Erfreu Dich an Millionen von E-Books, Hörbüchern, Magazinen und mehr

Nur $11.99/Monat nach der Testversion. Jederzeit kündbar.

Deep Down

Deep Down

Vorschau lesen

Deep Down

Länge:
359 Seiten
5 Stunden
Freigegeben:
20. Nov. 2015
ISBN:
9781509204274
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

Sex, drugs, and spicy tuna rolls? Resilient and disciplined, tsunami survivor Eve Ono moves to California from Japan looking for a position as a sushi chef. When she’s suddenly fired from her restaurant job, desperation drives her to find work on a fishing boat despite her fears of the ocean. To make matters worse, she’s stuck in close quarters with her new captain—a man whose raw physicality drives her out of her mind with lust. Free-spirited and roguish, Sam Lamont is a commercial fisherman aboard his own dive boat, the Bravado. When he makes a bad deal with a deadly loan shark who threatens to take his boat, Sam is in danger of losing both his business and his way of life. On top of that, he’s got to train his new deckhand—a beautiful hard-ass who just so happens to be sexy as hell. A female sushi chef with mad knife skills. A deep-sea diver who's pissed off a Mexican drug cartel. Together, they're in trouble, and the only way out is down.
Freigegeben:
20. Nov. 2015
ISBN:
9781509204274
Format:
Buch

Über den Autor


Ähnlich wie Deep Down

Ähnliche Bücher

Ähnliche Artikel

Verwandte Kategorien

Buchvorschau

Deep Down - Mia Hopkins

You

Deep Down

by

Mia Hopkins

Kings of California

Book One

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

Deep Down

COPYRIGHT © 2015 by Mia Hopkins

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press, Inc. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Contact Information: info@thewildrosepress.com

Cover Art by Angela Anderson

The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

PO Box 708

Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708

Visit us at www.thewilderroses.com

Publishing History

First Scarlet Rose Edition, 2015

Print ISBN 978-1-5092-0426-7

Digital ISBN 978-1-5092-0427-4

Published in the United States of America

PRAISE FOR AUTHOR

Mia Hopkins

AND HER BOOKS

Beautifully descriptive...hot, sexy and full of yearning!

~Delilah Devlin, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author

Mia Hopkins is one of the most exciting new voices in super-hot contemporary romance. Add her to your must-read list. Now!

~Samanthe Beck, USA Today bestselling author

Off the charts hot.

~The Romance Studio

A tantalizing slow seduction of the senses.

~Strange Candy Reviews

Hopkins packs a lot of heat and romance on the pages...Caution: hot, sexy times ahead!

~Reader Girls Blog

Filled with sizzling chemistry, hot sex, and just enough sweetness to leave me wanting more…And those sex scenes…Holy hotness!

~Crystal Blogs Books

Dedication

To Sharon Pickrel, for giving me the chance to tell a story about a place I love.

To Tom Kendrick, for helping me bring Sam Lamont and his world to life.

To S. Irene Virbila, for helping me honor the food and hard-working cooks of California.

To Brent Hopkins, the brainy rogue and best friend I always wished for.

And most of all…to every girl who’s ever had to cross oceans, real or metaphorical, to fulfill her dreams. This one’s for you.

The way to love anything

is to realize that it may be lost.

—G.K. Chesterton

The man who has experienced shipwreck

shudders even at a calm sea.

—Ovid

Chapter One

Sam Lamont powered down the throttle of the Bravado and dropped anchor off the eastern shore of Santa Rosa Island. The morning sky was overcast. Off the stern, a mosaic of blue water and brown kelp danced on the mild chop of the ocean’s surface.

Hungover? Sam asked, adjusting his weight belt.

His co-diver Kyle tied back his sun-bleached dreads. Nah. Just baked. He cracked a smile. There’s a house party tonight in Carpinteria. You game?

Whose house?

Boner’s.

Sam shook his head. I think I’ll sit that one out.

You haven’t been out with us in a long time. The women miss you, man. It’s not a party without the Slammer.

Not wanting to rehash an old conversation, Sam let the topic drop. They’d been working together for almost five years, but Sam still hated when Kyle smoked out before a dive. Today Sam had no choice—they were on a serious deadline. You gonna be all right today? he asked.

Of course. No problem, Skipper.

With practiced efficiency, they started up the noisy compressor, double-checked their regulators, gave each other a thumbs’ up, and jumped into the cold water.

Visibility was about ten feet as they made their descent. Long trails of kelp flowed back and forth around them.

Kyle used the anchor line to pull himself against the current. He disappeared into the murky water to harvest a spot on the other side of the boat.

Sam adjusted his rake, the long metal claw he used to pry sea urchins off rocks, and started his search. In under a minute, he found a cluster of large red sea urchin and smashed one against a rock to check its quality.

The roe was fat and golden yellow and shiny. This was the good stuff. Sushi restaurants in the U.S. and Japan paid high prices for top-grade sea urchin. Sam picked the urchin, scraping up and batting the spiky balls into his mesh bag. When his bag was full, he inflated its orange floater and kicked to the surface to start the process all over again.

At the end of the day, Sam and Kyle secured the haul as usual and started for home. But halfway across the channel, Kyle’s head drooped.

I’m so goddamn tired today. Kyle’s words were slurred. I don’t know why.

He closed his eyes and slumped over. Sam’s blood went cold.

Shit! He powered down the boat. Kyle!

Sam checked the pulse in his friend’s neck and shook him hard.

Kyle lifted his head slowly and blinked. What happened?

The bends. Type two, I think, said Sam. Decompression sickness. A pretty bad hit from the looks of it. We have to get you to a hospital.

Sam gunned it back to the harbor. He pushed the Bravado, riding the old boat hard while trying to keep his friend conscious and talking. The bends meant Kyle had bubbles of nitrogen forming in his bloodstream from ascending too quickly during his dive. The consequences could be serious. Nerve damage, lung damage, even paralysis. Ten minutes out, Sam made a call to shore on his cell phone. An ambulance met them on the dock to take Kyle to the hospital.

Weak and disoriented, Kyle was in rough shape. As the paramedics lifted him onto the gurney, he turned to Sam. But what about Madrigal?

Don’t worry about him right now, said Sam. Listen, these nice people are going to get you into a decompression chamber now, all right? You’ll be good as new.

Kyle looked up at him once more. I’m sorry, Sam.

Don’t sweat it, buddy.

But what…what about Madrigal? asked Kyle again.

Sam rubbed the back of his neck as the crew wheeled Kyle inside the ambulance. I’ll take care of Madrigal.

Kyle shook his head. If we don’t get that money to him… A paramedic slipped an oxygen mask over his face.

Just get better, said Sam. I’ll think of something. The ambulance door slammed shut.

****

Over the years, Eve had heard lots of excuses. Women’s warm hands ruined cold fish. Women wore perfume that tainted the delicate flavor of sushi. Women were not skillful enough with a knife to prepare the fish properly.

Eve was thinking about these excuses as she closed the door of the walk-in refrigerator and collided with her father, who stood—quite literally—in her way.

Is the order put away? Chef Ono asked in Japanese, not glancing up from his clipboard.

Yes, Chef.

He pointed down at the rubber mats beneath their feet. Now wash the mats.

She stood up straight and gave him a cheeky Yes, Chef!

He looked up at her. A chain-smoker, he was whippet-thin and naturally sinister looking. Is this a game to you?

She pursed her lips to hide her smile. No, Chef.

With a growl, he turned back to his clipboard and kept walking.

The Geisha Sushi kitchen made up one long corridor from the front of the restaurant, where it began at a U-shaped bar, to the back room, where it ended by the washing station and the back door. Eve hauled the heavy floor mats out into the alley by the Dumpster and scrubbed them with a long-handled brush. As the mats dried, Eve swept around the feet of the line cooks and swabbed a mop over the rows of red tile on the galley floor.

She used cold water and a small amount of disinfectant—her father had a nose like a bloodhound and became enraged if the smell of cleaning products undermined the smell of the food.

As she rinsed the mop once more, she glanced at the magnetic strip above the washing station. The long row of sharp knives made her fingers twitch, but her father had forbidden her to cook in his kitchen. She was lost in the memory of slicing and dicing when she collided with Ken on his way to the dishwashing sink. "Gomen!" she said, breathless. Sorry, Ken!

The tall, rangy prep cook was three years younger than Eve. But her father had already taken him on as a full-fledged apprentice.

What are you daydreaming about, Eve? Ken asked with a wink.

She was at a loss for words for a moment. I…er…

That’s all right. Keep your secrets, said Ken, holding up his hand. I’m just passing on a message: when you finish the mopping, your dad wants you to water the plants in front of the restaurant before the dining room opens.

She nodded sheepishly. Got it. Okay.

****

A well-run restaurant at the height of its dinner service hummed like an engine. The hostess, bussers, servers, and runners all worked together to seat and serve diners. The line cooks and chefs all worked together to put beautiful food on the table at exactly the right intervals. That’s how a good engine worked.

But tonight, even lowly dishwasher Eve knew the Geisha Sushi engine had a monkey wrench in it.

Behind the sushi bar, the sushi chefs in front of the diners were poker-faced and calm as yoga instructors. Not even the most observant customer would realize something was amiss.

Whenever he ducked into the kitchen, however, Chef Ono unleashed holy hellfire, directing his assholery at Ken, who was having trouble keeping up with the steady stream of orders for rolls.

Takahashi! yelled her father. You can’t even make rolls. You expect me to let you out there? Let customers see that face? Those clumsy hands? He knocked a just-finished dragon roll out of Ken’s hands, smashing the delicate creation to the floor. You’re not sending that piece of garbage out of my kitchen. Start again!

Ono disappeared behind the curtain separating the kitchen from the sushi bar.

From behind her washing station, Eve noticed the determination in Ken’s face as he sliced a ripe avocado with the intent and concentration of a surgeon.

She pulled off her gloves and washed her hands quickly. Let me help you, she whispered. He’s angry because you’re using too much rice.

Gratitude flashed in Ken’s eyes. Show me.

She wasn’t completely familiar with all the elaborate rolls American sushi restaurants served, but she had seen her father walk Ken through this process earlier in the afternoon. With nimble fingers, she made a roll of roast eel and cucumbers, but she didn’t pack the rice as tightly as she had seen Ken do. She placed the roll on top of the fanned-out avocado he had prepared and pressed it all together. Quickly, she used a laser-sharp knife to create beautiful, delicate cylinders of rice, vegetables, and fish.

She laid the sushi out on the plate and garnished it lightly, letting the beauty of the pieces shine through. There, she said, handing him the plate. Ken in turn handed it to a runner who whisked the dish away.

Let’s get you out of the weeds, she said, looking at Ken’s endless row of orders.

In five minutes, the backup was nearly gone. Eve peeked into the dining room. Sated, happy diners were mopping sauce from their dishes and ordering more sake and beer. One diner bought a round for the sushi chefs, who toasted him with a hearty "Kanpai!" Even her father smiled—briefly.

She was feeling quite proud of both herself and Ken when Chef Ono walked without warning into the back room. She was just in the middle of plating a final order of spider rolls while Ken was wiping up the station.

What is this? yelled the chef, all mirth gone.

"Gomen-nasai, Chef, said Ken, valiantly standing in front of Eve and bowing in deepest respect and penitence. I’m sorry. I asked Eve to help me. She only did what I asked. It’s my fault."

But Eve’s father had rage in his eyes only for her. He sidestepped Ken and put his face in Eve’s. I’ve warned you before. You don’t have permission to touch the fish. The knives. The cutting board. You know this is a holy place. You’re not good enough for it.

Ken protested, But Chef, she was amazing—

Chef Ono’s voice dropped so only his daughter could hear it. Get out of my kitchen, he said to her, a deep menacing growl in his throat. His breath smelled like sake and cigarettes.

I just wanted to help, she said quickly. I’m sorry for disobeying you.

Get out.

No one saw me cook, if that’s what you’re worried about.

I said, ‘Get out.’

She untied her apron. I’ll talk to you at home when you’ve calmed down.

No, you misunderstand me. You’re fired. Her father shook his head. Get out of my restaurant. Find a new place to work. Find a new place to live.

****

As she made the turn onto Shoreline Drive, Eve kept her eyes on the road and tried to ignore the ocean looming in her peripheral vision. This was the first time she’d ridden her bike this close to the water, but desperation trumped fear. She needed money. She needed to work.

After a quick visit to her father’s apartment to grab her stuff, followed by a fitful night’s sleep in the park, she’d spent the day looking for a new job. She had already visited almost a dozen restaurants and cafés looking for work. Friendly faces or slammed doors, the story was the same—no one was hiring. Her last resort was a one-line ad in the local newspaper: Barback wanted ASAP. See Charlie at the Compass Rose.

Yachts and recreational craft shared Santa Barbara Harbor with working fishing boats. Under the clear sky, a forest of white masts bobbed up and down in the water.

It was almost sunset. When she rode onto the wooden dock and the smell of the sea filled her nose, Eve panicked. She took a deep breath, trying to regain control of her emotions.

Don’t freak out. Breathe.

She chained her bike to the railing in front of the shuttered fish market. Shoving her shaking hands into her pockets, she walked toward the only lit façade on the waterfront—the Compass Rose Tavern.

****

Besides getting a dartboard and a touch-screen cash register, Charlie had made zero alterations to the interior of the Compass Rose in the seven years since Sam first stumbled through his door. It looked the same as always, a long narrow room with a wooden bar and a small dining room appended to one end. With leaded-glass light fixtures and a couple of ancient neon beer signs, the place was homey but plain.

A half-dozen regulars sat at the bar tonight, talking quietly and nodding while Charlie pulled pints.

Tall and potbellied, Charlie de Winter had a full head of white hair and a neatly trimmed beard. He almost always wore faded Hawaiian shirts and khaki shorts.

Just after Sam bought the Bravado from him three years ago, Charlie had suffered a stroke. Now he walked with a cane. Hey, Muscles, glad you’re here, Charlie called. Help me change this keg out.

Sam took off his jacket and laid it on a barstool. Sure thing.

He went into the back room and rolled the keg across the floor to the taps. Squinting in the low light behind the bar, he unhooked the coupler from the old keg and reattached it to the new one, swapping the empty aluminum barrel out and taking it outside for pickup. He turned the gas back on and pulled the first extra foamy pint to get the draft going.

Check the lines, said Charlie. I’m testing out a new vendor. He says he cleaned them out yesterday.

Tastes clean. Sam drank down the quarter-pint in the glass. I hear you hired a new barback this morning.

Yep. Manny should be here in an hour or so. I have faith in this one. I’m done with unreliable brats from UC Santa Barbara.

But you hired me out of UC Santa Barbara.

Exactly.

You’re an irascible old geezer, you know? said Sam. You going to be all right until he arrives? You need help back here?

Charlie shook his head. "No, just finish up with the lines. How’s your compadre doing?"

Sam turned around and methodically pulled another pint, this one perfect with a half-inch head. Whenever Sam was worried, he did work with his hands.

Kyle Brautigan is a lucky bastard, Sam said. It was the worst case of the bends I’ve ever seen, but they gave him oxygen and an IV and set him up in the hyperbaric chamber right away.

How long will he be out?

He’ll be in the hospital for at least a week. In a month, they’ll scan him for any neurological effects. Sam sighed. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad Kyle will be okay. But all the usual walk-on tenders already have long-term gigs. And I need to get back out there as soon as possible. Sam shook his head and fell silent, lost in worries that went deeper than those he could tell Charlie.

You know, Charlie motioned to the pint in Sam’s hand, that one’s not on the house.

I don’t know why I help you. Sam smiled. You’re an unpleasant old man.

Charlie chuckled. Check the beer lines for the other taps. The pressure’s not right. I’m not sure if it’s the gas or if the vendor put them back wrong.

Aye-aye, Captain.

Judith Carrillo, Sam’s landlady and a Compass Rose regular, sat down at the bar. Charlie poured her usual: two fingers of blueberry vodka, straight up. In her late fifties, she wore leopard print leggings and an off-shoulder sweatshirt bedazzled with rhinestones.

Hey, handsome, she said.

Hey, gorgeous, Sam said back.

She meant me, said Charlie.

Judith’s chuckle was raspy with the ghosts of a million cigarettes. I meant you both. And someone’s looking for you, Charlie. Pretty girl by the door.

Sam perked up.

Pretty girl? said Charlie. In here?

Go on. Judith sneered at them and turned toward the door. Over here, honey!

****

Eve wrestled her nerves to the ground and walked to the other end of the bar where the unusual woman waved her over. Behind the bar was a man with white hair who looked an awful lot like Kenny Rogers. And next to him in the shadows stood a tall man in an old baseball cap.

Hi, she said to them. I’m looking for Charlie.

The man with white hair held out a meaty hand. That’s me. What can I do for you?

My name is Eve Ono. She shook his hand. I’m here about the barback job. She cleared her throat and launched into the spiel she’d already given a dozen times today. I have almost ten years of restaurant experience. I’ve worked as a cook, a server, a runner, a busser, and a dishwasher. I’ve done inventory and food prep and I’m really good at anticipating what needs to be done. You only have to tell me once what you expect. I’m a really fast learner. I’m reliable, and I’m ready to work right away.

Ten years? the older woman chimed in. Charlie should card you just for coming in here. How old are you anyway?

Eve’s cheeks got warm. Twenty-four. I’m older than I look. She turned back to Charlie. I started working in my grandparents’ restaurant when I was fifteen, so I’m not lying about the amount of experience I have. If you hire me, you won’t be sorry.

I’m already sorry, said Charlie. I filled that position this morning.

Eve pursed her lips. Oh, she said softly. Well, then. Thank you for your time. Turning to go, she took a mental note to ask whether a job was available before she gave her pitch.

Hang on a minute, said the woman. Can you swim?

Excuse me? asked Eve, turning around. Did you say swim?

Charlie leaned forward on the bar and grinned. Here she goes. Judith, you’re a piece of work.

Judith narrowed her eyes. Ever go diving?

Like, off a diving board? Eve asked, confused.

No, not high diving, said Judith. Scuba diving.

Cut it out, Judith, Charlie said. You’re nuts.

Judith’s heavily lined eyes were bright with inspiration. It’s destiny, Charlie! She slapped her hand on the bar. Eve needs a job. Sam needs a tender.

Hey, wait a second— said the man in the ball cap.

I’ve done a little bartending, said Eve with a smile.

No, no, no. Not bartending. Judith downed her drink and grabbed Eve’s hand. She pulled Eve out of the door of the bar and pointed to the long dock jutting out into the harbor. A pickup truck was parked by one of the three cranes on the dock.

Look to the left of the wharf, said Judith. See the boat in the third slip from the end?

In the third space was a small boat marked with red lettering. Piled with green nets and orange floats, it was clean but looked like it had seen better days.

The gray one? asked Eve, squinting in the fading sunlight.

"That’s it. The Bravado is Sam’s boat. He’s a sea urchin diver. His other diver is out of commission. You could go out with Sam tomorrow and see how you like it. Then maybe you could be his new tender."

Tender? What’s that?

His deckhand. You’d watch over the boat while he’s down in the water then help him load the catch onto the deck. Judith appraised Eve once more, looking her up and down. She nodded in approval. There aren’t many girl tenders. But I think you’d do a fine job. What do you think?

I think you’re nuts, Judith. The tall man came out of the bar to stand next to them. He was wearing jeans, work boots, and a faded blue T-shirt that showed off the muscles in his chest. Then he adjusted the bill of his torn-up ball cap and the fading sunlight hit his eyes.

Holy…crap.

He was deadly handsome, square jawed with full lips and the most unusual eyes she’d ever seen—one sky blue and the other dark brown. The asymmetry mesmerized her. Checking herself, Eve forced herself to look back at the boat.

"But I’m not asking what you think, Sam, said Judith. I’m asking Eve."

Chapter Two

Delicate was the first word that came to Sam when he looked at the young woman. Gorgeous was the second. Completely unsuitable for the job were the next five.

Dressed in a black hoodie, faded jeans, and sneakers, she carried an enormous black backpack that made her look even smaller than she already was. Though she had Asian features, her eyes were a startling shade of bottle green. She wore her long black hair in a braid that hung over her shoulder. The breeze stirred loose tendrils from it; one momentarily lodged itself between her pink lips and she brushed it away. Sam’s mouth went dry.

Charlie joined them outside as Judith continued to make her case. Sam will work you like a dog, but he’s fair. The job is never boring. You’ll like it.

It’s not about her liking it, said Charlie. It’s about whether or not she can do it. He turned to Eve. You say you can swim, right?

Eve cleared her throat. Yes.

And how much can you lift? asked Charlie.

I’m stronger than I look, she said. At my last job, I hauled twenty, thirty pound boxes all morning.

She’s stronger than you were when I hired you as my tender, said Charlie.

Sam scowled at him.

See? said Judith, clearly pleased with herself. She pulled a cigarette from her pocket and lit up. This girl is perfect. I should charge you a finder’s fee.

Do you get seasick? asked Charlie.

No, I don’t…hey, wait a second. Eve looked up at Sam. Are you really considering me for this job?

No, said Sam, not really.

What? asked Judith, the cigarette dangling from her lips. She’s everything you’re looking for and she’s available to work right away. She could start tomorrow.

You did say you were eager to get back out there, Sam, said Charlie.

Now, hang on, said Sam. Before you two get all gung-ho about doing my hiring for me, let me ask a couple questions of my own.

Eve looked right at him and smiled. Smiled—as if she already had the job in the bag. He went on high alert. This girl was used to getting what she wanted.

Not on my boat.

He looked at her again. Her teeth were crooked, her incisors longish and foxy. The imperfection should’ve made her unattractive, but it didn’t. Not at all. His eyes lingered on her mouth for a couple of seconds until he snapped out of it.

Okay, then, he said. Tell me about your work history.

Sure, she said. Like I said, I started working in my grandparents’ restaurant when I was fifteen. Every day after school, during weekends and vacations. I learned how to do everything—clean, prep, cook, order, serve. Later on I took care of inventory and ordering and helped my grandfather with the profit and loss statements.

Where’s this restaurant? asked Sam.

Japan, Eve said. Small town on the coast.

Cool, said Judith. "Ni hao!"

That’s Chinese, doll, said Charlie.

Oh. Oops. Judith blew cigarette smoke over her shoulder. Godzilla?

Continue, said Sam.

After that I moved to Tokyo and worked as a sushi chef for six years. My father lives in Santa Barbara, so I decided to come out here and work with him for a little while.

Daddy’s girl. Figures. So who’s your dad? asked Sam.

Taro Ono. The managing chef at Geisha Sushi.

Holy Toledo! He’s one of the biggest local buyers of the sea urchin catch here at the harbor! Judith exclaimed.

You must know a thing or two about sea urchins, said Charlie, nodding.

Having a seafood background was a plus. But something didn’t compute. So why aren’t you at the restaurant? asked Sam.

Eve paused. It was entirely my fault. I…got involved with a prep cook. My father thought it interfered with the dynamics of the kitchen. So last night he fired me.

Sam was surprised. He didn’t think a daddy’s girl would confess something like that, much less take responsibility for her actions.

Judith took another pull of her cigarette. You’d be spending lots of time with Sam on the boat. Would your boyfriend be okay with that?

Hot damn. The V-berth. With this girl.

He wouldn’t mind. He’s not…possessive. She turned to Sam. So. What do you think? Do I get the job?

Sam folded his arms. Kitchen work is a different animal from the work you’ll be doing for me. It’s cold and brutal and sometimes it’s dangerous.

"You

Sie haben das Ende dieser Vorschau erreicht. Registrieren Sie sich, um mehr zu lesen!
Seite 1 von 1

Rezensionen

Was die anderen über Deep Down denken

0
0 Bewertungen / 0 Rezensionen
Wie hat es Ihnen gefallen?
Bewertung: 0 von 5 Sternen

Leser-Rezensionen