No more pencils,
No more books,
No more teacher's dirty looks!
That's the rhyme my classmates and I used to chant every year during the last few days of school.
C'mon, I know you said it too! SOME of you, anyway. And even if you didn't, I know you were just like me and every other school kid and could not wait for summer vacation!
Oh, how I longed for those lazy warm summer days with nothing to do but sprawl out in the shade, reading a book or just relaxing. Doing NOTHING was so great! And I had almost three glorious months of it.
Of course, the reality of summer vacation was that usually by the middle of July, I was bored to tears, missing my friends, and running out of books to read (that were at my maturity level) at the library. If we got to go on a trip, it was usually the long car ride back to Texas to visit Grandpa and the other relatives and we were only gone ten or twelve days at the most. So even though I would never have admitted it, by the end of August, I was more than ready to go back to school.
But what about my teachers? More often than not, they were grumpy the first week or so of school. However, it never occurred to my childish self that maybe THEY weren't ready for their summer vacation to end!
And MAYBE the teachers were just as happy to see the last day of school as I was... WOW! That was a revelation. When I sat down to write The Wild Irish Sea, I decided to make my heroine Amber and her twin brother Parker both teachers. Amber teaches second and third grade and Parker teaches junior high school science and they are both THRILLED to be on their summer vacation.
Of course, being the dirty rotten romantic suspense writer that I am, I couldn't just let them laze around doing nothing like I did all those years ago. What fun would that be for me (and my readers)? If my characters aren't being tortured, then I'm falling down on my job as a d.r.r.s. writer!
So I sent Parker off to the auld sod to do a little research into his family tree and study a bit of marine biology. He's out on the ocean in a rowboat in a rain storm. And then... heh heh heh (Aunty laughs maliciously)!
...The unmistakable crack of a pistol tore across the waves. Parker flinched and lost his grip on the oars. Momentarily transfixed in horror, he watched one man slump forward. The other caught him and heaved him over the back of the boat...
He’d just witnessed a murder!
A mega dose of adrenaline rocketed through him, and Parker grabbed the oars and rowed for all he was worth. Unfortunately the pair in the sailboat must have heard him. Another shout echoed through the downpour, followed swiftly by another pistol retort.
Parker put his head down and kept rowing, puffing his cheeks with his rapid breaths.
Two more shots rang out. The second splintered the wood in front of the right oarlock...
The next bullet ripped through the wood close to his ankle. Seawater spewed into the opening. Instinctively, he lurched forward and another bullet tore through the side of his mackintosh, grazing a fiery trail across the flesh over his ribs.
He fell from the bench seat into the rising water in the bottom of the boat. The little vessel dipped drunkenly with the sudden shift in weight while yet another bullet lacerated the hull.
More water gushed in.
Oh God, I am seriously scr*wed!
Parker tried to pull himself back onto the seat, but slipped and banged his forehead against the oarlock.
...He was a thirty-year-old man about to die if he didn’t do something quick.
He knew what he had to do. He was a sitting duck in this tub. His only hope was to swim for it.
He crawled to the opposite side of the boat, sloshing up water all around him. His ribs burned like the salt water was a red-hot poker and he hissed in a sharp breath.
As the curragh dipped toward the sea, Parker risked a quick glance toward the shore, but he couldn’t tell if the bluffs were any closer. At least he was a good swimmer, though he didn’t really like swimming in the ocean. But he liked being shot a whole lot less.
With that morbid thought to cheer him, he launched himself over the side into the cold, black waves.Poor Parker! About now, I'll bet he's wishing his summer vacation was over and he was back home lecturing to his students!
And I'm afraid if you want to find out what happens to Parker, you'll have to wait a couple more weeks. Heh! Heh! Heh! (Aunty's malicious laugh is not reserved for only her characters!) July 6th to be precise, for that is the day The Wild Irish Sea is scheduled to hit the book store shelves.
How did you spend your summer vacations as a child? Were you ready to return to school before the summer was over? Please share some of your summer vacation memories with us.