Copyright 2021 @Kate Stacy“I’m not going to apologize.” Of course, she isn’t, but she could have at least said “hello” when she answered the phone. I guess she lost her manners as well as her fucking mind. “What the hell were you thinking, Taryn? A singles cruise?” I ask, putting the phone on speaker and tossing it onto the bed. Might as well unpack while I talk to her. There’s more space in my cabin than I thought there would be, and I’m happy I don’t have to live out of suitcases for the next week. When I got to my cabin and looked at the itinerary for the week, I realized we’ll be spending the next two days at sea. This is my last chance to confront my sister before we set sail, and this conversation needs to happen. It can’t wait until I get home. I’m irritated and I don’t want the bad vibes ruining my vacation if I don’t talk to her about it. My dear older sister apparently took it upon herself to not only book me on a singles cruise, but to plan most of my week for me as well. My shore excursions are already booked at all three ports. She even made dinner reservations on my behalf for a couple of nights. The one thing on this ship she should have known I would be interested in is the tattoo studio. She could have at least got me on the books while she was at it, but no, I took care of that myself as soon as I realized it was an option. “You’re a single guy and you need a vacation,” she replies after a minute of silence. That’s all she says, as if it explains everything. “Taryn,” I growl. “The why doesn’t matter, Tate,” she says with a sigh. “You’re on an oversized party boat and you’re getting ready to sail to the freakin’ Caribbean. I don’t see a down-side.” “You wouldn’t,” I mutter, shoving an empty suitcase under the bed. “What are you doing?” my sister asks. “Unpacking.” I can almost hear her eyes roll at my one-word answer. It’s a sure sign that I’m not happy with her and she can’t stand it. “Don’t be mad at me, little brother.” Despite my frustration at the situation, I snort. She may be the oldest, but she and my baby sister are pint-sized compared to me and my brothers. There’s nothing “little” about me. “I don’t like that you all went behind my back,” I tell her. “But if we told you, would you have gone?” I don’t know the answer to that. “I want to say yes, but I’d probably be lying,” I admit. Taryn sighs, and I know she hates that she’s upset me. I’m not exactly mad, but I’m not happy about the fact that every single one of my siblings plotted and planned to get me on this singles cruise knowing it’s not something I would have chosen for myself. “If I promise I had good reasons, would you trust me and try to have a good time anyway?” Plopping my ass onto the bed next to my other suitcase, I sigh and rub the back of my neck. “Of course I’m gonna try to have a good time, sis. I just… you’re really not gonna tell me?” “You’ll figure it out soon enough, and when you do, you’ll forget that you were ever mad.” The smile I hear in her voice makes my remaining irritation fade. She sounds so sure of herself. I’m dying to know what she’s refusing to tell me, but she’s the most stubborn of all my siblings. I won’t get her to cave and reveal the truth. Not now. “I’m gonna hold you to that,” I tell her. “Good,” she says happily. “What are your plans for the rest of the day?” “You booked everything, so you shouldn’t have to ask.” “Which is why I know you have nothing going on until tomorrow evening. How are you gonna fill your time? I’ve never been on a cruise. I have to live vicariously through you.” Chuckling, I get up to finish unpacking while I resist the urge to be a smartass. She could have easily booked the cruise for her and Wade instead of me. I would have even volunteered to babysit. I don’t say it, though. “As soon as I finish unpacking, I’m gonna plant my ass in the hammock on my balcony and watch the scenery as we set sail.” I hear her sigh. “At least until I get hungry. I mean, I’ll eventually have to go on the hunt for some food.” “And tomorrow?” “I’ll worry about that tomorrow.”
About Kate StacyAuthor of emotionally-gripping, contemporary romance, Kate Stacy’s novels feature sassy heroines, swoony heroes, life, love, friendship, and all the angst. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family and friends in small-town North Carolina, Kate can most likely be found nose deep in her Kindle. She stays up too late, swears too much, and loves too hard.
About The Love at Sea SeriesGet ready to set sail through the Caribbean on Festival Cruises’ most alluring voyage with eight of your favorite authors – happily ever after guaranteed! Experience everything the Love at Sea series has to offer. From speed dating to masquerades, guests are sure to enjoy the hot days and steamy nights. Explore hidden waterfalls, swim with dolphins, and watch as eight couples find their forever on the open ocean. Each story features a brand new couple and a fun trope from our amazing line up of authors including: Kate Stacy, HM Thomas, Mari Sol, S.A. Clayton, T.L. Anderson, Karigan Hale, Susan Renee, and A.M. Williams.
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