Waves of Passion. Linda Hudson-Smith

Waves of Passion - Linda Hudson-Smith

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you’ll have something in common.”

      “I agree,” Marjorie chimed in. “It’s nice to have someone to talk to about your work.”

      Tristan covered Marjorie’s hand with his. “If you feel that way, then why can’t I get you to take me seriously?”

      Marjorie now looked totally embarrassed. “I do.”

      “You do what?” Tristan asked, putting her on the spot.

      Marjorie blushed. “I take you seriously. I really do.”

      Tristan’s broad smile showed he was pleased as punch. “I’m glad to hear it. But why’d you suddenly change your mind? I’ve been chasing you for months.”

      Marjorie’s eyes narrowed. “I wasn’t ready to be caught. Can we just leave it at that?”

      Gabrielle wanted to laugh at these two dopey lovebirds, but she remained quiet, eager to hear what else they had to say.

      “I’m happy to leave it at that if it means I can take you out on a real date,” Tristan said.

      Marjorie smiled. “You can take me out, Tristan. I’d love to see tonight’s show.”

      Tristan leaned over and kissed Marjorie’s cheek. “It’s a date.”

      Gabrielle laughed. “Congratulations on your first real date!”

      * * *

      The living quarters assigned to Gabrielle were located a few decks above midship. The spacious suite wasn’t particularly lavish, but it was nice and homey and it had a balcony. She’d never lived in a place with such a wide-open concept, where she could see the living room, kitchen and bedroom all at once. Only the bathroom was in a separate room.

      As Gabrielle closely studied the space, she felt its warmth. Her personal things had already been delivered, but she hadn’t had time to put them away. She hadn’t even paid a lot of attention to the suite’s floor plan until now. Luckily the balcony would offer her a nearby outdoor alternative. Being able to step outside and breathe in fresh air without having to go up on deck was a huge plus. The balcony was decked out with a small round table, two chairs and a chaise lounge to lie on to catch the sun. This suite was her home for the next five months, so she would have to get used to it.

      The Parisian Paradise was a huge vessel, which gave Gabrielle plenty of indoor and outdoor spaces to explore and many choices in shopping, dining and entertainment venues. She also loved that room service was available to staff and passengers 24/7.

      Gabrielle caught sight of her unpacked luggage and frowned. For her to be truly comfortable, she had to put everything in order right away. There was plenty of time for her to unpack and get it over with before reporting to duty in the morning. After taking off her uniform and hanging it up, she slipped into blue jeans and a white T-shirt.

      Starting with a leather garment bag, she took out her dressier and formal attire and hung them at one end of the large sectional closet. She then moved on to the suitcases.

      A couple of hours later, she had the cabin suite looking more like a home.

      * * *

      Deciding to do a little bit of exploring, Gabrielle pulled from the closet a pair of white pants and a gold silk top. As she pulled on the attire, her eyes searched the room for her makeup case. The moment she spotted it next to the leather sofa, she felt totally relieved that she hadn’t left it behind. Standing before the bathroom mirror, Gabrielle was pleased with her appearance. She loved how her long hair fell around her shoulders and how flawlessly she had applied her makeup. Gabrielle picked up her gold purse and dropped her cabin key inside. Just as she stepped out the door, Cameron came out of the cabin right next to hers. He looked sexy dressed in dark dress slacks and a powder-blue silk shirt. She couldn’t help wondering if his assigned quarters were really that close to hers or if he’d been visiting someone.

      As Cameron’s eyes fell upon her, she felt butterflies in her stomach. His devastating smile made her weak in the knees. “Seeing you so soon is a nice surprise.”

      Cameron walked the few steps to where she stood. “I was hoping to see you before we began working together. Have you made any special plans?”

      Gabrielle shrugged with nonchalance. “I just decided to do a little exploring.”

      He grinned. “Perhaps I could be your tour guide for the evening. Would you mind?”

      “Not at all.” Gabrielle was pleased by his offer. “It’d be easy to get lost on this vessel.”

      “It happens often, Dr. Grinage. One wrong turn can get you all out of sorts. How about starting on the fifth level where most of the live action is?”

      Gabrielle smiled brightly. “It’s fine with me. Lead the way, Dr. Quinn.”

      He stopped short of offering her his arm. It was inappropriate. “I’d like it if you’d simply call me Cameron. Is it okay to call you Gabrielle? It’s a lovely name.”

      “Thank you, Cameron. I like being on a first-name basis with my coworkers.”

      * * *

      The neon lights and glamorous decor found on Parisian Boulevard astounded Gabrielle. She’d never taken a cruise before, and she was amazed. A bevy of specialty shops shone inside and out with dazzling lights. The colorful and brightly lit Champs-Elysées Casino was located on the same level. Cameron gave her a brief tour of the gambling facility. It wasn’t his favorite place to hang out because he didn’t like throwing away hard-earned money.

      “All these bells and lights from the slot machines and screams from winners are exciting,” Gabrielle said.

      He shrugged. “True enough, but there’s a downside to the excitement. The cruise liners make it easy for people to gamble away their money by borrowing funds against their credit card. Most people think they can make up the losses.”

      Gabrielle hunched her shoulders. “I’ve never gambled. I’m not sure I can feed money into an inanimate object and expect it to pay me back handsomely. But from the excited sounds in here, there seems to be lots of winners.”

      “Most definitely, but far more are losers,” Cameron remarked. “It’s one thing to have fun gambling and something totally different to be addicted.”

      “I hadn’t thought of that. But I don’t have to worry about it. I’m a cheapskate, a budgeter. I don’t just give away money.”

      “I wish I knew how to keep a tighter budget. I tend to splurge every now and then, but I usually have something to show for it. Maybe you can give me some pointers.”

      “You got it. I have a great book on financial planning in my cabin. You can read it if you’d like. It helped me out a lot.”

      “If you don’t mind bringing it to the clinic tomorrow, I’ll take good care of it.”

      Gabrielle nodded. “You’ll have it in the morning.”

      As the tour proceeded, Cameron showed Gabrielle both formal dining rooms, the Paris and the Marseille.

      “Let’s go back to Parisian Boulevard,” Cameron suggested. “There’s plenty of duty-free shops.”

      As Cameron and Gabrielle made their way back to Parisian Boulevard, they passed by several music venues. It seemed to her that music was offered all over the ship, like the live calypso and reggae she’d heard inside and outside on the main deck for hours on end. There was even a jumbo LED screen that showed special movies, concerts, sports and other entertainment.

      “Would you like to get something to drink?” Cameron asked.

      “All this walking has me a bit thirsty. I’d like a cold soda or iced tea.” Gabrielle was glad she’d chosen to wear flat sandals. In heels, her feet would have taken a good pounding.

      “We’ll go into one of the lounges where we can listen to music. I don’t

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