Nomad's Force

Terry Henry Walton Chronicles Book 9

Snippet 10

By Craig Martelle and Michael Anderle

UNEDITED

Cancun

     After cleaning fish for two days, Terry and Char had enough credits to find a sailboat to crew.

     Char wore her bikini and Terry wore the swim trunks that she had picked up for him in San Francisco. They strolled casually to the harbor where they picked the biggest boat and then worked their way down the line.

     Everyone stopped to stare as Char was probably the most remarkable woman who had ever stepped on the docks. Her bikini left little to the imagination, which made the men gawk.

     “You’re going to start a riot,” Terry whispered.

     “Seems like it,” Char replied with a smile, nodding to deck hands as she walked past one of the smaller boats.

     The largest boat had a full crew and an old captain. He waved Char and Terry away as they approached. “Hell no!” he yelled gruffly.

     “We just want to work and yours is the finest ship here,” Char called to him.

     “Hell no! A woman looks like you? My crew will be distracted and make mistakes. And you hold no attraction to me. My baby is right here under my feet. Now scram!”

     “He’s got a point,” Terry whispered out the side of his mouth as he and Char turned toward the next largest sailboat.

     The look on the next captain’s face told them that they had found what they were looking for. He leered as he looked at her, while keeping an eye on his small crew to see if they were watching.

     “Ahoy!” Char called. “We know how to sail, and we’re looking for work. We’d like to join your crew.”

     The man pointed to the gangplank. “Not him. Only room for one,” the captain said, crossing his arms and stretching himself upright.

     “We’re kind of a package deal,” Char told him.

     “Nope,” the captain insisted.

     “Sorry,” Char replied and walked away with an extra bounce in her step, an extra swing of her hips.

     “Wait,” the captain said firmly. “Come on. Let’s see what you can do.”

     The man couldn’t take his eyes from Char as she easily crossed the gangplank and stood on the gently rocking deck. She balanced as if she were born to the sea. No one noticed Terry as he stood in her shadow.

     “You, top of the mast for watch,” the captain ordered, pointing to Terry. TH acknowledged with a half-assed salute and jumped to the knotted rope, climbing quickly to the top. “Prepare to cast off lines!”

     The crew tried not to look at their captain’s latest prize as they went about their duties.

     Char watched what they were doing to see if she and Terry could sail the ship by themselves.

     Guess we should have thought about that before picking this one, she thought.

     Terry was crouched in the crow’s nest looking over the harbor and to the horizon. He saw her watching him and waggled his fingers at her. She shook her head before returning her attention to the captain. She joined him aft, by the tiller.

     “Where do you want me?” she asked shyly.

     “I think you know,” the captain said thrusting his chest out. He was lean as were most people in the world after the fall. His face was weathered even though he was still a young man.

     “I really don’t know. I can drive the boat, or work the sails, or clean the deck. But I need something to do. I can’t in good conscience just stand here and do nothing,” Char replied honestly.

     “You’ll be doing something soon enough,” the captain replied, not taking his eyes from the harbor as the boat started to pick up speed. The foresail had been deployed and billowed with the breeze.

     “This is a ketch, isn’t it?” Char asked, knowingly exactly what the sailboat was. “The mainmast is forward and larger than the after mast.”

     “Maybe you do know about sailing. How come I haven’t seen you before? You know that you’re hard to miss,” he said more conversationally.

     Maybe I won’t have to kill you, Char thought, as Terry enjoyed his perch, swinging back and forth as he looked ahead, seeing only Isla Mujeres to the northeast amid the dark blue of the deeper gulf.

Check out Craig Martelle's other books and learn more about his life in Alaska at http://www.craigmartelle.com