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Blog Tour – Guest Post, excerpt, & contest by Loucinda McGary
Thank you so much for having me as a guest on MamaKitty Reviews today and for giving me a chance to talk about my newest release, His Reluctant Bodyguard which is the second book in my Adventure Cruise Line series. A romantic suspense novel set partially on a cruise ship and partially on a tropical Caribbean Island, His Reluctant Bodyguard can be read as a stand-alone or along with my first Adventure Cruise Line book, High Seas Deception.
Cruising is my absolute favorite mode of travel! There are mountains of delicious food and dozens of helpful people who can’t wait to serve, clean-up after, and entertain you, not to mention those exciting ports-of-call. What’s not to love?
So when I sat down to write my very first series, I decided to set it on a fictional cruise line. After sailing on 20+ cruises on multiple real-life lines to many exotic locations, I felt like readers would enjoy a little escape of their own. Also, since I’ve been on quite a few cruise ships and talked to lots of different cruise employees from officers and entertainers down to the guys who wash the windows, I thought it would be fun to add a few details about cruise life that readers might not know.
For example, did you know that in many foreign ports, a harbor pilot must steer the ship in and out of port? And did you know that said pilot must leap from a small vessel onto the moving ship? After witnessing that amazing feat a few times, I decided it would be an exciting opening for my newest release, His Reluctant Bodyguard. So here is the opening scene where my hero, Rip Pollendene must jump onto the moving cruise ship Valiant:
“Tell me again how we’re getting from this itty bitty boat into that — that behemoth?” he asked Williams.
“Wow, a jock who uses big words.” The agent mocked with the patronizing attitude he’d displayed most of the evening.
“In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s a big ship,” Rip retorted, but bit back anything personal he might have added. No point sinking to Williams’ level. “And we’re supposed to jump from the deck through a doorway they open? Please tell me we’ll all be standing still when it happens.”
“They can’t exactly stop those big boys on a dime.” Even in the darkness, Rip could see Williams rolling his eyes with derision. “Besides, Adventure Cruise Lines is doing a lot to accommodate us, so no. We won’t be standing still.” He gestured at their skipper and mate. “These guys know what they’re doing. Don’t be scared of falling in.”
Rip started to ask if he looked scared, but thought better of it. The fund-raiser he’d attended had been a formal event. He’d taken off his tuxedo jacket, shirt, and bow tie and put on the hoodie, but he still wore his dress shoes and slacks. He might not look scared but he was relatively certain he looked pretty damn ridiculous.
“Fine,” he muttered, wishing for the jeans and sneakers Williams had changed into from his own piece of luggage.
At least he wouldn’t have too much more time to worry about leaping from one moving watercraft to another, for Valiant loomed up on their left side pretty much filling his field of vision. They hit the wake of the big ship and their much smaller vessel bounced and banged across the waves before they turned to pull parallel with Valiant. As they skimmed alongside, Rip heard their skipper cut back the engine and felt their speed decrease. He supposed he should be grateful that Valiant was moving a lot slower than they had been, but the dark water still seemed to be moving too fast for him to feel much comfort.
While he tried to count the number of stories on the cruise liner, Williams disappeared into the cabin for a moment and re-emerged with their duffle bags. Rip took out his wallet and shoved it into his almost empty bag. Just in case the worse happened and he did fall into the water, his money and ID wouldn’t get wet. He ignored Williams’ contemptuous snort.
Their boat slowed further, and the mate brushed past him and Williams to climb out onto the front deck. Two wide double doors gaped open on Valiant’s side about five or six feet above the water line. Rip saw several blue-clad crewman milling inside the ship.
“Hand me your bags,” the mate shouted as the skipper adjusted their speed to match the big ship.
Rip passed his over, noting how easily the man balanced on the slick, moving deck.
“Heads up!” The mate shouted and when two crewmen moved to either side of the door, he easily tossed Rip’s duffel through the opening into one man’s waiting arms. Williams’ bag was obviously much heavier, for the mate had to grip it with both hands before he slung it across.
Ah shit, here we go! Rip’s mouth went dry with the realization that he really had to do this.
“Want me to go first and show you how it’s done?” Williams asked, but Rip shouldered him aside.
“No, I’ll go first.” He wiped his sweaty palms on his pant legs and climbed up next to the mate.
He could feel every movement of the boat, and as he’d suspected, just standing on the front deck was harder than it looked.
The wiry mate gripped his shoulder to help him maintain his balance. “Piece o’ cake,” the man encouraged. “Those guys will catch you same as they did the bags.”
Rip refrained from mentioning that at six four and two thirty, he was considerably bigger than any piece of luggage. Instead, he clenched his jaw, focused on the open doorway bobbing a few feet away, and leaped.
The second in mid-air seemed to stretch an eternity — like all those times on the field when he’d reached out to catch the football and it seemed to hang just beyond his grasp. But that long moment of free-fall ended with his feet hitting the floor of the ship in mid-stride.
Trust me, things get even more complicated for poor Rip as the story progresses. He’s being sent to the island of Benezet, which he left as a child, to intervene in a civil war. As if that weren’t trouble enough, the first person he encounters on the cruise ship is Avery Knox, the “girl who got away.” Golden girl Avery turned down Rip’s advances ten years ago, but he never forgot her. Now Fate seems to have thrown them together at the worst possible time, for someone wants Rip dead.
I hope you enjoy reading about Rip and Avery’s adventures in His Reluctant Bodyguard, and that you enjoy a few peeks into life onboard a cruise ship!
I’m giving away a free download (Kindle or Nook, winner’s choice) of His Reluctant Bodyguard to one commenter today. Plus, everyone who comments is entered into a drawing for a $20 gift card at the end of my blog tour (Dec. 5th).
Happy reading and happy cruising, everyone!
The last person cruise director Avery Knox expected to see aboard her very first trip out on Valiant is former college football star, Rip Pollendene. A decade ago, she had turned down his advances at the University of Miami and lived to regret her decision. Why is she so reluctant to take the second chance she’s been handed?
Rip Pollendene is the heir apparent to a beautiful island nation. But it’s a heritage Rip has ignored and rejected for twenty years. Now his homeland is on the brink of a bloody civil war with outside forces trying to manipulate the outcome. Is that why someone wants him dead?
How much should Rip sacrifice for a country he hardly knows? And is it sheer coincidence that has thrown golden girl Avery Knox back into his life? Can they stay alive long enough to find out if their love really is meant to be?
Barnes & Noble http://tinyurl.com/ak3k2f7
About Loucinda (Cindy) McGary
Blessed with the gift of “Irish Blarney” Loucinda McGary (everyone calls her Cindy) became a storyteller shortly after she learned to read. If she didn’t like the way a story ended, she made up her own ending.
A long-time reader of romances, Cindy discovered and joined Romance Writers of America in 2001. But her stressful career as the manager of a multi-million dollar State and Federally funded program prevented her from doing much writing or traveling. She still managed to squeeze in a little of both, but not enough of either to be truly satisfying. Finally, at the end of 2003 she decided to take an early retirement from her career to fully pursue her twin passions of travel and writing.
On Sept. 14, 2007 Cindy received “the call” from an editor that changed her life, and she sold her first book (actually the third book she’d written since she left her job four years earlier). The Wild Sight was released Oct. 2008 and received a rare and coveted starred review from Publishers Weekly magazine. It also went on to win the “Best First Book” category in the More Than Magic contest. In 2010, the electronic version of Wild Sight became an Amazon bestseller in their Top 100 of all books.
In Sept. 2009, her second published novel, The Treasures of Venice was released. This story previously finaled in the prestigious Golden Heart contest in 2006 under the title Jewels of the Madonna. Treasures of Venice went on to win the Judge a Book By Its Cover contest and to final in several other regional contests.
In July 2010 her third traditionally published novel, The Wild Irish Sea was released, and received a four star review from Romantic Times Book Review magazine.
Cindy likes to set her novels of romance and suspense in some of the fascinating places she has visited. To date, she has visited 47 states and 32 foreign countries.
MamaKitty is a mother to a beautiful little girl, wife to her own real life hero, a registered radiographic technologist, student, book reviewer, and author of contemporary romance (as Paige Prince). She hates to be bored, loves a good book, and can usually be found on Twitter or Facebook.