Title: Cruising With Danger
Author: Robyn Rychards
Genre: Romantic Suspense
After the stress of working in a busy Chicago ER, Sage Brady reinvented herself and enjoys her job as a doctor on a cruise ship. Until she takes over the position of Chief Medical Officer and learns the previous doctor was murdered. Then she discovers narcotics being smuggled through the ship’s dispensary. But it’s the hot detective assigned to the case that threatens her peace of mind most of all. Detective Dace Langdon hates his undercover assignment as a cruise ship security guard, but it’s better than the vacation his boss suggested. Having the ship’s captain assign the sexy Chief Medical Officer as his partner is a complication Dace doesn’t need. Trapped on the open ocean, they race to find the identities of the smuggler and murderer before Sage becomes the next target. Will their attraction to each other complicate their investigation or lead to something lasting?
The curt knock on her door made her jump and though she wasn’t slow responding to it, a second came before she gained the strength to respond. God, please don’t be anything serious. She sighed, and muttering to herself, swung the door open to find Dace standing there in worn jeans and a faded black t-shirt, hand raised and ready to knock again.
Not waiting for an invitation, he pushed past her and walked down the hall to the sitting area, turning to face her as she closed the door and leaned against it. It took everything she had to keep her expression neutral so he wouldn’t see how thoroughly irritated she was.
With herself, because she still tingled from the brief physical contact as he rushed past; with him, for his rudeness, as well as a general irritation at being disturbed. She’d been looking forward to crashing in her cabin long before she was able to leave the infirmary.
He walked over to the porthole and peered out for several long, drawn out seconds before turning back to face her.
Pushing away from the door, she joined him in the lounge, sank back down on the couch and gestured to the chair. “Would you like to sit?”
He shrugged his shoulders before walking over and taking a seat. He looked like hell. “You missed your appointment today,” she pointed out. “Is that why you’re here?”
He ran a hand through his dark hair, leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees. “We have a big problem.”
Suddenly chilled, she rubbed her arms. “We?”
“The prescription you gave me for pain, did you fill it yourself or did you have someone else do it?”
“I filled it. I thought I told you that.”
He bobbed his head. “With what medication?”
She raised her brows but didn’t say any of the sarcastic things that popped in her head. Something was very wrong. “A prescription strength NSAID—
ibuprofen. You made it clear that’s what you wanted.”
“You’re one hundred percent positive that’s what it was? You didn’t accidentally grab the wrong bottle, forgetting I didn’t want to go with narcotics?”
She did her best to ignore the accusatory tone. “I know for a fact the stock bottle I took them from was labeled Ibuprofen. I take prescription drugs very seriously, Detective Langdon.” She shifted in her seat. “What are you accusing me of?”
He looked down at the floor, wrapped his hands around the back of his neck and blew out a breath.
“Nothing. Not a thing.” He sat up and leaned back in the chair. “If I was accusing you of something, I’d be here in my uniform with the Chief Security Officer and hauling you before the Captain.” His eyes roamed her face while she fought the desire to squirm. “You might want to take a closer look at the pills in the bottle you poured them from because they sure aren’t ibuprofen.”
Stunned, she gaped at him. “What are you saying?”
“They’re narcotics, Doc. Made me sick as a dog and had me sleeping so long I missed my appointment with you and was late to my shift. In fact, my stomach is still feeling rather dicey.”
“It could be seasickness. Have you been on a ship before?”
His jaw clenched and he raised his chin as he tossed the prescription bottle at her. It landed neatly in her lap. So he was a good shot. So what? She picked up the bottle and turned it so she could read the label. It was the one she’d filled and was properly labeled. She opened the lid and looked at the pills.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” She shook one out into her hand to get a better look then returned it to the bottle, closed it and set it on the coffee table. “That’s definitely the narcotic known as hydrocodone. I’m really sorry, Dace. The last thing I wanted was to make you feel worse. Though some manufacturers sell a very different looking pill, the company we buy from makes an ibuprofen pill that looks very similar to hydrocodone. I’d swear on my life I took them out of the ibuprofen bottle.” She swiped a hand down her face and shook her head at herself. “I guess Eric’s death has me more upset than I thought.”
Or she’d been thinking about the detective instead of focusing on her job… Either reason was not good. She should have paid closer attention. She knew better. She’d been trained better.
“I don’t know you very well, Sage, but what I do know tells me this isn’t a mistake you would make. Is it possible these pills were deliberately put in the ibuprofen bottle?”
She raked the fingers of both hands through her hair. “God, I don’t know if I should hope that’s the case or not. The pills do look a lot alike, so if you aren’t really looking at them, you wouldn’t notice the difference. If I filled your prescription out of the bottle labeled ibuprofen and these pills were in there, the only reason I can think of for it would be that someone’s smuggling narcotics through the dispensary.”
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Robyn Rychards grew up in the granola bowl of the United States, Boulder, Colorado, a town filled with fruits, flakes, and nuts. She considers herself a Jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none and has taught herself to sew, paint, play the piano, garden, cook, the list goes on. But now that her books are published, she’s thrilled to finally be considered a master of one. At least as much as a person can be, for the learning never really stops.
She feels her active imagination is a blessing and a curse, with the blessing far outweighing the curse since it has led her to fulfill her dream of being a published romance author. Robyn started writing when she was a teenager because she didn’t have enough books to read, and sometimes finds it hard to believe people are willing to pay her to do something she enjoys so much.
Then there’s the added bonus of having a good reason to put off cooking and cleaning, much less a job that means you can stay in your jammies as long as you want. That’s priceless.
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