March 14, 2022

To The Irish!

                                 CHICAGO RIVER
                               Thank you, Chicago!

photo by Barbra Boutin

February 4, 2022

Simple Romantic Ideas from The Goodbye Lie Characters

     I have asked some of the characters featured in
my Amelia Island's 
Goodbye Lie historical romance novels for suggestions on how lovers might celebrate Valentine's Day. Through the magic of electronics, mental telepathy and a smidge of time travel, we are able to communicate with each other from their time  in the late 1800s to ours and back. Here are their responses:


Fernandina on Amelia Island in north Florida

circa late 1800s

 Breelan Dunnigan (second oldest daughter) - Change your perfume or aftershave. Different scents evoke different emotions and inspire love.  Put a drop on the tip of your nose so you can smell the scent even when you think it has worn off. 

         Miss Ella Dunnigan

Miss Ella
(matriarch) - Have 11 roses or other favorite flower waiting in a vase of water for your love to find.  Then hand-deliver the 12th flower.


           Waite Taylor (captain of the Gentle Comfort) - If you're handy with a knife and/or
chisel, carve a heart into a tree or wooden bench or board with your love's initials and yours.  
It's been done by others, but is still effective. 

Nora Duffy (first cousin to the Dunnigans)- Create a sealed formal handwritten invitation to a dinner-dance in your home.  Sent it by post to your love or hide it where he or she will find it.  Be certain to add that Sunday best attire is required. Prepare a simple but elegant meal served on your fanciest dishes.  Do not forget dessert.  Play music of some sort on the piano, pump organ, violin or harmonica, whatever instrument you have.  If you cannot play a note, sing a love song.  If you do not sing well, sing anyway and enjoy a mutual laugh.

Peeper (adopted grandmother -Give a cactus to the one you're alovin' with a note sayin', "I'm stuck on ya."

 Michael Dunnigan

(patriarch) - If you have one, secretly find your marriage certificate, roll it up and place it in a decorative cylindrical document holder.  Ceremoniously hang it by your and your spouse's bed, making it official. 

Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida, Current day

Jane Marie Malcolm - Give a good romantic novel.  May I suggest any or all of the E-books or paperback books in Amelia Island's Goodbye Lie series.  No matter your personal situation, it's always fun to put yourself in the heroine's slippers or hero's boots. Cozy up and enjoy the romance ... πŸ’“ 

Amelia Island's Goodbye Lie Series 

Of course, these ideas could be used for anniversaries or any time you want to do a little something extra special for your sweetie. 

January 27, 2022

Candy Canes to Valentines - The Goodbye Lie Diaries - Breelan Dunnigan

Goodbye Lie Diaries Defined:

     Through the magic of electronics, mental telepathy and a smidge of time travel, we are able to communicate with our clan of characters in The Goodbye Lie series, from their time  in the late 1800s to ours and back. The result is The Goodbye Lie Diaries, scattered throughout this blog.

Breelan Dunnigan is the second oldest sister in the family of four Dunnigan siblings in north Florida in 1882.  Life on an island is filled with sun and salty times and she is prime in the mix in the first novel in the series, The Goodbye Lie. Her naivete does not serve her well with regard to matters of the heart. She will learn from her mistakes, but soon enough?         -Jane Marie

Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida

Circa Late 1800s


Breelan Dunningan writes:  Clover, friend to all children and our beloved handyman, twisted a span of heavy wire then fashioned it into two candy canes for Christmas a few years back. We hung the canes on the two palm trees in our front yard.  As walked up our drive from an hour at the beach one warm winter afternoon, I saw those canes and it came to me that, should one put them together, they would form a heart! I told Mother my intention and with her permission, and Clover's, I carried through. Grandmother Peeper told me to go through her flowerdy sack of left over yarn she keeps by her rocker. There I found a ball of white yarn. Simply wrapping each candy cane shape, around and around with the thick string, and securing the two cane together, the result was a heart. It's hanging on the front door of Dunnigan Manor this very moment in anticipation of my favorite holiday, Valentine's Day. 


Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida

Present Day

Jane Marie Malcolm writes:   I love your  idea so much, Breelan, I made a candy cane heart myself.  I didn't have any wire, but instead used two large candy canes I found on the curb one day, just waiting to be picked up by the trash man. As you did, my heart, is hanging on our front door.  The yarn I used has silver threads in it that add sparkle.  Thank you for being so creative and Happy Valentine's Day to you! 


  Amelia Island, Florida, late 1800s

🌹🌹🌹The Goodbye Lie



                   follow the lure,                    the love, 

      the legend ...

January 17, 2022

Paper Bag Mittens

     Although we don't get snow in Fernandina  Beach on Amelia Island, Florida where we live with all the characters from our The Goodbye Lie series of historical romance novels, we still enjoy the coziness found in winter.  Hence, here are a pair of mittens I crafted from paper bags!  Thanks to Lisa Croker, owner of The  Silver Farmhouse, online, you can easily make your own pair at a very inexpensive price.  Click here for Lisa's specific instructions: The Silver Farmhouse paper bag mittens blog . Thank you, Lisa. And as I say around here, "Where's the Snow?"  -jmm

P.S. The ribbon from which the mittens hang is several decades old. I originally used it as trim on a vest I sewed for my wonderful daughter, Barbra. The little jingle bells are probably twenty years old. I am not a pack rat. I am a pack mouse. I only keep bits of fluff and bobble to use in the future. Then again, there is our granddaughter’s out-dated and legally unsafe booster seat which sat in the garage for a while. It was so old, they couldn’t give it away at the church rummage sale.  And I was very careful to keep both armrest covers on the thing. Well, maybe the critters at the dump can make a pretty little house from it. Did I mention our little grandgirl, Ava, is now driving?

January 12, 2022

Fun Find

     Whilst visiting local Amelia Island antique shops, I came across this wonderful iron star.  A light spray of  coral paint and sealer against the weather, I added a bit of glitter, too. It now hangs on our front gate.  I love it!

January 5, 2022

How Much is That Doggie on the Blanket?

       You have probably heard How Much is That Doggie in the Window?, a sweet song about a canine for sale. Well, we won't accept any money for  Abby, Spokesdoggie for this blog, and our beloved Chihuahua pup.  Wearing her present from Santa, Abby insisted on modeling this pretty checked little number with the snowflake design. Cold temps have come to Amelia Island, Florida! The low  is supposed be in 50s (Fahrenheit)! We’ll need another log on the fire!

December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas

      And the angel said unto them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day, in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.                                             Luke 2: 10-11


December 21, 2021

2021 Our Annual Christmas Letter


Mother says a Santa hat is the perfect addition to her hanging art. 

     πŸŽ„ 'Tis the Season and time, yet again, to fill you in on a few of the many thrilling highlights from this year.  While facemasks and separation were still in fashion, we managed to focus on our family's usual wackiness.  Herein are a few actual quotes recorded for posterity.  πŸ˜‚

Brother: "Whose socks are these?"

Daughter calling her own number:  "Where's my phone?"  Son-in-law:  It's in here, where I was sleeping."  

Aunt: "I can't cook in the dark."  Father:  "You don't pay the electric bill."

Uncle: "Okay, who wants to go with me to buy glue?"

Mother:  "Would someone with a brain, please dial the right number?"

Granddaughter:  "Anybody got a Q-tip?  Oh, thank God!"

Merry Christmas!

 from those of us who are brave (or dumb) enough to admit affiliation with 

Jane Marie Malcolm / Gracious Jane Marie

December 17, 2021

Tree in a Book


      I saw this paper folding idea online at The Shabby Tree. Since I am an author, I just had to make my own version.  Being an evergreen, it not only works for Christmas, but year round.  And, of course, pearls, as books, go with everything! 
   P. S. Thank you, Shirlene Reeves, for the big bling tree topper!

December 5, 2021

Nativity Finger Puppets

           Felt, glue and trim combined = finger puppets!  Mine happen to be Christmas themed. With little effort, this family craft will be played with and treasured for a long time. 


 P. S.  I must make sure Miss Ella, the matriarch in my Goodbye Lie  series, set in the late 1800s, sees this posting. I know she and and the grands will have a wonderful time making these. Isn't it swell how some things never go out out style?

November 21, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving

    My painted gourd, courtesy of our wonderful Amelia Island Art Association art class, was fun to create. Add gold and glitter  and it makes it sufficiently fancy to display on the turkey table!  Don’t eat too much.  πŸ˜‰

November 18, 2021


  Where will the path into your future take you? 
 Welcome the wonder that awaits, and 
may all your dreams arrive on time … 



November 11, 2021

Thank You Veterans


I drove my husband, Bruce Malcolm, American Legion  Post 54 Chaplain, in our local Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Florida Veterans Day Parade. The turnout of supportive folks was great, so much so, it brought tears to my eyes.  They cheered, waved flags and thanked the military who served and are serving our country. 

We went to the post for a BBQ lunch afterward and on the tables were hand-drawn cards from the students at our St. Michael Academy.  I am happy to report that patriotism is alive and very well in all ages of Americans.

Bruce Malcolm, Marine vet, is really in this car in the parade.  hahaha

November 7, 2021

Peeperisms: A Warning


 "If'n she wears a flower

 by her cheek, 

she might turn out 

 ta be a sneak!"


 *Peeper Clegg adopted the Dunnigan family, moving right in on them, back in late 1800s Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida .  Now, she is the beloved grandmother of the lot.  Famous for her elixir fixers and funny fights with neighbor Aunt Noreen, she is a prime character in the The Goodbye Lie historical romance series. Her colorful countrified sayings have come to be known as Peeperisms.

 The Goodbye Lie Victorian romance series is available in E-books and Paperbacks

These books are not your typical mystery novels.  Add the unexpected, humor, family misdeeds, plenty of passion, good and bad ...  All of this is just part of 

 Amelia Island’s Goodbye Lie novels.

October 20, 2021


This one word says it all. 

Here's how I made mine:

I found a 2" x 4" piece of wood in the garage as a base and painted it black. 

H = I got this single glittering letter on sale for a friend's Christmas tree because this is the initial of his last name.  He never received it.  

O = I cut a circle from cardboard and wrapped it with twine.

M =This is a W turned upside down that I, again, found on sale at Walmart.  

E = I glued together popsicle sticks, the kind with rounded ends, then wrapped them with soft pink lace.

Glue the letters on the black wooden base.  Cover with glitter paint. I then decorated the letters with a cross, silk roses, bling, a cross, a key, a button and a butterfly, all things from my craft stash.

I move my HOME sign around the house.  In the photo above, it sits on the music stand of our antique pump organ.  Earlier, it was on the mantle and before that, on the floor in the corner of our front hall.  

I love my home sign.  What's not to like, right? 


The Goodbye Lie Diaries

Late 1800s

Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida

*Miss Ella writes:  The children and I must make a similar sign.  We might spell out love or faith or hope ... So many wonderful words from which to choose and they each translate the same meaning through time. Thank you for the idea, Jane Marie.  

Miss Ella

Miss Ella is the matriarch of the Dunnigan family,   featured in The Goodbye Lie historical romance series. Loving, intelligent and married to Michael, she is the mother of four and known for her cooking, roses and general kindness toward everyone.She is the foundation of the clan.

πŸ’– May sparkling hearts overflowing with love 

rain down on you forever! πŸ’–


If you love romance,

try Jane Marie's Goodbye Lie series. 

 "Men will die for Breelan Dunnigan ..."

September 28, 2021

Hollywood Hearts: Elvis & jmm Like Happy Endings!

     Turner Classic Movies chose Elvis Presley as their star of the month and showed a ton of his films.  I recorded several  to watch later. No matter the oft times silly script, he can sing and  is definitely a generous helping of  eye candy.  My oh my, those lashes ...

     When I heard him sing Happy Ending from 1963's It Happened at The World's Fair,  I thought how I believe in happy endings, too!  Have a listen and be happy!    -jmm

September 20, 2021

This Screams Me!

  While shopping for a birthday gift, I spotted this 3-D box in the shape of a J.  Since my name is Jane, I quickly put  the two together and realized I had to have it.  Besides, it was on sale. Next to the happy flowers and butterflies, what also caught my eye was the word Writing, written in a golden flowing script on the lower half, in the center. Since I write novels, how perfect. I love it so much, I would wallpaper our bathroom with the pattern, if I could find it. Don't think I wouldn't either. Poor Bruce ...

September 8, 2021

Paperback Pumpkin Plus The Goodbye Lie Diaries - Carolena Dunnigan

     I have discovered The Shabby Tree, online,  featuring Barb, the wonderfully energetic hostess and crafter there.  Here is another of her ideas:  It's a pumpkin made from an old paperback book.  Since I love books, and this novel was on its way to the trash because a few pages were missing, I saved it and turned it into this pretty pumpkin.  It isn't hard at all.  Scissors, hot glue, a light spray of orange paint and whatever trim you have will work.  The link to Barb's blog with instructions is below. Because Fall is in the air here in Florida, make one and keep it sitting out through Thanksgiving.  Have fun crafting!


The Goodbye Lie Diaries
(Defined - Through the magic of electronics and a sprinkle of stardust, we are able to communicate with the Dunnigan family of The Goodbye Lie series, set in Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida in the latter part of the 19th century.)

Late 1800s
on Amelia Island, Florida

Carolena Dunnigan

*Carolena writes:  I certainly think your book pumpkin is lovely.  Should I find a terribly worn softback book on the shelf or elsewhere, I will attempt to create my own. From the photograph, the steps necessary seem to be to cut the pages in half-circles, paste  first page to last to form a circle, dash on a few strokes of paint and decorate.  Thank you to this Barb and her  Shabby Tree, as well.

*Carolena Dunnigan is a prime player in 
Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow, set in 1889 Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida.  Judgemental, with a hasty temper, she is the interior designer for yachts and ships in the family's Aqua Verde Passenger Line.  Commissioned to build a yacht for a world famous conductor, deceit reigns, taking the family into the horrors of the great Johnstown, Pennsylvania flood.  One reader wrote: I can smell the flood waters! This is all part of Jane Marie Malcolm's Goodbye Lie historical mystery/romance series.

πŸ’– May sparkling hearts overflowing with love 

rain down on you forever! πŸ’–

August 24, 2021

The Great Explosion

Dear Everyone,

     I have done it once again.  No, I didn't run over the garden hose with the mower or superglue my fingers together or thaw a block of cookie dough instead of ground beef when company was expecting my crock pot spaghetti meat sauce.  This time, I picked up an unopened and oversized plastic bottle of  pop to put in the refrigerator to cool.  That was my intention, anyway.  The unintended happened.  I lost my grip (on the bottle, to clarify) and it crashed to the floor, splitting its thin plastic container wide-open.  You may have seen those golden fireworks which spin around on the ground, spewing their fiery sparkles everywhere.  That was what entered my shocked mind,  as I was irrationally fascinated by the happening. After a near eternity, I snapped out of my mesmerizing stupor and grabbed the bottle, tossing it into the sink.  I didn't measure it at the time, but I'm guessing there was, at most, a half a cup of liquid left in said bottle.  I slipped and slid in my flip-flops on the river of brown pop on the floor, surveying the damage. Grabbing dish towels from the kitchen drawer, I began to sop up the mess.  Then I realized the refrigerator door, still wide open, had been thus during the explosion.  As you guessed it,  the entire interior was filled with an uneven spattering of brown freckles.  The stuff was everywhere, including puddled under the pull-out vegetable bins.  From my toes to my forehead, I felt the trickling yet refreshing liquid on me, like a dirty rain shower. Oh, and it wasn't just on my skin and my clothes, those freckles were on both sides of the kitchen. On the baseboards, the cabinet fronts, the assorted decorative items atop the cabinets, inside the magnetic picture frames on the frig, on the louvers of the water heater closet and high up on the door to the garage, some 15 feet away.  (Refer to the picture at the beginning of this post.) 


Sigh.  Well, my kitchen could/can always use a good scrubbing. Still, I suspect I will find brown polka dots long into the future.  The ONLY saving grace was that the drink was diet soda, less sticky than the full-tilt sugary stuff.  Hey, I try to find those silver linings every place I can because, of course, I believe in happy endings.  But oh, the power of pop!


August 13, 2021

Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow Excerpt - Carolena Dunnigan and Grey McKenna - circa 1889

 The Goodbye Lie Diaries

(Through the magic of electronics, mental telepathy and a smidge of time travel, Jane Marie is able to communicate with her clan of characters from her  The Goodbye Lie series. The result is The Goodbye Lie Diaries, scattered throughout this blog.)

Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida

Late 1880s

Carolena Dunnigan writes: 

Dear Jane Marie and Ava,

Carolena Dunnigan
     As you may know, I lean toward the artistic, myself, so I  appreciate your efforts with regard to the watercolor you both showed earlier on this blog.  What with me now working as our
Aqua Verde Passenger Line interior designer of yachts and ships, my imagination is free to combine color and texture and all that encompasses. My reward is seeing our patrons with approving wide eyes when they board our vessels and look about. I boldly pronounce that I am very proud of my contributions to our family business.   


I thought this would be a fine time to share a passage from  Carolena's story below. Read on - Jane Marie 


 AMELIA ISLAND'S VELVET UNDERTOW featuring Carolena Dunnigan  

the year is 1889 ...

   The ride to the Coral Crown gave Carolena little time to reestablish her composure. She knew she must try. 

   The ship's engineer, supervising the last of the coal being loaded aboard, but ever aware of his surroundings, called out, "Cary! What are you doing here at the docks? And with your satchel in tow. I thought you'd be housebound for a long time mourning Grammy. Need a vacation from Aunt Noreen, do you?" he teased.

   Obviously, Grey was busy. Still, his remark, although partly true with regard to Aunt Noreen, could not be ignored. "Grey McKenna! I'm hurt you'd think me so selfish as to desert my family in their time of sorrow. I hoped you thought more of me than that." She really meant what she said. She was disappointed he would ever consider her doing such a thing, although she didn't get the quality of loyalty from her mother. Mother. She forced herself not to frown at the thought. Mother would never again hold the sweet meaning it had.

   "Hey, I meant no harm. We’re about to pull out, so no time to talk. If you’re coming, Cary, get your tail up the ramp. Now!"

   When he took her bag from her, she glared at him for his crass language, not to mention his use of her horrid nickname. She just hoped nobody heard him. Had anyone else spoken like that to her, she'd happily assault them with a scathing attack they'd not soon forget. Grey was a friend and right now, she couldn't afford to lose any more people she trusted.

   Carolena didn't know what cabin arrangements to expect and decided patience was reasonable. Choosing a deck chair, she settled herself in a corner while waiting for Grey to finish his work. Once the Coral Crown was piloted away from Fernandina and out in deep waters, he'd come get her. 

   She tried to concentrate on the sun's slow-motion dive into darkness as Amelia Island faded in the distance. The hours passed. Passengers strolled about; she never noticed them. Stewards offered blankets of woven plaid and warm bouillon to sip, served from silver, but she sent them away. Captain Rockwell stopped by, and she assured him she was fine. When her eyes closed and her head nodded from emotional exhaustion, her miserable meditation didn't abandon her. It lurked inside her dreams.

   A low, long sounding "whooo" entered those dreams. It brought her around and once she deduced it was the bleat of the foghorn, she remembered where she was and why. Her gown was damp from the humid air, and she found herself shivering. Fully awake, anger surged through her. Well, I like that, she seethed. Grey McKenna has completely forgotten me! It certainly seems I have little chance to stir romance in him if he can't even remember I'm on board!  

   She rose and stretched her stiff limbs as inconspicuously as possible. She wondered if this was what Peeper felt like in the mornings when she arose, forever grousing about her achin' this or that. Carolena smiled as she fondly thought of Peep's squawking complaints of constant ill health.

   Her pleasant musings quickly faded. Complain! She would find Mr. McKenna and complain a tad herself! She left her satchel behind the chair and went in search of him. He couldn't escape her on this floating island if he tried! She walked down to the engine room. Straining her voice to be heard against the powerful equipment, she learned from Mr. Casey, who was polishing the bright work to a fine fare-thee-well on some clanking machinery, that it had been approximately fifty minutes since he'd seen Grey. Back up she climbed, her anger firing her impatience.

   She made one pass around the promenade deck, asking several porters if they knew the whereabouts of her prey. She was answered with the same shrug and some vague, "Sorry, Miss Carolena. Last I saw of him, he was in the pilot house."

   She headed to the pilothouse. There, she was steered to the dining saloon. She took in the savory smells and asked for Grey from the man who held the door for her entry.

   "I believe, ma’am, Mr. McKenna was called to the library. There was a ruckus of some sort. If you go down this corridor and take the first left, you ..."

   "Thank you, steward. I know the way." Of course, she knew the way. For a quick moment, she felt a twinge of guilt for having sounded so curt. Oh, she hadn't the time for apologies. A ruckus in the library? Strange. And to call for Grey particularly? Making a quick pass throughout the room, Carolena saw only an old man in a rocking chair, three frumpy-looking ladies and a teenaged boy and girl, who obviously had come to steal kisses between the stacks. She paused to spy, envying the young lovers. Grey wasn't in the library, so she would try the gaming room. He liked to watch the cards even if he couldn’t play while on duty.  The place was lively with piano music, murky with cigar and pipe smoke, and loud with laughter and the sound of clinking chips, toasting glasses, and spinning roulette wheels. She caught sight of the playing cards imprinted with the Aqua Verde crest and thought them to be an elegant amenity. Grey was not in here either.

   Carolena would check every compartment on this ship if she had to, asking each member of the crew when last they'd seen the engineer. The boat deck grill smelled so good and the banjo strumming was so spirited, she was tempted to have a seat and look for Grey later. She advanced to the winter garden. The glass enclosure was overfilled with lush foliage, exotic caged birds, butterflies, and an aquarium, all meant to impose spring and summer on the passengers year round. Grey was not there. On to the gentleman's smoking room she'd furnished with leather wing chairs, the shooting gallery, the kennel with its own sun deck, the indoor swimming pool of enameled sandstone and mosaic wall friezes, the small hospital, the barber shop, the chapel, able to be transformed for multiple denominations with the sliding of a silk screen, the theatre where tonight's presentation was a musical comedy, the boutique, the print shop that was putting to bed the Crown's own daily newspaper, and even the children's playroom where the audience was enjoying a Punch and Judy puppet show. 

   The only thing left to do was to find the First Officer, Mr. Hastings. He would direct her to a cabin. She desperately wanted out of her limp clothes. Then, she remembered one more place she hadn't checked, the men's gymnasium. Rushing down two decks, she found herself looking at the thick polished oak doors. A gleaming brass plaque declared her destination reached, but Carolena suddenly wasn't certain if she should be so bold as to enter the room. She'd been in this place many times during construction, yet this was different. Men would be in degrees of disrobement and perspiring to boot!

   Oh, pish-posh! Tugging open one door, she noted the paneling and wished it were daytime so the added illumination from the portholes would show off the high quality equipment in the room. There were a few fellows in short pants inside, all preoccupied with exercising. One guest was using the rowing machine, his full face flushed from exertion. Another, quite attractive with banana-blonde hair and soft blue eyes, was furiously punching a bag as if it were his mortal enemy. Realizing she was staring, Carolena's eyes turned to the pommel horse, which went unused as did the brass lion's head mounted on the wall, which held pull-ropes tied to weights. In the far corner, two men wearing mesh-wire facemasks and chest protectors parried, their fencing instructor shouting praises and corrections intermittently. 

   Disheartened at not having found Grey, Carolena pushed against both heavy double doors the same instant they were opened from the outside. She fell into the man who was intent upon entering. Grey! He was quick to catch her in his arms. It took her a few breaths to recover her composure. Then she laid into him. "Where have you been?" she shouted. "All I can say is thank you ever so much for leaving me out in the dark and the cold and damp. I may have caught my death for all you care. And have you gotten me a cabin? Or did it slip your mind that my tail, as you so coarsely put it, was even on board? I've been everywhere looking for you just so I could give you a good-sized piece of my mind."

   Grey was amazed at Carolena's shrewish tone, and she was surprised when he lifted her to her toes by her upper arm and rushed her away from the door and into the passageway. 

   "Let me go! Just because you wrassle equipment and engines and things on this ship, gives you no leave to bully me!"

   He released her once they were a distance from any ship's activity. The smile on his face was gone. "I don't give a good goddamn if your daddy and brother-in-law own this ship, missy, I won't tolerate you talking to me like that." His head cocked as if at the point of discovery. "Fascinating if you don't sound exactly like that Aunt Noreen of yours. Pity the poor fool who finally marries you." His searing look intensified. "It's a lucky thing you're a woman. If you were a man, I'd call you out!"

   "How dare you?" she responded. "Handle me ever again, and I'll have your job!" She was upset. Maybe about as upset as she'd ever been in her whole life. She was so mad, she could spit mud.

   Grey's eyes narrowed, and what Carolena witnessed in him frightened her. Her temper disappeared, replaced by bewilderment. Was she afraid of him?

   Speaking softly and slowly, "No one, not man nor woman, threatens my job." He leaned in closely. "You want to run things, do you? Well here, my dear, I give you full dominion over my responsibilities on the Coral Crown," adding, "with my compliments."  Grey pulled away and ripping the golden crossed-anchors from the collar of his uniform, he seized her wrist, and slapped them onto her upturned palm. A casual about-face and he walked away, leaving her alone in the corridor.

   She stood trembling, unsure of what to do. In all her ups and downs, she'd never before felt faint. At this moment, she was quite certain she was near to it. It was clutching at her, pinching off the breath to her brain. She leaned against the wall to recover. She straitened her sleeve where he'd twisted it on her arm and righted herself. In the event anyone witnessed the spectacle, she spoke aloud, "If that insolent oaf wants to quit and leave hundreds of passengers stranded in the event the ship breaks down, then he's simply showing his true colors. No loyal crewman would abandon his obligations if his feelings got bruised." How I've misjudged him, she thought. He's neither the kind man nor true friend he purports himself to be. He's a beast!

   Calm down, Carolena, she ordered herself. I’ll just have to put Second Engineer Casey in charge, and that’s that! Then it came to her! Who was she to be putting anyone in charge? Yes, she knew about the ship, but all she knew was its interior design. Of its basic construction, she understood only that burning coal in the fire room produced steam, which pushed piston-things, and they turned engines. Her tongue had gotten away from her, and her interference had caused Grey to quit his post. 

   Would Casey take over without talking to Grey? She doubted it because the chain of command was inbred in him the same as in any faithful sailor. When he and the captain learned the reason for the resignation, oh God. What if word gets out among the passengers and back in Fernandina? I can only imagine the rumors. And when it gets back to Waite and Bree and Daddy, I'll be so ashamed, they'll probably ask me to leave the business, and rightfully so. When I was a little girl, I remember Daddy telling me respect can only be given. It can't be demanded.

   What have I done to myself, my family, and the reputation of the Aqua Verde Passenger Line? Beast or not, I need Grey.