Bud’s mixed up in an argument with Connie Barrera, and I’m staying out of their way. I’ll take advantage of their distraction to say hello. I’m Paul Russo, the first mate and chef aboard the charter yacht, Diamantista II, and Connie's fiancé.
Connie and I met through mutual friends. She was a charter guest on Vengeance, the yacht run by Dani Berger and Liz Chirac. Dani’s godfather is a friend of mine. I met him when I was still a homicide detective with the Miami P.D. During the charter, Connie had stumbled into trouble with some guys who were laundering drug money and smuggling diamonds. They made the mistake of crossing Dani, and her godfather asked me to help out. The whole story’s in Bluewater Ice.
Connie had a fine time with Dani and Liz and decided to buy her own boat. The boat was easy enough, but to go into the charter business, she needed a competent chef. She’s a woman with a lot of talents, but none of them involve food preparation.
Connie isn’t a direct person; she’s manipulative. When she saw me sharing the chef's duties with Liz, she began her scheme to Shanghai me. She still has no idea that I knew she was conning me back then. Not that I was resisting, you understand. My two favorite activities are sailing and cooking.
Besides, I was enjoying Connie’s company; she’s charming. Neither of us was looking for romance; we’d both been burned a few too many times. People who venture out into tropical thunderstorms are never looking to get struck by lightning, either.
Before we got the first Diamantista to the islands, we figured out there was more to our relationship than sailing and cooking. Our early days were complicated by drug smugglers who had their own plans for Diamantista, but we got through that and decided to get married. That saga is in Love for Sail.
Our romance hasn’t been all smooth sailing and Caribbean sunsets. We’ve had our problems. There was something eating away at Connie during our second charter, the one that’s described in Sailor’s Delight. I never figured it out, but I think it had something to do with an orange thong. Whatever it was, we’re solid now, but we still have our differences.
Connie’s got a temper, if you haven’t noticed, and I’m often too quick to speak my mind. I managed to get my face slapped pretty hard in the first few pages of this current story, but I think we’re getting used to one another’s quirks.
Connie and I are over halfway through our new adventure and Bud still hasn’t settled on a title for the book. Connie's annoyed with him about that. She wants to call it A Blast to Sail. She even got Liz Chirac to do a cover, but Bud’s not sold on it yet. He’ll get there, if he knows what’s good for him. I’m not getting caught between them on that.
I may get a chance for another post before this next book comes out, but Dani's waving her arms and shaking her head. I think she wants the keyboard. It’s tough sometimes, being a man in a woman’s world. Thanks for reading.