Life is a journey of highs and lows. When fictitious lives are viewed through the lens of my imagination, all things are possible. It is my intent to present characters that will warm your hearts as they search for their happy-endings.
How could such strong desire to have a child become so complicated?
Released in July 2013
Laurel Jenkins opened her front door to a hulk of pure masculinity towering over her. Dark, short sideburns, sprinkled with gray, peeked from under a uniformed officer’s white cap displaying the insignia of the Canadian Coast Guard. Her curiosity landed on the most piercing gray slate-like eyes she had ever seen
The man’s overpowering presence caused a hitch in her voice. “You have b-bad news?”
The officer took off his cap and held it against his chest. “May I come in? Please?” A hesitant smile and thick salt and pepper hair neatly cropped above his crisp white collar presented a distinguished visitor. If this stranger had added a condescending ma’am to his request she would suspect he was the icebreaker captain she had spoken with, but he appeared and acted too mild-mannered for the voice on the phone. She stepped to the side to allow him entrance and closed the door against the cold draft. At a loss for words, she simply stared at him. Waiting.
“The man in the rowboat is okay.”
She blinked out of her daze. The tightness in her chest loosened and only then did she realize the strength of the tension that gripped her. “Thank Goodness.”
“The boat’s owner was driving to work when his radio reported a misadventure at sea. He fathomed out the story, then phoned us to report he had been wearing a life jacket and made it to the beach after his boat took on water. Once safe on land, he hitchhiked to his vehicle and drove home for dry clothes.” The officer’s eyes glistened with a sparkle that hadn’t been there up to now. “The caller was mighty anxious for us to cancel the alarm before his mother heard it. I told him he would find the dory tied at the wharf.”
“I’m so glad he’s alive. Who is he?”
“I’m not at liberty to say, due to confidentiality issues.”
The statement irritated her but, rather than be impolite when he had been good enough to deliver the news, she skidded her eyes to the floor.
He waited for a moment, and then added, “I’m Captain Graydon Gunn.”
Laurel tossed the man another appraising stare. “Captain Gunn? You brought the ‘update’ in person?” Her body jumped into alert mode.
“Yes, Miss Jenkins.”
“Thank y-you for stopping by. I’m sure you have a great many things to...” Unable to erase the slight breathy quality that entered her voice, Laurel took a step forward to open the door. Graydon didn’t step back as she thought he would, but continued to stand foursquare in front of her. She refused to back away first.
“We got off on the wrong foot, ma’am...er...Miss Jenkins.”
The captain looked down at the floor between their feet and scratched the side of his head with a forefinger. “That’s the impression you gave me on the phone.”
“What possible reason could I have for doing so?” Laurel crossed her arms and tapped her foot.
“Uh...” For a moment he gazed where her breasts bulged over her arms, then transferred his stare to her foot. “Well, the truth of the matter is, I don’t know.”
“The problem was your condescending attitude, as if you perceived my concern coming from an air head with little grasp of search-and-rescue capabilities.” She lifted one of her hands and fluttered her fingers to illustrate her point. “To me, speed was of the essence. Hello-o-o, Coast Guard. Big boat. Retrieval of idiot boaters needed. Isn’t that your job?”
“It’s a ship. We’re in port for navigational repairs. If we could go out, we would. Zodiacs, can’t cope with exceptionally high seas. Our other ships are some distance from here, but one was on its way. The safety of my crew outranks some thrill-seeker’s yen for adventure.”
“Oh.” Laurel’s cheeks flamed as she floundered. “I guess anyone who would jeopardize his life like that shouldn’t be allowed to put others in danger as well. Obviously, I made a bad judgment call.”
“I haven’t apologized, yet, Captain. Your persistence with questions that had little bearing on the problem didn’t win you points.” He looked down at his feet. When he glanced back, she saw amusement lurking there. “What’s so funny, Captain?”
“We could argue all day and not reach agreement. I see you’ve had a lot of experience blowing at windmills.”
“Blowing at windmills?”
“Maybe I should say blowing at street lights. Fights with the village council, going against the tide so to speak.” He failed at hiding his smile.
“Who have you been talking to?”
“My niece, Beth Monroe, works at the local museum. She knows everyone who lives in the area. You were worried and alone. It was only natural I should call her to ask about you.”
Laurel offered him a rueful smile. “You always have an answer.” Perhaps it was the fact he had investigated her or annoyance that his reply seemed logical, but unplanned words tumbled out of her mouth. “Don’t you have another place to be, like sailing up to the Arctic where you can fly the flag and impress the media?”
“I was hoping for a cup of fresh coffee. The coffee on board ship is murder on my stomach.”
“You could try the café on Main Street. Their’s is good.”
The captain leaned his hand against the doorframe and looked toward the kitchen counter. “I see you have a coffee machine. “I take it black, but not strong and with just a pinch of sugar.”
Again, she read amusement in his eyes. “You expect me to make it for you?”
“No, ma’...er...Miss Jenkins. I can make it if you’d care to join me.”