Louis is a resourceful artist, a solo sailor, and life in Key West was simple until he met Riki. She was the daughter of a powerful political figure from Ukraine and that complicated everything. They became fascinated with each other and their sex life was... young-adult, with imagination. When Riki’s friend Berlin comes onto the pages there are no restrictions until the cover closes.
Along with Louis’s emotional conflict between Riki and Berlin, there was also a third lover in his life. She was an extraterrestrial... maybe, entity, that was accidentally discovered in a salt pond, of a small island that was not on the charts. She had many powers and influence over Louis. She scared him, but he had a dangerous addiction and curiosity toward her.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.79(d)|
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Love, Without Restrictions
By A.D. Banyan
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2016 A.D. Banyan
All rights reserved.
The Salt Pond
"Good. You're awake." "Yes. How much longer?" "A few more hours. Has anyone else woke up yet?" "No, just us. Should I wake them before we enter the atmosphere?" "No, just relax and enjoy it. The glow as we pass through is brighter than our own."
* * *
I saw the shadow of an island in the moonlight. I didn't see trees or signs of civilization as I would have preferred, but I would gladly accept anyplace that I could drop an anchor after sailing alone for three days. I changed my course and watched carefully for signs of a reef or shoal that could ground me and make this lifeless sandbar my final home. Little did I know that this intermission I was about to take would change me forever. Here I would confuse my understanding of my world and begin to understand the needs of another.
The bottom came up slowly. I dropped the mainsail and reduced the jib. The depth indicator read fifteen feet. I rolled up the rest of the jib sail and went forward to drop the anchor. The wind pushed the boat to a complete stop and then away from the shore. The anchor dug in, and the chain tightened. I let out another fifty feet and locked it in with a rubber snubber to the bow. I sat down on the bow with a leg hanging over each side. I studied the chain and the surroundings for any sign of the anchor dragging.
After swinging on the anchor and returning to the same shore references, I went below deck. I got a blanket and a pillow and made myself a bed in the cockpit. As my head sunk into the pillow, my mind replayed the trip that I had just concluded.
"How do those solo navigators do it?" I asked aloud.
Lonely, exhausted, and dehydrated, I went to sleep.
* * *
The sun burned through my eyelids, and I shielded them with the blanket. Once they slowly adjusted, I went below without even looking at the island. I crawled into the V-berth and dropped into a cool pillow. My consciousness was rapidly dismissed.
The ocean became turbulent as I floated in the darkness. A wave pounded over me and dragged me deep underwater. I stared, paralyzed, into the blackness, watching the hull of the sailboat rotating in slow motion. Looking up at the surface from below the inverted boat, a bright white light came rapidly toward me. Glowing amber faded into the distance. It passed quickly, and I realized it was the mast light, still burning. The mast dragged the sail fabric as the ocean's boundless power shredded it.
Surely this is not real? I was tumbled over and thrown back to the surface. I pulled the string on my vest, and it inflated just like West Marine said it would. I floated on the waves now, raising ten or fifteen feet before dropping into the twenty-foot valleys and rising again up the other side. So this is how it ends.
I suddenly felt relaxed. My mind flashed photos from my memory as I smiled at the memories. They unexpectedly stopped as I coughed the salty liquid from my lungs and took a deep breath. The salt burned my eyes. Somehow I always knew I would die at sea.
I woke suddenly with my heart hammering in my chest. My feet were together and up in the point of the V-berth. My arms were spread wide, braced against the hull on each side. I looked at the clear blue sky through the hatch and realized I had been dreaming. I closed my eyes and went back to sleep.
By noon, the heat in the boat had increased, and sleep was no longer possible. I went back up on deck, looked at the crystal clear water, and spread my arms into the strong ocean wind that kept the Valerian pointing toward the beach. I walked to the dive platform and dove into the water. After a short swim to the anchor and back, I climbed back onto the boat. Pulling up a bucket of water, I scrubbed my hair and body with Dawn dish soap and dragged a razor across my nubby face. I climbed down the dive ladder into the water and rinsed the soap from my hair, pausing to watch the trail of bubbles go out into deeper water. I climbed into the cockpit, took off my wet shorts, and hung them on the safety rail before going below to cook some breakfast. Or was it lunch?
With a sudden jerk, the freezer bag released today's portion of sliced ham. I poured some premixed eggs from the bottle into the pan and threw some ham in with it. I scrambled it all with a sweet pepper that I had on the counter. I sat the pan on the other burner and toasted two pieces of bread on the open flame.
"Shit!" I hissed as I threw one piece onto the counter after putting out the fire.
The puff of smoke trailed across the ceiling and out the companionway hatch. I continued to toast the other piece while the first one still smoked. I put the smoker on a paper plate and dumped the contents of the pan onto it. I topped it off with a shot of salt and pepper and the second slice of toast.
I grabbed a gallon jug of water from the cooler, took a bite of my sandwich, and returned to the cockpit. Leaning against the cabin, I surveyed the horizon. I finally started wondering where the hell I was. It looked like the rest of the planet had disappeared except my boat and this sandbar. The inflatable dinghy squeaked loudly against the side of the Valerian as I finished my food.
"Okay! I'm coming!" I yelled to the dinghy.
The gentle splashing of the waves made a peaceful sound against the hull. I took the water jug below and returned it to the cooler. I untied the dinghy painter rope and walked it around to the dive platform. I took the outboard motor from the safety rail bracket and attached it to the dinghy. It started on the first pull. The inflatable seemed so happy to finally get some attention after being dragged across the ocean. She was now to be set free and zoom independently.
My island was actually a sandbar that ran north and south with an unusual bay on the north end. It was open to the windward side of the island. I turned the motor and went south down the beach to get closer to the bay. I ran the dinghy onto the beach and started walking toward it. It was farther away than it looked. The hot sand burned my bare, flat feet.
Once I finally arrived, I ran out into the water to cool my feet. The water felt like a warm bath. I walked out farther and floated on my back, enjoying the warming sensation as it massaged my sore muscles. I decided to go back to the Valerian, sail around to the east side of the island, and anchor as close as I could to the bay. I felt so refreshed that I ran across the hot sand and into the cool water near the dinghy.
Once on board, I idled around the northern shoal and motored the Valerian to the other side of the island. I looked for the entrance to the bay. It was not a bay at all, but a salt pond that didn't have ocean access. The water depth, at what I thought was an inlet, was only a few feet deep and became exposed at low tide.
Again I dropped the anchor about two hundred feet offshore. I let out all of my chain and about one hundred feet of five-eighths-inch rope. That backed me toward the salt pond and left me with a view from the stern in about twelve feet of water. The sun was in the lower part of the sky, and I anticipated an interesting sunset with the reflection off the glassy pond.
I went below and put a can of beef stew in a pan on the stove as I got out my watercolor paints and prepared a canvas. I placed my supplies in the cockpit just before the soup smells drifted through the companionway door.
I ate hastily and rinsed my big soup cup, leaving the rinse water in it for my brushes. I took a pencil and lightly laid out the shapes and perspective of the scene before me. The sun started dropping over the horizon, throwing out gold and magenta rays across the salt pond.
I painted quickly while the night crept over the bow and darkness finally encompassed the cockpit. I put the last strokes onto the canvas and dropped my brush into the cup of brown water. I took the canvas below and looked at it in the cabin light. It was somewhat boring, even with the beautiful colors.
I placed the canvas in the V-berth for the night. It lay flat on the bed to dry with the open hatch above. The wind blew through the cabin as I cleaned out my brushes and placed the soup cup in the sink. I went on deck and pulled up the string that recovered a beer from the deeper depths. There was no TV reception this far out, so I plugged in a DVD and watched episode fifty-two of the Star Trek box set. I had traded two good paperbacks for it in a bar in the Bahamas. I lay back and thought about the intro as the music played: to seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before!
Tomorrow I better turn on the chart plotter and find out where I am, I thought as a Klingon bird of prey uncloaked and fired on the Enterprise.
I shared a night in the back cabin with all of the finished paintings. In the morning, I crawled out of the small space I slept in and got two boiled eggs out of the cooler and a can of grape juice from the bilge. After breakfast, I sat at the galley table with a bowl of water and a small mirror. I shaved, trimmed my hair, and brushed my teeth. I dove from the back of the boat and swam to the salt pond. I walked across the shallow area and out into the warm water until I could float on my back. It felt like a masseuse in dive gear was massaging my back and legs as I floated. I drifted back into the shallow water with my head lying on the beach and dozed off.
I dreamed it was night. A woman came from the water, and she was looking at me from between my feet. She ran her hands up my legs and under my baggy swim trunks that were ballooning in the water. I kept my eyes closed as she explored the shape of my penis and kept moving her hands on it as it grew and became erect. She pulled my shorts up on one side until she had it sticking out of the water with both of her hands so gently inspecting it. One hand remained on my penis while the other rubbed my chest and even felt my face. My nerves lit up like a mild electrical shock.
I was dying to open my eyes, but I wanted to see where this dream was going. She ran her fingertip across my forehead, coming to rest on my left temple. This had always been the central point to my migraines of youth. At a spot I normally associated with pain came feelings of calmness, like a vial of morphine.
I opened my eyes to see who this person was, and no one was there. What a dream! I stood, feeling embarrassed as I looked around. There wasn't even a ship on the ocean. Puzzled and confused, I swam back out to the Valerian and started the diesel to charge the batteries. I turned on the chart plotter to document this location. It locked onto several satellites and came up with 23°57'N, 80°17'W. And yet no name?
After zooming out, I saw I was south of Miami, north of Cuba, southwest of the Bahamas, and just across the Gulf Stream from Key West. I hit save and typed "salt pond." I decided to spend the night here and leave for the Bahamas tomorrow morning. I had enough finished paintings to finance diesel fuel, food, and some more canvas.
Tonight, so the sunset would be behind me, I walked around to the far side of the salt pond. I painted my boat with its reflection in the pond with the sunset lighting it up in a subdued glow. I used oils for the more vivid colors and the implied detail I could achieve. The boat appeared to be luminescent as I remixed my palette for the surprise effect.
Finally, I took the edge of the knife and scratched in cables and the mast for the final touch. I put the supplies into the dinghy and paddled back out to the boat. I carefully spread out a towel on the mattress and leaned the painting against the side to dry. The only thing I hated about the oils was the smell it left in the boat. I knew, if I slept in the V-berth, the wind would move the paint odor to the stern.
I hoisted my last beer from the deep and popped the cap. I sat in the cockpit with my back against the cabin. I watched the amber glow and little bubbles through the bottle. I looked around at the water and once again realized I was completely alone without a single light on the ocean. According to the chart plotter, this little atoll was sitting in the middle of a very busy shipping route. So where were all the freighters? I finished my beer and fell asleep in the cockpit.
When I woke up an hour or two later, a glow was coming from the salt pond. My first thought was that someone had been dumping nuclear waste here and I'd better leave this place now.
Then I saw it sparkle, sort of like an Alka-Seltzer if one held a flashlight to the bottom of the glass. I stood up and walked to the dive platform to get a better look. The white glow developed a yellow cast and then went to black.
"Woooooooo!" I said aloud.
I stood there staring into the darkness. I waited for a long time, hoping it would do something else. I felt like a child at Christmas. An entity! Yeah, a being with intelligence. I stood a little longer until I felt sure that the show was over. Finally, I went below, crawled into the V-berth, and slept quite well until the morning sun hit the hatch. A gentle breeze started rocking the boat.
I put the old stainless steel percolator on the back burner and poured the last of the premixed scrambled eggs from the bottle into the hot pan. The Bailey's dripped across the counter as I poured a shot into my cup. The wind was strong, and I almost lost the paper plate as I finished my breakfast in the cockpit.
I pulled at the anchor chain as the boat inched slowly into the wind, away from the salt pond. I raised the mainsail and not so gracefully moved further out into the deeper water. I unfurled the jib, and we were free again. I turned on the chart plotter long enough to get my bearings for the Bahamas. There, I could sell my paintings to the tourists and the leftovers to the shops.
* * *
I motored the boat through a charter company's mooring field and exited on the windward side. After idling upwind a safe distance, I dropped the hook and dove to make sure it was set securely in an eighteen-foot bottom. It had drug through the sand and buried itself under a large patch of sea grass. Feeling that the anchor was solid, I walked into town and registered my boat and myself into customs.
"What took you so long to get here?" asked a full-dressed customs officer.
"I stopped at a little sandbar of an island and rested for a few days. I am sailing solo," I answered promptly.
"Oh! Always keep your life vest on, and be sure you tether it to a jack line. It's very dangerous sailing solo," he said with a serious stare.
"Why did you ask?" I stared at him curiously.
"We find that a lot of people sailing here from Key West or Miami often move drugs or make a transfer on the way. We always watch the elapsed time and confirm your departure time with the United States. That's how I knew how long you had been on the water. Computers and the Internet, don't you know? Usually we don't have any problems with sailors. We really watch the go-fast boats!" He smiled. "Have a good day, and welcome to the Bahamas!"
I walked down the streets and watched where the tourists were shopping. I found an empty alley in the middle of the cruise ship area and committed it to memory for tomorrow.
The next morning, I hauled all of my paintings, an easel, and a folding chair ashore in the dinghy. I also threw in a few extra boat parts for those uninterested in art. I tied off the dinghy and hailed a taxi to deliver all of my product to the address I told him. He warned me that the local permit officer rode a little scooter that was very loud. If I saw him, I were to leave my area and walk around the corner.
"He is too lazy to hunt for you. He's only interested in the easy violations." I handed him a twenty-dollar bill and told him to keep the change for the information.
I sat the easel on the sidewalk with a canvas on it that said in big letters: "Original Paintings by Louis Amherst." It had a big red arrow that pointed down the alley. Once you entered, the paintings were leaned against the limestone walls on both sides. I borrowed a broom from a storeowner and swept the area I was using. I was still cleaning when someone asked the price of one of my Key West pieces.
"One thirty-five. Cash!" I answered.
"Will ya take one twenty-five?"
"Well, you are my first sale of the day. Okay!"
He handed me American cash and hurried on down the sidewalk. I sat down in my chair, opened a local newspaper, and took my first sip of coffee.
"How much is this piece?" asked an older British couple.
"I can't take less than three twenty-five for that one. It was a lot of work in oil." I held up the painting and inspected it closely.
"Would you consider two seventy-five?" they asked quietly.
"Well, you are my first sale of the day. How about three hundred even?"
"That will be fine!" They crammed the money in my hand and moved to the next shop.
By the end of the day, I only had two paintings left, the watercolor of the salt pond at sunset and the oil of my luminescent sailboat. I really liked the sailboat. Although it was only a ten-by-twelve, I had a price on it of $175. I had marked down the salt pond several times, ending at thirty-five dollars, and I still couldn't sell it.
Excerpted from The Glow by A.D. Banyan. Copyright © 2016 A.D. Banyan. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsChapter 1 The Salt Pond, 1,
Chapter 2 Painting My Heart Away, 19,
Chapter 3 Am I Losing My Fucking Mind?, 26,
Chapter 4 Canned Food from the Bilge, 35,
Chapter 5 Reality Check, 44,
Chapter 6 First Contact, 54,
Chapter 7 Second Contact, 62,
Chapter 8 Definitely a She!, 74,
Chapter 9 Naked and Undisturbed!, 89,
Chapter 10 Good-bye to Henry, 98,
Chapter 11 Salt Ponds Get Lonely Too, 109,
Chapter 12 A Surprise, Berlin, 116,
Chapter 13 We're Doing a Road Trip!, 127,
Chapter 14 The Celeste, 149,
Chapter 15 Loss of the Salt Pond, 158,
Chapter 16 Book 'em, Dano!, 167,
Chapter 17 No Restrictions, 180,
Chapter 18 Coming Home, 191,
Chapter 19 The Basement, 201,
Chapter 20 Global Adjustments, 224,
Chapter 21 Confessions, 239,
Chapter 22 Ice Cream to Shaving Cream, 249,
Chapter 23 Island Hopping to the Baths, 255,
Chapter 24 Breaking in Daddy Klobendansk, 270,
Chapter 25 Shipwreck Survivor Lottie, 283,
Chapter 26 Three's a Crowd; Four Is Better, 294,
Chapter 27 Time to Grow Up, 304,
Chapter 28 The Commitment, 311,
Chapter 29 The Wedding, 322,
Chapter 30 Alka-Seltzer Ending, 333,
About the Author, 343,