Waves of Passion. Linda Hudson-Smith

Waves of Passion - Linda Hudson-Smith

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absolute very best. I require my staff to attend every training session and to be present at all personnel meetings. We have to be a tightly knit group on this ship, and I demand that we work as a close unit.”

      Dr. Quinn spoke about the rigid policies and specific rules that governed the ship’s infirmary and its personnel. He gave a brief summary of his educational background and his amazing career history. His extensive travels to numerous exotic locations around the world were touched upon fleetingly. He casually mentioned that he was thirty-three. His single status produced broad smiles from different groups of females seated close by.

      “I want each new staff member to feel like they’re a part of our medical family. If not, we’ll figure out why they don’t. Our team relies on and believes in each other. We’re together for hours on end, so we must learn how to cohabitate harmoniously. Welcome aboard the magnificent Parisian Paradise!” He raised his water glass in a toast.

      Gabrielle couldn’t take her eyes off Cameron. She guessed his height to be around six-two or six-three. His physique boasted a tapered waistline and remarkably broad chest and shoulders. She imagined him sporting a six-pack wall of impenetrable steel abs beneath his stark-white shirt. Sewn onto each shoulder of the shirt were gold symbols indicating his official ranking and gold braided medical insignias. Around his neck he wore an anchor on a thick gold chain.

      Cameron Quinn, M.D., was gorgeous and, from all indications, highly intelligent. Curly and satiny, his dark brown hair had premature graying at the temples. His clean-shaven, olive-brown complexion only added to his good looks. His fit physique was perfectly proportioned with his stature. From Gabrielle’s standpoint, he had it going on in looks, but she was more curious as to what his intellect would bring to the table.

      Cameron took a gulp of water. “Our crew always has each other’s backs, and we never indulge in petty arguing and backbiting. As staff members, we may not agree on every issue, but we’ll eventually work things out. Again, welcome aboard the magnificent Parisian Paradise!”

      A standing ovation took place as Dr. Quinn left the podium.

      Cameron Quinn had impressed Gabrielle greatly. His personality was refreshing.

      If he’s as easy to work with as he is to look at and listen to, we should get along just fine.

      Practicing medicine on a cruise ship hadn’t been one of Gabrielle’s goals during medical school, and she’d only recently opted to give it a try. The chance to travel to exotic ports had also figured into her decision. Several of her friends in the medical field worked aboard cruise ships…and they positively loved it. The salary was decent and the living arrangements would save her from financially draining monthly expenses. Five months onboard with five weeks off was a normal work schedule for doctors, nurses and various other medical staffers.

      Gabrielle didn’t think that two or three years away from a private career in an internal practice would hurt her chances of getting back into mainstream medicine. She was only thirty and had lots of good years ahead of her. Deep thoughts, along with playing the devil’s advocate, had helped to guide her to this decision. Treating those in need of excellent health care was in her DNA.

      Born and raised in Galveston, Texas, the ship’s homeport, she felt privileged to sail each seven-day itinerary from her birthplace. The Parisian Paradise docked for several hours. And Gabrielle planned to meet her family when time permitted.

      Gabrielle knew what she’d like to do with her leisure time—get to know Cameron.

      * * *

      Gabrielle watched Cameron’s every move. He walked with confidence, holding his head up as if he knew he was a man to be reckoned with. As he took time to shake hands and speak with other attendees, she studied him closely, pleasantly surprised that he hadn’t headed straight for the table occupied by all the powers that be. Growing more and more curious about the man she was to work directly under, she could hardly wait for their first encounter.

      Gabrielle took notice of everything that happened close to where she sat. She got a good feeling about the crew. She was optimistic and hoped she’d fit in well.

      When the meeting adjourned, the dark-haired woman who was seated next to Gabrielle turned to her. She held out a friendly hand in greeting. “I’m Marjorie Carson, a crewmember and an R.N. Welcome aboard! It’s probably a safe bet that we’ll work together. Do you want to get something to eat and drink?”

      Gabrielle briefly took Marjorie’s hand. “Thank you. I’m Gabrielle Grinage, M.D. I’m sure we’ll share many shifts, and I’d love for us to break bread together. I noticed that they were laying out covered dishes and bread baskets as orientation wound down. It smells divine.”

      Marjorie nodded in agreement. “They lay it out big during employee events. Like Dr. Quinn said, we’re one big happy family

      “I take it that you’re not a new employee. How long have you worked on the Parisian Paradise?”

      “I’ve been assigned to this ship for two years,” Marjorie responded. “And I love it. I joined the luxury cruise line profession at twenty-six. I’m now twenty-eight.”

      Gabrielle nodded, smiling. “Are you contracted for five months on and five weeks off?”

      “One and the same, Dr. Grinage. I like the schedule. Looks like we’d better claim a table then get in line before it gets too crowded,” Marjorie said.

      “Good suggestion.” Gabrielle smiled as she got to her feet.

      The two women quickly claimed a premier window booth. Once the waiter poured ice water and iced tea into crystal goblets, the ladies headed toward the buffet lines. Marjorie chatted up Gabrielle about some of the infirmary duties.

      Back at the table within minutes, carrying plates loaded with salads and seafood, the two women wasted no time in dipping into their food.

      “Tell me a little about yourself, that is, if you don’t mind,” Marjorie suggested.

      Gabrielle gave a brief rundown on her educational background before getting into personal areas. “I’m happily single.” She held up her bare ring finger. “My parents and three of my four brothers practice medicine. Mom and Dad are retired internal medicine specialists.”

      As the only female sibling, Gabrielle told Marjorie, her family had nearly spoiled her rotten. No one in the Grinage clan had vocally approved or disapproved of where and how she’d chosen to practice medicine. Her decision to treat patients on a cruise ship had come as a total shock to them. However, everyone in the family was encouraged to choose their own destiny.

      Marjorie appeared very interested in what Gabrielle shared. “What do your brothers do in the wide-open field of medicine?”

      Gabrielle laid a napkin across her lap. “Ryan, the oldest, is an anesthesiologist, and Maxwell is an OB/GYN. Jonathan, the next to the youngest, is a pediatrician. Christopher is a hospital administrator…and a Ph.D.”

      Gabrielle’s brothers, Ryan and Maxwell, were partners in a very successful private practice. None of the siblings were married and they all lived locally. Both parents had contributed thirty-five years of work in the medical field to Galveston Island residents.

      “Wow! An entire family working in the medical field is awesome,” Marjorie said.

      “It is amazing.” Gabrielle glanced around the room, hoping to get another glimpse of Cameron. Much to her surprise, many of the attendees had formed a line to meet him. He was seated alone at a large table. “Is meeting Dr. Quinn part of the orientation?”

      Marjorie shook her head. “Not formally, but most people want to meet him. Like me, everyone here isn’t a new employee. Many of us return to this orientation just to mingle and greet the ship’s newcomers. Dr. Quinn has attended every orientation since I’ve been here. Do you want to meet him?”

      Gabrielle chuckled. “Not if I have to stand in a long line.” She grew silent, looking toward the end of the line. “It’ll take an hour or more to get to him.

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