Saturday Sampler: Rogue Wave by Helen Macie Osterman
September 12, 2015
In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Venture Galleries has launched a new series featuring writing samples from some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Saturday’s Sampler is an excerpt from Rogue Wave, a mystery/adventure by Helen Macie Osterman.
As one reviewer said: If you want a story that keeps you spellbound and on the edge of suspense that threatens to drown you, then you need to read Rogue Wave. You know it will turn out all right, but you have your doubts as the story races to its conclusion.
Emma Winberry and Nate Sandler, her significant other, plan a vacation on a sailboat on the Caribbean. Emma has misgivings about the trip and discusses it with her Guardian Angel who tells her there will be trials ahead. This makes Emma more uncomfortable.
At the beginning of the sail, the ocean is calm and they relax. While sailing from the island of Curaçao to Bonaire, they see a small uninhabited island with a lone palm tree. Emma notices a flashing light, as if someone is sending an SOS.
They have no idea that Estrella Montoya, wife of a Venezuelan drug lord, is being held captive there. When returning to Curaçao, they encounter a violent storm.
Nate is washed overboard by a rogue wave. Is he lost forever? How does Emma get involved with the drug lord and his family? Follow the characters through the world of storms at sea, piracy, drug lords, and heroism to the pulse-pounding conclusion.
Off the Coast of Venezuela
Estrella Montoya struggled to open her eyes. The lids felt heavy and gritty. Where was she? What happened? She tried to move, but her hands and feet were bound. The coarse rope burned as it cut into her delicate skin. She was lying on a fibrous mat and her surroundings smelled of fish, mold, and rotting wood. A small amount of ambient light shown through a hatch above her head. She squeezed her eyes shut then opened them again, as she tried to make some sense of where she was and how she got there.
The splashing of waves against the hull indicated she was on a boat. She wrinkled her nose at the smells as the rumbling of the engine vibrated through the craft.
What was the last thing she remembered? Think! Yes, now it slowly came back to her. She was at her husband’s villa on Gran Roque Island. She and her childhood friend, Alicia, went scuba diving in the pristine blue waters of the Caribbean. The ever present body guards trailed after them, one on either side, watching, protecting. The family of a powerful man like Alberto Montoya was always in danger from one of his rivals.
What happened next? She wracked her brain but could remember nothing more. Her mind was clouded and her head ached as she tried to recall the events. Estrella’s entire body felt sore, as if she had been dragged.
Alberto warned her to be vigilant at all times. He had powerful enemies. But, someone must have drugged her She remembered nothing. “Oh Dios,” she prayed, “help me.”
She felt the slight roll of the boat and heard the thrum of the motor. As the vessel picked up speed and the sound of the gulls receded in the distance, she realized they must be somewhere in the Caribbean, far from the islands–far from the police boats that patrolled the shoreline. She stared up at the heavy beams holding the craft together. It must be old. Some of the boards were rotted but it appeared to be sea worthy.
Raised voices. She strained to hear. What language were they speaking? Spanish, yes, she understood them.
“Fool! When he finds us he will cut us into little pieces, inch by inch,” a rough male voice shouted.
“He won’t find us.” Another male, higher pitched, more refined. “The boss has it all planned out.”
“Montoya will find us. He is relentless, that man,” the first one said. “Of course, if we must, we can always throw her overboard. The sharks will make quick work of her.”
“And go through all this for nothing?” the other man hissed. “If we don’t follow orders, we don’t get paid. Remember that.” She heard them pacing on deck above her as they argued.
They began to speak faster, and then switched to Papamiento, the common language of the islands. Estrella could only make out a few words. It sounded to her as if they were traveling farther from her native Venezuela, possibly to the Atlantic.
She knew about boats, had been around them all her life. Her father taught her to sail when she was a child. And her uncle had been a fisherman. Many times she had accompanied him and she became familiar with the sounds and smells.
These men, who had taken her, were daring. They had to be if they plucked her from under the watchful eyes of the bodyguards. Did they dare to kill Alberto’s most trusted men? And what about Alicia? What happened to her? She squinted and looked around, but saw no one.
Estrella’s eyes filled with tears at the thought of her friend’s fate. The two had grown up together and were like sisters. Why didn’t I marry a carpenter? No one would take me then. But Alberto had dazzled her with his handsome face, his expensive gifts. She had no idea what he did to earn all his money. When she found out, it was too late. They were married. Now, barely a year later, she was a prisoner–trussed up like a hog–her destination unknown.
Tears trickled out and streamed down her face. Oh Dios, forgive me for my sins. Spare me for the sake of my unborn child. She had planned to tell Alberto that she was pregnant when he came to the villa the following week. Now, he might never know.