pats on the back. From the far-left corner, someone shouted Warren’s name as he walked in her direction. Another man wearing the same style tux with tails and gray piping said something before Warren stepped in to embrace him. Then the stranger fixed Warren’s tie while the photographer caught the moment on camera.
As the sound of violins began to fill the air, she painstakingly pinched her toes and walked to her place at the end of the line. Mrs. Flores and Mrs. Matthews took their seats, while Mr. Matthews made his way to Andie’s dressing room.
Warren stood proudly beside the preacher.
Out of nowhere, a guy—the one who had fixed Warren’s tie—appeared at her side, frantically combing his fingers through his hair before looking her straight in the eye.
The guy looked frazzled, with thick brown hair askew and a five o’clock shadow. When he stared back at her, she turned away. But not before noticing his piercing green eyes. He must be Warren’s younger brother—long ago he’d been in the coffee shop once before, with Warren. But, those eyes, she’d never noticed them before.
She nodded slightly, acknowledging him. He offered her his arm and she hesitated. When she looked in front of her, Api and Lani were doing the same thing with their partners. Reluctantly, she placed her fingers on his forearm as they began the procession.
“My brother said your name is Maele. Is that right?”
She nodded again, lost for words. Wasn’t she supposed to walk down with Mike, Warren’s buddy? What was happening? There had been no rehearsal with the groomsmen—just a basic rundown, yesterday. What would it have mattered, anyway?
He’s Warren’s brother and best man, so why is he walking in the back of the line with me?
More importantly, why was she so nervous?
Api turned around from the front of the line to smile at her. It was a sly one. A mischievous, one-sided upturn of her mouth, paired with one wiggling eyebrow. When it was their turn to move, Maele made sure she led the pacing, and Adam followed. One foot in front of the other, a second to pause.
It was excruciating, walking in oversized shoes stuffed with tissue paper next to someone like Adam Yates. She took a deep breath and allowed the soft voices of the choir to carry her away. She quickly forgot about the agony in her toes and glided down the white velvet carpet, as if lifted by invisible wings. When they reached the front of the congregation, she removed her arm from her partner.
Warren’s smile shone like a lighthouse as he saw his bride for the first time in fourteen days. Andie’s father slowly walked her down the aisle, beaming with pride as he brought her to the man she loved. Gently, he lifted her veil to whisper something in her ear. Andie giggled and kissed her father before moving toward Warren. And when she reached him, he closed his eyes and let out a deep breath. When Warren took Andie’s hand, Maele decided she wanted that kind of love.
In her experience, men had always gotten in the way of what she wanted. As far as she was concerned, the ones her age were too self-centered. She saw that every day in her interactions at the coffee shop, or on the beach, where she’d sit in the early mornings and watch her peers attempt what she could do in her sleep. Their air of invincibility used to bother her. But, after a while, she’d made peace with the fact that life wasn’t fair. She was done questioning why fate randomly bestowed its wrath on her. She just wanted peace in her mind, body, and soul.
Several times during the ceremony, she locked eyes with Adam, though she convinced herself he was looking at someone behind her. The thought made her less self-conscious. Besides, why would a Yates man even want to socialize with her? He was being nice and courteous. Their family had always been kind to the staff. Or, worse—he had mistaken her for one of Andie’s rich socialite friends.
Award-winning author Anna Gomez was born in the city of Makati, Philippines and educated abroad before moving to Chicago. She is Global Chief Financial Officer for Mischief at No Fixed Address, a consolidated group of advertising agencies. Gomez was recently selected for the 2020 HERoes Women Role Model Executives list, which celebrates 100 women who are leading by example and driving change to increase gender diversity in the workplace. Gomez has championed various ERGs for Black and API colleagues as well as resources essential to address challenges of ageism. She has sat on several boards and served as treasurer for Breathe for Justice and The Jensen Project, both focused on socio-economic issues, particularly violence against women and human trafficking. She was a keynote speaker in the 2020 Illinois CPA Society Young Professionals Leadership Conference, as well as the Northwest Indiana Influential Women’s Association’s Breaking the Glass Ceiling Event in August 2021.
Kristoffer Polaha is best-known for his long starring role in the critically acclaimed series Life Unexpected (The CW). Other TV series credits include Get Shorty with Ray Romano and Chris O’Dowd, the limited series Condor opposite William Hurt and Max Irons, The CW’s Ringer (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Valentine, as well as North Shore (FOX).
In addition to co-starring with Rainn Wilson in Backstrom (FOX), he had a multi-season role on the acclaimed series Mad Men (AMC) and Castle (ABC). Polaha is also well-known for starring in Hallmark Channel movies such as Dater’s Handbook with Meghan Markle, and the Mystery 101 franchise on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.
Polaha first received attention for his portrayal of John F. Kennedy, Jr. in the TV movie, America’s Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story, opposite Portia de Rossi. He has appeared in numerous independent features, including Where Hope Grows, Devil’s Knot (Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon), and the Tim Tebow film, Run the Race.
Polaha has a featured role opposite Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman 1984 and is in Jurassic World: Dominion.
Polaha was born in Reno, Nevada, and he is married to actress Julianne Morris. They have three sons.