You’ve done it again, Meg. Yep that’s what I thought as I paddled toward the shore. Waves the size of small buildings crashed on the river sending me and my board back into the surf. This was bad. Really bad.
The thing is I had no one to blame other than myself. I should have learned my lesson. My work at Northwest Extreme had put in me in many precarious places over the last year. I’d survived trekking up cliffs, getting lost on the trail with a wild cougar, and even being stranded at high elevation in the middle of a blowing blizzard. I thought I had finally found my sport. After all I’m a water girl at heart. I spent my childhood in pools, lakes, and rivers around Portland, Oregon, my hometown. Windsurfing should have been a breeze.
When I pitched the idea of covering King of the Hook, an annual windsurfing competition set in the charming and always windy city of Hood River, my dreamy boss Greg immediately put me on the story. The competition brought the world’s top boarders to the small Oregon town on the banks of the mighty Columbia River. Not only would it be a chance to watch the windsurfers catch big air and defy gravity but it would also be a chance for me to show off my swimming skills.
I packed for the occasion, bringing along a vintage pink swimsuit designed after my idol Grace Kelly, a rash guard, and plenty of pink accessories. Portland had been under a rare and sweltering heat wave and the thought of escaping the city and staking an umbrella on the sandy shores of the Columbia River sounded like the perfect way to spend a long weekend.
However I quickly realized I was in over my head. Way over my head. The windsurfers and kite boarders who descended on the quaint adventurous town of Hood River were extreme athletes. I spent the first afternoon on assignment watching them literally take flight. Their colorful sails reminded me of confetti raining down from the sky. Despite the fact that the temperature was soaring and my skin was turning cherry red I felt a chill of terror as I watched them perform incredible stunts in mid-air.
There was no way I could keep pace with these daredevils. Not to mention that mastering the art of balancing on a windsurfing board is a challenge all on its own. It had little to do with swimming skill and everything to do with arm strength and coordination—neither of which I had. But I was a professional writer and I had a job to do. So I gave it my best try and agreed to a windsurfing lesson.
Thankfully my instructor was extremely patient. Lifting the sail proved more difficult than my little arms could imagine. After many disastrous attempts to raise the heavy mast from the water, I finally succeeded. For a brief moment I thought I had done it. This was it! I could keep up with the true extreme athletes I’d been sent to observe and interview.
That’s when a huge gust of wind caught my sail and sent me hurling across the river. To make matters worse I was about to have more than wicked currents and high surf to worry about. I was about to discover a body floating face down in fresh water.
Silence in the Surf is the third book in the Pacific Northwest mystery series, published by Kensington, March 2016.
Covering a windsurfing competition should have been a breeze for reporter Meg Reed, but with a killer in the curl, she’s headed for rough waters. . .
Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge is the windsurfing capital of the world, and Meg is stoked to cover the King of the Hook event for Portland’s Northwest Extreme magazine. Before the competition gets under way, Meg has a chance to try some windsurfing on her own. But when the current sweeps her downriver, she spots a body snagged on the rocks. The dead man is Justin Cruise, aka Cruise Control, a celebrity windsurfer and not exactly a nice guy. It’s soon clear his death was no accident, and Cruise had no shortage of enemies. As Meg dives right in to discover who wiped out the windsurfer, she’ll need to keep her balance–or she too may get blown away.
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About the author
Kate Dyer-Seeley writes the Pacific Northwest Mystery Series for Kensington Publishing, featuring a young journalist, Meg Reed, who bills herself as an intrepid adventurer in order to land a gig writing for Northwest Extreme. Only Meg’s idea of sport is climbing onto the couch without spilling her latte.
She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and son, where you can find her hitting the trail, at an artisan coffee shop, or at her favorite pub. Better yet—at all three.
Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a signed copy of Silence in the Surf. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end April 7, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!
All comments are welcomed.