Today Jaye Frances, author of The Kure and The Possibilities of Amy returns to the blog to share an excerpt from her new title, The Cruise – All That Glitters.
Introduction: Jaye Frances
Thank you, Donna, for having me back on Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dave with my new romantic comedy, The Cruise – All That Glitters. I really appreciate the opportunity to give your readers a sneak peek at the story, and talk a little bit about the main character, Dean.
A cruise vacation. For many passengers, the ship itself is often the ultimate destination—lazy days at sea, a cushy lounge chair, a glass of vintage wine, and a glowing sun dipping below the horizon. But for Dean, a thirty-something bachelor taking his first cruise, that’s just the beginning. While he’s definitely looking forward to warm tropical breezes and exotic islands with sandy beaches, he’s also anticipating a boatload of gorgeous, sexy women—the essential ingredient to provide him with the trip of a lifetime. And why not? He’s got a full head of hair, a body by Bowflex, and a smoldering intensity driven by intelligence and wit. And least that what he readily admits to the girls who occupy his daydreams.
In the following excerpt, Dean is scouring the ship in search of beautiful women—just like the ones he saw in the color brochure in the travel agent’s office. But he becomes quickly disillusioned as he finds himself surrounded by a frenetic crowd reeking of desperation and aqua velva.
Excerpt: The Cruise – All That Glitters
I would start my search at the pool. There should be lots of hard-bodies around the pool.
Open to the sky, the Lido deck contained two identically-sized swimming pools and an equal number of hot tubs. At one end, a raised platform served as a stage for entertainment, with a large portion of open space reserved for those who wanted to dance.
As I passed through the doors leading to the outside, I was immediately assaulted by an ear-splitting barrage that sounded remarkably similar to a half dozen metal pots being repeatedly slammed against a car bumper. I hesitated, concerned I might have accidentally stumbled into an area of the boat undergoing emergency maintenance. Suddenly, two women grabbed my arms and began pulling me toward the dance floor where a gyrating mass of hand-waving, butt-swaying, older-than-middle-aged tourist-types were moving with a rhythm as brutally awkward as the horrific pounding that had obviously driven them insane.
I shook my head and pointed in the opposite direction. But they refused to release me, and in seconds, I found myself trapped in a never-ending cycle of three steps forward and two steps back.
I’ve never claimed to be any kind of a dancer. And I’m even worse when surrounded by those demonstrating lesser—if that’s possible—hoofing competence.
“Pick up your feet, honey.”
“Loosen up, just go with it!”
“Watch and follow me.”
Their encouragement reminded me of the time I tried to coax a frightened turtle from its shell.
I sensed the imminent threat to my self-esteem. What if a bevy of beautiful women were standing a few feet away, witnessing my feeble attempts to duplicate the freakish behavior of people old enough to be my grandparents? As I tried to calculate worst-case damage to my masculinity, I was struck by the overwhelming smell—a mixture of cheap wine, coconut oil, and sweat.
I held my breath and lunged for the bar. I made it on the second try. The outer perimeter of the group proved to be no less dangerous than the virulent interior. Bounced from both sides by two chalky-white beer bellies and stepped on by a varicose-veined grandmother, I cowered close to the slab of polished mahogany, knowing there was nothing I could do but watch the mirror-reflected images of Jim Beam, Canadian Club, and Absolute vibrate in blurring sync to the finest music ever made by three Jamaican nationals banging the living hell out of a couple of fifty gallon drums.
I jumped back in, risking it all with the next sidestepping opportunity. I’m sure some of them thought I was rejoining the group, confirming their approval with nodding heads and offers to share their mimosas and Bloody Mary’s. But with desperation prevailing over decorum, I moved from one hand to the next, loudly announcing that I had to pee, pointing to my crotch for emphasis. In less than a minute, I was free.
Not wanting to risk another encounter with the geriatric Mod Squad, I quickly climbed the stairs to the observation level, grabbed a piece of rail and held on, needing a moment to get my bearings.
Below me, row after row of reclining loungers circled the perimeter of both pools, forming the elongated double bull’s eye aerial shot I’d seen in the travel booklet. Most of the chairs were already occupied. Even the wading areas were lined with people sitting shoulder-to-shoulder, dangling their feet in the water. A girl in her mid-teens was cautiously re-adjusting her towel, determined to prevent a flash of yet-to-develop breasts as she unhooked her top. Directly in front of her, two boys were tossing a Frisbee back and forth, trying unsuccessfully to get her attention.
Children were everywhere, chasing each other, screaming at the wind, and cannonballing into the hot tubs.
God, I thought, it just doesn’t get any better than this.