Waves of Passion. Linda Hudson-Smith
“I know that there’s minimal free time. Still, I’m pleased with my decision.”
Cameron chuckled. “Let’s see how you feel after the first month.”
Gabrielle eyed him with curiosity. “Is that a warning?”
“Hardly. I just want to know your thoughts after working aboard for a while.”
“I’ll be sure to tell you. Have any of your crew members been unhappy?”
“That’s an understatement. There are some folks who can’t hack it. They think the job is glamour and glitz until they’re aboard for a week or so. Most of those who quit leave very early. It doesn’t take long for the boys and girls to separate themselves from the men and women.”
Gabrielle smiled. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were trying to scare me.”
Cameron stopped and looked into Gabrielle’s eyes. “I’m just answering. I’d never frighten you on purpose.”
Feeling herself getting lost in his intense gaze, Gabrielle looked away. “I won’t ask any more questions. I’ll wait and see what happens with me.”
The urge to take her hand to reassure her pulled at Cameron, but he didn’t dare. Holding her hand was too intimate for what could only be a working relationship between them. Although he found her extremely attractive and very sexy, he had to abide by his own rules, no matter how hard it might become.
* * *
At the Cannes Lounge Gabrielle and Cameron were escorted to a table near the piano bar by a hostess with a bubbly personality. Once they were seated, she took their drink orders and left.
Cameron settled back in the plush chair. “This is a nice place to relax. The guy who plays the piano and sings is excellent. He normally does the top forty and on some nights he plays oldies but goodies. Do you like the karaoke scene?”
Gabrielle chuckled. “I love to listen to people who can’t sing, yet are brave enough to get up there and give it a shot. I don’t have that kind of courage. What about you?”
“I don’t sound too bad, but I’d have to be feeling pretty good to put myself on display. I do sing in the shower though.”
“I—” Gabrielle cut her response short as the hostess set the drinks on the table.
“What were you going to say?” Cameron asked.
“I also sing in the shower. The sound of my own voice isn’t that bad to me, though it might be terrifying to others.” She chuckled then lifted her glass of iced tea. “Here’s to us building a great working relationship, Cameron. I believe we’ll work well together.”
Cameron raised his glass. “Hear, hear. We’ve already managed to break the ice quite nicely. If there is anything you need help with on the job, don’t be afraid to let me know. I’m a great supervisor, Gabrielle, a really fair and patient one.”
Gabrielle smiled softly. “I can believe that about you. You seem down-to-earth.”
The couple smiled warmly at each other as they clinked together their glasses.
* * *
Freshly showered and ready for bed, Gabrielle climbed in between the sheets. She had a feeling that she wouldn’t be sleeping alone tonight. Cameron’s strong presence wasn’t going away anytime soon. The great impression he’d made on her would stay with her for a long time. She wouldn’t mind him sleeping next to her, even if it was only in her dreams. Sighing, Gabrielle positioned the extra pillow against her abdomen and wrapped her arms around it.
Seated on the chaise lounge, Gabrielle waited for the sun to make its appearance. In the city she’d never seen this many bright stars in the sky at night, unless she was near a beach in her hometown. It was a breathtaking experience. Awed by the vision, she sighed. The sea was calm and she finally felt the same. The slight movement of the ship was hypnotic. Although the humongous vessel cut through the waters with great speed, she could barely feel it.
It was still very early in the morning, but Gabrielle had slept fitfully throughout the night. She had tossed and turned repeatedly, as had her mind. The last time she’d awakened, she hadn’t been able to get back to sleep. With dawn so close, she’d gotten out of bed to experience a sunrise at sea. She’d put on a white velour bathrobe, then stepped out onto the balcony and been instantly welcomed with a warm breeze.
From the moment Gabrielle’s head had hit the pillow, just before midnight, her thoughts had been filled with the fantastic time she’d spent with Cameron. He was a true gentleman, and she already liked him a lot. His shaking her hand before they’d departed had spoken volumes. It saddened her that they couldn’t have a romantic liaison, but she’d find contentment in working alongside him in the clinic. He wasn’t the first desirable man to be off-limits to her.
Gabrielle reminded herself that she was here to do a job, which she felt was an amazing experience, one that she’d never have on land. She was eager to learn as much as she could from Cameron. By the time her first five months were up, she’d be able to execute the most important procedures and policies of the clinic.
There had been so many personal questions she had wanted to ask Cameron but she hadn’t dared to. Whether he had a current girlfriend or fiancée was constantly on her mind. She couldn’t imagine a man as good-looking as him without a woman, but she also figured it might be hard for him to get involved with anyone aboard the ship, especially anyone from his staff.
There wasn’t a shortage of females on the cruise, but he hadn’t seemed to notice anyone in particular last night. He’d given her his undivided attention. She had delighted in every moment of it despite the fact that they would never be anything other than coworkers.
Getting up from the chaise lounge, she leaned over the railing and stared down onto the dark waters. To help clear her head, she inhaled deeply. The air didn’t smell polluted. In fact, there wasn’t any kind of unpleasant scent wafting upward from the sea.
The perfectly formed sun appeared to rise majestically right out of the ocean. Slowly, unambiguously, the round, orangey-yellow ball of dazzling light wended its way into the heavens. With a smile on her face, she watched the incredible ascent.
* * *
Freshly showered, with only a bath towel wrapped around his waist, Cameron stood in front of the bathroom mirror in his cabin suite. As he carefully shaved overnight stubble, he couldn’t keep his mind off Gabrielle. He could still smell the beguiling perfume that had tantalized and teased his nostrils unmercifully all evening. Nuzzling her neck with his nose had been a constant temptation for him, making him wish things could be different.
An image of her long chestnut hair flowing like a silk curtain had stayed with him. He’d wondered if she wore the thick single French braid only when working. The hairstyle was flattering, but it hardly rivaled the sex appeal of its full-bodied silkiness sweeping her shoulders. As they’d strolled around the open deck, taking in the sights and sounds, the stirring winds had played in her hair, making his fingers itch for the same privilege.
Once Cameron finished shaving and brushing his teeth, he splashed on his favorite aftershave and cologne. Finished with his toiletries, he hastily left the bathroom and went into the bedroom, where he slipped on his white uniform.
Cameron sat on the side of the bed as he put a call in to room service, his regular morning ritual. He cheerfully greeted the person on the other line then made his usual order: one egg over medium, sausages, hot oatmeal, a carton of milk and hot coffee.
* * *
Surprised by the knock on her door so early, Gabrielle asked who was there as she peered out the security window.
“Room service,” replied a male voice.
After removing the safety locks, Gabrielle opened