Finally, Friday! Confessions of a cruise virgin

Good Friday morning!

In two weeks,Β I’m going on my first cruise. A beginner cruise: four days, two stops, Baja. No problema, right?

OMG! I can hear the vast majority of you inhaling a shocked gasp. Everyone’s been on a cruise, right? Well, not me.

Here’s my list of excuses….ahem…sound and valid reasons for not going on a cruise.

1. I’m a reclusive artist type. Sharing a confined space–the ship is 856′ long– with 3, 450 other passengers doesn’t exactly call to me.

2. I’m a bit of a health nut. And, recently, I saw an allergist who tested me for food allergies. Guess what? I’m supposed to avoid: wheat, rice, goat milk, onions, honeydew melon and…wait for it…coffee. What do most people do on cruises? I’m told they eat and drink. Fact: most alcohol–including my fave: beer– is made from grains, such as wheat. Humph!

3. Germs! The flu is big news. I’m one of the few who’s doctor advised not to get a flu shot. The ship could be a giant petri floating dish. I’m already stocking up on hand sanitizer.

4. I love routine. I function best with routine. Sleep and exercise are my friends. I have a feeling my friends are going to stay home this time. πŸ™

So…you’re asking yourself, why on earth has Deb signed up and paid good money for this cruise? Two reasons: snow and cold.

It’s neither of those things where I live. Here’s what my weather looks like right now.

But this isn’t about me. My brother-in-law, Don, lives and works in Sioux Falls, SD. A beautiful city…in summer. Here’s what his winter has been like: cold, snow, wind and more cold.

So, I’m going on a cruise for Don. For my family. And because it’s time to try something new. Plus, the first stop is Catalina, where I’m setting at least part of my next book. I also have a whole bunch of great books loaded on my eReader and I can drink “potato” vodka. πŸ˜‰

Any cruising TIPS you’d like to share with a virgin sailor?

πŸ˜‰ Deb

PS: Valentine’s Day is next week, and I have a special release price on my new novella, Love, After All. (Click on image for the buy link of your choice.) Or: Books2Read.

 

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY (from MONTANA MAVERICK by Debra Salonen)

kissing image

It’s me, again. My final book in the Big Sky Mavericks series released yesterday. This is Meg’s book. Meg is the eldest of the Zabrinski siblings. Β The PhD. The know-it-all. But she’s at a crossroads in her life with some big decisions to make. And just when she thinks she knows which path to take, the unexpected happens, offering new possibilities she’s never considered.

MontanaMaverick-MEDIUM

MONTANA MAVERICK

 

“How soon is the next wave supposed to hit?”

She shrugged then stepped closer and put out her hand for Rook to sniff. “A couple of hours. Why?”

“I left a bunch of stuff in Betsy. Dog food, for one. Tools. My log.”

She nodded. “You should take a video of it, too. Maybe you’ll be able to see what brought her down.”

They were close enough to touch each other, and it took every ounce of willpower Hank had not to pull her into his arms and kiss her. “Wow,” he said, curling his icy fingers tight. “People have always called you brilliant. Now, I see why.”

Her sardonic grin made his heart rate speed up. Had she always been this beautiful? Yes. But business dress and high heels were fake beauty. No makeup, messy hair dancing in the cold breeze, a blush of chafed skin from last night’s rescue made her the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.

Their gazes met and held for one heartbeat…or ten. Something passed between them. A sigh. A hint of possibility. An open-ended question.

Meg was the first to look away. “Just being practical,” she said, taking a step back.

Her voice sounded different, throaty. She reached for the handle of the storm door. “I know Ken Morrison. He’ll try to turn this into a photo op and pin the blame on you. I have a video camera you can use. I’ll make sure the battery is charged while you get ready.”

Video. The GoPro. “We need to finish opening gifts. The one I got JJ might be just the ticket.”

He followed her inside. “Are you sure you’re okay with all this? I mean, damn. I drop out of the sky into your nice peaceful life, and suddenly you’re stuck babysitting? That seems messed up.”

She hung her heavy jacket on a hook then spun around to open the cupboard above the washer and dryer. “Yeah, well, normally, I’d volunteer to hike back with you, but hauling all four kids up the mountain sounds like a really bad idea. So, you take this–” She pulled a small black camera-type case from a shelf and turned to face him. “And I’ll bake cookies with Annie and Bravo.”

Her warm, understanding smile made him want to kiss her.

She reached out and touched his upper arm. “Henry, nobody planned this. We have to roll with the situation. You should hurry.”

She turned to go but he stopped her. He couldn’t help himself. His life was upside down and in the toilet with vultures circling, but Meg made him feel as if everything was manageable. He pulled her into a hug.

“Thank you,” he said, his voice thick with emotion.

She stiffened at first, but gradually hugged him back. “You’re welcome.”

He had no idea how long they stood there. Meg in her pink and gray camo-print pajamas, him in sweats and a pair of men’s slippers he found in the guest room closet. They were virtual strangers, yet they fit together like they’d done this a million times over the years.

When she lifted her chin to look at him, he kissed her. He couldn’t not.

Her lips were sweet…and minty. The flavor surprised him at first but captivated him, too. He wanted more of this spicy wonderment. As sweet as it was, he wanted to find the flavor of Meg.

When he closed his eyes to take the kiss deeper, Meg stiffened a tiny bit. A badly needed reality check.

He let her go. “Peppermint.”

She nodded. “Annie shared her candy cane with me.”

“Annie’s the most generous soul I’ve ever known, next to her mother.” He stepped back. “I should go.”

“Yes. Quickly. You don’t want to get caught in another storm.”

“I’ll take JJ.”

“Good idea. His feet look about my size. He can use my snowshoes.”

She reached for the doorknob but paused. “What was that kiss for?”

“You…impress me. Most people would be overwhelmed by this situation. Four kids. A virtual stranger. You take charge and get things done. I respect the hell out of that.”

“Oh. Okay.” She slowly turned the knob. “But, for the record, you’re not a stranger. I feel like we have twenty years of history between us. Not easy history, but I always felt like we held each other in mutual respect. Didn’t you?”

“Yes. Definitely. And if I’d known you tasted like candy canes, I wouldn’t have waited twenty years to kiss you.”

AMAZON

Happy reading, my friends. This book is available on NetGalley and KINDLE.

AND, if you’d like a FREE bookmark, please leave a comment below.

BMProof-BIgSkyMavericks

Deb