“Don’t worry...about a thing...cuz every little thing, is gonna be all right,”
“Will you please knock it off with that!” Mac elbows her in the ribs. “That’s the third Bob Marley song in a row.” The small power boat lurches over a wave and the impact knocks Mac’s colorful turban askew. “Whose bright idea was it to let AJ come to Melissa Douthit’s Caribbean Roast and Toast as a Rastafarian?”The hostesses exchange a wide-eyed glance around the boat before facing Mac. “Hers,” they respond in unison.
“You need to relax, mon.” AJ slides her blue tinted sunglasses to the end of her nose and peers at Mac. “The Caribbean includes Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic...”Lilly sighs and nudges Mary’s arm. “Maybe we’ll get lucky and she’ll get lost in the Bermuda Triangle.”
“...the Cayman Islands, Port au France. I thought it would be fun for each of us to dress to represent a region.”
Melissa flips up her black eye patch and leans forward, her other hand resting on her broadsword. “Yeah, so what’s the reason I’m dressed like a pirate?”“What are you complaining about?” Vonnie snorts. “One more bright yellow ruffle on this dress and I’m apt to set sail all on my own.”
“At least your feathered headdress matches that pretty scarf you got in Paris. This peasant skirt is louder than the horn on that steamer we took to get here.” The boat crashes against another wave and Mary groans and cradles her chest inside her white off the shoulder blouse. “My girls can’t take much more of this.”
“Good thing our sidekicks took their own boat to get there.” Lilly shakes her head. “There wouldn’t be room for all of us in the same boat.”
"Look, we’re almost at the island.” Lyn stands and points, tipping the boat off-kilter. The busy pattern of her black and white serape makes AJ’s eyes cross. “Oh, and just look at all the wonderful food!”
“Yep. There’s jerk beef and chicken, paella, eschabeche—which is a citrus pan-fried fish.” AJ counts off the delicious entrees on her fingers. “Not to mention Ropa Vieja and a variety of curries and fresh salsas.”
“Ropa Vieja.” Lyn puts a flat hand to her brow and squints into the distance. “Doesn’t that mean ‘old clothes’ in Spanish?”Vonnie laughs. “It’s a spicy beef dish, and wonderful, from what I’ve heard.”
“Lyn, sit down.” Mac clings to the side of the boat, her turban sliding a little farther to the right. “You’re gonna trip on those big feet of yours and then we all be tossed into the drink!”
“We could always use Lilly’s butt as a floatation device.” Melissa snaps down her eye patch and grins.“Ha, ha. Very funny.” Lilly rearranges the folds of her bright plaid skirt, a hand braced against the basket of fruit on her head. “I don’t see why I got stuck carrying this heavy thing. I got guavas, coconuts, carambolas, mangos...”
“Our guest, Melissa Douthit, asked us to bring some of our favorite local fruits to celebrate the release of the final book in her The Legend of the Raie’Chaelia series, The Return. It takes place in the Karahali Islands, which are just like the Caribbean.” AJ twirls a beaded necklace around on her finger and Mac puts up a hand to block it from hitting her face. “Have you seen the cover? It’s gorgeous!”“As long as we’re talking visuals, have you seen the men on that beach?” Vonnie stands to join Lyn and the boat keels dangerously to the side. “Shirtless...they’re all shirtless.”
“Where?” Lilly springs to her feet and Melissa, Mary, Mac and AJ squawk, arms flinging in the air as they fight to maintain their balance.“It’s going over!” Mac screams as her turban tips into the water.
“Oh no!” the hostesses scream and splash head first into the warm ocean.They flop and flap toward shore, collecting the floating fruits and squeezing the water from their skirts.
“Great.” Mary shakes the water from her hands and blows a few wayward droplets off her upper lip. “Looks like we’re arriving at the party in typical Roast and Toast fashion.”“And look, there’s Melissa Douthit!” Lyn waves as they all slosh onto the beach. “She looks beautiful!”
“Now if we can just get those bare-chested men to help us dry off,” Vonnie mumbles to Mac, “everything will be just as it should be.”“Well, that and give a warm welcome to Melissa Douthit and her release, The Legend of the Raie’Chaelia series, The Return.” Mac smiles and they all drip their way into the party.
After the fall from the Maaldan cliff, Chalice is reunited with her friends on a journey that takes them to the coastline of Ielieria. Little do Vlaad and his Fierain know what is in store for them as, bit by bit, their plans are thwarted by this blond-haired, blue-eyed beauty.The small band of rebels then travels across the Realm, preparing it for war, while Chalice herself is brewing plans of her own that may just land her in the hot seat. What will happen when she returns her father to the throne? What will happen when he finds out what she has done? And … what will happen once Dar’Maalda learns of the rebels’ location?
In the third and final novel of the trilogy, The Legend of the Raie’Chaelia, you find out. It is a dramatic finish to an epic story of action, adventure, betrayal, forgiveness and love.
Melissa Douthit grew up in North County of San Diego, California. After graduating with a Computer Science degree in Southern California, and working for a summer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in New Mexico, she moved to the Bay Area to work at NASA Ames Research Center for a year and then at Lawrence Livermore National Lab for another four years. From there, she moved to Monterey, California, to work at the Naval Postgraduate School on a government project for two years. She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, working as a software engineer. Since high school, she has been a voracious reader of books of all genres, with an emphasis in fantasy and science fiction. Her literary work is strongly influenced by her professional experience and includes many elements of her scientific background. You can find out more about Melissa on her website: http://melissadouthit.com
"Black sacks were placed over their heads and nooses secured around their throats. The two hangmen stepped back as the third laid his hand on the lever and waited. Then, the drumbeat began. The end of the last beat would signal the release of the trapdoors. When it did, the hangman pulled and the doors fell open.
Before the condemned began to fall blindly to their death, Chalice glanced down at her hands and heard the sharp whipping sound of ropes tauten and the crack of two necks breaking under the strain. It unnerved her completely, which was odd, she thought. She had seen battle. She had seen men die, spilling their life’s blood or worse, and yet this hanging, which spilled no gore whatsoever in front of its witnesses, had her magnificently unsettled.
She knew why. It was because she knew deep down that it could just as easily be her at the end of that rope. In fact, it should be her. If they find out what you did, you will hang for it, Jeremiah had said. At no other time did she feel the severity of the truth behind his words as acutely as she did at this moment."
Book one of the Trilogy, the Legend of the Rai Chaellia can be downloaded free HERE
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT BY MELISSA OF A GREAT CONTEST
On October 14th, all readers have to do is visit my blog and leave a comment saying "I'm in" on the post The Return Blog Tour Starts Next Week! (http://melissadouthit.com/2013/10/09/the-return-blog-tour-starts-next-week/) The contest runs from October 14th to November 27th, during which time The Return's blog tour will be in full swing. All readers can enter! Prize is a free e-reader or a $75 gift card to Amazon's bookstore!
To win a copy of Melissa's book, all you have to do is just leave a comment and your e-mail address.
Contest ends on Sunday and everyone who comments is eligible.