NaNo Nibblet #3 (Cruise Ship Romance)

A little more from my cruise ship romance that is now at over 47k. I’ve already won 2012 NaNoWriMo but I have a secondary goal of achieving a minimum word count of 50k on this work alone. That may sound weird but I had three projects for NaNo this year, the first two were the completions of two manuscripts already in process. Amazing that I do have the need to finish most of my projects. My mother would be shocked.The better news is I’ve already edited AND contracted one of those other projects, so my strategy was a worthy one.

But back to the big kahuna project about a woman and the man who claims to be her new hire trainee, but is actually her boss’s boss’s boss’s boss and maybe a few more boss levels. Unbeknownst to Lydia, Paul’s onboard to investigate why his cruise ship is sinking fast, financially speaking, and what better way than to do a little “Undercover Boss” work than as a secret shopper.

In this scene our heroine, Lydia, senses Paul is not who he claims to be, sadly because she can’t believe he’s pursuing her as vigorously as he has been without some sort of ulterior motive. That’s enough to taint her entire perception of him. Remember, all first draft material, so be kind.

A gambler she knew him to be. Was that why he was on board? Maybe he was a con artist? She didn’t have any money so she couldn’t be his mark, but perhaps he’d been spending more time in the casino than he let on. The other passengers might be his targets. But why go to the bother of hiding behind a day job?

And what about his name? John-Paul Thomas. Could it be any harder to research? He could have used any combination or any order and they would all be difficult to narrow down to a single person. He said he’d gone to UCLA. Sure, only one of the largest public schools in the country. She’d already done a check for him on Facebook before they’d set sail only to find over three hundred Paul Thomas’s, over five hundred John Thomas’s, and about one hundred and fifty John-Paul Thomas’s. A healthy percentage of all those counts included profiles without pictures or set to private. All three names were about as generic as an American male could get.

Only Paul wasn’t generic in person. Not the least bit, not with the way he could with a single look, make her heart race. He wasn’t generic in the way his smile could unleash a maelstrom in her belly, nor was that a generic facility with words that made her pant with desire so potent she’d nearly been willing to bury her career at sea.

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NaNo Nibblet #2 (Cruise Ship Mistress)

A little more from my cruise ship romance, working title, “Cruise Ship Mistress”. Don’t cringe and reach out to pat my hand, I will rename it eventually.

In this scene our heroine, Lydia and hero, Paul, are concocting their fictitious back story to hide that they are secret shoppers aboard The Acadian, a transatlantic cruise ship bound for Rome.

“Ok here’s what I’ve devised from our joint profiles. You and I are vacationing BFFs. I’m a lesbian.” There she stopped to roll her eyes. “We met in a book club two years ago. We like to visit the settings of our favorite books and movies. We both love the movie Titanic, hence the transatlantic cruise to get us to our final destination. You are an exercise buff and you want to get me interested, so you also plan on dragging me to a variety of different classes.” She stopped and gave him that heart-melting smile, a smile he’d better inoculate himself against quick or he’d be in bigger trouble than just having an ailing cruise ship to rescue. “You plan to also drag me into the casino for lessons and to cooking classes and all the various restaurants on board.” Another smile as potent as the last. “See, this will work out nicely. Two friends won’t be sequestered away like two lovers would. My idea is much better.”

“If you say so yourself,” he quipped.

“And I do.” She did that single eyebrow lift again, one of her quirky little amused tells he filed away in his “Things About Lydia” folder. “We’re both just out of long-term relationships that went south, hence our tighter BFF status and our lack of interest in hooking up.”

“With each other?” he asked. He knew what she meant, but felt like goading her a little.

The roll of her head and sigh were his prizes. “No. I’m gay, remember. With other passengers or crew members. Duh.”

“Oh, right. So chatting up a cute blonde I might happen to meet would be in bad taste, I gather?”

Lydia’s lips pushed out in disapproval. “Yes. Very bad. Always remember we’re there to work, not to have fun.”

“We can’t do both?”

“No,” she said fixing him with a stern glare.

He nodded. She was absolutely right. His larger mission was to save his ship and cruise company. Truth be told, her made-up story for him wasn’t far from the truth. He had just ended a long engagement, acrimoniously, too. “Gotcha.”

Back at her notes, she read off, “You just ended a five-year long relationship with a woman who nearly sucked your soul from your body, leaving nothing but a hollow bitter shell of man. You are most definitely off women, except me of course since I’m your gay BFF. I am not out of the closet but the only lesbian lover I’d ever had (after seven years) came out and that ended our affair because I refused to do the same.”

“So you aren’t interested in either men or women,” he said with a snort. “Except your BFF, yours truly. We aren’t going to braid each other’s hair or go on an anti-women screechfest, are we?”