Not only was our Alaska cruise one fabulous vacation, it also provided the groundwork, a ready-made synopsis if you will, of my first published novel Honorable Intentions.
Naturalist classes, various excursions, the formal captain’s dinner, our itinerary became the itinerary of my characters, Chase and Samantha. After I introduced them to each other and threw in an extremely awkward situation to start things off.
Acting on a dare, cop turned security agent Samantha Wells comes on sexually strong to a random stranger. Alpha male that he is, conservation officer turned naturalist Chase Canfield instinctively responds in kind to the woman he’ll never see again. Except Chase turns out to be the best friend of Samantha’s new boss and a major component of her newest assignment; chaperone the single father’s teenager on an upcoming cruise to Alaska.
Given the circumstances of Chase and Samantha’s initial encounter, she’s the last person he’d pick to watch over his young, impressionable daughter. Consequently, he now has to find a way to go along.
And while my mother-in-law stayed in the adjoining cabin to ours with the shared balcony, for my heroine it was the hero who lived next door. The perfect set up for at least one romance in the moonlight scene when Samantha walks out of her room for some air.
The peaceful Alaskan night was a welcome contrast to the turmoil of her thoughts. Soothing waves whispered against the ship’s hull, a mild reverberation in the stillness. Strands of multi-colored lights, strung stem to stern on the decks above her, reflected in shining ripples on the smooth surface of the water. Beyond the faint light, a blue black haze hid any landscape they might be passing.
Elbows rested on the short railing, she allowed the surrounding darkness to bring her into the comfort of its folds, until thoughts of where she was going and who was along started up again. Serenity vanished, and she lifted eyes skyward, huffing out a sigh of annoyance. The restless toss of her head from one side to the other did little to dispel her irritation, then a movement to her left caught—then held—total awareness.
Too late, she discovered Chase was out there too. Reclined in a deck chair, feet propped up on the railing with a blanket across his lap, he looked to be asleep. As far as she knew, she hadn’t bothered him—yet. Not wanting to disturb him now, for his sake as well as for hers, she turned to go inside.
The softly spoken words stopped her progress and stilled her heart.
A stroll on the deck, again with moonlight filtering down, can draw two people together too.
The deck was quiet and deserted as they stepped outside. Behind them were the bright lights and blaring music, before them only inviting darkness and welcoming peace. A light breeze washed across the water, took on the coolness of its surface, then brushed back across the deck. Samantha hugged herself against the unexpected chill at the same time as Chase’s tuxedo jacket fell over her shoulders. She pulled its comfort more tightly around her as the warmth from his body spread down over hers. They strolled side by side in silence, then stopped to lean against the smooth, thick railing. A full moon revealed the blurred outlines of sloping hillsides and high peaked mountains rising from the shoreline in the distant mists.
“That’s twice now you’ve protected her,” Chase noted quietly. “Once when we were boarding, and just now in there.”
“I wasn’t aware we were keeping track.”
He glanced at her with a shrug. “I still appreciate that you did it. Twice.”
She started to say It’s my job, then stopped short. She would have done the exact same thing job or not. “You’re welcome.”
It was awhile before either spoke again then his voice broke into the silence.
“Her mother is trying to take her away from me. For good.”
As the title of this piece suggests, sharing a summer sunset with your lover is nice, very nice. But, sometimes a stroll in the moonlight with a potential love interest has its benefits too.
Honorable Intentions is available in print or electronic format at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and The Wild Rose Press.
Or through my Website and Blog at www.margohoornstra.com and www.margohoornstra.blogspot.com