Arctic EnemyArctic Enemy Harrel romance cover art by Linda Harrel (1981) puts journalist Sarah Grey on supertanker Arctic Enterprise during its the maiden voyage through the Northwest Passage, and earns my esteem by spelling ‘grey’ the right way.

The trip is perilous indeed. The Enterprise is designed to load up on liquid gas then nose its way through the ice of the ocean with its highly combustible cargo. Unfortunately, the book’s anti-hero has built the Enterprise with substandard materials, something breaks in the middle of the ocean, and our true hero – Captain Guy Court – must save the day. Which he does. But not before he and Sarah snowmobile out into the arctic countryside, get caught in a storm, and almost make love in an igloo.

It’s a standard hate-at-first-sight / he-thinks-she’s-sleeping-with-the-bad-guy plot line, seasoned with interesting arctic trivia. Did you know that icebergs “calf”?

But enough about global warming.

I’m developing book three of my Diamonds on the Water series, titled The Hard Dock. Yes, I’m really going to title a historical romance that I actually hope to sell The Hard Dock. Because docking can be hard, as anyone who’s ever tried it knows.

The Hard Dock‘s hero – Michael Low – is captain of a tugboat. The heroine – Dorrie Tremont – is a stowaway who gets herself into more trouble than Mick can manage alone. Together, they make a great team. In spite of his angry-man reserve and her counter-phobic pluck.

An actual hard dock is my preferred corner of the Thousand Island Region of Upstate NY, where this series is set in 1893. It’s a concrete dock in a busy spot of the river channel, from where I can swim, watch large freighters pass, and spy on hard-bodied youth as they hurl themselves, heads foaming with shampoo, from the adjacent wooden pavilion dock. The hard dock is less populated, more to my liking.

The point of this summer-nostalgic mawk is that I selected Arctic Enemy because I thought it would be valuable research for The Hard Dock.

Anyone who’s ever written a romance knows there’s no better introduction to scientific and historical fact than another romance author.

Alas, the sexiest moment in Arctic Enemy is when Harrel somehow channels Jean-Luc Picard six years before Next Generation launches its version of the Enterprise.

‘Come!’

I wish.

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