Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Swimming in Caviar

By M. S. Spencer (Guest Blogger)

In my new romantic suspense novel Mai Tais and Mayhem, our heroine Tessa Diamond volunteers at the famous Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida. Founded in 1955 by Dr. Eugenie Clark, the “Shark Lady,” today over 200 scientists on five campuses conduct research on sharks, red tide, marine mammals, sea turtles, coral reefs, coastal ecology, and sustainable fish farming. One aspect of their work that is featured in Mai Tais and Mayhem is a public-private effort to save the American surgeon, funded by sales of fabulous caviar. All 25 sturgeon species found in the Northern Hemisphere are listed as threatened or endangered. Mote has been growing several species of sturgeon since 1997 and in 2006, it began producing caviar for the market.

While writing Mai Tais, I had the opportunity to do quite a bit of research on sturgeon. Called living fossils, sturgeon range all over the world and the fossil record goes back almost two hundred million years. American sturgeon can weigh up to 1500 pounds and grow eleven to twelve feet long, while Asian sturgeon get even larger.

What many people don’t realize is how abundant the fish was, even as recently as a hundred years ago. Sturgeon constituted one of the United States’ biggest money crops until the 20th century. In Colonial times, we supplied much of the world’s smoked sturgeon. Upstate New York, a hub of sturgeon fishing, processed so much of it that housewives referred to it as Albany beef.

As for caviar, since one good-sized cow can produce up to 250 pounds of roe, we were swimming in the stuff. Why, a bartender might be as likely to put out a bowl of caviar as a bowl of peanuts. By the latter half of the 19th century the U.S. was one of the largest exporters of caviar in the world. Sadly, due to overfishing, the big three species—Atlantic, River, and White—were nearly extinct by the 1990s. Once the U.S. supply ran out, Russia embarked on an advertising blitz that eventually convinced customers that they made the best caviar. Nowadays Mote caviar is giving them a run for their money!

If you want to find out more about Mote Marine (and the caviar), here’s a link: If you want to find out more about Mai Tais and Mayhem, keep reading! One lucky reader will receive a pdf of any of my backlist, described in the short bio below.

Mai Tais & Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine (a Sarasota Romance)

Secret Cravings Publishing (January 2013)

EBook 64,848 words (208 pp)

Contemporary romantic mystery, M/F, 2 flames

When Tessa Diamond rescues a baby pufferfish from a hungry seagull, her good deed leads her into a shady world of smuggling, Russian gangsters, and coded messages. She confronts murder, attempted ravishment, parrots, sea turtles and big fish, only to encounter blossoming romances at every turn, including one of her own.

She is torn between Cameron Mason, tiger-eyed and handsome, and Dugan Trevally, sexy and dangerous, but before she can drop her longstanding opposition to marriage and accept her true love, she must face the possibility that one of them could be a thief, and even a murderer.

EXCERPT (R) ~ Morning Delight

Filtered blue light fluttered on her eyelids. She shivered in the light breeze. I must have left the window open. And the curtains. She pulled her grandmother’s quilt up under her chin and stared at the ceiling, trying to remember how her night had ended. The sound of a sliding door made her sit up. Praying her sudden terror didn’t peal through her voice, she cried, “Who’s there?”

No answer came, but she heard whoever it was go into the kitchen. She cringed at the sound of cups and plates cracking against each other. This guy is going to pay if one edge of George’s favorite crockery is chipped. She found herself hoping it was Dugan so she could engage in a satisfying rant.

Tessa? Are you awake?”

Relief and something warm and fuzzy flooded through her. “Yes, Cameron.”

I’m bringing coffee up.”

A minute later a tall, cool piece of manhood framed the doorway. He ducked his golden brown head under the lintel and set a tray down beside the bed. A sunbeam rippled through the window, melding with Cameron’s eyes. An image flashed across her mind, of swimming naked in a vernal pool under the canopied rainforest, begging the green-eyed leopard that drank from the verge to come make love to her. A heavy body bouncing on the bed brought her out of the trance. “Stop that! You remind me of my brother.”

Was he a brat too?” Cameron’s eyes glinted with humor.


Ah, but he didn’t make up for it the way I do. At least I hope not.”

Tessa lost her will to argue as his fingers found their mark under the sheet. “Urgggh. Unnnh. Oooh.”

Is that the extent of your repartee?” His voice—and his fingers—were relentless. Two fingers kneaded her thigh, then crawled toward the sweet spot. Tessa could feel her juices start to ooze in anticipation and when the tip of his thumb bore down on her clitoris her muscles clamped down, urging him on. Just as the orgasm began to click he pulled out with a wet, smacking sound. “Cameron!”

Patience, patience.” He pulled up the quilt and ducked his head under it. She felt his tongue flick at the so-sensitive labia and she spread her legs wide to give him an entrance. The tickling drove her crazy. She wanted to thrash about, to let herself buck, but feared she’d lose the connection with that rough, agile tongue. Finally, she slowed, breathing as steadily as she could, waiting. His fingers joined his tongue in her hole, rubbing, squeezing, licking. Without warning her climax hit. Before he could fly off her, she clamped her thighs around his head and rode his lips like a mermaid on a dolphin, moaning in ecstasy.

When she’d settled back he extricated himself, whistling softly. “My, we’re certainly energized today. You were so sedate last night.”

She looked up quickly to see his mouth tilted up in a waggish grin. Her stomach rumbled, begging for food, but she decided she could put it off for a few more minutes. “Let’s see how you handle yourself in a similar situation.” And she went to work.


Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five continents, the last 30 years have been spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. She now divides her time among Virginia, Maine and Florida. She has published six contemporary romantic suspense novels.

Ms. Spencer has published six best selling contemporary romance novels. Lost in His Arms is set in the spinning world of 1991 when countries fell like flies and a CIA fixer had his hands full. In Lost and Found we follow a desperate wife searching the wilds of Maine for the husband who disappeared. Losers Keepers is a tale of love, lust and treachery set on the island of Chincoteague. Triptych tells of jealousy and intrigue high above the Potomac River. In Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders, Milo Everhart, artist, meets her match in lawyer Tristram Brodie on the battleground of the old munitions factory turned art center called the Torpedo Factory. Her latest release is Mai Tais & Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine.

She’d love to hear from you!

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Lisabet Sarai said...

Greetings, M.S.!

Welcome to Beyond Romance!

I thought caviar had always come from Russia, and that it has always been an expensive delicacy. Interesting - and so sad what we've done to our bountiful world.

Good luck with the book!

M. S. Spencer said...

Thanks for having me Lisabet--but you shouldn't be down-- the good news is sturgeon is still quite plentiful here in the US and the caviar business is thriving. So,maybe we humans weren't around to save the dinosaurs (except in fiction) but we can save lots of other species (& fund research in the process!). Meredith

Anne said...

I can honestly say I never expected to ever read this: "rode his lips like a mermaid on a dolphin", but I definitely get the picture. ;)

Congrats on your latest release, I do enjoy any element of mystery/suspense in any genre of book since I've been reading mysteries since I was 9.

I knew a bit about caviar since I used to work in fine hotels, but I learned some new facts from your post. Not a caviar eater though (or seafood of any kind).

M. S. Spencer said...

LOL Anne! I had my first taste of caviar when my grandmother brought some beluga back from Russia--I've been scarfing it down ever since! I wasn't much for seafood until I lived in Istanbul--I wonder if a lot of Americans don't care for it because it's so hard to get it fresh here? Or perhaps you're allergic? Anyway, thanks for reading! M. S.

M. S. Spencer said...

Anne--if you email me at I will send you a pdf of any of my backlist--your choice. Check them out at my blog And thanks for reading!

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