By Heart and Compass by Desert Breeze Publishing. It’s a beach party and the hostesses are getting ready to have fun fun fun!
With a loud and powerful whistle, the luxury liner docks in the marina of the private Caribbean island. Crystal blue water laps against the shores of the sugar-white sand. Hot pink flamingos prance about on stilt-high legs, squawking their disapproval of having their island home interrupted.
Looking like tourists in their safari outfits and oversized straw hats, the hostesses squeal with delight as they stumble down the plank. Sharon’s still trying to get her sea legs to balance as she carts two large suitcases. Wanting a snapshot of one of the rebellious flamingos, she stops dead in her tracks to put down her luggage so she can get to the camera around her slender neck. Mary is behind Sharon and is so busy gawking at a monkey in a tree that she smacks head first into Sharon. Lyn has her binoculars glued to her eyes in the hopes of spying a beached whale. They all clunk together and roll like rum runners down the plank, squealing and screaming bloody murder.
“It’s all Sharon’s fault,” Mary hisses, rubbing the goose egg the size of a coconut on her forehead. “She just had to take another picture. She’s already on her tenth roll of film and we’re just arriving for the beach party. Now look at my brand-new safari outfit. It’s ruined.”
“Oh, hush,” Sharon brushes the sand from her knees, stopping to hoist her hand on Lyn’s shoulder as she dumps sand from her sandal. “We look ridiculous in these get ups anyway. We just wore them for the cruise. We can change into our bathing suits for the beach party. Mary, stop scowling. You’ll get wrinkles, dear.”
“Well,” Lyn huffs, shoving Sharon aside to inspect her binoculars. “As long as these aren’t broken. If they were, sister, it wouldn’t be Mary’s hooter blowing out of the whale.”
“Good one, Lyn,” Mary jabs her in the ribs, earning her a scowl.
“All right, all right,” Sharon sniffs the sea-scented air. “This private island is a perfect place for the beach party. Let’s get things set up. Danielle and the guests are still sleeping and will be ready to party in an hour. Oh, here comes Oliver with the first of the coolers.”
curious flamingos march in a bit closer.
Sharon, Mary and Lyn set up hammocks, lounging chairs and umbrella tables.
More coolers have been presented, and the hostesses arrange plates of watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, mango and bananas. Sodas and water are on a chest of ice and a tropical punch sits with the cake, a black pineapple
upside down cake with coconut icing. Potato chips and pretzels and cashew nuts sit pretty on the tables.
A volleyball net and limbo contest await the guests. The hostesses sing, their off key singing echoing across the island.
“Limbo limbo how low can you go? Limbo limbo how low can you go?"
But when Danielle makes her way down the plank, looking gorgeous in a striking red swimsuit and white lace cover up, everyone stops fighting. Oliver rushes over to escort her to her party. The monkeys clap and the flamingos gather to greet her. Welcome to your beach party, Danielle!
When Lacey Whitman buys a restored Victorian home, she never dreams discovering an antique diary will lead her back to sea and into the arms of the dive bum she’d rather forget. Her habit of living in the past comes to a screeching halt as diver Max Bertrand and the diary of his ancestor take Lacey on the quest of a lifetime: To discover and raise the privateer ship, Specter, and bring the treasure and legacy of a true hero home again. But will finding it cost her heart?
Sitting outside, one of the divers looked busy replacing the o-ring on a scuba tank.
"I'm looking for Max?"
The long haired employee didn't bother to stand, much less look up.
"I'm Lacey Whitman, and I'm looking for the Max that owns the museum."
"You call that worthless shack a museum?"
Dumbfounded, Lacey couldn't think of any reply.
"What do you want?"
"I'm looking for Max," she repeated, feeling a flash of impatience. "I have some
papers for him."
"Warrant, restraining order, or paternity test?"
After a pause in which she realized he was serious, she replied in frustration, "I have some research for the Bertrand family and someone at the museum told me to come down here."
Lacey caught herself biting her lip.
Finally, the man of absolutely no assistance put down the tank and stood up. Short
and compact, he had amazing turquoise eyes that glowed from a dark, tanned complexion.
Loose strands of sun-kissed brown hair blew about his face in the breeze.
"Max doesn't need anymore paperwork. He doesn't want to see your research, and he
is not giving dive lessons."
"I didn't ask for a dive lesson."
The diver sat back down again, crossing thick tattooed arms over himself. They stared
one another down until he won. It was cheating to look her over as if she was a sweet
little morsel, but it worked.
"I just want to talk to Max," she demanded.
He stared back with no expression. "You just did. Now get off my beach."
Lacey's cheeks were already flushed from getting the once over by this beach bum.
His insult made her red all over.
"I'll be sure to let them know at the Bertrand Museum," she threatened, as if it
She turned on her heel and stalked off but he called after her, "Lady, I am the Bertrand
Danielle Thorne freelanced for online and print magazines from 1998 through 2001,
adding reviewing and editing to her resume. She is the author of THE PRIVATEER, a
1729 historical about British privateering in the Caribbean, and TURTLE SOUP, a sweet
contemporary romance set between Atlanta and St. Thomas. Her first Jane Austen-inspired
Regency, JOSETTE, has been contracted by Whimsical Publications for Winter 2010.
Her new shipwreck adventure, BY HEART AND COMPASS, is available now!
Other work has appeared with Espresso Fiction, Every Day Fiction, Arts and Prose
Magazine, Mississippi Crow, The Nantahala Review, StorySouth, Bookideas, The Mid-West
Review, and more. She won an Honorable Mention in Writer’s Digest’s 2006 annual writing
competition and won the 2008 Awe-Struck Short Novel Contest.
Danielle currently writes from south of Atlanta, Georgia. She was the 2009-2010 Co-Chair
for the New Voices Competition for young writers, is active with online author groups
such as Classic Romance Revival and EPIC, and moderates for The Sweetest Romance
Authors at the Coffee Time Romance boards. She lives with four sons and her husband,
who is an air traffic controller. Together they enjoy travel and the outdoors, Marching
Band competition, and BSA Scouting.
You can visit Danielle Thorne at the following places:
By Heart and Compass is Available now!
Available from Desert Breeze Publishing:
To win a copy of Danielle’s book, please answer the following question as a comment:
How the heck do you get a flamingo to stop biting you?