Thank you so much for having me at your lovely site today, Delilah. I’d like to introduce my new romantic suspense, Lapses of Memory, and tell you a little about the background.
My traveling life began at the age of six months, when my family moved from New York to North Carolina. Soon after we were winging halfway across the world to Turkey in a Boeing Stratocruiser, just like my hero Elian and my heroine Sydney did. Since then I’ve lived or traveled in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the US, Central America, and South America. Like Sydney and Elian, I’ve seen the Golestan Palace in Iran and walked the Hamra in Beirut. Like them, I’ve ridden a bus down the switchbacks of the eastern Turkish mountains past Mount Ararat. I’ve even begged for cigarettes from the sailors on a battleship in the Port of Tangier—just like Sydney and Elian. It’s been an adventure.
Sydney Bellek first meets Elian Davies in the 1950s on a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser when she is five and he is seven. They run into each other every few years after that, but while he knows from the start that she is his true love, she does not. Later, as rival journalists, they vie for scoops on international crises from the Iranian revolution to the Lebanese civil war. The handsome and intrepid Elian beats her out at every turn, even while keeping his love for her secret. Only after years of separation does she finally realize they are meant to be together, but this time, in a twist of fate, it is Elian whose memory of her is gone. Will he remember her before she loses heart or will their new love be enough to replace the old one?
Excerpt: The First Kiss
By luck or accident, Eddie’s parents had chosen the hotel next to Sydney’s apartment building, so they saw him every day. She and Eddie spent hours scouting the beach for what Eddie dubbed valuables—shells and sharks’ teeth and interesting flotsam. They kept their treasures in a shoebox under Sydney’s bed. Life seemed as good as it would ever be, or so Sydney told her diary.
The day before he had to leave for Marrakesh, Eddie met her at the front door of the hotel. “Let’s go down to the port. Ali says he has a surprise.”
They made their way to the bustling docks. Dwarfing the usual jumble of fishing boats and ferries at the wharves, a huge gray destroyer lay at anchor, its American flags flying proudly. “Wow, what’s that?”
A sailor passing by them said, “It’s the USS John Paul Jones of the Sixth Fleet. She’s come in for a weekend’s leave. See that little kiosk over there? You can get tickets for a tour if you like.”
Sydney started to head toward the kiosk, but Eddie held her back. He pointed at a gaggle of local kids standing near the ship pointing and yelling. “There’s Ali. Let’s see what’s going on.”
They ran along the pier, gawking at the sailors in their brilliant white uniforms who stood at attention on the decks. A couple of the other kids waved their arms, calling the sailors. Eddie grinned at Sydney. “You wanna jump in and see if they’ll throw us something?”
“No, it’ll be fun. Ali says he and Yusuf do it all the time.” He took a flying leap and landed butt first in the oil-ringed water. He came up spluttering and waved at her. “Come on in, the water’s disgusting!”
When you’re thirteen years old and in love, you sometimes do the darndest things. Holding her nose, Sydney dove off the pier. She made the mistake of opening her eyes before she surfaced and was nearly blinded by a silt soup thicker than the Nile at flood stage. Something nipped her toe. She shot up out of the depths, kicking frantically at whatever slimy sea creature lurked in the muck. Together they swam over to a couple of brown-skinned boys and waved and shouted along with them. “Hey, sailor! Throw us sumpin’!”
Pretty soon, they had a crowd of uniforms hanging over the railing, tossing cigarettes to them. Sydney wondered what her mother would do if she saw her little Pollyanna screeching and spitting out scummy water while she fought over soggy Winstons. To be on the safe side, she yelled in French. That way the headlines wouldn’t read “Underage American girl caught fraternizing with the Sixth Fleet.” One sailor leaned far out, pointed at her, and sent his Dixie cup hat floating out. She lunged for it, but instead her head slammed into Eddie’s. Dazed, she threw her arms out hoping to find something to grab on to and hit a bare chest. Two arms went round her, and before she could struggle out of them, two lips came in contact with hers. A moment later, they were gone. A hand took hers and guided her to the dock. “You okay?”
“Eddie!” Then she couldn’t think of anything else to say.
He grinned at her. “We’d best get back.” He pulled her out of the water.
They picked up their towels and walked home. Sydney kept her mouth closed, the better to savor the tingling feeling the kiss left on her lips. At the door to her building, he stopped. “We’re leaving tomorrow morning early. I’d…I’d like to see you tonight. Can you get out?”
She shook her head. “I’ve used up my three late nights. I have to stay in.” She hoped the tear that welled up wouldn’t fall.
Eddie’s face fell instead. “I don’t want to say goodbye, Sydney. What happens if…”
“If we never see each other again?” A sudden weight crushed her sternum, reminding her of that first climbing ascent in a plane when she was five. Never?
“Look, I’ll figure something out.” He checked the sun. “I’ve got to go. I promise, I’ll see you tonight.” Before she could move, he bent forward and kissed her again, then threw his towel over his shoulder and strolled jauntily away.
I Tunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/lapses-of-memory/id1196959922?mt=11
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lapses-of-memory-ms-spencer/1115291373KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/lapses-of-memory-1
About the Author
Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents, the last thirty years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director, and parent. After many years in academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center.
Ms. Spencer has published ten romantic suspense novels, and has two more in utero. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.
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