Page 3 of An Amazon Affair

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Hey, sweet angel. Getting your room set up now. Can’t wait for you to see the new place. How about stopping in Amarillo on your way back from Brazil? ILY.

I scroll down for the next message.

Don’t forget the board meeting in NYC in September. The company’s your father’s legacy and you’re the majority shareholder after me, baby. ILY.

Another message about the business follows soon after:

The foundation. I keep forgetting to discuss it with you Your father ran it on his own, but I know it was his intention that you would take over for him one day. You need to set up a meeting with Don to get up to speed. ILY.

She changes back into Mom-mode to say:

That malaria medicine won’t take itself, sugar. Promise me you’re taking it? And douse yourself in bug spray every morning. Call me when you land. ILY.

And finally:

Enjoy Brazil. Your dad would be proud of you. I am, too. ILY.

I smile at the screen, swiping at my eyes as we taxi to the gate. I’ll write back to her when I get to my hotel and say that I’m not quite ready to make Amarillo, Texas, my new home (especially in the peak of steamy summer), I plan to be at the board meeting in September, I know little to nothing about my father’s foundation, and I’ve been religious about protecting myself from local threats like malaria. As for my father being proud of me? I hope so. I hope this is what he would have wanted.

I take the little silver urn out of my bag and hold it next to the window.

“You’re home, dad,” I whisper as the plane comes to a complete stop in Manaus. “You’re finally home.”


I’ve been in Brazilfor less than two hours, but the language barrier is already starting to get to me.

Because I forgot to have my travel agent book me a transfer from the airport to my hotel, I used a mix of English and Spanish to convey to a taxi driver where I needed to go. After taking me for a long ride—undoubtedly, the scenic route, which probably added a considerable amount to my fare—I finally arrived at the Central City Manaus Hotel, a modern, high-rise building.

At the check-in desk, the clerk took one look at my naturally bronze complexion, full lips and dark hair, and welcomed me in Portuguese. I took off my sunglasses, revealing my mother’s cornflower-blue eyes, and she paused, tilting her head to the side.

“I’m not Brazilian,” I’d blurted out. But something inside of me protested the truth of this statement. “I mean, I am. IguessI am. Sort of. But I don’t speak—um, Portuguese.”

She’d smiled warmly despite my blathering. “Welcome to Manaus, Miss...”

“Marino,” I’d said. “Yara Marino.”

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