Starboard Secrets

Starboard Secrets

Cast of Characters Mildred Sanders.  Mildred “Millie” Sanders, heartbroken after her husband left her for one of his clients, decides to take a position as assistant cruise director aboard the mega cruise ship, Siren of the Seas.

From day one, she discovers she has a knack for solving mysteries, which is a good thing since some sort of crime is always being committed on the high seas. Annette Delacroix. Director of Food and Beverage on board Siren of the Seas, Annette has a secret past and is the perfect accomplice in Millie’s investigations. 

Annette is the “Jill of all Trades” and isn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves and help out her friend in need. Catherine “Cat” Wellington. Cat is the most cautious of the group of friends and prefers to help Millie from the sidelines. But when push comes to shove, Cat can be counted on to risk life and limb in the pursuit of justice.

Chapter 1 Mildred Sanders came to an abrupt halt. She lifted her head and stared at the side of the enormous cruise ship. The sea breeze blew bits of her shoulder length gray locks into her eyes. She tucked the wayward strands of hair behind her ear as her eyes slowly ran the length of the ship, taking in every small detail of what was now her new home. She straightened her back and pulled her roundish, barely five-foot tall frame ramrod straight.

Her knuckles turned white as she squeezed the handle of her suitcase and yanked it along behind her. The sound of her sturdy, black pumps clicked in rhythm to the wheels on her luggage as she made her way down the sidewalk. The sound echoed off the side of a long, low building that stood sentinel in front of the massive ship. Millie sucked in a breath and stepped inside the drab, gray building. To the right was a small line of people. Other crew, Millie decided. Her new

All of them complete strangers - until today. She made her way to the end of the line before fumbling in her purse for her reading glasses and the thick stack of papers she had brought with her. Millie had filled out the paperwork weeks ago and submitted it online. It seemed like an eternity ago. When it was Millie’s turn, she grabbed the handle of her suitcase and dragged it to the counter.  It was obvious the woman behind the counter had done this dozens of times.

Probably hundreds. She gave Millie an encouraging smile and picked up the driver’s license Millie had placed on the counter. She swiped the license through a scanner attached to the side of her computer monitor and handed it back.    The woman pointed to a round lens on the edge of the counter. “Look in the camera and smile.” With a few more clicks on her keyboard, the woman reached behind her and grabbed a card that had magically dropped from a whirring machine. She glanced at the photo and slid it across the counter in Millie’s direction.

Millie picked it up and studied the picture. The look on her face reminded her of someone who had narrowly avoided the dreaded door-to-door insurance salesman. Joy. She would be stuck with this horrible picture ID for a very long time!  Millie picked up the lanyard and card, resisting the urge to toss it in the trash and beg the woman behind the counter for a do-over. She had a twenty-dollar bill in her pocket. Maybe she could bribe her… “Thank you,” Millie managed to croak. The woman smiled reassuringly and pointed. “Just follow the arrows.” Millie’s eyes dropped to the floor. She took a deep breath, grabbed the handle of her suitcase, and began the final steps to her new life. There was no turning back now. 

She followed the arrows until she reached the gangplank. For the tenth time that day and probably the millionth time in the last month, she wondered how on earth she had ended up here. A sixty year-old mother and grandmother should know better than to make a semi-rash decision to leave the comforts of hearth and home and embark on a new career.

Over a thousand miles from everything familiar, and of all places on a cruise ship!  She would like to think it was a thoughtless moment, an impulsive decision, but it really hadn’t been. Mildred, or Millie as everyone called her, had tossed around the idea of a drastic change in her life for months now. Ever since Roger, her ex-husband, had dropped a bomb when he informed her he was moving out of their comfortable home in the suburbs and moving in with one of his clients. Delilah Osborne to be exact. Delilah also happened to be Millie’s hairdresser. When Roger first said the woman’s name, Delilah, it hadn’t registered. It took a day or two for the whole thing to sink in. By then, Roger had packed up what he wanted and moved out. The only things he had left behind were crap he didn’t want. 

It gave Millie a bit of pleasure the night she built a roaring bonfire in the backyard and burned every single thing that reminded her of him. Which was a lot.  Looking back, she should’ve realized the neighbors would call the fire department when the flames shot over ten feet in the air and torched a few of the leaves on the tree that hung over Millie’s fence. How was she to know Roger’s “mantique” collection of mounted deer antlers would burn that hot? 

By the time the fire department arrived, Millie had doused the flames with the garden hose.  She couldn’t understand what the big deal was. Anyway, after that night, the house was a whole lot cleaner - and emptier.  Delilah Osborne had hired Roger, a private investigator, to track down her husband’s investments. She was convinced her husband had a small fortune stashed in overseas bank accounts and she was right.  When the woman found out how much money her husband was hiding from her, she took him to the cleaners and walked away with a tidy amount of cash. Millions…Roger had told his wife.