Books Magazine

Extract Tour #DistressSignals by Catherine Ryan Howard

By Cleopatralovesbooks @cleo_bannister

extract tour visual (002) Distress Signals

Part One



Even at 5:45 a.m. the Celebrate’s crew deck wasn’t empty.

Something fleshy and pink and snoring was splayed on an inflatable chair bobbing at one end of the swimming pool. A young stewardess reclined on a sun-lounger, smoking, her red and yellow uniform revealing that she worked the breakfast buffet and either slept in her clothes or stored them in a ball on the floor of her crew cabin. Huddled around one of the plastic tables, three security guards argued in English about a soccer match and some goal that should never have been allowed.

Shifts ran constantly and around the clock; the midnight buffet clear-up finishing only minutes before the breakfast prep had to start. It was always someone’s spare moment before work or smoke break or post-shift crash. With the crew quarters impossibly cramped, below the water line and always smelling faintly of seawater and sewage (and, sometimes, not so faintly), everyone dashed outside to the crew deck whenever they could.

Blinking in the sunshine, Corinne stepped out onto it now and paused for a moment while her eyes adjusted to the light. There was an unoccupied table and chairs on the portside. Careful not to spill either of the two coffees she was carrying, she headed for it.

As she passed the table of security guards, Corinne felt the gaze of one of them crawling up her cabin attendant’s uniform to her face. The flash of him she’d caught with her peripheral vision left a vague impression of youth, broad shoulders and closely cut blond hair. The man’s eyes, she felt sure, stayed on her all the way to the table and lingered after she sat down.

She didn’t entertain for a second the notion that this attention was down to admiration or attraction. He was at least three decades her junior and Corinne’s face wore many more years than she’d lived. On top of that her hair was grey, her body weak and painfully thin. That left mild interest (What is a woman of her age doing working on a cruise ship?), which was fine, but also suspicion (What is she really doing here?) and recognition (Don’t I know her from somewhere?), which were not.

The table was unsteady on its legs and Corinne had to lean her elbows on it to keep it from rocking. It was also missing its parasol and one off-white plastic leg was pockmarked with cigarette burns – ‘crew grade’, in company-speak. Everything the crew had was second-hand, from the flat, stained pillows on their bunks to the chipped crockery in their mess, all of it already used and abused by paying passengers until Blue Wave deemed it no longer good enough for them.

Corinne sipped her coffee until she felt the guard’s attention fade and a quick glance confirmed his focus was back on the football debate. Then she checked her watch. She had about five minutes before Lydia arrived, tired and wired after her overnight shift.

Lydia was her cabin-mate and, over the past week – the first for both of them aboard the Celebrate – they had fallen into a pleasant routine. They met for coffee on the crew deck just after Lydia finished her shift and before Corinne started hers, and again in the mess just as Corinne was ending her work day and Lydia was gearing up for another one. Lydia was very young – only twenty-one – and had never been away from her home in the north of England before.

Corinne suspected the girl found comfort in the company of a woman her mother’s age. Not that Corinne minded in the least. Lydia was a warm, cheerful girl, and it was nice to have someone to talk to about normal, everyday things. The world outside the shadow.

To continue reading, head to CelesteLovesBooks tomorrow, 9th May.

Amazon link

You can read my review of Distress Signals here

Extract Tour #DistressSignals by Catherine Ryan Howard

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Can You Install Spy Software on a Cell Phone Remotely?

    Install Software Cell Phone Remotely?

    Mobile monitoring remote installation question from folks asking again and again, but in different fashion: Many ask how to track a cell phone remotely without... Read more

    7 hours, 17 minutes ago by   Ruby Mariah
  • Cessna A185F Skywagon

    Cessna A185F Skywagon

    @ Lake Hood, Anchorage, AK September 2017 Photographed this pretty Cessna while on my way to the Alaska Aviation Museum.  Lake Hood’s oldest and largest seaplan... Read more

    7 hours, 20 minutes ago by   Htam
  • Top Three Tips For Future Women Leaders

    Three Tips Future Women Leaders

    My business, Remodista, is focused on disruptors in the retail industry through a collaborative lens. Implementing community as my business model has allowed fo... Read more

    8 hours, 21 minutes ago by   Ncrimaldi
  • 8 Keys To Migration From A Consultant To A Freelancer

    Keys Migration From Consultant Freelancer

    Being a consultant is a role that works with big companies, but I have found that it doesn’t get much traction in small businesses and startups. Read more

    8 hours, 51 minutes ago by   Martin Zwilling
  • Eggplant Dip

    Eggplant at its yummiest. Slice, roast, and blend with olive oil, spices, and a touch of lemon. That's it! Try it as a low-carb dip for veggies or a topping... Read more

    8 hours, 58 minutes ago by   Dietdoctor
  • In Love with Botswana: Walk in the Wild on Your Safari Tour

    Love with Botswana: Walk Wild Your Safari Tour

    Tucked away in the heart of Africa, the landlocked nation of Botswana is Southern Africa’s best-kept secret. For a luxury safari tour, there is no better... Read more

    9 hours, 17 minutes ago by   Enchantingtravels
  • New Music Round-up Featuring The Districts, Wye Oak, Rosborough, Sleepovers and...

    Music Round-up Featuring Districts, Oak, Rosborough, Sleepovers Barely Civil

    The Districts – ‘Nighttime Girls’ In this “song about the allure of escapism and a character’s general preoccupation with shallowness and neon light”, The... Read more

    9 hours, 21 minutes ago by   Spectralnights