In the following excerpt, Dean is relaxing in a quiet and deserted hot tub, enjoying the memory of having spent the day with Angel, the girl of his dreams. He’s fantasizing about their future life together when he’s interrupted by a visitor—another girl he had previously noticed on the ship . . .
The sudden hiss and pop of the compression door-closer surprised me. Probably a crew member, making his rounds. Hopefully he’ll go away.
“Hi, mind if I join you?” The words barely cut through the tumbling boil of the water.
I was enjoying the privacy, anticipating the rest of the night with Angel. I wasn’t in the mood for conversation. Even though it was a female voice, I hesitated, not wanting to answer.
“Yoo-hoo, I’m up here. I promise I won’t take up much room.”
I couldn’t ignore her; she was standing right above me. “No, I don’t mind,” I answered.
A small foot suddenly dangled inches from my shoulder, then dipped down into the swirling water. “I saw you watching me last night at dinner.”
I looked up. It was little tight-bodied, butt-squirming Marcie. She was wearing a tiny black bikini that exposed a flat stomach, nicely proportioned breasts and a cute little bottom that appeared to be little more than a muscular extension of her thighs. She carried no cover-up and had thrown her towel on a nearby chair, not caring that I could see the full length of her.
“My name’s Marcie.”
If I had to share the hot tub with someone, at least it would be with her and not one of those middle-aged, torso-disadvantaged women I’d encountered yesterday on the Lido deck. I smiled and nodded. “Sure, I remember. You’re sitting at the next table with your friend, the one with the dark hair. I’m Dean.”
“I didn’t think there’d be anyone out here,” she said. “But this is nice. It’ll give us a chance to get acquainted.” She lowered her body into the water and sat surprisingly close, settling a few inches away. I watched as hundreds of foaming bubbles rolled up her honey-tan skin, evaporating as they touched her shoulders.
“Water’s not very warm, is it?”
“No, but it’s relaxing, especially after a few minutes.”
Her features were soft and attractive, more so than I had observed from my vantage point at dinner. Her blond hair was short and thick, and precisely cut to frame her face. Her lips were cupid-bow perfect, suggesting the sweet promise of a stolen kiss.
Suddenly, and without hesitation or any apparent concern over my reaction, she reached behind and unfastened her top. Peeling it away from her body, she laid it on the deck and leaned back, casually looking up at the darkening sky, as if a topless soak with a stranger was an everyday occurrence.
“Thank God for the bubbles, right?” Her eyes had a mischievous twinkle.
I smiled, enjoying the welcome stimulation of an attractive woman sitting close, her bare breasts only inches from my shoulder.
“So,” she said, “was that your wife I saw you with last night at dinner?”
“God no.” It came out too intense, as if I were denying participation in some ghastly crime. “No, it’s not,” I repeated softly and with less emotion. “Just someone I was paired with at the table. I guess you could call it the luck of the draw.”
Marcie nodded. “I wasn’t going to say anything, but I noticed you looked a little bored, like you were ready to leave from the moment you sat down. Weren’t you getting along?”
“It was a bit uncomfortable . . . I mean, with only the two of us.” I let my voice drop, wanting her to sense my disappointment. “It would have been better—a lot more interesting is probably the way to put it—if there had been more people at the table.”
“We could probably squeeze you in with us, but that would leave your tablemate sitting alone. And that would be awkward for both of you.”
I nodded, grateful for her half-invitation, even though we both knew I couldn’t take advantage of it.
“So you came on the cruise alone?” she asked.
“Just me and my luggage.”
“And you’re not married, or involved?”
“I guess I haven’t found someone who’ll put up with me.” It was the same line I always used, but I liked it, believing it made me sound more approachable.
She shifted slightly, letting our thighs brush. “I suppose I should give you a hard time for checking me out last night. You were pretty obvious, you know.”
I started to speak, to offer an apology, but she reached out and touched my shoulder, effectively stopping me.
“I didn’t mind,” she added. “In fact, I wanted to say hello, but I was afraid the two of you were together. But then, when I saw you trying to leave by yourself, I wished I’d been a little braver.” I felt her foot touch mine, and then her toes playfully nudging at my ankle, confirming it was no accident. She glanced down into the churning water as if suddenly embarrassed.
I kept fighting the unmistakable chemistry between us, telling myself I needed to behave, as if Angel were sitting right here with us, watching me, testing me.
“I probably won’t make it to dinner tonight,” I said halfheartedly, feeling strangely aggravated at that part of me that wanted to flirt back.
“How come? I could move nearer to where you’re sitting, and that way we could talk across the table, or at least send some hand signals.”
“I’d really like to, but I’ll probably pick up something from the buffet and take it back to my cabin.”
She nodded. “That sounds pretty good.”
I said nothing, trying to conceal the sudden awkwardness with a few swats at imaginary insects.
She tried again. “I really don’t feel like dressing up for dinner, either. Would you like some company?”
We were both suddenly tense, waiting for my answer. Before I could think of something to say, she playfully mocked my continued silence. “What’s the matter?
I’m not good enough for you?”
“No, of course not. It’s just that I have—”
“It’s okay,” she interrupted. “I didn’t mean to push myself on you.”
“What about your friend?” I asked. “The dark-haired girl. Won’t she miss you at dinner?”
“She’s not feeling well. I think she got too much sun. She’ll probably spend the rest of the night in the cabin.”
And then I blurted it out. “Well, maybe we could meet tomorrow for breakfast. Or lunch.”
“I’d like that.” She was glowing.
What’s the matter with me? In less than two hours, Angel and I will be inseparable, like two lovers on holiday. I can’t make a date with another girl. Sure, this Marcie is pretty and sexy. And she’s got a great body, but Angel has . . . everything.
I took a deep breath. Slowly, reluctantly, I said, “I’m sorry. We probably shouldn’t plan anything. You see, I met someone and—”
“Oh.” She stopped me before I could finish. Unable to hide the sudden flash of disappointment on her face, she forced a smile and added, “Working on a shipboard romance?”
“Maybe. We just met yesterday.”
She nodded. “Remember, I don’t ask twice.”
We sat for several minutes, she poking at the bubbles and me watching her, both of us occasionally allowing a quick glance to grow into a longer, engaging stare, usually ending with a burst of laughter. Once, she stuck her tongue out at me in a kind of comic reprimand. And while I understood the meaning, I found myself wondering how she would taste.
Here’s a brief synopsis:
It’s love on the high seas for Dean, a thirty-something bachelor taking his first cruise, hoping for a shipboard romance. On the prowl for the elusive hard-body, he quickly becomes disillusioned, wondering if his expectation of a boatload of beautiful sea nymphs is something found only in travel brochures.
She is the girl of his dreams, brought to life as a bewitching goddess, ready to engage in every sensual delight. Quickly lured into submission by Angel’s seductive charms, Dean is ready to surrender his heart and soul to this provocative beauty.
Until he meets Marcie . . .
Author Bio: Jaye Frances is the author of the paranormal-occult romance novel The Kure, the first book in The Kure series, and The Possibilities of Amy, a coming-of-age story of high school romance. Her upcoming work, scheduled for a Summer 2012 release, is titled The Beach, a sci-fi fantasy about a man who is given the opportunity to receive his ultimate wish and lives to regret it. She is also a featured columnist for the NUSA SUN magazine. Born in the Midwest, Jaye readily admits that her life’s destination has been the result of an open mind and a curiosity about all things irreverent. When she’s not consumed by her writing, Jaye enjoys cooking, traveling to all places tropical and “beachy” and taking pictures—lots of pictures—many of which find their way to her website. Jaye lives on the central gulf coast of Florida, sharing her home with one husband, six computers, four cameras, and several hundred pairs of shoes. For more information, visit Jaye’s website at www.jayefrances.com, or Jaye’s Blog at http://blog.jayefrances.com
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