Authors: Kira Sinclair
Tags: #Island Nights
A blast of music ricocheted off the buildings around her. Laughter and happiness underlined the sound and right now, that was exactly what she was looking for. Something to take her mind off of everything that was going wrong.
Heading in the general direction of the noise, Lena rounded the corner in a path she hadn’t been down all week and discovered a brightly lit bar. It only had three and a half walls, the center of one wall standing open to the night so guests could wander in from the beach. The thatching from the roof blew in the gentle breeze, making a rustling sound that could barely be heard above the jovial voices.
She walked inside and immediately realized she’d stumbled onto the singles’ side of the resort.
Women and men were bumping and grinding on the dance floor in the center of the room. The smell of expectation and sex seemed to linger everywhere. It was clearly a pickup place.
And while she didn’t feel completely right taking a seat at the bar, she realized she probably belonged here much more than she had at the ballroom party she’d just ditched. She
single, after all. And she supposed it was time she got used to the idea.
Although, she certainly didn’t feel single. In fact, she had no interest in any of the men in the place. And there were some her single friends would definitely have drooled over.
“What can I get you?” the bartender asked. He was already pouring another drink, even as he leaned forward to hear her.
“I don’t care. Something strong and sweet.”
Lena downed two of the orange-and-yellow concoctions he brought her in quick succession. Her gaze swept across the crowd. Not one of the men had approached her since she’d sat down. She wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or insulted.
Before she had a chance to decide, Colt slid up to the bar beside her.
“How did you find me?” she asked, without bothering to look at him.
She didn’t need to. Her body had begun reacting the second he walked through the door. Her heart stuttered inside her chest and her body began to heat like an engine sitting idle waiting for the expert hand of its driver.
That was why none of the men here mattered, because they weren’t Colt.
“Process of elimination.”
She looked at him from beneath her lashes as he sat down beside her. “Surely you didn’t check every single building.”
“Why not? You’re upset and I’m your friend.”
Four days ago, that would have been enough for her. But Lena feared it wasn’t anymore. She no longer wanted Colt to be her friend—or
her friend—she wanted him to love her.
And he didn’t. Oh, he cared about her or he wouldn’t be sitting there beside her. But it wasn’t the same. And it wasn’t enough.
“I could tell all day something was off. Want to talk about it?”
No, she didn’t. What she wanted to do was have another drink, to bump and grind with him on the dance floor and then make mad, passionate love with him all night.
Instead, she said, “I think it’s just all finally hitting me.”
“What, that you never loved Wyn?”
Lena wanted to laugh. If he’d said that to her days ago she would have vehemently denied it. In fact, she thought maybe she had. She would have argued that they’d had a perfectly good relationship, even if it hadn’t been filled with passion. However, that was before she knew what real love felt like.
It hurt. It made you vulnerable. It was bliss and fear all wrapped up together.
“No, I didn’t love Wyn.”
“So why were you going to marry him?”
“Because he was there. Because he was good and decent—or at least I thought so at the time. Because we could have had a perfectly satisfying life.”
“You mean boring.”
“I mean normal. We would have bought a house together. Had a couple of kids. Chaired the PTA and sat on the bleachers together at T-ball games.”
Colt spun the bottom of his glass around and around between his hands. Lena’s gaze was drawn, to their strength, the single scar that ran diagonally from the corner of his thumb up over his wrist.
“And that’s what you want,” he finally said.
She stared down into the bottom of her own glass. The frozen concoction had melted, the yellow and orange mingling together. The drink had looked bright and happy before. Now it just looked sad.
Without realizing what she was doing, Lena opened her mouth and told Colt the truth.
“I don’t know what I want anymore. I’m so confused.”
“Do you have to decide tonight? Who said you had to have all of the answers all of the time?”
“But I hate being…directionless. I hate not knowing where I’m going and how I’m going to get there. I like being in control.”
Colt smiled, a sort of sad twist of his lips. “I know, but life doesn’t always work that way. If there’s one thing I’ve learned traveling the world and seeing different cultures it’s that life throws you curveballs. You show your character through how you deal with them.”
Character. She didn’t even know what that meant anymore. She’d dealt with plenty of curveballs in her life. By herself. She was tired and wondered when it would be enough.
She realized Colt was just trying to help. And the things he’d dealt with made her issues seem somehow petty in comparison. Unfortunately, he was part of the problem, and his inability to realize that made the entire conversation a little difficult. Rather than have it go in a direction she didn’t want to deal with, she decided to lighten the mood.
“Great pep talk, Yoda,” she groused, leaning her body into his and knocking him sideways on the stool.
“Hey.” He pushed back. “I’m wise beyond my years and you should listen to me.”
“Please. If I did that you’d have talked me into jumping out of an airplane so that I could prove to myself I have the strength to get through this.”
“Don’t knock the power of the adrenaline rush until you’ve tried it. Besides, there’s something about facing fear head-on that reminds us we can handle more than we think.”
“I am not going skydiving. I don’t care what argument you use.”
They sat together in silence for several minutes, lost in their own thoughts.
Lena realized that on some level Colt was right. She’d deal with the aftermath of Wyn’s betrayal because she had to. And maybe knowing she’d never really loved him would make it easier in the end.
“If I can’t convince you to skydive, can I at least persuade you to come to bed?”
And she’d handle their parting, as well. Because she had to—there was no other choice. But in the meantime, she had two days left to enjoy. And there was no reason not to make the most of them.
“I’m sure something can be arranged,” she said, sliding off her stool. Anticipation buzzed through her blood. It was always there, just beneath the surface, waiting.
Colt followed her as they weaved through the undulating bodies and steamy heat of the bar. She threw a teasing glance behind her and relished the way his eyes sharpened.
She managed to keep people and tables between them so that he was several steps behind as she reached the beach exit. The minute she stepped outside, she broke into a sprint.
Calling behind her, she taunted, “But you’ll have to catch me first.”
COLT CAUGHT HER halfway down the path. He spun her in his arms, his mouth was rough as it claimed hers, but she met him thrust for thrust. They rushed together, groping mouths and urgent fingers.
His thigh wedged between hers and the exquisite bolt of awareness that rocketed through her sex almost sent her to her knees. His commanding hold on her was intoxicating. Every step he took forward drove her relentlessly back toward their bungalow and the rising passion building inside her. That passion was quickly becoming the easiest thing between them.
She couldn’t help but be aware that their retreat echoed that of the dance she’d sorely butchered. Out here, alone with him, it was effortless. She didn’t have to think, to worry that she was doing the wrong thing. Even without music, her body undulated against him, eager to go wherever he might lead. Inside, surrounded by people, she’d been stiff and uncomfortable and she knew it had shown.
But she hadn’t known how to fix it.
dance,” he whispered against her ear, pulling her chest flush against him. “You just have to let yourself feel.”
Maybe it was the dark night or the drinks she’d consumed, but she found herself saying, “I can’t. I don’t trust it. The pulse deep inside my muscles that urges me to just let go.” That thing deep inside that insisted she should take a chance and stop fighting what she really wanted. “It’s overwhelming. I’m afraid to lose myself.”
“Do you trust me?” he asked.
Lena pulled back. She knew in her head that the question was simple. The answer, however, was not.
“With my body? Absolutely.”
Apparently he was satisfied with her answer—they burst through the bungalow door. With a well-placed kick, Colt closed it behind them.
He moved her across the floor in the mimicked steps of the dance until the backs of her knees struck the edge of the bed. She toppled over, not even trying to keep her balance. She sprawled before him.
He towered above her, staring down with those intense, watchful, all-seeing eyes. He knew her too well and she wondered if he’d caught her equivocation after all.
Lena fell back on her elbows. His knee joined her on the bed, dipping the mattress next to her hip and rolling her body against him. Her mouth was suddenly dry. She tried to swallow but nothing was there.
Somehow this moment felt more important. It wasn’t the first capitulation to a startling new awareness. It wasn’t a hurried tumble on the ground because they’d both been scared and worried and needed the feel of each other. Nor was it the perfectly prepared seduction complete with romantic setting.
What it was, was emotional, more so than Lena wanted. There was a connection, an understanding, that hadn’t been there before. She wondered if the difference was in her, the acknowledgment of her true feelings. Or was it part of him, too?
Lena realized it was the first time they’d actually had sex in a bed. The first night had been awkward, the second she’d been alone. Then they’d been out in the cave and finally inside the tent. Anytime they’d fallen into the bed, it had been from exhaustion that immediately claimed them both.
Maybe that was the difference.
He overwhelmed her as he always did. He tugged his shirt off over his head. Lena reached for him, running her fingers across the ridge of his pecks and abs. His skin was damp.
She arched beneath him, wanting to rub against him like a languid cat. He took the opportunity to tug at the zipper that ran along the line of her body, his fingers tickling against the swell of her breast and sliding over her skin to the curve of her hip. When he reached the zipper’s end, he peeled the fabric away.
Her panties and bra joined the rest. Colt was braced above her. She marveled at the strength of his arms, the ripple of muscles, as he levered himself away. She wanted him to give in and fall onto her waiting body. She wanted to feel him, all of him, against her.
Hooking her feet around his ankles, she jerked his legs out from under him. He collapsed with a whoosh of surprise on top of her.
“Why did you do that?”
Lena undulated her hips beneath him, grinding his erection against her stomach. “So I could do that.”
Grasping her hips, Colt rolled them both, reversing their positions and settling her sex over his erection.
“Do that again,” he ordered. She complied, sending a bolt of need straight through her body as she moved her hips against him.
“Holy sh…” His words trailed off as his eyes closed, an expression of pure rapture crossing his face. She did it again just to see that all-consuming pleasure. She relished knowing she wasn’t the only one overwhelmed by what was happening.
His eyes opened again, glittering at her with an intense hunger she felt down to her bones. Rearing up from beneath her, he covered her aching breasts with his hands. Her nipples spiked against his palms. He rubbed them in circles, soothing the throbbing before teasing them into hungry peaks again.