The Pit and the Passion

She held her gaze steady, mainly so she could delve deep, deep into those chocolate eyes. Together with his sharp, angular nose and intense, almost predatory, expression, he reminded her of a peregrine falcon on the hunt.

The Pit & the Passion

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Happy Hump Day--Welcome to the Summertime Hop

 Okay, so summer in Florida is not a time to chill, but if you’re on a key there’s always a breeze to lift the humidity and blow it in your face. Still, I love it here—so much so that I set Mai Tais and Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine, my romantic suspense/murder mystery, here on the Gulf Coast. Mote Marine Laboratory, founded by the Shark Lady, Eugenie Clark, is a world-renowned oceanographic research facility, plus it has a neat caviar production program and a sea turtle rehabilitation hospital.  It’s a wonderful place to visit—the aquarium draws many families and school groups.
Photos of Mote Marine Aquarium, Sarasota
This photo of Mote Marine Aquarium is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Of course, this doesn't usually happen there:

The alarm woke her at seven. Tessa threw on the Mote polo shirt and black golf skort she’d laid out the night before, grabbed the bagel and can of V8 she’d left on the counter, and shot down Gulf of Mexico Drive as the sun came up. The road for once was deserted and she could revel in the breeze blowing her long black hair and the scent of frangipani in the air. The soft gray sky held only a hint of the deep blue to come later, and the gulf lay becalmed by the evaporating night. She sang a country song as she drove. In her bones she knew this would be a glorious day, the first in a long time where she felt free of any guilt or sadness. If only she could whistle. If only I could carry a tune.
She parked in the aquarium lot and walked across to the Goldstein Center. Pulling out the key Pilchard had given her, she let herself in by the ticket booth. Pale, blurry light seeped in through the plastic sheeted tanks to her right. She went up the stairs and around the gift shop to the dolphin pool, rattling doors as she went. All was quiet and locked. A snort came from the pool. One of the dolphins raised his head and peered at her before diving back down.
Looks okay here. She checked her watch. Eight-twenty. The support staff should be arriving soon to open the gift shop and ticket counter. She walked back down the stairs. The turtle tanks lay to her right—two large shallow pools that at present held four sea turtles, one leatherback—Fred—two green turtles, and a loggerhead. She leaned over Fred’s tank. “Fred,” she called, “how are you? Feeling better?”
A black mass floated at the other end of the pool. Oh dear, I hope he’s not still sick. Worried, she skirted the other tank and ducked under the gate. The mass didn’t move. “Fred?” She reached out a hand to touch his shell and instead encountered something soft and mushy. “Fred?”
At that moment the overhead light flashed on. She swung around. From the hall came the voice of Henry Stillwater, the coordinator of the dolphin training program. “Who’s there?”
“It’s Tessa. Tessa Diamond. I’m the volunteer. I was checking on Fred, but something’s wrong.”
Tessa turned around to look into the pool again and screamed.

I’m giving away a pdf of Mai Tais and Mayhem to the funniest summer vacation story. Remember to leave your email address in the comment and have fun! Make sure you visit the other wonderful authors today. Start here:

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