||Oct 1 2000
Everyone on the romantic Caribbean cruise has plans. Sara intends to decide about a marriage proposal. Mike plans to find a fun-loving woman for the empty half of his honeymoon bed. Someone plans to kill Sara. No one intends to fall in love. But in the sultry tropical nights, the best-laid plans....
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Mike Garson is on the prowl. He looks over the women lined up for the
cruise he's taking -- a trip that was meant to be his honeymoon. When Mike
returned from his assignment in Africa for the wedding, he found his fiancée had
eloped with her boss. She had accepted Mike's proposal to put pressure on
her lover! Though he wasn't in love with Angela, Mike's pride is bruised and his faith in women shattered. He is taking the cruise determined to have a short-term affair.
Sara Tolberg is checking out the cruise for her father's travel business,and using the time to make up her mind what to do about Stephen Cafik. Her father is urging her to marry Stephen, but Sara isn't sure she's ready to settle for less than love.
Sara immediately draws Mike's attention. Though he classifies her as another
insincere blonde, she could be just what he's looking for. Sees Sara
checking her watch during a goodbye kiss from her would-be fiancé, he
watches as Sara's briefcase is snatched from her side. Mike chases the
thief and manages to recover the bag.
Mike and Sara hit it off as he's forced to look beyond the image he had of
her and see the sense of humor and personality beneath the looks. He offers
to "pretend" they're involved to spare Sara from being hit on by passengers
and staff alike. Sara agrees, partly because Mike doesn't press her, but
she's finding it hard to resist him.
Odd things begin happening to Sara -- phone calls in the middle of the
night, items missing from her cabin, and people following her and Mike
while they tour Cancun! She can't understand what anyone could possibly be
looking for, and when threats are made on her life, she turns to Mike for support.
As the threats grow, Mike and Sara must solve the mystery of why someone
Is threatening Sara. Will their brief affair have the chance to become something more?
She went out the first set of doors that led out to the deck and tasted the warm sea air. She walked slowly, enjoying and getting used to the slight rolling motion of the ship. When she reached the railing at the stern, she stood quietly and absorbed the sensations of being at sea. Although the ship was much smaller than some of the newer cruise ships, it was almost eighteen thousand tons. However, in the black tropical night, it seemed tiny and totally isolated. They were far enough off the coast of Florida to make it impossible to see a light on any horizon. Only the curling crests of the wake caught the light from the decks and splashed an eerie trail of white foam on the dark sea. The awesome silence was overlaid by the humming of the great engines and the rushing sound of water against the ship's hull.
Sara filled her lungs, then exhaled slowly. There was something intoxicating about the smell of clean salt air. The almost imperceptible, undulating motion of the ship and the warm sea breeze that caressed her skin were more seductive than any human lover she could imagine. Alone here, she was conscious only of the sensuous beauty of the night and the vastness of the dark ocean.
Two decks above, Mike stood looking down at her. She was truly lovely. Her long pale hair was being lifted by the wind and the lush curves of her body were outlined against the sheen of the night sea. Something in her posture communicated to him an unexpected
serenity and deep sensuality.
What was the matter with him? Why was he up here mooning like a lovesick adolescent? This ethereal vision was the same shallow woman he had seen at the airport, bored with the kiss of her current lover. He wanted a playmate not a soulmate. And if he wanted to be the man to take that delectable body to his bed, he had better make his move now.
At dinner, Mike had been watching the subtle advances of the elegant Greek sommelier. Women who traveled alone were fair game in the cruise business, he'd been told. Of course, if he worked on a cruise ship and enjoyed providing romance on the high seas to single women, gorgeous Sara with her unusual eyes and corn-silk hair would be his first choice. Hell, he realized with a jolt, she was his choice.
And he was going to stake his claim before anyone else did.
Too late. Just as he started down the outside stairway, he saw a man approach the railing where she stood. Even though he was now attired in casual slacks and a white silk knit shirt, Mike recognized him as the wine steward. He was too far away to hear what the man wassaying.
"A little mal de mer ?"
The lightly accented male voice startled Sara. She reluctantly drew her eyes from the mesmerizing action of the waves in the silver light. The slender, dark haired man looked vaguely familiar to her.
"Not me," she said with an open smile. "I'm never seasick. I love every minute at sea. I've been looking forward to being alone with the ocean," she hinted. She did not like to be rude, but she was not the slightest bit interested in his company.
He was not going to be put off so easily.
"You don't recognize me?" His smile revealed an excellent set of teeth. "I'm Stavros ... the sommelier." When she didn't react, he clarified, "The wine steward. I noticed you at dinner. It was my impression that you are not traveling with a companion?"
He was hovering, his hand very close to hers on the railing.
"Actually, I..." She wanted to discourage him at the outset. "I do have a special friend on board," she said pleasantly but firmly. Looking about, she saw the tanned man from her table approaching fast. Mike, he'd said his name was. She smiled such a dazzling welcome that he looked startled for a split-second. But then he returned her smile.
Before she could speak, he slipped his arm around her waist and said, "So this is where you've been. I should have guessed. Shall we have that drink now, love?"
Love? she thought, suppressing a grin. He was certainly throwing himself wholeheartedly into this rescue.
"Yes," she said simply.
She waved a casual goodbye to Stavros, as Mike steered her away. The muscles of the arm that circled her back were rock hard and the warmth of his hand at her waist sent tiny currents of heat racing over her skin. He held her loosely but just close enough that his hard thigh grazed hers as they walked.
She wasn't used to being this aware of a man's body. In her teens, she had dreamed of sensual, romantic moments like this, but somehow they had never happened to her. Scenes that were supposed to be romantic became prosaic when she was involved. She had survived by learning to turn the awkward moments into light-hearted jokes. But for some reason, she didn't feel out of place tonight. The warm, moist air felt silky on her skin, dark clouds scudded across the face of the huge tropical moon, and it felt right to be here with a handsome, attentive man. She relaxed for a moment against his arm, savoring the mood.
She tensed. What was she doing? She took a deep breath and tried to sound casual. "Thanks for the help, again. You can take your arm away now."
When she saw the trace of bewilderment in his dark eyes, she grinned up at him to show that she had appreciated his act. "... Love," she added.
He gave her a friendly squeeze before he released her. She liked the way he held eye contact when he spoke to her. In fact, she suspected that she could grow to like a lot of things about this man. But that was not in her plans.
He grinned back. "I was afraid I was padding my part but I couldn't resist it. Forgive me. It's my first rescue of a fair lady."
Four Stars Kathy Boswell for Romantic Times Magazine
CHANGE OF PLANS (Romantic Suspense)
Mike Garson paid for a honeymoon cruise and he's going to enjoy it even if
his bride did skip out on him. As he stands in the airport girl-watching,
he notices a beautiful blonde being kissed by a guy he nicknames "gray
suit." The blonde glances at her watch in the middle of the kiss and
catches Mike watching her. The next thing Mike sees is a man briskly
walking by the couple and grabbing the woman's briefcase. Mike gives chase
and tackles the man.
This sets a chain of events in motion, that ultimately lead to Mike and
Sara Tolberg getting involved in an investigation of Sara's almost-fiancé and his so-called business. Sara has no way of knowing how corrupt Stephen Cafik is and how far he will go to assure that his plans will be carried out.
I felt as if I were on a roller coaster ride through this book. I stayed
on the edge of my seat, nibbling my nails until I finished. (dl $5.00, dk
Romance Reviews Today e-zine (http://www.romrevtoday.com)
Stephen Cafik is just the kind of son Sara Tolberg's father should have
had, but since he didn't the next best thing is to have him for a son-in-law. Sara is not in love with Stephen the way a woman should love her mate and needs some time to think. What better place than on a two-week Mexican Cruise? At the airport, her briefcase is stolen and a most
intriguing man, Mike Garson, rescues it. Before long she learns that Mike
is on the same cruise, and she knows the last thing she needs is involvement with another man.
As senior partner of Garson Construction International, Mike Garson has spent a lot of time traveling. After one of his business trips he returns home to find his fiancé married to another. Although he is shocked, he knows that they were not a perfect love match. Mike had planned a cruise
for their honeymoon and thinking `why let it go to waste?' he decides to take it by himself. Who knows--maybe he can have a carefree shipboard romance. From the time he arrives at the airport he is drawn to a beautiful blonde.
Onboard, Mike and Sara instantly make friends when they find they are
tablemates. Mike realizes Sara is much more than a woman to have a fling
with and he is deeply drawn to her. When mysterious things begin to happen
to Sara, he stands by her. Will the two be able to form a lasting romance amid the high seas?
CHANGE OF PLANS is a tale full of suspense, intrigue, action and a
beautiful romance. All aspects of this book blend into a splendid novel.
Mike Garson is the kind of man I could definitely lose my heart to. He iskind, patient, strong and a perfect gentleman. Sara is a woman who is determined to be independent, but soon realizes she needs Mike's help. The love scenes are sweet and tender and tastefully done. The two make a perfect couple and work well together solving the mystery surrounding Sara.
The descriptive narrative makes the reader feel as if they are taking in the salt air onboard the ship. The plot and sub-plots all tie into a neat little package at the end.
Ms Lloyd has penned a suspenseful story that will keep you on the edge of your seat well into the wee hours of the morning! Ms. Lloyd is an Eppie
winner in the contemporary romance category. This e-book is available
directly from LtdBooks, http://www.ltdbooks.com. I highly recommend CHANGE OF PLANS if you are in the mood for suspense and romance.
CHANGE OF PLANS
Embarking from Miami, Mike and Sara turn out to be tablemates for the
duration of their cruise, thus setting the scene for the romantic adventure
Dee Lloyd does so well. In the prologue, we found out that someone hates
Sara and plans to wreak vengeance on her, so when strange things begin to
happen to her on board, suspense builds. Mike eventually becomes caught up
in her problem, and when he calls upon a contact for help, they find
thingsmore complex than they first imagined. All the while, a passion develops
between Mike and Sara, more than can be blamed on the exotic venue.
It's obvious the author is familiar with the Yucatan Peninsula and the
Caribbean islands, for the setting becomes real. So do the characters.
Both Mike and Sara are mature individuals who are successful in their
professional lives, less so personally. A reader can sympathize as well as
admire them--the best kind of hero and heroine. Most of the supporting
casts are possible villains, making a fun who-dunnit puzzle. For a
romantic suspense that is skillfully constructed and smoothly written, I can
readily recommend CHANGE OF PLANS.
Reviewed by Julia for Writers Club Romance Group on AOL.
CHANGE OF PLANS, by Dee Lloyd, is an intensely romantic, wonderfully
Mysterious story set within the beautiful scenery of the Caribbean. When Sara Tolberg
decides to spend two weeks aboard a cruise ship bound for the Caribbean,
thinking over her future, she doesn't realize that her future is about to change.
A teddy bear with crooked eyes, a set of twins, and the sensual attentions
Of a handsome man thrust Sara into a situation almost beyond her control.
Mike Garson only wants a shipboard romance, something to take his mind off the
fact that he is on his honeymoon cruise without his bride. What he gets is a
mystery, a beautiful blond woman, and danger. Protecting Sara becomes his only purpose.
A mystery in need of solving, a woman in need of protecting, and a man in need of loving: the perfect recipe for a good romantic mystery. And with CHANGE OF PLANS, Dee Lloyd mixes all the right ingredients into a good
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