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When two people are so right for each other, it’s hard not to play matchmaker, and Wyndha’s three charges and Rudy’s two friends do just that.
But getting them to fall in love was easy compared to her learning he’d lied.
Rudy liked neither the look nor feel of the stream as it joined ever-swifter waters. A quick glance over his shoulder to check on the others was all he could afford and still maintain control of his canoe. Derek’s hands were white-knuckled on the oar while Janos’ lips were pinched into a stern line. Rudy couldn’t make out John’s position but if it bore a resemblance to Jake’s stiff back in the lead canoe, the guides were worried.
Rudy shifted his concentration back to his passengers. Carrie sat in the middle, Peter Pan’s Princess Tiger Lily in a huff. She’d protested her orange life vest because it clashed with her shirt. Staying alone in camp had clashed with her sensibilities, so she’d given in to Jake’s commands. Wyndha gave up on untangling Bre’s line and told her to just sit still.
Good advice for them all, Rudy thought. Each stream they passed dumped even more water, and base camp couldn’t come quickly enough. He watched Jake stretch his body as if to see around the next bend.
"When are we getting back?" Carrie broke through his concentration. "Wyndha, Stu owes me big time. You all do. This is so boring. Bor-ing," she repeated as she reached over Bre to retrieve a cold drink from the cooler.
"Carrie, be still!" Rudy shouted as the canoe rocked with her sudden movement. They were just at the beginning of the bend, and Rudy heard, before he saw, the confluence of the waters become a roar. Jake turned to wave everyone to the banks. John took up the shout, and Rudy began steering toward the mud. His sudden movement combined with Carrie’s pitched the canoe sideways and the girl overboard.
"Carrie!" Wyndha shrieked. She braced her arms to the sides and bore down on the edge of the canoe that threatened to come over on top of them. Bre grabbed at Wyndha, further complicating the delicate balance of the canoe in the steadily increasing swiftness of the waters. The duffels, roped to the crossbars, slid to the length of their bonds, then rolled back in. As the canoe righted itself, Rudy tossed his oar into Wyndha’s empty hand and plunged over the side and after Carrie.
The water was bracingly cold. The middle of the stream should have been shallow enough to stand up in, but now the rolling waters would knock him over if he tried. He laid down in the water and let it carry him, hoping that the course that took Carrie under would take him also. Before he went around the curve, he saw the canoes were all safely to the bank. Good, he wouldn’t worry about anyone but himself and Carrie. He thought he caught Derek’s form chasing down the edge of the water in his direction.
Large rocks that once afforded fun stepping stones and interesting places to cast a line now loomed before him as potential disasters. A bop on the head and he would be done for, a floating drowning victim, not even king of the underworld. But he was strong and as in control as possible.
What about Carrie? That "damn orange thing" as she had referred to her vest might very well be all that led him to her.
Writing is second nature to Kay Sisk, and she’s been doing it since she wrote stories with her fourth grade friends as heroines. She enjoys writing about her native Texas, where she lives with her husband of 35 years and “third family” of three cats, the first family of dogs and second family of sons, having left the nest years ago.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 233
Paper Weight (lb): 9.9
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