Dani and Liz suggested I write this; I would have never considered it otherwise. Sharing my thoughts this way is a little uncomfortable; I'm the epitome of a private person. I'm Connie Barrera, the co-owner and skipper of the charter yacht Diamantista II, and until recently, I was the quintessential loner.
Bud's busy with the next book in my Connie Barrera Thriller series, and I want to keep him focused. Right now, he's got me caught up in a terrorist’s plot. I need to give him time to resolve that so I can get on with my life. So, against my nature though it is, I’ll share a little of my history with you.
My background has a lot to do with my penchant for keeping to myself. I didn't have an easy life in my early years. I'm not complaining, but you should know that until recently, I held the view that people could be divided into two classes: scammers and their marks. I didn't consider the boundary between the classes to be rigid, either. One person's mark was often another's scammer. That was what made life fun; that, and scheming to come out on top every time.
I believe in fair play; I always have. I never fleeced anyone who wouldn't have done the same to me, but that left a lot of room for maneuvering. I have a better life now, thanks to hard work, an open mind, and a little luck. It's a mistake to discount the importance of luck in determining life's outcomes, but I always work hard to minimize its effect.
Luck caused my life to change for the better when I met Dani and Liz a couple of years ago. I was in a hurry to depart from Nassau without leaving a trail, and I chartered Vengeance to make my escape. That story is told in Bluewater Ice.
Unqualified friendship was a new experience for me. Dani and Liz were watching my back for no reason other than their sense that it was the right thing to do. What an awakening that was! The idea that they were in my corner with no quid pro quo stunned me. As I said, it changed my life. I liked it so much that I stuck around with them for their adventures in Bluewater Betrayal.
They introduced me to sailing, which is pure magic. Harnessing the wind to make a 50-ton boat go where you want is an experience like no other. You can't overpower the wind and the sea, but you can adjust the way you deal with them so that they assist you in achieving your goals. If you can get what you want from Mother Nature, getting people to go your way is no challenge.
Besides teaching me to sail, Dani and Liz introduced me to Paul Russo, the love of my life. Paul's a life-long sailor, and he happened along when I had decided to buy a yacht and go into the charter business. He had just retired from the Miami Police Department, and he was looking for something to do. Next to sailing, his other favorite thing is cooking. I was dubious about taking up with a cop, but I needed a good cook for my luxury charter yacht. Making a peanut butter sandwich taxes my culinary skills.
Paul agreed to help me get started. That was in Love for Sail, the first Connie Barrera Thriller. In Sailor’s Delight, the second book in the series, we got the business going and worked out some personal problems. Now we've bought a nicer boat and we're going to marry. I'm still astonished by that. I've had men in my life before Paul, but always on my terms and only to further my goals. I wasn't looking for love back then; I was recruiting talent for my schemes. There was an element of that in my relationship with Paul, but it didn't last long. Until I met him, the men I knew had been trying to use me. Not that I wasn't doing the same, but this time, I’m in love.
We have some rough spots in our relationship, and Bud keeps throwing external conflicts like these terrorists our way to keep things exciting, but we're going to make it, Paul and I are. We're committed. And we're committed to entertaining the people who like to read about our adventures, too. We wouldn't be here without you all. Thanks!