Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cruising For Love

Part Two
by Mary Margret Daughtridge

“Where in the world have you been?” Armand’s voice hissed close to her ear.

Tricia jumped. “I was right here.” She took a step back to put some distance between herself and Armand’s ninety-proof breath. “Where were you?”

“Beside the aft elevators, Tricia.”

Maybe he had been waiting at a different entrance. There were three. One at each end of the long room, which were accessed by elevators, and one at the head of an elegant staircase that ascended from the deck below.

Maybe she’d misunderstood his directions. That happened sometimes…well, a lot. She wasn’t a ditzy blonde—she had the Phi Beta Kappa key to prove it—but she was blonde, and she had absolutely no sense of direction. If she had turned the wrong way when she left her cabin on a deck far, far below, she could have taken the wrong elevator.

On the other hand, judging by the smell of alcohol, Armand had been waiting, if he’d waited at all, at the bar. His black eyes were glassy and beads of sweat dotted the swarthy skin his upper lip. He’d stressed over and over how important this cruise was and how excited he was that she would help him. Tricia would have thought a sophisticated professional model would be a better choice, but he had said her look was exactly right to attract the clientele he needed. She was surprised he would compromise his dream by getting smashed.

His eyes flicked over the crowd with what she would have sworn was fear.

He was nervous. Her own anxiety disappeared as it usually did when she had someone to look after. He'd been drinking to calm himself down. Now that she understood, she looped her arm through his and gave a squeeze. “Don’t worry,” she said encouragingly, “everything will be all right. Do you see any of the men you were hoping to meet here?”

She searched the room with him trying to guess which ones might be buyers. Her eyes encountered those of the man who had smiled at her just before Armand appeared. The lazy, self-confident smile was gone. Now his intent stare reminded her of a wolf who has spotted prey.

Armand felt her stiffen and followed her gaze. “Merde,” he muttered under his breath. With his handkerchief he dabbed at the sweat on his upper lip, while he turned the two of them in the other direction. “Do not speak to him. Whatever you do, don’t let that man get you alone—not even for a second.”


“Pretty blonde girls, young and fresh-looking like you, fetch a high price in some circles.” Seeing her puzzled look he explained further. “He sells them. He’s in the sex trade.”


  1. Ah ha! The plot thickens! Way to go, MM!

  2. Ooh! This is so good! More please.

    Robin :)

  3. This is fun. Being one of the starter-writers is kind of like the freedom to cook up anything you want to--knowing someone else will come in to clean the kitchen.

    [evil laughter]

    Wait until you see tomorrow.

  4. aha! Now we're going down THAT road... (or current, maybe?)

  5. Clean the kitchen, MM? I don't think so! More like mess it up even more!


  6. Interesting twist!! I'm enjoying this!

  7. Sorry, with work and edits, I haven't had a chance to read the continuing saga, but this is really fun, MM! Great twist!