Eternal Press accepted "The Sapphire Sea". No release date yet.
Although it is predominately the story of the final charter of an aging supply boat involved in the development of the offshore oil fields in the Timor Sea off the the north-west coast of Australia, three romantic threads run through the story and to prove once more that I haven't abandoned romance altogether, here's another excerpt:
Sally concentrated on putting one foot directly in front of the other as she walked. It made her hips sway a little more than usual. The classes in deportment she’d attended with Melanie were paying off. Her head was up, her shoulders back and her back straight as she imagined her body suspended from a hook in the centre of her skull. She’d laughed at the image when it was first presented, but found it helped more than she expected to achieve the grace required by their instructress.
The full skirt helped. She could feel the lightweight cotton flaring around her bare legs as she moved, the high-heeled sling back sandals adding inches to her height advantage over Glenys.
“Sic’ him, girl,” her friend murmured. “He’s hooked. Go reel him in.”
“That’s a mixed metaphor,” Sally accused, not taking her eyes from the two men rising to their feet in greeting.
“Good afternoon,” Allan spoke first. “I’m pleased you could join us.”
“Our pleasure,” Glenys nodded acknowledgement.
Sally rewarded Allan with a smile when he drew back the chair at his side and stood attentively behind it while she seated herself.
“I can see you’re taking lessons from a master,” Glenys commented slyly as Bill, only a heartbeat behind, followed suit with her chair.
“Would you like a drink before lunch?” Allan seated himself.
“They make excellent Daiquiris,” Glenys agreed.
“Yes, please,” Sally responded to Allan’s enquiring look.
The wine waiter had followed them to the table and he took Allan’s nod as an order, departing on his errand to the bar.
“Are you going to be busy this afternoon?” Glenys asked Bill.
“Yes,” he nodded confirmation. “We have to pick up a car for Allan from the leasing company and are meeting the drilling company people at three. Plan on a late dinner or eat early and we’ll join you for supper instead.”
“We’ll see,” Glenys didn’t commit herself one way or the other. “Make sure you nominate Sally as the alternate driver. That way we can use the car to go down to Katherine while you two are busy.”
“A good idea,” Allan agreed. “She knows her way around the Top End and it’s cheaper than the using the tourist operators.”
“I’ll need to take your license with me, so they can photocopy it for their records,” Bill conceded defeat.
The Daiquiris arrived and Allan gave his room number for the account. Sally noted that it was directly above hers, one with an outside balcony.
“Time to eat.” Bill signaled the waiter.
The process of ordering gave Sally time to come to a decision. She only had a few days and could waste none of them. Allan would be busy this afternoon, but the evening would be hers.