"Mornin' Matt," said Larry.
"Ready for your first day?"
"This is Doug. He'll show you around."
"Hi." Doug reached out with a firm handshake.
"Grab that clipboard. We have our first inspect in five minutes."
We finished our inspection when a sleek Ferreti Altura slipped into view, reflecting sunlight in our eyes. As it drew closer I saw Writer's Craft painted across the bow.
"Writer's Craft?" I asked.
"It's Cynthia Hardcastle's. An author. Spends her summers as a liveaboard and writes like mad. She's been known to crank out 50,000 words in one summer. She's a bestseller."
"Ever read any of 'em?"
"Nope. She writes chic books."
The Altura pulled in, and cut the engine. I gazed in awe at the brunette who stepped on deck. She had all the right curves. I swallowed hard and my palms started sweating.
"Man," I whispered, "She's smokin' hot!"
"Yeah, she's a sight for sore eyes but has the personality of a snake."
"I like snakes."
"Not this one. She's venomous."
"You know her?"
"Enough to know this inspec has already lasted one second too long."
"Mornin' Ms. Hardcastle, this is Matt. He's helping out today."
"Good morning, Ma'am," I said offering a handshake. "It's a pleasure to meet you. Doug says you’re a writer."
Ignoring my hand she pulled off her sunglasses. "It's Ms. Hardcastle. My mother's a ma'am."
"Yes ma', I mean Ms. Hardcastle," I stammered. I couldn’t take my eyes off this art in motion.
We started the inspection in the helm, with Hardcastle hovering over us like a buzzard over dead meat, insisting on overseeing every thing Doug jotted down. I could see what Doug meant. She was venomous, but I was drawn to her like a bug to a zapper.
Finishing the inspection, Doug handed her the registration sticker. "Place this…"
"I know where it goes," she interrupted.
"Good day, ma'am," said Doug. She gave him a look that would kill a lesser man.
It wasn't until we were safely inside the office that I spoke. "Isn't she something?" I asked. "I've got to get a date."
"Are you crazy?" asked Doug. "That's suicide."
"Then consider me dead."
That night I looked her up online. She had over twenty novels, all romance. I wrote down some titles and headed to the library. I checked out three and got busy reading. I fell asleep on chapter ten of Island Nights. I had to admit. She had talent.
Within a week I read everything on her webpage and three of her books. Discovering that she loved Starbucks, I decided to take a risk.
The next morning I arrived early, waiting her return from her morning jog. I saw her walking into the parking lot. As she neared the office I stepped out.
"Good morning, Ms. Hardcastle. I stopped by Starbucks this morning. Picked you up a latte."
"Thank you," she said grabbing the beverage without stopping.
"Have a nice day," I called.
"Back at ya," she said.
On Saturday I decided to jog along the bay. I knew Cynthia would be out around 7:00 so I hit the trail early. I jogged along, glancing behind me every so often until I caught a glimpse of her pink sweat shirt. I slowed my jog, waiting for her to catch up. As she passed I said, "Oh, hi Ms. Hardcastle. I didn’t expect to see you here. It's Saturday."
"A jog a day keeps writer's block away," she said.
"Really? Did you struggle with writer's block when you wrote Island Nights? Your description of the island was astounding. Blue waves greeting the sun kissed sky. Very poignant."
"You've read Island Nights?"
"The whole series. Great storyline."
"Thanks. What's your favorite part?"
Cynthia and I jogged along discussing plot lines and adjectives. Her laughter made my heart flip. At the end of the jog I found my courage. "I'm going to Beachcombers at 6:00. My friend's band is playin'. Why don't you come?"
"Maybe," she said. We parted ways, and I started prayin'.
About 6:30 my prayers were answered. I heard a voice behind me, "Got space for me?" I turned and saw her in all her raving beauty.
"Sure." I pulled up a chair.
Monday morning I stepped into the office. "You look debonair," said Larry.
"What's up?" asked Doug.
"Had a date with Cynthia."
"The one and only."
"How in the world?"
I set down a copy of my latest book, Desert Sun. "Just a touch of writer's craft," I said.
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