Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Release: Single Status

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B.J. and Dana, through a stateside headquarters error, find themselves sharing a villa when they come to start up a St. Croix power plant. The job is single status, which suits them in every way.

B.J. is still smarting from the end of her ten year marriage and Dana carries hurt and guilt for the death of his wife and young son in a plane crash. When B.J. becomes the scapegoat for everything that goes wrong on the job, Dana attempts to defend her, when he is not defending himself from her mistrust. Despite their denial, the attraction between them grows.

Can the torrid Caribbean nights melt their firm resolve and the power of love overcome their fear of


A deeply tanned man of indeterminate origin rushed in and seeing the group, came to stand in their midst. "Are you guys here with IPPS?" he inquired, and when they nodded, he went on. "Good. I'm Albert Zurow, your operations supervisor." He glanced at each of them in turn, then reached into his shirt pocket for a crumpled piece of paper. "We'll get started and hope the other plane arrives be-fore long." He nodded toward the first person to his left. "And you are?"

"Carl Evans." The man was short, had a protruding paunch and a receding hairline. B.J. guessed him to be over forty.

"Pete Marshall here." This one looked younger and in health club workout condition.

The introductions continued around the circle. "I'm Frank Kelly." Only three words but said in a tone of self-importance that was irksome.

"Yancy Webb." Adjusting his glasses, he straightened his lanky frame.

"Next, please." Albert Zurow looked impatiently at the man to his immediate right.

"Oh, sorry. Dana Thomas." Tall, dark and handsome, and he was probably well aware of it, B.J. observed

Zurow consulted his list. "Sutherland's plane must be late. I'll just—"

"I'm here." B.J. took a reluctant step toward the group. Six heads turned at the sound of B.J.'s voice. Six pairs of eyes stared in silence. Then Zurow recovered enough to speak.

"You're a woman," he said accusingly.

"Well, so I am." She gave the astonished man a wry smile and waited expectantly.

"There must have been some mix-up at the stateside headquarters. Nobody mentioned this, and the resumes haven't been received yet so—"

"Is there some restriction against female employees here?" B.J. asked with a delicate lift of one eyebrow.

Zurow blanched as though he envisioned an army of feminists already marching in picket lines around the plant site. "No. No, of course not. ChemCorp is an equal opportunity employer. It's just that we have arranged for the men, uh, employees to share housing and transportation in pairs. We've already leased every available villa in the area and now…" He looked at B.J. and shrugged.

"I have no problem with this," she told him calmly.

"I don't have a problem with it either," Carl Evans commented with a worried frown, "but I think my wife would."

"Anyone else here married?" Zurow asked.

"Guilty." Yancy Webb shook his head regretfully.

Zurow cleared his throat and looked back toward the circle of men surrounding him. "Each villa has two bedrooms," he said in a placating tone, "so only the bath would be jointly shared."

"We could draw straws." Frank Kelly smirked as he looked at the other two men.

"Or somebody could volunteer," Pete Marshall said with a meaningful look at Kelly.

"We're assigning pairs to alternate shifts," Zurow continued after an awkward silence, "so there would be plenty of privacy." He looked from one man to the other, his patience clearly wearing thin.

"Come on, fellas," B.J. chided, "this is the twenty-first century. I don't have anything contagious. I won't hang pantyhose in the shower. Actually, I don't even wear pantyhose. And I promise not to make a pass at whoever is brave enough to share quarters with me."

Kelly rolled his eyes, and Marshall nudged him. "Want to flip for it?"

Dana looked from the two men to the woman who stood waiting in her neatly creased tan slacks and white tailored shirt. Her hair was the color of ripe wheat, and she wore it in a short, boyish cut which made it hard to miss the bright splotches of color on her high cheek bones. She was obviously embarrassed by the situation but determinedly holding her ground and keeping it light. At the rate things were going they'd still be here tonight arguing about who had to make the supreme sacrifice of bunking with a good-looking
woman. If he solved the problem, they could move on to the business of settling in.

"I'll do it."

Six pairs of eyes turned toward him, four registering surprise and the other two gratitude. Dana felt himself turn red as he reached down and picked up his briefcase. "So let's get on with it."

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