“Oooph!” Once more, I was on my back, staring at the ceiling of the gym, sweat pouring down my face and body, my shoulder still throbbing from his last two hits. I struggled to my feet and jumped back just before he could land another kick. “Aw, come on Thomas! Gimme a break will ya? I’m a girl, for Pete’s sake I barely reach your shoulder, and I’m not yet a black belt!!” I couldn’t take it anymore and put my hands up in defeat. “Enough! I’m beat! Thanks for the lesson.”  He’d barely broken a sweat, damn him! He smiled that annoying, serene smile of his.  “Anytime, dd.”  *grrrrrrrr*

I hobbled back to my cabin, threw off my dobok and gratefully sank into the tub. The water was hot and heavenly. The pain began to melt away. Twenty minutes later I was drying my hair, my vision obscured by the towel on my head. The cabin doorswung open and Perry walked in. He crossed the cabin floor and stood in front of me, hands on hips. I didn’t need to see his face to know he was not happy. He pulled the towel off my head and I saw the post-it in his hand. Uh-oh.

I hadn’t told him about the sabbatical I was taking. Shit! And I was leaving in two days if Capt. M could stop making circle sand figure eights and stay on course for once. I’d told Queenie we couldn’t trust a pilot who’d got his licence from somecomputer program, but she believed in “equal opportunity employment” *sheeesh*

“What’s this dd?” He held up the blasted yellow note, his face darkening by the second, the tell-tale vein along his jaw already beginning to throb. Damn! Even when he was angry, I still wanted him, so bad. Oh man! How was I going to explain to him that I needed to get away from the Nomade for some peace and quiet, to work on my stalled novel?

Suddenly I wished I hadn’t finished the last four of the Chocolate Mushrooms I’d made this afternoon. The ones that could tame savage beasts and disarm angry cabin mates named Perry. I had a feeling that this time though, it would take a bit more than chocolate muffins to get my a** out of this sling.