This is an excerpt from near the beginning of my WIP novel with the working title, Ruby. It is part of a scene where the MC’s meet. I was having a bit of fun with the Aussie/French connection. May be too corny, but at the moment I thought it met the criteria for the Share Your Darlings Blogfest, even if these darlings get killed off in the editing process…please read and enjoy a bit of escapism..
The moment Ruby laid eyes on him she knew she was about to make a mistake.
Ruby was comfortable in her body, she had been for twenty-three years, yet suddenly she felt someone had tripped her wires. Everything had gone beserk. She felt a stranger to these feelings coursing through her veins, surging through her from head to toe. Not only was she in a foreign country, she felt she was a foreigner in her own body.
She managed a tremulous ‘Bonjour, je m’apelle Ruby,’ while holding out a perfectly manicured hand. Michael saw that she was his fantasy come to life— a glorious mane of long red curls, mysterious green eyes, heart-shaped face, lips of an angel. He couldn’t drag his eyes away. He watched her lips move, imagining kissing them.
‘I’m a great fan of whales,’ she continued, looking up quizzically, and blushing fiercely as if she could read his mind, ‘but today is my first trip to see them in their natural habitat. It’s been one of the most exciting days of my life, without a doubt.’ She hadn’t realised this until she spoke it out loud. It was the truth. She nodded her head, then turned her gaze back out to sea. Sensing he was looking at her, she turned back, meeting his eyes.
He reached out his hand to her small one. Ruby felt little electric tingles filtering through their clasped fingers. Michael seemed to sense something too—he couldn’t resist bending his head and kissing her tiny hand. Was it a French custom? he asked himself, No, you clot; they kiss each other on both cheeks a million times! Better not go there.
‘I’m Michael Asher, your skipper,’ he smiled, ‘Ruby…I agree...whales have that effect on you. I’m out here nearly every day of the season and I never take them for granted.’ Letting go of her hand, he moved beside her so they were both leaning against the rail, gazing out over the ocean. They watched the beautiful creatures in a thrilling silence. There was no need for words, they’d made their connection. The whales were communicating for them.
Ruby loved how he’d kissed her hand. Was it an Australian custom? Somehow she doubted it. She’d heard that Australian men had no finesse, were dismissive of women. Yet he had made this sweet gesture, so gentlemanly, so sexy, so Sea Captain. She was shivering with delight. She looked down where their hands lay close together on the rail. His hands were burnished gold, no doubt from hours at sea. Hers looked so palely white beside his. She knew if she touched his hand, sparks would be zipping all over the place.
Rubbing her chilled fingers together, she wallowed in the sweet tension, never wanting this moment to end. She felt a primordial force drawing her to Michael, the whales, the ocean.
‘Look!’ Michael shouted, grabbing her hand again. ‘Over there!’ Ruby struggled to see in the failing light, but following his pointing finger she could make out some dark shapes turning in the frothy water, shapes silhouetted in the beginnings of a glorious sunset. The colours were magnificent – the sky had turned a soft pastel, with fluorescent orange stripes edging the clouds. Closer to the horizon there were transparent purples and a shade of jewel green Ruby had never seen before.
Ruby took it all in. She had to fight the urge to reach in her backpack for her camera but she decided this moment was more to be savoured in the flesh than digitally. She wasn’t risking losing the magic. Moments like these were rare. She took a ragged breath and with her green eyes wide with wonder, she leaned into the rail, side by side with Michael, drinking in the glorious sight.
‘These Australian sunsets will take some getting used to. I’ve seen some beautiful sunsets in France, especially in Nice,' she whispered in awe, 'but these Australian colours are different. Add whales and dolphins to the mix and it’s miraculous!’ Ruby knew she was gushing, but she couldn’t help it. She was blown away, her emotions heightened.
They both stared intently at the pod of humpbacks. Ruby’s heart was thumping with joy and delight every time their tails hit the water.
‘This is amazing!’ she shouted above the noise as other passengers came out to watch. ‘I don’t want this day to end, ever!’
Ruby felt her cheeks turning as red as her hair. She knew she sounded like a child, but she couldn’t help herself. Today she was on holiday, responsibilities cast aside. She wanted to scream out loud!
Michael glanced at his watch, turned to her, obviously amused at her enthusiasm.
‘There are many hours in the day yet Ruby. I’ve got to return to the bridge now. We’re getting close to port.’ He sounded regretful. ‘Maybe I’ll catch you before you leave the boat? Will you wait for me? Maybe dinner?’ His eyes searched hers.
‘Yes. Yes. Yes.’
Tipping his hat to her, he clattered up the ladder to the bridge. He had to stop himself from yodelling on top of his voice.