Note to readers: CruiseMates' Singles Editor and New York Times best-selling author Patricia Hagan has written a romance novel called OCEAN OF DREAMS. As a new feature on CruiseMates, we will be publishing installments for our readers every Tuesday and Thursday. For previous chapters, use the links on the top of the column on the right.
Shivering in the night air, Jenny was about to turn and go back inside but hesitated as she saw the lights of a ship on the horizon, far, far away. It reminded her of a poem she had once loved. She tried to recall the words, murmuring out loud as she gazed towards the light. "Ships that pass in the night�" But what was the next line? Suddenly it seemed so important to remember, a needed balm in her loneliness.
From the shadows, Kirk Moen had been wondering whether he should make his presence known. Ever since their meeting at the elevator he had thought about her. Maybe she was different from the rest of the women he had known and not the type just to live out a fantasy, not caring whose heart was broken in the process. It might not even make any difference if she knew who he really was.
Taking a deep breath, he stepped forward to recite softly the rest of the poem she was trying to remember. "Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness. So on the ocean of life we pass and speak to one another, only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence." She stared at him in wonder.
It was him. The good looking officer.
He smiled in the moonlight. "It's from Longfellow's 'Elizabeth, IV.' "
"Thank you." She managed to find her voice and stammered, "It�it seemed apropos, somehow."
A beautiful poem but with a sad connotation. People shouldn't pass like ships in the night. They should take time to get to know each other." He moved to stand beside her at the railing.
Jenny did not know what to say, because his nearness was so disconcerting.
"Allow me to introduce myself," he said. "Kirk Moen. I'm the Staff Captain."
"I'm Jenny Denton." She held out her hand to shake his. "I'm pleased to meet you."
"I understand you are the young lady who wants the Valhalla contract for Publicity and Promotion."
"That's right. Word travels fast."
"I was told you were coming on board, and I was planning to call you tomorrow and offer my assistance."
"That's nice of you. I can use a guided tour. This boat is so big."
He laughed and gently chided, "The Misty Seas is a ship. Not a boat. Remember, you can put a boat on a ship, but not a ship on a boat."
"Aye, aye, sir!" She gave him a sharp salute, hoping the humor would help cover the maelstrom of emotions churning within at his nearness.
Suddenly, the wind seemed to pick up, and Jenny actually staggered a step backward from its vicious assault. Kirk caught her arm. "I think we'd better go inside now. I was reading a weather bulletin in the radio room a little while ago that said to expect squalls tonight."
His hand closed about her arm. Jenny felt a warm rush at his possessive touch and regretted its release seconds later.
They were standing in a small lobby between the entrance to a bar on one side and a nightclub on the other. They found themselves surrounded by people moving about, but, as their gazes met and held, it was as though no one else existed in the whole world.
TO BE CONTINUED...
To read the other chapters, use the links on the top of the column on the right.