The summer I went temporarily insane.
I’m often asked what I do to relax and rejuvenate. How do I refill the well? I figure if doing crazy things doesn’t qualify, I don’t know what does.
For the past seven years my daughter, granddaughter and I have left the husbands at home while we girls traveled the world seeking adventure. And I do mean girls, the baby was seven when we went in search of our first big exploration. She’s like one of the fish now! We’ve snorkeled with almost every species of fish, my granddaughter being the brave one of the bunch, she’s held varieties I can’t even pronounce.
Seven years – seven different countries, and it was time to visit one of the best snorkeling areas in the world. Belize and its barrier reef offered more fish and some of the deepest water we’d ever ventured into.
So I pulled on my mask, inserted the snorkel mouth piece, nodded at the guide, and dropped from the side of the boat into the warm water. We’d already watch dolphins playing a few feet off the boat dock at the hotel, but now we were venturing into new territory.
The water got colder as we moved further away from the boat into deep water. Peering down into the abyss a huge black shadow passed under me. OMG. We’d arrive in shark alley.
Me? In shark alley? What the hell was I thinking? Not to worry, one of our guides reminded me, nurse sharks aren’t interested in eating people.
Sharks were everywhere. They were magnificent, long, sleek, and cold eyed. Even though they seemed perfectly content to let us human beings handle them, I admit to being intimidated.
It was the experience of a lifetime. Not one I’m likely to repeat for a while, but trips like these free the mind from day to day chores. While I’m on the girls trip, I don’t work for six days. I eat, relax, read, and enjoy my girls. Without fail, they bring me home ready to get back to work.
The Green-Eyed Doll blurb:
Catherine McCoy is on the run. For the past year, she’s been on the move, hiding the secrets and guilt in her heart. When she lands in small-town Texas and meets Sheriff Matt Ballard, he ignites a flame she thought lost forever.
Matt has scars of his own. He left the big city after an undercover operation went bad and his partner was killed. Now, as Matt hunts for a serial killer who paints his victims’ faces like porcelain dolls, Catherine becomes a safe haven for him. Two tortured souls finding comfort in each other’s arms—until he uncovers her secret, and their bond of trust is broken.
When Catherine disappears, Matt races to find her, fearing the murderer has found his next green-eyed doll. But the killer has a surprise coming. Catherine will fight to the death before she’ll be a victim again. Will her determination be enough?
Catherine paced and argued with herself. Should she stay or go home? She’d told Matt he’d need a friend after the first woman went missing and now this. She couldn’t imagine the pressure he must be under. Her plan was to have a hot supper waiting for him. She’d basted and basted until the roast withered and fell apart. The once firm potatoes? Mush. The gravy was a light brown paste.
Benedict Arnold stood and trotted to the back door before Catherine heard Matt’s pickup. The dog was glad to know Matt was home, too. She leaned back against the kitchen counter and waited.
“Hey.” A lame greeting, but seeing him stunned her speechless.
Dark circles and cold, weary, blue eyes marred his Michelangelo face. His black hair fell in disarray and looked like he’d raked his fingers through a number of times today. His chiseled jaw and chin were dark with a long day’s stubble. With a couple of long strides, he pinned her between him and the counter. He framed her face with his hands, closed his eyes, and lowered his forehead to hers. They stood in silence for a long time, unmoving, their bodies not touching. Fear for the missing woman radiated off him.
His anguish, more than she’d planned for, hit her hard. His dedication and concern, traits she admired, shook her conviction that no man could be trusted. His tenderness, something she’d never had, touched a long-neglected place in her soul.
In that small space of time, where no one else in the world existed, Catherine’s heart found hope. Tears, she’d promised herself never to shed again, slid unchecked down her cheeks. But these tears weren’t because of her pain or grief. She cried because Matt suffered and grieved for the missing woman. She slid her arms around him, stroking his tense muscles.
“Hey, yourself.” He leaned back and studied her face. The warmth behind his eyes returned as he wiped away her tears with the pads of his thumbs. “Were those for me?”
She nodded and emotions swirled in her head. Catherine struggled to regain her perspective. “I have to remove no more tears from the Never list.”
“Why would you hold yourself to such a never?”
“The only thing crying gets you are red eyes.”
“Okay, tough guy. Maybe someday you’ll trust me enough to explain. Why’d you break a rule for me?”
“The worry for Annie Travers in your eyes broke my heart. I’ve never known anyone with your compassion and dedication.”
“Careful.” The corners of his mouth lifted. “You’ll be calling me John Wayne again.”
“Same soul.” She pushed a lock of black hair off his face. He caught her wrist in his hand.
“Stop, Catherine. I’m nobody’s hero. I failed miserably in that department.”
A student of creative writing in her youth, Jerrie set aside her passion when life presented her with a John Wayne husband, and two wonderful children. A career in logistics offered her the opportunity to travel to many beautiful locations in America, and she revisits them in her romantic suspense novels.
But the characters went with her, talked to her, and insisted she share their dark, sexy stories with others. She writes alpha males and kick-ass women who weave their way through death and fear to emerge stronger because of, and on occasion in spite of, their love for each other. She likes to torture people, make them suffer, and if they’re strong enough, they live happily ever after.
Jerrie lives in Texas, loves sunshine, children’s laughter, sugar (human and granulated), and researching for her heroes and heroines.