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Authors: Debra Parmley

Aboard the Wishing Star

BOOK: Aboard the Wishing Star
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Aboard the Wishing Star




Debra Parmley

Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc.

27305 W. Live Oak Rd #424

Castaic, CA 91384


Copyright © 2012 by Debra Parmley

ISBN 10: 1-61252-243-2

ISBN 13: 978-1-61252-243-2


Published in the United States of America

Publish Date: October 11, 2012


Editor-In-Chief: Gail R. Delaney

Content Editor: Raneé Clark

Marketing Director: Jenifer Ranieri

Cover Artist: Gwen Phifer

Cover Model: Jimmy Thomas


Cover Art Copyright by Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc © 2012


All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including photocopying, recording or by any information retrieval and storage system without permission of the publisher.


Ebooks are
transferrable, either in whole or in part. As the purchaser or otherwise
recipient of this ebook, you have the right to enjoy the novel on your own computer or other device. Further distribution, copying, sharing, gifting or uploading is illegal and violates United States Copyright laws.


Pirating of ebooks is illegal. Criminal Copyright Infringement,
infringement without monetary gain, may be investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is punishable by up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.


Names, characters and incidents depicted in this book are products of the author’s imagination, or are used in a fictitious situation. Any resemblances to actual events, locations, organizations, incidents or persons – living or dead – are coincidental and beyond the intent of the author.

Dedication and Acknowledgement



This book is dedicated to my husband Mike. I'm glad they brought you back to me.


Thank you for the lesson that life can be short and none of us are promised tomorrow.

This moment is all we have. I'm glad you're here to share this special moment with me.


Writing is a solitary journey for only we can write our books, but there are many who help us to make the creation of a book a reality. This book has been on a long journey with me and there are many people to acknowledge who have helped along the way.


Thank you to Dee, Elaine and Susan from my first RWA romance critique group and all who read and offered critique of this manuscript in various critiques from the early days long before my first book was published to critique of the much revised story published here today.


Thank you to Elizabeth Strout of the Antioch Writers Workshop for advice and critique and to the members of our writing intensive.


Thank you to the guide who took my husband and me snorkeling off the island of St. Thomas to see the beautiful coral and fish in the restricted area.


Thank you to Charles Welshans for the advice on Marine military tattoos.


Special thanks to my editor Ranee Clark for helping me carve away the rough edges and polish this manuscript.


Thank you to my cover artist Gwen Phifer for her beautiful cover design which matched exactly the old fashioned romantic cover I had dreamed of when I wrote this book. Thank you to Jenifer Ranieri, artistic director at Desert Breeze. Thank you to Jimmy Thomas, my cover model for this book and Bruce Heinsius, his photographer for their great photo image.


Special thanks to Gail R. Delany for giving this story and this author a home at Desert Breeze Publishing.


Thank you to Lucy Monroe, mentor and friend. Thank you to my family for their continued love and support.


And a special thank you to my readers.

I love you all.

Chapter One



"Oh my God, they've lost my luggage."

Kara, wide eyed with worry, turned to look at her best friend Viv. The luggage carousel had stopped moving and the other passengers from their flight were long gone. "What am I going to do? I can't go on a seven day Caribbean cruise with only this."

She lifted her carry on, which contained a swimsuit, a pair of shorts and a tee shirt to change into once she reached Florida, and the winter coat she'd stuffed inside that she wouldn't need until she returned to Ohio.

The only other people in the room were passengers from another flight who'd gathered around a different luggage carousel to wait for their bags.

Kara's phone rang.



"I thought you were going to call me when you landed."

"I'm kind of busy right now, Daryl. Gotta go. My luggage is missing."


"Bye, Daryl. I can't talk now." Kara hung up. The phone rang again. She glanced at it and turned it off. He never seemed to take the hint when she said she was busy. It was just easier to turn the phone off.

"Girl, you need a break from your boss. Doesn't that man understand you're on vacation?"

"He just wanted to know I got here okay. Viv, what am I going to do? I can't sail without my luggage."

"Hang on." Viv approached the opening where the luggage emerged and leaned across the stopped conveyer belt to shout into the dark hole. "Hey, anyone back there?"

Kara's mouth dropped open.

My God, I can't believe she's doing that.

A man shouted back, "What do you think you're doing? You can't come back here."

Kara gasped.

Oh my God. They'll arrest her. They'll think she's a terrorist.

"I'm not trying to come back there. But my friend's luggage hasn't come out yet," Viv yelled back. "And I wondered if you'd all gone home."

The man laughed. "What's the flight number?"

Vivian glanced over at the monitor that showed the flight arrival from Columbus, Ohio. "Five seventy one."

"We've sent everything out from that flight."

"This is unbelievable," Kara said. "What am I going to do?"

"They'll find it. You need to go report it so we can get going."

"Is there anything I can do to help?"

Kara turned and looked up into deep brown eyes that smiled down on her with concern. She caught her breath. He was at least six-foot to her five-foot-seven and had broad shoulders and a deep tan.

"My friend's luggage is missing and we're leaving on a cruise within hours. That's why she's upset. But thank you for offering. Viviane Tate." Viv stuck out her hand and Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Handsome shook it.

"Nate Cooper." He turned to Kara and held out his hand.

"Kara Worth." She put her hand in his and felt the warm strength of his fingers enclose it, making her skin tingle.

"That's a beautiful name, Kara." He smiled, which warmed her to her toes.

"Thank you."

"Pleased to meet you both." His smile lit up the room and the rumble of his voice took her breath away. It was the kind of voice she could have closed her eyes and listened to all day.

"Likewise," Viv said. "Where are you headed?"

He let go of Kara's hand to turn to Viv again, and Kara felt the loss of its warmth.

"I'm sailing on The Wishing Star."

"So are we!" Viv moved closer to him. "Are you traveling alone?"

"With my cousin."

"Kara hasn't had a vacation in years. She's a widow." Viv shook her head. "Terrible thing. He was shot at a gas station right in front of her."

Great. Does she have to bring that up to everyone we meet?

Nate glanced at Kara concern in his eyes. "You're much too young to be a widow. That must have been hard."

"Yes, can you imagine?" Viv grasped his arm and led him away, lowering her voice.

Kara's jaw dropped.
I cannot believe this. What is she doing? She has a boyfriend.

"I'm going over to report my luggage missing," she called over to Viv.

Viv nodded at her and kept talking to Nate.

Kara found the counter where she had to fill out a form and the attendant assured her they'd find her bags and send them on.

"You can't send them to me. I'll be out in the middle of the ocean. I'm going on a cruise. This is a nightmare."

"Calm down, Kara," Viv said from behind Kara as she approached.

"That's easy for you to say. Your luggage hasn't gone missing." She glanced behind Viv and saw Nate heading out the revolving door. She wondered what Viv had said to him.

"You can borrow a few of my things. Don't let this ruin your trip."

"Thanks, Viv."

"I'm sorry about your luggage, miss," the attendant said. "If we don't find it before you sail, we will send it to your first port of call."

"But we won't be in port until Tuesday," Kara said.

"We'll do the best we can."

Viv placed her hand on Kara's arm. "There's nothing more you can do. Come on. Maybe the bags will be on the ship waiting for you."

"I hope so."

They boarded the bus, which would take them to the pier, and Viv chattered about nightclubs and bars on the ship while Kara tried to keep her mind on the conversation and not on her missing luggage or whether she'd see Nate again. After all it had been a year since she'd seen Viv. She was looking forward to their time together. Viv was her oldest and dearest friend, and they'd be celebrating New Years together this year on a cruise ship.

Port Canaveral was full of ships, and as their bus drew nearer, Kara and Viv watched through the window looking for their ship. Their ship was the tallest of them all and even larger than Kara had imagined.

"Wow. It has to be at least two hundred feet tall," Kara said. Two large red and black smoke stacks stood atop the white ship, which had
The Wishing Star
painted on the side.

"Wow is right. See. You won't even know you're on the ocean. We'll be so busy you won't have time to be scared."

"The website photos didn't do it justice." Kara had haunted the Internet in the days leading up to the trip. "No wonder Daryl said they're like a floating city." She turned to look at Viv. "I won't be scared. I took that beginner's swim class, remember?"

"Oh yeah. That's right. Have you made your wish yet?"

"No," Kara said.

"Promise you'll make one before we set sail."

"All right, I'll think of something."

But I don't know what to wish for. And wishes don't always come true.
Wishes didn't bring Neil back. Kara knew nothing could. Not even prayer.
Sometimes the things you want most you can't have.
It was better not to want anything so much.

It had been so long since she'd wished for anything. She stared out the window at the towering ship as they drew closer.

Wishes are for little girls who still believe in fairy tales and Santa Clause. Not for grown women who know how life really is.

"Are you thinking of your wish?" Viv nudged her elbow. "What is it?"

"I'm not going to think of one with you elbowing me."

Viv isn't going to let this go.

Kara sighed.
I better come up with one. I have to wish for something because I promised. But it needs to be something small. Something that won't hurt or disappoint when it doesn't come true.

They got off the bus, collected their carryons, and entered the cruise terminal with their tickets out, ready to board.

Kara turned her phone back on while they waited in line to get their photos taken for the room key/I.D. card they'd use to board. She'd intended to call Daryl back until she saw she had six calls from him. On the last call he'd left a message.

"Damn it, Kara, turn on your phone and call me back."

Frowning, she deleted it. He could wait. It was their turn for photos.

"Smile Kara," Viv said. "Girl, if anyone needs a vacation it's you."

Kara forced a smile she didn't quite feel with her mind still on Daryl.

"This is going to be awesome," Viv said, her movements getting even bouncier as they boarded the ship.

Kara's smile returned for real this time.

The ship's interior welcomed them with a refined grace and overflowing elegance. Kara breathed in the scent of lemon polish and fresh flowers. Brass surfaces gleamed and bright murals colored the walls. The elevator made no sound other than a soft female voice saying, "doors opening now" or "doors closing now."

Kara tried to allow the gracefulness of the ship to seep over her to forget she was on the ocean and had a fear of deep water. If she hadn't won this vacation for two, she'd never have paid to go on a cruise. But Viv was excited enough for both of them and her enthusiasm was always contagious. It had been a long time since she and Viv did anything fun together.

BOOK: Aboard the Wishing Star
13.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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