Patches and the Tiger Prince
Calm and gorgeous, Serena has one major flaw and she admits to it. She is unambitious. Widowed with a little girl, she is content to spend the rest of her life as a stay at home single parent but to do so she needs to sell property in Thailand. As soon as she steps off the plane troubles plague her and the most of them center around a business man named Sarathoon, who is convinced she talks to ghosts. While trying to escape from danger she realizes she will do anything to get home to her little girl. Can she escape and still protect the man she has grown to love?
CPRW friends, Romy, and Pearl Street Writers.
Princess Furball Paperback – March 29, 1994
Admittedly, I never thought that I would be staggering down a back alley in Lampang, Thailand; with an unconscious hunk of a man on my shoulder, escaping from mobsters, and following a ghost. My name is Serena and I am a rural Pennsylvania mom and this is my vacation story.
The dark apparition that is leading me pauses, looks up the side of a building and then vanishes. The unconscious man, I am carrying fireman style, groans. When he wakes up he is going to have a humdinger of a headache. Turning the corner into an alley I rest against the wood side of an older house. Panting and not in a good way. We are not in the slum parts of Lampang, but it must be close.
Glancing back the way I came I decide I am in a nightmare. Willingly kidnapped by this man in his fancy white captain uniform. Traveling in a royal airplane and ending up here in the back streets of Nakhon Lampang in loafers and traditional Thailand dress provided by the captain’s lady boy friend.
This is definitely not what a bible study teacher would plan for vacation. I thought I was being rescued by my dream of a hero. The perfect hero, tall and muscular but on the thin side. No way, I was wrong. Awesome bun man is fat and heavy. Alright, just heavy. Has to be part elephant. And here I am doing the rescuing. Panting I push off the wall and head in the direction of the ghost. It vanishes around another corner.
“I am an expert at Pilates. I’m an expert at Pilates.” Chanting under my breath I stagger on. Turning the corner I am waved to a spot behind a tall forgotten billboard, sticking out of a boarded up building. The apparition looks up and vanishes. Then I too look up. The ghostly form of a twenty year-old looks out the window and waves me up.
Rolling my eyes at the prospect of hauling Mr. Gorgeous’s carcass up the side of a building I decided to dump the man and save my back. As I am in the position of rump higher than my head, he regains consciousness. And of course just at that moment I hear a shout on the street I just vacated. “Lady bird’s cap.” I must have lost part of my costume.
Jerking upright and letting the man slump against the wall I catch his head with my palm so that he doesn’t get it knocked. Again.
I feel him catching his breath against my chest. He better be glad that I didn’t inherit the German breasts like my sister. I could mental read the headlines now. American Mom jailed in Thailand for smothering airline captain with breasts. Although, I would take that over the headline. Widowed tourist found dead in the streets of Lampang. I flatten against him even more. We are still as our pursuers run by.
As the last footsteps pass, I know that it is only a matter of seconds before they turn around. Drat. Why hadn’t my hat stayed on my head! Looking down into dazed brown eyes I started to contemplate the next move. The throb in my lower back reminded me that I am no longer an 18 year old athlete.
“Can you get up to that window?” Drat. I don’t think he knows English, other than the normal tourist phrases. How am I going to get him up there?
“You.” I push a finger against his collar bone. I would have done his broad chest but that part was being touched by my pilates toned stomach.
Right now I need to think of keeping myself safe from would be assassins rather than propriety. “There” I point and he turns pain filled eyes up to the spot. His hands grasp my shoulders and he pulls himself to his feet. Now my hands are on his shoulders to keep him from toppling. I am suddenly enlightened that he is becoming more aware of his surroundings and of me. This man knows how to make a speedy recovery and then some. I start to withdraw from him but he grasps my shoulders. And for a fleeting second I imagine that it is his heart racing and not the sound of running feet returning.
“You. Up!” He commands as he bends his knee and cups his hands. Before I know it I am putting my feet in his hands and am hoisted into the air easily reaching the open window.I pull myself in. Scrambling on the broken floor I get to the window, just in time to see him take a running start. Reacting, I fling out my hand. One hand grasps the windowsill but the other slips. I catch him.
I clamp my lips and teeth together to keep silent but a groaning umph escapes.
Hunkie man may have just pulled out my shoulder. As he pulls himself up and hides in the growing shadows of the gathering dusk, I do what an red blooded American would do in a time like this. I curl into a ball.
Yep. I’m done. It’s dislocated. I don’t do pain. I just want to sit here and rock. That doesn’t mean that my mouth stops and I can’t help but berate him.
“I hope you didn’t get seen when you took that running start.” I roll my head on the dirty windowsill and hold onto my shoulder.
“Pilates did not prepare me for this.” He shushes me. Shushes. Me! Next time I’m going to let his carcass drop. I glare but he doesn’t see for he has turned to observe our second floor hideout. There is a hole in the middle of the floor, wire hanging from the ceiling and a ghost with his head sticking out of a door way. With a wave to follow he vanishes.
I have been safe thus far by following said ghost. Not going to stop now.
I move with ginger steps. Who knows when this building last had upkeep. I just need to crash through the floor to let the chasers know where we are. (Pain brings sarcasm.) Drat this shoulder. I don’t care if this man saved my life multiple times today. I would be so thankful never to see him again in my life.
I don’t care if he stays here or not, I’m getting out. I follow the dark form who climbs out another window in the opposite side of the abandoned building and lands on a roof.
“I am the Pilates Queen. I am the Pilates queen.” Breath. Jump. Thump. Right hip hits something hard. Pain from shoulder to hip. Not a good thing. Not a good thing. Not good at all. A thud sounds beside me. He rolls with expert practice. He should. Jerk had military training. I had Pilates. Pilates. Focus. I tell myself and drag this body after the dark form that graced a tree three roofs over. I am certain the rest of the night should prove be even more fun.
“Ptzzz” He gains my attention and with a domineering male motion he turns and heads in the opposite direction towards another building’s roof.
The ghost starts to blink in and out. Ghost don’t usually speak to me but I can tell that this one is really upset for I hear the Thi word for no, no, no, no. Danger is the way the moron is heading. I need to get his attention and get him to follow me.
Grabbing an empty bottle, I assume soda, from the top of the roof, I chuck it at him. The plastic bottle strikes his shoulder and bounces off into the now dark street below. It lands with a thunkity thunk sound.
Normally I would have been worried about the sound attracting our pursuers but right at this moment I am more worried about the gun he has pointing at me. When the bottle hits his shoulder he whipps out a hidden gun. This man must have a side job as a gunslinger. I wonder if his name is Wyatt Earp.
Staring down the barrel of his gun, I swiftly review my options. If this blazing heat hadn’t already taken all the moisture from my body, I would have emptied my bladder. Instead I choose to be stupid and took off running.
A quiet, very American curse followed in the heavy air behind me.
Run, leap, roll, bite lip to keep from screaming at shoulder pain. One more roof, and then the tree. The ghost lad was still there waiting.
I want this night to end. When we were attacked at the Lampang parade and he took the blow intending for me I willingly risked my life to save him. But forget this. I don’t do guns. He can go get himself killed for all I care.
Surprisingly I am not shot and I hear him landing on the roof with a light thud. I don’t stop. He scares me. I rather deal with the ghost lad but he is right behind me. A hand on my dislocated shoulder stops me from descending.
Pain laces through my body. I struggle to keep from screaming but I ended up doing worse. As I slump against his tall form my mind registers once again that this man never ate at a McDonald's in his life. Then, blackness engulfs me.