Authors: Kira Sinclair
Tags: #Island Nights
Her arms wrapped around his neck. Her body, wet and warm, pressed against his. She looked up at him, licking stray droplets of water off her lips. His groin tightened and an answering need burst open inside him.
He growled deep in his throat, unable to stop himself. He leaned forward to claim the lips that she’d left open in invitation—intentional or not, he didn’t care.
Lena’s eyes went round. He felt her breath stutter against his chest. Before he could follow through, she twisted in his arms, struggling against him.
What was he doing?
Ripping his hold open, Lena dropped to the ground. The spray of her feet touching the surf landed halfway up his chest. Before he could say anything—apologize yet again—she was darting away. She didn’t even stop to pick up her sandals, instead bypassing them for the fastest route back to the resort.
Some beast inside told him to run after her, to pursue her and catch her and have her right now. He ignored it, choosing instead to turn his back on the temptation. A flash of light caught Colt’s attention.
Mikhail, standing several feet away, partially hidden by the jungle, stared at him with one eye. The upraised lens of his camera covered the other.
Colt’s hands clenched into fists. “How long have you been there?”
“Long enough,” Mikhail said, lowering his camera to let it settle heavily around his neck.
Colt wanted to make some biting retort, to expend the bubbling energy rushing through his blood. Mikhail seemed as handy a target as any.
But he didn’t. Rationally, he knew the other man was simply doing his job. If the roles had been reversed, he probably would have done the same. Work was everything, and the final product held priority. He was simply not used to being on this side of the camera.
Colt had to admit that he wasn’t sure he liked it. Especially if the camera—and the man wielding it—were going to be capturing things he didn’t want recorded. It was one thing to pretend an attraction in front of the camera because they’d agreed to do it. It was entirely another for the camera to capture a real attraction that Colt didn’t want and had no idea what to do with.
The camera didn’t lie. For once, Colt wished that it would.
LENA FEIGNED SLEEP, screwing her eyes tight and burying her head into the mound of pillows when Colt returned. He’d stayed away long enough for her to rush through her nightly routine. She’d had to dig past the honeymoon negligees at the top of her suitcase for the pair of yoga pants and a tank top buried beneath. Seeing those tiny scraps of silk and lace on the heels of what had happened on the beach didn’t do much for her peace of mind.
While Colt sorted quietly through his own bag, Lena fought another flash of desire. Clamping her thighs together to lessen the awakened tingle, she tried not to move beneath the covers. She had no idea what to say to Colt.
Had no idea what had really happened.
Well, obviously he’d almost kissed her. Or had she almost kissed him? She couldn’t be certain. The first one, in front of Marcy, had meant nothing—for her or for him. It was playacting, and she was adult enough to go with the flow. The fact that her body had reacted was her issue to deal with. It was chemistry. Nothing more.
Now that she thought about it, she and Wyn hadn’t exactly been burning up the sheets over the past several months. Initially, she’d chalked up their lack of sex to the pressure of the wedding. They were both busy, at home and at work. Perhaps it should have been her first clue that things weren’t quite right. Either way, when Colt kissed her she’d thought her dormant libido had simply chosen a bad time to rear its head.
But tonight was different. It wasn’t for show. The need pulsing through her body had nothing to do with biological functions and everything to do with Colt. She’d wanted
not just a male body.
It had been real. And if she wasn’t mistaken, he’d felt the zing too. Which almost made it worse. How long had he wanted her? she wondered. Always? Or was this as new for him as it was for her?
What if it was simply biological for him? Romantic setting, candlelit dinner, wet clothes and close bodies.
It scared her, this unexpected reaction to Colt.
She came close to jumping in surprise when the far side of the bed dipped down with the weight of his body. She wanted to protest. The words were on her lips, although something inside her swallowed them instead of letting them out. She was supposed to be asleep.
Besides, objecting to him sleeping beside her would reveal too much. She’d have to explain why they—two grown adults, friends—couldn’t share a bed without it turning sexual.
Settling on his side, his back to her, Colt let out a tiny sigh. His body rubbed against the sheets. The rasping sound suddenly seemed very intimate.
Lena lay there, listening to the steady rise and fall of his breathing. She felt her own lungs synchronize with his. The sheets that had minutes before seemed cool and comforting were suddenly smothering, cocooning them together. She wanted to fling them off, but couldn’t. His heat melted into her. Her body twitched, fighting to snuggle closer.
Colt dropped off within minutes. She envied him that ability to sleep wherever. She also resented that he wasn’t fighting the same urges that kept her tossing and turning.
She was going to look awesome in the morning. She knew the camera added ten pounds. She wondered what it did with bags beneath the eyes.
Several times during the night Lena awoke to find her body curled tightly against Colt’s. Once her leg had been thrown across his thighs. She’d quickly rolled back onto her side of the bed only to wake again with her derriere snuggled into the cradle of his thighs and his hand cupped possessively around her breast.
As if the physical contact wasn’t bad enough, the dreams that had interrupted her sleep in the first place were almost worse—filled with frustrating shadows and tempting heat. Her mind certainly had no problems conjuring up exotic and tantalizing ways Colt could pleasure her.
Even now, close to dawn, her body hummed with a level of sexual frustration she hadn’t felt since her teenage years. She didn’t like it. It made her feel out of control, possessed by her own desire.
She would not let it rule her. Especially with Colt. They had too much history to throw everything away on a fling. He was important to her, which also made the whole thing more complicated. She already loved him. Add sex and there was the strong possibility she would fall in love with him.
And that would be terrible. Their friendship worked because they didn’t have expectations. Colt called when he called. He came into town when it was convenient. He was a nomad and liked it that way.
She just couldn’t live like that. The thought alone made her want to break out in hives. She’d moved enough in her life and didn’t want to do it again. In fact, she’d been dreading moving from her apartment into Wyn’s. She’d put it off until the last possible second. Her apartment had been the first home she’d ever had. She’d bought it with her own hard-earned money and could admit she’d been reluctant to give up that sanctuary.
No, bottom line was that she and Colt would make a terrible couple. They might enjoy a few days rolling through a sexual fog, but when it cleared they’d both realize it was a mistake.
They hadn’t done anything that couldn’t be forgotten. Better to stop things now before they went further.
LENA WAS GONE when Colt woke up. Just as well, since he was sporting a rather obvious erection and probably would have done something stupid—like capture her mouth again—if he’d woken up next to her. However, when she hadn’t returned a little while later, he began to worry.
As if on cue, some animal let out a screech from the jungle.
Several frantic minutes of searching led him to a thatched hut down the beach. If he hadn’t seen her red-tipped toes peeking out of the structure he probably would have missed her.
“There you are. I’ve been looking for you everywhere,” he said, his words sounding slightly accusatory even to his own ears. He tried to soften them with a bright smile. Something in his chest twisted for a moment before letting go, releasing a tension he hadn’t been aware of until it was gone.
Her eyes were slightly unfocused when she looked up at him. He might have wondered if she’d already started in on the fruity drinks, but as he watched, her eyes cleared. She looked around, slowly taking in her surroundings as if seeing them for the first time.
“What time is it?”
“Almost nine. I expect Marcy will be hunting us down soon.”
Lena shrugged. “I hope she has something fun planned.”
Colt crouched in front of her, his feet digging into the sand. He noticed she had a pile of shells and smooth stones in front of her. Some were whole. Some were broken. But all held a sort of wild beauty that came only from nature.
She’d arranged several—handpicked he’d bet—into a descending swirl that echoed the pattern of the shells themselves. The subtle shift of color gave the piece a feel of inherent movement, like sunlight filtered through water.
Her hand fell on top, crushing the middle shells deeper into the sand and marring the perfection. “It’s nothing. My version of doodling.”
Colt frowned, but didn’t argue. Lena pushed up from the ground, forcing him to move back if he didn’t want to get knocked over. She ran her hands across the seat of her shorts, cleaning off the sand. Some stubborn grains clung to her legs. Colt thought about reaching down and brushing them away but caught himself just in time. The last thing he needed was to feel her smooth skin beneath his fingers, not if he expected to get through the day without embarrassing himself.
“I’m hungry. Any idea where we could get breakfast?”
They were rounding the curve of the beach heading back to the civilization of the resort when Marcy appeared before them. Her steps were quick and purposeful. Mikhail trailed behind her at a more sedate pace.
“There you are. We need to get started.”
Lena’s stomach growled and she and Colt glanced at each other, sharing a smile. The awkwardness that had settled over them disappeared. Colt let out a sigh of relief, feeling back on solid ground for the first time since he’d kissed her.
They walked around the resort, posing for photographs at various spots along the way. It was easy, comfortable, to wander around, laughing, touching, teasing each other. After a few hours—and a quick stop at the breakfast buffet—they ended up at the pool.
The midafternoon heat had set in and they were both starting to wilt. Changing into the bathing suits Marcy provided them was a welcome relief.
Mikhail set a scene with towel-draped lounge chairs, sweating glasses of some tropical drink and abandoned books sitting open at the foot of their chairs. For the next thirty minutes they worked, moving where Mikhail told them, smiling on cue, the temptation of the pool just a few feet away almost cruel.
A crowd of people gathered around them, not overtly gawking, but definitely watching as Mikhail put Colt and Lena through their paces.
“I think I’m melting,” Lena mumbled through a smile that was looking more fake by the second.
Her skin was flushed, glistening beneath the sun. His eyes raked down her body. He couldn’t help it. The turquoise bikini she’d put on revealed more of her than he’d seen in a very long time. Her flat stomach, pert little breasts, long legs…
Colt swallowed. A hard need twisted through him and his body stirred. Lena’s eyes sharpened. Her lips parted. She leaned closer to him and suddenly the heat was absolutely oppressive.
“That’s great, guys. We’re done. Marcy needs you later, but for now you can enjoy the pool.” Mikhail dismissed them, turning to his equipment and leaving Colt floundering once again.
He did not like the sensation. Never in his entire life had he been this out of his element with a woman. Hell, he was known for his love affairs. They were short, intense and satisfying for all parties involved. Easy.
Nothing about Lena was easy. If she’d been anyone else, he would have seduced her last night and been done with it. It wouldn’t be the first vacation fling he’d ever had.
But it was Lena. And she deserved so much more than a fling.
She wanted permanent. The white picket fence, kids and a dog. And he knew that wasn’t something he could give her…even if he’d been inclined to try.
Sex was not supposed to be this complicated.