UPDATE: The winner is…Sara D!
Ripples by Delilah Devlin
A former Special Forces soldier, looking forward to the peace and quiet of his new houseboat, finds his solitude shattered by the arrival of his neighbor and her kid.
First, thank you for this! The authors of Silver Soldiers are very grateful for your attention and support!
Every author will be sharing a single image that represents their story. These “In One Picture” posts will be their chance to tell you about their story and what inspired it, and hopefully, inspire you to read the story. To make sure you all eagerly await these posts, there will be contests! So stay tuned!
As for me, I’ve always, always wanted to live on a houseboat—or at least I’ve wanted to since I lived in Melbourne, Florida, many moons ago, and had a friend who lived on one. I’m a “water baby”—I love the ambiance, the motion, the freedom. I love to swim. I love the beach. Yes, I know houseboats are a maintenance nightmare, but if I didn’t have a family that loves having me here on the homestead, and if I wasn’t getting on in years, I’d absolutely do it. And that friend with the houseboat? Total inspiration for my lonely ex-soldier.
Snippet from “Ripples”…
The boat rocked, scraping the side of the dock. The sound woke Joe from his dreams. He stretched his arms and then rolled onto his back. When he did, he squinted his eyes against the sunshine streaming into his window.
A loud gasp sounded nearby, and he blinked, his eyes focusing on a wide-eyed stare from a woman on the boat next to him. For a moment, he froze, his head lifting from the pillow. He raised a hand to give her a friendly wave, then realized why she was staring. His cock had also risen.
Quickly, he flipped the sheet over his hips and reached up to turn the blinds closed.
So much for privacy. And now, the woman across the way probably thought he was some kind of pervert.
Sighing, he rubbed a hand over his face. Ah hell. Great way to make a first impression.
Maybe he ought to shave and make his way over there to apologize. He glanced down his body and thought he ought to do something about that first, though. Not that he would think about the pretty woman who’d stared, seemingly fixated by his morning wood. Nope, he was just doing this so he could be politely unaroused when next they met.
Afterward, he showered, brushed his teeth, scraped a razor over his morning shadow, and finger-combed his hair. That was the limit to his grooming these days. His tank top and wrinkled cargo shorts would have to do.
Stepping off his boat onto the dock, he wasn’t quite sure what good manners required. To knock on her door, he’d have to climb onto her boat. Somehow, that seemed intrusive, and she might think it was creepy after the eyeful he’d given her.
Gritting his teeth because he just wanted to get this over with, like pulling a Band-Aid off a scab, he stepped onto the boat and called out, “Hello?”
He approached the door and lifted his hand to knock, but the door swung open, and the woman from earlier blinked up at him. A blush instantly spilled across her cheeks.
“Sorry about earlier,” he said, his voice gruff. Embarrassment was making his cheeks hot, too. “I didn’t think anyone was here…on this boat. I’ve been here a week… didn’t see anyone.” Stop with the excuses. “I’ll be sure to wear shorts next time…or turn down the blinds.”
She was even prettier now that he could see her clearly without sunshine blinding him. Pretty and slender with blond hair that fell in loose waves around her shoulders. Her face was lightly lined. He guessed she was probably around the same age as he was. Her eyes were blue or green, but he wasn’t about to stare too long to figure out which. He’d already overstepped polite boundaries.
“I just came to apologize,” he said and turned to go, worried now because she hadn’t said a thing, and he wondered if he ought to expect a visit from the police for indecent exposure.
“Where are the Rossis?” she called after him, her voice a little sharp. “Are you related to them?”
Did she think he’d tossed them overboard and stolen their boat? He glanced over his shoulder. Her expression wasn’t accusatory, just curious. “I bought the boat from them. They’re moving into assisted living. Nora said their boating days were over; she was having trouble getting around the boat and the dock, and Ted wanted to be closer to a golf course.”
She nodded, and her gaze swept over him. “So, are you living out here?” Her eyebrows rose. “Sorry, that’s none of my business.”
He grunted. “I figure you earned an answer, seeing as I gave you a start earlier.”
Her lips pressed together like she was trying to suppress a smile. “For just a second, I thought it was Ted and was hoping he didn’t have his glasses on so he wouldn’t know I’d seen him. But then…” she paused and cleared her throat.
“You took a closer look…?” he said, narrowing his eyes while a smile tugged at his mouth.
Her eyes widened. “I didn’t mean to, I swear, but…there were only a few feet of water between us, and I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing,” she said, waving a hand toward his midsection.
He grinned. “I’m living here. You?”
Her smile was slow and a little crooked as she gave him a sheepish look. “Living here for the foreseeable future.”
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