Summer Squall

Beth Gardner knows what she wants. As she approaches her thirtieth birthday, her life has progressed like the to-do list stuck to her refrigerator. Fulfilling job? Check. Condo in a trendy Atlanta neighborhood? Check. Supportive friends and a cat to cuddle? Check and check. Safe distance from her childhood in Tennessee? Big check. But something is still missing.

When she meets the charming Mark Berger out dancing one night, it’s love at first tango. Adventurous and athletic, Mark encourages her to venture out of her carefully constructed life and begin a new life with him in southwest Florida. “Slow down,” her friends advise. “What’s the hurry?” her therapist asks. “Why not?” Beth responds. “Why not happiness for a change?”

But will open-water diving, night lobster hunts, and off-shore sailing offer smooth waters for the couple? Or will the dangers and secrets of the deep pull them under? Determined to make this relationship work, Beth is about to find out.

Full of adventure and reflection, Summer Squall explores how the correct course in life isn’t always straight line.

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Excerpt

Her light cut through the dark and played across the coral reef, revealing its ridges and valleys. An outcropping, the color of a sunset, caught her attention. She inched a gloved hand forward, expecting it to give like a soft bath sponge. It was rock hard. On the ocean floor below, startled creatures scurried for hiding, their movements raising small clouds of sand from the lunar surface. In the distance, a murky shape swished. Not a shark, she told herself. That’s what the dive master had said. Not in these waters. But still, in a night dive, anything was possible. She shivered despite her dive vest.

Turning away from the reef, she looked for a light, but all she saw was black water. No light beam. No blue fins. At forty feet below the surface, nothing was visible, she realized. Not even herself, in this all-black gear.

She wrapped her arms around herself, fighting off panic, but still it came, closing around her like a coffin. Only a few hours earlier, she had explored these same waters with the dive master. He had pointed out schools of turquoise fish and a seahorse hidden in a bed of orange fans. She had smiled at him, grateful for his presence. But tonight, as she peered through a fogged mask, all she saw was this inky black.

Nausea crawled up her throat, and she bent over, expecting to heave into her mask. “Oh, God,” she whimpered, her heart beating rapidly like a triggerfish ready to attack.  “Oh, God. Help me.”