Thank you, Stella, for hosting me today on Ex Libris with my new adult romantic comedy, The Cruise – All That Glitters. I really appreciate the opportunity to give your readers a sneak peek.
The World According To Dean
I decided to check out the shore excursions, to find out what options were available while we were docked in St. Thomas. At the very least, I could get recommendations for the best beaches and resorts. Certainly there would be hard-bodies on a Caribbean beach.
The tour office was a simple affair; a small counter where cruise personnel answered questions, sold excursion tickets, and processed reservation forms. About twenty people were standing in line, a few asking each other questions about which tour they liked best, and generally complaining about the cost.
I scanned the rack of flyers and pamphlets, looking for anything having to do with a beach. I quickly decided this was going to take some serious study. While many tours offered a beach stop, it came only after hours of bussed sightseeing with detours for shopping. With information in hand, I decided to return to the dining room and review my options over a pot of coffee and a Danish.
I headed for the elevator. And then, in a way so simple and random, and perhaps for no other reason than because fate makes it so . . .
I saw her.
She looked mid-twenties, yet radiated that rare kind of flawless beauty that transcended age. Her angelic features were framed by sparkling sun-blonde hair flowing soft and silky across bare sun-kissed shoulders. Her white, backless sundress hugged the curve of her waist without fold or wrinkle. And a couple of inches below her bottom, the thigh-high hemline revealed shapely, muscular legs, their deep tan contrasting against the light fabric in such a way that questioned her need for clothing at all. She was surely the creation of some godly sculptor, who had no doubt brought her to life as a full-grown woman, ready and willing to delight in everything sensual.
She was earthy. Sexy. Perfect.
I realized I was staring. Had anyone seen me? I quickly looked right, then left. I was safe. In fact, most of the passengers were looking at her. Even some of the women seemed awestruck, marveling at such rare genetic handiwork.
She was reading one of the tour brochures. I had to get closer. The small cappuccino counter on my right would cut the distance in half. I took my place in line, as if waiting to order. Although she was still ten feet away, I had the strange sensation I could actually feel her—her sexual vibrations so strong, she was surely activating seismographic chart recorders on nearby islands.
She glanced up and looked directly at me. Her bangs fell softly forward to touch dusty blue eyes as a smile gently parted her lips. I felt blessed—like waking up after some great catastrophe and finding I had survived, whole and healthy. I started to return her smile, but her attention was already back on the pamphlet.
If it was going to look spontaneous, it had to be done now. I turned, as if changing my mind about the coffee and began walking directly toward her.
Halfway there. She could look up at any time.
Just a few more feet. Get ready to say something.
I can almost touch her. Say it or keep moving. Say something now.
“Have you decided which shore excursion to take?” My voice sounded hollow, impersonal, as if I were a crewmember making obligatory chitchat.
She offered a quick, compulsory smile. Her curious eyes scanned my face, reaching deep, as if deciding whether or not to answer. “I’m not sure,” she said finally, a tiny flash of pink tongue peeking from between brilliant white teeth. “Do you have any suggestions?”
We were talking.
“Well, most people enjoy the sailboat trip and the rafting excursion.”
She nodded thoughtfully. “Have you been on either one?”
Careful. Don’t be pushy. Don’t say anything that will give her the impression you’re trying to hit on her. “Yes, I was down here last year and took the rafting trip.”
“Did you like it?” She leaned toward me. She smelled like my second grade teacher—the first woman I had ever loved.
“It was pretty boring. There really wasn’t much to see.” I’d never seen a raft, much less ever been on one.
Just below the fall of her thick satiny hair, tiny straps crossed light and easy over her shoulders, revealing the absence of a bra.
“Oh, so you recommend the sailing?”
“Yeah, it’s supposed to be really great. Relaxing.” I reached out, offering to support one side of her brochure.
Our arms touched. The contact tightened my chest, and I fought the urge to gasp for air.
“I suppose I could stand a little relaxation,” she said. “But I’ve also heard some of these tours can be a lot of hassle, with late starts and lots of waiting. We only have seven hours in port, and I don’t want to waste a single minute.”
Her nails glistened from a coat of clear polish, setting off the smooth sheen of tiny, nearly invisible blond hairs just above her wrist. I wanted to slide my arm around her and pull her close. I wanted to trace her face with my fingers. The thought of tasting her mouth left me feverish.
It’s love on the high seas for Dean, a thirty-something bachelor taking his first cruise, hoping for a shipboard romance. On the prowl for the elusive hard-body, he quickly becomes disillusioned, wondering if his expectation of a boatload of beautiful sea nymphs is something found only in travel brochures.
Until he meets Angel.
She is the girl of his dreams, brought to life as a bewitching goddess, ready to engage in every sensual delight. Quickly lured into submission by Angel’s seductive charms, Dean is ready to surrender his heart and soul to this provocative beauty.
Until he meets Marcie . . .
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