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Swamp Ghosts Excerpt
A man was walking down the floating pier, reading the name of each boat he approached. A really big man. Big enough that his weight caused the pier to bob up and down, which seemed to worry him, if his frown was anything to go by.
Billy and I watched his cautious approach with curiosity. The tours were over for the day, and he just didn’t look like he belonged here at the marina. When he spotted my boat, he smiled and picked up his pace, causing the floating pier to dip sharply. He lurched to a stop in front of us.
“Hi, there,” he said, holding on to the railing to catch his balance. Not a boater, then. He gave Billy a nod. “You must be the man I’m looking for…Mr. Devlin? Oh, I guess it’s Captain Devlin, sorry.”
The expression on Billy’s face was priceless. He looked at me as though he figured there was about to be an explosion of Vesuvian proportions, and he couldn’t wait to see it. I stepped forward and looked the guy up and down. When I said “big,” I wasn’t kidding. This man was 6’5” if he was an inch, and he was almost as wide across the shoulders as he was tall. He had on faded jeans and an acre of navy blue t-shirt, stretched across a chest the approximate width of the prow of my boat. His hair was longish, and very blonde, and his eyes were a bright clear blue, with a hint of laugh lines at the corners. He looked like the kind of guy every man wanted to be and every woman just plain wanted. Give him a helmet with horns on it and a magic hammer, and he would have been Thor, personified.
I hated him on sight.
“Captain is the correct form of address,” I bit off, “but I’m afraid that would be me. I’m Margaret Devlin. Who are you and why are you looking for me?”
Thor had the sense to be thoroughly embarrassed. He actually blushed. “Oh—I’m—I’m so sorry,” he stammered. “It just said M. Devlin, and I assumed…”
I raised one eyebrow. “Yes? You assumed?”
“I mean, I guess I just pictured…I thought…” He stopped. “I apologize.”
I felt merciful. Slightly. “Apology accepted. But what do you want with me?”
Thor tried smiling again. It was a nice smile. It even looked sincere. I bet he used it on every woman he met.
I still hated him.
“I have a business proposition I’d like to discuss with you.”
I hated him less.
“Business? What kind?”