Title: Good Girl Overboard
Author: Denise Swanson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Take a smoking-hot captain with a secret and an undercover cruise reviewer determined to change her sex life from flat to fiery. Shake well over rough seas. Serve on a king-size bed for a sizzling good time.
* * *
For twenty-eight years, cruise critic Darcy Simons has followed the rules. And what did it get her? A broken heart, an unfaithful fiancé, and a pile of bills taller than her uneaten four-tiered wedding cake. Clearly, it’s not blondes, but bad girls, who have more fun, and she is determined to become one of them.
While Darcy is on the maiden voyage of the Ocean Starr cruise liner to write a snarky review that will earn enough money to pay off her canceled wedding, she’s determined to break some personal rules and have a wild sexual adventure—she just needs to find the perfect man. When she bumps into Captain Mitch James, and both his briefcase and sparks fly, she knows Mitch is just the guy for the job.
Too bad Mitch has a firm no-messing-with-female-passengers rule. But when he discovers Darcy’s true reason for taking the cruise, he decides to use his charm to get a thumbs up for his ship. Breaking his own rules, he sets out to seduce her. Now, if he can just convince himself that his only interest in Darcy is a good review, he might make it back to port with his heart intact.
Enter to win a free e-copy of Good Girl Overboard
Just drop a line to DevereauxDimeStr@aol.com and simply say, “I want to win!”
Darcy’s wicked train of thought derailed when a drop of sweat trickled down her nose. The salty taste on her lips brought her back to reality with a thud. Great! She hated to think of what she looked like—hair frizzing in the humidity, any trace of makeup long since melted away, and clothes wrinkled from the long trip. She definitely needed a shower before beginning the search for her dream date.
Someone clearing their throat made Darcy realize that the line had started moving, and with an apologetic smile, she bent to scoop up her belongings. Juggling her purse, carry on, and laptop, she attempted to take a hasty step forward, but a sudden gust of wind rocked the unsteady gangway and her knees buckled.
Stumbling backwards, she collided with the man behind her. Horrified, Darcy stared as his sunglasses were jolted from his face and his briefcase dropped from his hand, bounced, and flew through the open railing. For a moment, it hovered in midair like a stealth bomber, then plunged to the dock below where it burst open and spilled its contents into the ocean.
Darcy’s eyes widened as she watched the papers become soggy and begin to sink. Reluctantly she turned to face the guy whose property she had just destroyed. Her gaze ran from tan ankles peeking between tobacco brown boat shoes and khaki pants, to broad shoulders straining the fabric of a black polo shirt. Moving upwards, crisp sun-streaked hair and faded-denim blue eyes completed the yummy package. Oh my God! He was gorgeous!
The words of remorse she had been about to utter died on her lips, her mouth went dry, and it felt as if a swarm of bees had been set loose in her chest. Then as she tried to clear the lust from her brain, his incredible eyes locked onto hers. She felt a sizzling jab in her stomach and her mind went blank.
He continued to stare at her for a moment, forehead furrowed and nostrils flared—clearly angry, clearly expecting an apology. When she didn’t speak, he shook his head, growled something indistinguishable, and turned his back on her. Fluidly, he made his way down the gangway, slipping through the crowd with a practiced grace, and disappeared from her sight.
It was only as the mob pressed Darcy forward that she remembered to inhale. When the oxygen reached her brain, she regained her wits, and it hit her. She hadn’t even said she was sorry. She couldn’t just board the ship as if nothing had happened. Hurriedly, she turned and tried to follow him, but moving against the throng wasn’t as easy as he had made it look.
Fighting the people determined to go up, while she attempted to go down, she cursed the sales clerk who had talked her into buying such a straight, short skirt. But then, Darcy hadn’t bought it to wear for a cruise. She’d been shopping for her Parisian honeymoon. The one that would never take place—at least not with her as the bride. Rumor had it that her ex-fiancé and his nymphet du jour had enjoyed the trip.
An unexpected stab of pain and regret, stole her breath. If only he hadn’t turned out to be such a rat bastard, things would have been so different. Enough! Darcy forced the pang of regret out of her head. She needed to concentrate on finding and apologizing to the hunk that she’d accidently assaulted.
After what seemed like an eternity, she finally reached the bottom of the gangway, only to find her exit blocked by a man in a white uniform. The single gold bar on his shoulder indicated that he was some sort of officer.
He held up a clipboard as if it were a stop sign and spoke in accented English, “Miss, you are going the wrong way.”
“Yes, I know, but I’m looking for someone.” Darcy tried to see past him. “Did you notice an angry passenger in a black polo shirt come past here a few minutes ago?”
The officer paused before answering, a confused look in his eyes, “No, no passenger, miss. Passengers not allowed off ship. Now, you go back. We leave very, very soon.”
Darcy stood on tiptoe and looked around. She caught a glimpse of her quarry squatting on the dock, while several crewmembers attempted to fish out his papers from the water. His air of authority, even in such an awkward position, was too powerful to miss, as were the appeal of his muscled thighs and powerful forearms.
She found herself studying him. He truly was the most delicious man she’d ever seen. When she tried to step off the metal stairs to go toward him, the officer in front of her held out his arms, refusing to allow her to pass.
His voice became higher and he spoke more rapidly, “Miss, you no leave the ship. Please to turn around.”
Using his clipboard, he herded her up the stairs backwards as if she were an unruly sheep and he the harried shepherd.
While she retreated, Darcy waved and shouted, “Sir, sir, I’m very sorry for bumping into you. Is there anything…”
New York Times Bestseller author Denise Swanson was a practicing school psychologist for twenty-two years. She writes the Change of Heart contemporary romance series and the Scumble River and Devereaux’s Dime Store mysteries. Her books all feature small-town heroines with lots of heart.
Denise’s books have been finalists for the Agatha, Mary Higgins Clark, RT Magazine’s Career Achievement, and Daphne du Maurier Awards. She has won the Reviewers Choice Award and was a BookSense 76 Top Pick.
Denise Swanson lives in rural Illinois with her husband, classical composer David Stybr, and their cool black cat Boomerang.
Social Media Links: