Deadly Paradise River of Fear Sins of Her Father

Kathleen Mix

Thrilling Stories of Romance and Suspense

A Trade Wind Season

A Trade Wind Season

The idea of spending the winter working in a tropical paradise is too tantalizing for Melissa Catterly to resist. On an impulse, she accepts a job as a gourmet chef aboard a sixty-five foot sailing yacht bound for the Caribbean.

When the boat sets sail on an eight-day trip from North Carolina to the Virgin Islands, she and Hunt Stewart, the charismatic captain, are strangers. Love has never been kind to Melissa and she resolves to remain only his shipmate and friend. He is devoted to the boat and the sea and not inclined to compromise his lifestyle.

Melissa has a secret, though, that could tear them apart forever. She can only hope that the tropical trade winds bring good fortune and not more heartache.

Excerpt:

Melissa's pulse raced. She told herself again that she was doing the right thing. It couldn't hurt if she took one quick look. And it was now or never.
In her heart she believed Mr. Barnes would have wanted her to do this. In her mind she knew she needed answers to her nagging questions. Was there something special here she was meant to discover, some secret formula for finding the kind of joy he had derived from life? His spirit seemed to be guiding her, and she let it lead the way.
But now that she was here, she had to pause for a minute to calm her nerves. She stood motionless, concentrating her senses on the day and the place.
It was a beautiful morning and the combination of the warm North Carolina sun and a cool autumn breeze felt like a caress on her face. Her hair lifted and twirled in the breeze. She reached up and gathered some into a barrette to keep it under control. The thick black strands felt warm to her touch as she smoothed them down to the center of her back. The salt air blew in from the sea, and she closed her eyes and breathed deeply of the scent. The tingling sensations sparked a flood of memories of the days when her mother would bring her to the beach to romp in the surf and build elaborate sandcastles on the shore. From above, she heard the plaintive cries of gray and white gulls that circled lazily, casting shadows on the dock.
Sad memories of Mr. Barnes's death tiptoed into her mind and she inhaled sharply, determined not to let anything spoil this magical place. She'd handled these feelings before, and she would manage them again now.
Raising her narrow chin slightly, she forged ahead, striding through the Atlantic Shores Yacht Club searching for E Dock. Finally, she found it, the farthest one from the entrance, next to the wide main channel. In the distance, several marshy islands of sawgrass were scattered haphazardly in a maze of smaller creeks. The wind bent the tall stalks gently to its will, and the water swirled around their roots. A sailboat with copper-red sails glided slowly across the horizon. Melissa's nerves tensed as she turned from the concrete walkway onto the gray, weathered dock boards. Halfway down and tied alongside, was a much larger sailboat. On the stern, painted in six-inch high black script lettering and outlined in gold leaf, was the name: Whitecap.
She squeezed her eyelids shut to prevent the salty tears welling in her eyes from spilling free. The grief of Mr. Barnes's death that she had barricaded inside struggled toward the surface, but she forced it out of her thoughts by focusing on the sailboat.
Whitecap. Mr. Barnes's beloved Whitecap. She wasn't really sure what she had expected, but he had been right. The boat was lovely. The graceful white hull was smooth and shiny, and rays of dappled sunlight, reflected up by tiny wavelets, danced upon it in fanciful patterns. She shaded her eyes and gazed up at the tall masts that seemed to reach almost to the puffy clouds rushing past. She'd only come for a quick look, but now she couldn't leave without seeing more. Mr. Barnes had wanted her here on this boat. She felt compelled to find out why.
Holding tightly to the sun-bleached wooden handrail, Melissa inched her way up the narrow gangplank and stepped aboard. She took a few steps forward and looked around her. Brightly varnished wood rails on the cabin top sparkled golden and reflected sunlight into her eyes. Neatly coiled lines hung in orderly fashion at the base of the towering masts. Smooth, polished fittings contrasted with the grainy texture of the scrubbed teakwood deck.
The slight rocking motion beneath her feet sent her mind speeding back to Mr. Barnes. He had described it all to her so often. The waves sending spray into the air at the bow, the wind puffing out the sails. She could picture him now and hear his voice again, telling her tales of his adventures. Somehow, standing on the deck of the boat he had loved, she was able to remember him as alive and happy. She smiled to herself, thankful for that memory and satisfied her trip here had been worthwhile.
Someone behind her cleared his throat.
Melissa started and her hand instinctively flew to cover her heart as she spun around toward the sound. Her gaze came to rest on a sun-bronzed, muscular man. His broad shoulders were just above the level of her chin and blended perfectly with his trim but powerful appearance. He seemed as much a part of the boat as the masts or deck or sails. He had strong, masculine features and her eyes were drawn to his face, which was handsomely weathered by the wind. As she stared, he slipped a pair of dark sunglasses over his sky-blue eyes.
She remembered that Morgan had told her the captain might be on board. And he'd warned her to stay away.

 Montlake Romance -

ISBN: 978-0803495128
Kindle ID: B00E6BRNM2

Buy your print or digital copy: A Trade Wind Season was originally published by Avalon Books as a sweet career romance.