TOO FAR (The Love Overboard Series Book 3) Rania Elsaeid is the brilliant engineer aboard the 115-foot
yacht, the Bonnie Blue. She’s also a
deadly, well-trained security guard. She keeps her cool when everything around
her heats up. Morris “Moj” Johnston, internationally famous music producer, is
on a much-needed vacation cruise through the islands of the Indian Ocean. He’s
not looking for love but trying to heal a broken heart. When Moj meets Rania,
everything changes. Suddenly they find themselves on the run from pirates, lost
on a deserted island, and dangerously close to going…OUT TOO FAR.
crossed and her brow furrowed. After all she’d been through in her life, crowds
made her nervous, and every eye seemed to linger on her a little too long. She
didn’t like the undulating concert mob packing Arjuna Beach, and the damn sand
kept getting in her sandals.
breeze over her face and the sweating bodies swaying to the music below the
wasn’t so crowded. Behind Rania, in the vast festival admission area, the
brightly colored bodies were packed in tight.
music, from any continent. She was there only to guard Captain Lindsay Fisher
and her celebrity chef boyfriend, Alton Maura. But Rania had made it clear she
was more engineer than security guard. Too many times working for Global
Security at high-profile events, she’d been photographed, and that would only
lead to trouble.
could keep watch on them. Alton was easy to guard. He was so tall and blond.
His muscled arm circled Lindsay’s shoulders, keeping her close. Her hair color
was similar to Alton’s, cut short in a cute bob.
movement and hid the thigh holster where she kept her Sig Sauer P320 9mm
Subcompact pistol. Goa, India, wasn’t exactly the safest place, even when it
wasn’t packed with fifty thousand revelers.
rose above the normally pristine stretch of sand where the Indian pop star
Shreya Ghoshal shared the spotlight with Sia. Both sang, backed by dozens of
musicians, as David Guetta mixed beats from his elevated DJ stand.
but the huge black bow haloing her head was even more distracting. Shreya
Ghoshal sparkled, amazing in a ruby-red sari and chandelier earrings.
scene, the Moj Majestic International Music Festival had taken the venue to a
new level: The usual ratty ravers were overwhelmed by India’s middle class,
young people who came from every part of the country, from Tamil Nadu to the
Punjab. All had come to see the top musicians from India and around the world.
Katy Perry had been the opening act, followed by a who’s who of the India pop
charts – Rahat Ali Fateh Khan, Arijit Singh, and Sunidhi Chauhan. It was a
dream concert for the subcontinent.
the performance arena. The smell of deep-fried peppers served in newspaper cones
mingled with incense burning at unseen altars offering pooja to the millions of
Indian gods. The odor from the crowd offered its own spicy perfume, people in
their best clothes and best scents. British teens with dreadlocks danced with
Indian girls in maroon, mauve, and golden punjabis, their scarves whirling.
Bindis sparkled from the girls’ foreheads above radiant smiles. Danish women,
blonde and barely dressed, swayed with Nigerians in agbadas, long shirts over
young Indian men with five o’clock shadows, shirts unbuttoned and wearing
sunglasses, even in the dark. Undoubtedly, most were there to posture and be
seen. But others had their sunglasses pushed up into their thick, dark hair and
were picking through the mob, looking for marks.
bottles of water, and drugs of every description. And of course, along the
edges were the beggars, signs of India’s crushing poverty.
leaned in. “Check the seal. A lot of times, they take empty bottles and refill
them with Goa tap water. You don’t want that.”
“Thanks, Rania. Nice tip.”
she did not want to be there. She wanted to be in a quiet place on the beach,
sipping a mango lassi that wouldn’t leave her infected with some horrific
something in Hindi, then waved goodbye as Sia, backed by David Guetta, launched
into song. This one must’ve been popular, because the crowd thundered around
her in shouts and whistles.
colors pressed into Rania and threw her a very stoned smile. His eyes looked
several shades gone. He bent close and yelled, “Sia and David Guetta, so good!”
Good came out sounding a lot like gut.
close to Lindsay and Alton, but Herr Deutschland weaved closer. He wasn’t
getting the hint.
puppy for a bone. “You think I’m pretty, yes?”
He muttered a long sentence in German.
machine-gun stare on his face.
you understand me?” Her words shot out like bullets.
dropped all pretense and hurried off. She didn’t feel a bit bad.
across the sweating crowd, “Thank you, Goa. We love you! I have to go, but
Cloude is up next!”
the pair left the stage. The crowd murmured and continued to sway, awaiting the
over the din of the crowd. “One of many, but most of the guys don’t have
the courage to come close.”
either. It was drugs. Drugs drive men to me,” Rania joked.
your impossibly high standards. Come on, cut my gender some slack. We aren’t all
She thought of her father, so unlike most Egyptian men. She’d found other good
men. However, her troubled past always seemed to choke the relationships dead.
took me seriously.”
flashed pictures of the concert; two teens stuck out their tongues to take
the Internet, she’d be in serious trouble. It was time to make her exit, but
how? She was supposed to be guarding Lindsay and Alton.
it was Alton who said something.
you don’t need to stick around. I’m big and Lindsay is mean. We can handle
“I came to keep you safe, but I can’t save you from your bad taste in
the concert of a lifetime.”
out to talk to the crowd and introduce Cloude. You should see them since
they’ll be our passengers for the next month.”
would like to skip Cloude’s performance. I’ve heard her songs. I’m embarrassed
“He’s her producer and he can’t stop making hits. Everything he touches turns
but he produces pop stars.”
African-American man in tight jeans and a purple silk shirt, unbuttoned and
showcasing his sculpted abs, strutted onstage. Over that chest hung a simple
gold necklace with two rings attached. Wedding rings. Diamonds winked from both
his earlobes, and his head was completely shaved.
so gorgeous, so powerful, that drew Rania to him. She couldn’t look away. She
tried and failed, unable to ignore a warmth starting low in her belly.
satisfy some forgotten need.
going to get involved in any kind of shipboard romance, and not with some
nightmare celebrity producer who was dating a teenager.
pulled a blank and couldn’t think of a single thing to say to the crowd. He
stood at the microphone, caught in the spell of the woman in the VIP section
standing near Lindsay and Alton.
dark hair the color of a midnight after party, and skin so clear he wanted to
eat caviar off her. What the hell?
shape of her nose and the slight dusk of her skin, but where was she from?
gorgeous; but she didn’t look Indian. Maybe Middle Eastern?
beautiful. His heart stopped, his brain seized, and he had nothing for the
fifty thousand people waiting for his next words.
He came across cool. Inside, though, the guilt was already starting. He
shouldn’t be looking at a woman like that. Not yet.
carefully chosen by his publicist. “If you love me, you’ll love Cloude. You
know her from the Family Laugh Channel’s Wild
Willamina. Now Cloude is all grown up and ready for the world.”
turned actress turned wannabe pop star stepped out in a shining diamond dress
that accentuated the swell of her breasts and the curve of her hips. She was
thin but not so much you wouldn’t know how much of a woman she was. And the boobs
lights, her smile was what dazzled the audience. That smile, her best feature,
had made her millions.
take the wannabe out of her wannabe pop star status. He took it as a challenge.
understanding that kept Moj somewhat sane.
in his arms, and gave her a big hug. He couldn’t kiss her, not in India, where
the rules of decorum were strict, even at concerts. Even though he was
thirty-nine, and she could’ve been his daughter, the illusion was what the
world expected, and Moi had learned to give the world what it wanted.
for him. “Following Sia and David Guetta? You have got to be kidding me. I
should’ve been their warm-up act. This is bullshit, Moj.”
her around. He leaned into the microphone and busted out in perfect Italian, “Noi riprodurre un brano, Maestro!”
it when he spoke Italian. It crushed the “street” reputation she’d been trying
to nurture. He thought her idea was ridiculous and slightly racist. He wasn’t
some Tampa Bay street kid. Far from it.
snatched up the microphone, launching into her single, “Love Isn’t Love.”
when he wasn’t even down the steps backstage. Security guards stood at a roped
perimeter packed with fans, hawkers, and beggars. Luxurious tents for the
superstars rose from the sand among strings of lights. Fans with backstage
passes wandered around, starstruck.
smell it sweeping through the incense, crowd sweat, and fried foods. He loved
those fried peppers, sizzling and seconds out of the grease. Getting them hot
was the key. You didn’t eat cold food in India, unless you wanted to get sick.
something, a spice, garam masala. Indian food was amazing, and he loved all the
vegetarian dishes. Although he was a carnivore, Fiona had shown him a whole new
world of cuisine, mostly vegetables. Thinking of her made him ache. Dammit.
slipped a green Pellegrino into his hand. Moj cracked open the bottle and drank
the whole thing despite the carbonated sting.
drank. He’d grown up seeing what alcohol could do to people.
said. She was a tall, severe woman who loved her phone like some people loved
Jesus. Even while she was talking to Moj, he heard her phone explode with texts
and messages and calls.
started signing CDs and posters and pictures for the waiting people. He smiled
at the fans, and they shivered being so near the music producer Rolling Stone said was more Motown than
Motown, a hitmaker for the new millennium. Webzine SPIN claimed he could turn anyone into a pop star.
after him. “Moj, I know this part is important, but can we talk? Really talk?”
back from the fence. “This is the last one of these things I’m going to be
doing for a month. Period. I’m taking a month off.”
guy, perfect hair, perfect shadowy beard. They nodded at each other.
turned three shades of purple and stood there stupidly.
have a photo shoot in a couple of weeks in the Seychelles. Have you been
liked to travel.”
f-word. You and I both know talking about her only makes it worse. I’ll give up
on the photo shoot if you give up on this cruise thing. How many islands are you
going to? Maldives, Seychelles, Mauritius, Reunion? Isn’t that a bit much? I
mean, you’ve seen one strip of jungle dirt in the middle of the ocean, you’ve
seen them all.”
the Bonnie Blue,” Moj said. “Try and
stop me, Bronwyn, and you’ll find yourself out of a job.”
turbans and wispy beards turned their phones to take selfies with him. He
grinned and played the part.
turn. He held up a Seventh Generation CD, a boy band Moj had taken from the
bottom of the charts to the top. There wasn’t a tween in the world who didn’t
just love 7G.
little old for this?”
came out with the lilt of a South African accent. Not a local.
Seventh Generation. 7G forever. But only what you produce. Their first album
was a waste.”
He gestured over at Bronwyn. “Give this guy one of the promos for 7G, Bronwyn.
Please and thank you. I have to go say hi to Lindsay and Alton.”
see her again.
the stage, to get to the VIP section, but again, Bronwyn was in his face.
can’t walk out there alone. You know this is not…you know…this isn’t…” she
mouthed the word A-mer-ic-a. All four syllables.
guards, Jeffrey something, who was chatting with Val Kendrick, supermodel and
ubiquitous celebrity. Val’s long dark hair reminded him of the woman he’d seen
in the crowd, and though Val had a face created to break hearts, the other
woman had been prettier in a rougher, tougher sort of way.
couldn’t help but smile back. He and Val went way back.
said. “You should double her vocal coach’s salary.”
kid has heart. Besides, you dissing her makes me think you’re jealous.”
was younger. It came off better.
likes girls. And we both know you aren’t over Fiona yet.”
easily. “Regardless, Cloude and I are together. So stop with the
the cheek, then strutted to her superstar tent. She turned to give him a
smoldering look. “See you later, Moj. Bronwyn booked me for the Seychelles
photo shoot, and you better bring your ‘A’ game.”
lips and nodded. “You know me. I can play all the games.”
kiss, sir, nothing is going on there.”
she does with her kisses. Not that I’ve experienced it firsthand, but I know it
don’t mean a thing, not to her and not to me.”
then followed him through the secret passage under the stage and out a side
with the raven hair?
that disappointment also brought on the guilt. That guilt, every time, no
matter how far he traveled and no matter how happy he made the world with
Ocean on the Bonnie Blue would help
him with all the memories, so sharp, that cut so deep, no matter how many of
these publicity tours he did, no matter how many platinum records hung on the
walls of his mansion in L.A., no matter how many music critics called him the
new Berry Gordy.
happened with Fiona.
Andrea K. Stein’s daddy was a trucker, her momma was an artist, and she’s a scribbler. The stories just spilled out—the pony escaped, the window magically shattered. Not her fault. Twenty years as a journalist couldn’t stifle the yarns. Yacht delivery up and down the Caribbean only increased the flow. Now those tales celebrate romance on the high seas. As a sailing captain and instructor since 1996, she’s logged nearly 30,000 miles to destinations around the world. She now lives in the Rocky Mountains and is the author of four historical sailing romances available on Amazon.com.
Sawyer Stone grew up dreaming of far-off cities and far-flung
continents even though those exotic locations seemed way out of reach. But
the dreams of travel and love never left. It wasn’t long before Sawyer walked
the alleys of Istanbul, watched the sunsets from the island of Santorini,
trekked the Himalayas, and dove through shipwrecks in the Andaman Sea. Now,
while still traveling, Sawyer writes all kinds of books under all kinds of
names. The world needs more stories about quirky characters falling in love.
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