Meanwhile, here's a small taste of it:
Cherry had been told that Taino Islands men would hit on her, but she hadn't expected it to happen so soon or so outrageously.
First, there was the taxi driver, a self-styled dandy in gold chains, Superfly hat and two-toned shoes, who put his hands on his hips and gave her a good once-over. "My, my, my," he said. "You sure you want to go over to East Taino? I have a nice, cool room with champagne on ice, just waiting for you." This despite the fact that she was obviously traveling with two men.
Cherry was flustered with such attention. She felt she was OK in the looks department, but she certainly didn't feel attractive in any way after a day of flying, muscling video equipment and now shuttling around Grand Taino in the back of a stuffy taxi, the windows up despite an obviously faulty air conditioner and the air choked with Mr. Smooth-Talk's cologne. Island paradise? The only palm trees visible were covered by construction dust, and the road was nowhere near the beach. As they passed acres of half-finished high-rises, she wondered if tourists to the island were driven along the same route, or if Frank had chosen it ro remind the crew that they were here to work, not play.
But when the taxi stopped and she was able to breathe again, her mood improved. They were at the ferry dock and there - beyond the rusted cars, the disintegrating half boat, the donkey foraging in an oil drum full of fragrant garbage and the seriously sagging dock - was the most gorgeous shade of blue she had ever seen. Not one of the travel-brochure adjectives did it justice. The water here wasn't turquoise, azure, crystalline or aquamarine - just incredible. Incredible blue.
Her hair still clung to her neck, and she was embarrassingly aware of the half-circle sweat stains under her breasts, but Cherry happily hoisted her share of the equipment and followed Frank and Mark to load it all on the ferry. Within three steps, though, she felt her load lighten as a tall, broad-shouldered black man stepped up to help her.
"I'm Stag, and I'm in love," he said, drawing out the word while letting his eyes slip down her body.
"I'm Cherry, and I'm married," she replied, trying to strike a note somewhere between "nice to meet you" and "get lost."
He nodded toward Frank and Mark. "One of them your husband?"
"No," she said, smiling at the ridiculous thought.
"Well then. Your husband's not here and I am. Isn't fate wonderful?" Although he was carrying a tripod and heavy metal box, he managed to free a hand to stroke her arm.
Cherry rolled her eyes. "Would it help if I just said no?"
"If I said you have a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?" he countered.
She laughed at the moldy pickup line. "That one is very old," she said. She boarded the ferry and put down her things, then reached for what he was carrying. She was surprised when he got on the boat, too. "You're going to East Taino?"
"I live on East Taino," he said, sliding next to her - too close - on the bench. And you will be staying just down the road from my house, at Nuco Hills Hotel, and you're working on some movie about Benny Royston for - Big something. Is it Big Blue?"
"Big Green Productions," Cherry said.