Margaritas, abstinence and seawater don’t mix. Marie has reached an all-time low in her love life when she books a singles cruise. Her dinner date, Mr. Has-Possibilities, turns out to be Mr. Not-A-Chance-In-Hell and Marie finds herself alone on deck drunkenly saluting the dawn.
Tempting fate, she climbs the railing and accidentally plunges over the side of the ship. Stripped nude, blindfolded and creatively bound, Marie wakes up on Loki, one of the mysterious Vantril Islands. Jacob, Master of the island and leader of its hedonistic inhabitants, demands that Marie earn her freedom. For Marie, learning to submit to the Master’s will proves to be the hardest lesson of her previously mundane life.
Type: Short Story
Company: Ellora’s Cave Publishing
Marie was drunk. Yep, no fancy phrase could disguise it. She was staggering, word-slurring, sloppy drunk. In her defense, her designated dinner date had been all wrong for her. How could someone so good-looking and impeccably well-dressed be so flawed? She sighed. Damn those dessert drinks, especially those fishbowl-sized margaritas. The only good part of the evening was when the clock struck twelve and Mr. Narcissist retreated to his cabin, leaving her to salvage her evening alone. As for her pride, it was in tatters.
What did a woman have to do to get laid? She hadn’t had sex in such a long time she was beginning to consider herself a virgin. She’d tried personal ads, online dating sites and speed dating. Her friends had set her up on an endless number of disastrous blind dates. And now here she was alone on a singles cruise of all things. How could she have let herself sink this low?
She clung to the cruise ship’s railing, trying not to watch the roll and dip of the waves below her. They moved in opposition to her own internal rhythm, one that was going to cause her to vomit shortly. How utterly charming.
Marie glanced at her watch. The ship should pass by the Vantril Islands anytime now. Earlier in the evening the captain had announced they’d be skirting the privately owned islands, believed to be ruled by a shaman of some sort. No cruise ships were allowed. No tourists were taken in. Imports and exports were closely curtailed. How had a society like that survived unscathed into this century?
The islands were the perfect mystery to take her mind off her failed cruise. And about the only thing she had left that would.
There was no one on deck to witness the event but her. Who would deliberately wake at four in the morning to see a group of rocks? Marie, however, had a degree in geology and despite being horribly drunk was quite excited to see the islands.
All right, who was she kidding? She was still awake and she doubted she’d have risen from a drunken stupor especially for the occasion. Hell, she was lucky she still remembered the captain’s words.
And as if the gods were really out to screw with her, being drunk made her horribly horny. If the devil himself appeared she’d jump his bones and ask questions later. Sell her soul for good sex? Hell yes. Even mediocre sex was better than nothing. Where was a decent demon when one needed one?
The sea wind snapped the flag above her. She jumped.
The devil, like most typical males in her life, was a no-show and so she remained alone on deck, waiting to see a pile of forbidden rocks, the highlight of her cruise.
“Welcome to Marie’s pity party.” She toasted the sight of the islands, finished off the last of whatever she’d been drinking and tossed the empty cup on a lounge chair.
The islands were still a good distance off, shrouded in the darkness and the mist. She thought she could make out a ribbon of pale sand before the earth rose to cliff height, a broken fragment of sheer onyx. The fine hairs on her arms rose. She rubbed her arms, eyes straining. She should have borrowed a pair of binoculars.
Too late now. There weren’t even any crew members around to ask for assistance.
She couldn’t tear her eyes from the view. The islands teased her like a burlesque dancer. A hint of rock here. Fog hiding the beach there. She followed the view, walking the length of the ship to keep the islands in sight. Reaching the ship’s stern, she found her view blocked by the lifeboats. She climbed the cabled railing, trying to see past the boats and other necessary clutter.
Kicking off her heels, she balanced on the cables, leaning forward to catch one last glimpse. The wind, stirred by the ship’s movements, rustled the edges of her dress, ruffled her hair. She smelled the salt of the sea, heard the seagulls in the distance cry. The islands beckoned, a hint of the rising sun highlighting one of the mountain’s jagged peaks.
Then she simply lost her balance and tumbled over the side of the ship.
She blamed the alcohol.
Her first gulp was half air, half seawater. She screamed, a gurgling, choked sound. The ship continued to slice through the water, propellers churning, water lapping its sides, abandoning her like the hulking, thoughtless machine it was.