Don't Rock the Boat
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by Cathie Wayland, Theresa Garrido
Description: Two retired schoolteacher pals get together again, for a Caribbean Mystery Cruise. After their fun in the sun in Charleston those intrepid gals, Bernadette "Bernie" North and Michaela "Mike" Rosales, think a mystery cruise is just the thing--seeing they are seasoned detectives with one solved mystery under their belts. What could possibly go wrong on a self-contained ship out in the middle of the Caribbean? Plenty. Michaela is a trouble magnet, and the misery begins before she even gets to the cruise terminal. A bothersome passenger from the flight grabs her carry-on, containing her wallet, by mistake. She gets the bag back just in time, then discovers Loretta the loudmouth is also aboard their mystery cruise. Determined to have a good time, the pals dodge Loretta but still find themselves surrounded by wacky passengers--and up to their necks in more than one mystery. Join them as they get into mischief aboard the Caribbean Mermaid, where they find out there's more than one way to rock the boat!
eBook Publisher: L&L Dreamspell/L&L Dreamspell, 2011 London, Texas
eBookwise Release Date: March 2011
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [355 KB]
Reading time: 210-294 min.
Crammed into an economy seat on American Airlines Flight 1137 to Miami, I sat--body numb, feet swollen, elbows in my lap, and mind racing through the details of the last few whirlwind weeks. Just last summer, my best friend, Mike, and I'd spent a wonderful ten days together in Edisto Beach, South Carolina. We hadn't seen each other in twenty years, and then, on a whim, had decided to resurrect our somewhat dormant and comfortable cyber-friendship with a glorious two weeks at the beach. Just us girls, no husbands allowed.
We talked and laughed and cried and remembered old times just as if it was yesterday that we were the best of friends, teaching together is a tiny country school. We ate too much, talked too much, gossiped and joked and teased each other non-stop. Then, to our utter amazement, we stumbled onto a real, honest-to-goodness mystery, right there in quiet Edisto Beach.
We also encountered some extraordinary personalities along the way, suspecting everyone as we went about solving our "mystery". We enjoyed every feverish minute, declaring we'd have to do it again.
Mike researched cruise options for a Caribbean getaway that her hubby Joe would never, ever agree to and, to her great excitement, saw an advertisement for a cruise that boasted an on-ship mystery package, similar to a dinner theater mystery. However, the mystery would unfold throughout the cruise, with cryptic clues and realistic drama, peculiar characters--we should fit right in--and a reward for the super sleuths who finally solved the secret "crime". An amazing opportunity to relive our excitement as private investigators in support hose--totally harmless--but filled with the promise of lots of fun and clues and a victim, and...well, you get the idea. Happily, we signed-on for a cruise aboard the Caribbean Mermaid.
So, here I was, on the plane Miami, to meet Mike, while she'd fly in from her home in South Carolina. A Midwest girl in Florida? What was I thinking?
Groping for the elusive lap belt, I inadvertently made the acquaintance of the portly gentleman in the window seat. "Oh, 'scuse me," I muttered, a trifle embarrassed that my belt had somehow become wedged beneath Mr. Grump and his arm rest, which technically was my armrest, anyway. I twisted and flounced, attempting to adjust the stylish capris that bunched beneath my...well, beneath me.
The ancient female flight attendant--made up in the garish cosmetics of her youth--stalked up and down the narrow aisle, dark red lips pursed. On the lookout for scofflaws who'd smuggled in bottles of water, failed to place their trays in the upright position, or, God forbid, whispered frantic last minute messages into teensy cell phones. She reminded me of a former school principal, Sr. Scholastica, who'd taken fiendish delight in reprimanding teachers and students alike for even the most miniscule of rule infractions.
Although twenty-five years had passed since "Sarcastica" wrote me up because the shades in my classroom windows were not at equal distances from the dusty windowsill, I still cringed at the audacity of the cartoonish administrator. As the attendant barged down the narrow passageway, that squeamish feeling sprouted in the pit of my stomach, convincing me that somehow I'd incurred her criticism and wrath, regardless of my innocence.
Arching a painted eyebrow above a cerulean blue eyelid, the flight attendant zeroed in on me, still struggling to comply with the flashing light in the console warning me to buckle up or suffer the consequence--this dynamo, being the dreaded consequence.
"Having a bit of a problem with our belt, are we?" the woman hissed with forced politeness and a hideous curving up of crimson lips. She stared at me, somewhat annoyed, somewhat amused. Placing hands on hips so that elbows blocked the narrow aisle, the woman--"Vera" from her lapel badge--sighed, displayed not the least shred of sympathy.
"Perhaps a belt extension would help?" she inquired, loud enough for most of the passengers to hear since they all twisted and strained to see the offending, plus-sized passenger.
Mortified, I glared at Vera with a look that should've warned the attendant that she was on a collision course with destiny. Brusque, rude, and unaware of her impending doom, Vera reached across me to wrest the hidden buckle from beneath Mr. Grump. Succeeding with a mighty yank, she popped the belt free. Mr. Grump yelped his displeasure with an epithet that would have earned him a trip to the principal's office back in my teaching days. Yes, it was going to be an interesting flight.