Authors: Kira Sinclair
Tags: #Island Nights
He was just about to suggest they both jump into the water—if for no other reason than it would cover up the temptation of her body—when a woman popped up at the end of their chairs.
“Y’all are the honeymooning couple they’re taking photographs of, aren’t you?” The perky little blonde had a wide smile and friendly eyes.
Lena looked across at him as if to say
“Uh, yeah, they’re photographing us.”
Without an invitation, the blonde plopped her rear onto the end of Lena’s chair.
“I thought so. I think y’all have the bungalow next to ours. I saw y’all come in yesterday.” The girl leaned closer to Lena, mock-whispering as if they’d been friends forever, “We’re honeymooning, too. I’m so glad the wedding hoopla is finally over. I wanted to elope, but Daddy insisted on throwing a big party.” She sighed, rolling her eyes. “The things we do for our parents, right?” An indulgent smile belied the martyr act she was playing.
Lena stared at the other woman. Colt’s lips twitched with humor at seeing her speechless. The chatty interloper didn’t seem to notice Lena’s lack of participation in the conversation, she just breezed right on.
“Where are my manners?” She giggled, sticking out her hand, first to Lena and then to him. “I’m Georgia Ann but everyone just calls me Georgie.”
“Quit bothering these nice people, Georgie.” A man walked up, dark-haired, young, an apologetic expression on his face. But the minute his eyes landed on his wife, that expression disappeared, replaced by a sort of adoration that Colt found fascinating. “Georgie’s never met a stranger in her life.”
“Guilty as charged.” She smiled. Colt realized that Lena was now smiling, too. There was something about the woman’s friendly, infectious attitude that was too hard to resist. Like a tractor beam, she pulled you in. “This is Wesley, love of my life.” She stared up into his face, her eyes twinkling with a brightness that hadn’t been there moments before.
They might have been sickening, if the love they shared hadn’t been so obviously genuine.
Lena looked across at him, her eyes wide. Colt shrugged. They’d leave eventually.
Wesley’s hand dropped onto Georgie’s shoulder. She leaned back against him. “We’re thinking about hiking into the jungle tomorrow. We hear there’s a beautiful waterfall. What are y’all doing?” Without waiting for their answer, she bounced against the chair, looked up at Wesley and said, “I have an excellent idea.”
“Uh-oh” was his response, despite the fact that a smile stretched across his face.
Turning back to them, she grabbed Lena’s hand. “Why don’t y’all come with us? It’ll be fun. We can bring a picnic, bond over horror stories of the wedding. My aunt Millie gave us the ugliest lamp you’ve ever seen. I think she pulled it out of her attic. I swear the thing has got to be fifty years old if it’s a day. It’ll probably catch our house on fire.”
Lena shot Colt a panicked look. “I think we have—” she started.
Wesley shot him a knowing expression. “Take my advice and just say yes now. It’ll be less painful that way.”
Georgie piped up, “I won’t take no. Leave everything to me.” Scooting up from her chair, she began to walk away, still talking. “We’ll meet you outside your bungalow at ten sharp. I’ll pack the picnic.”
The excuse Colt was going to use lay useless on his tongue as the couple rounded the other side of the pool.
“What just happened?” Lena asked, flopping back into her chair.
“I think we’re going on a picnic in the jungle tomorrow.”
Lena blinked. “What if Marcy needs us?”
“I suppose she’ll just have to get over it. Or maybe she could get us out of the picnic.”
Lena looked across the pool to where Georgie and Wesley had settled back into their own lounge chairs. Georgie waved. Lena lifted her hand in a half-hearted response.
“I don’t think even Marcy could stop her. I’m exhausted just listening to her.”
“Hey, on the bright side, we get to see the waterfall.”
“And on the dark side, they think we’re married.”
“I thought that was what you wanted.”
“Sure, but I didn’t think we’d be spending time with anyone but Marcy and Mikhail who already know. I figured if we talked to anyone it would only be for a few minutes and then it would be over.”
Colt looked across at Georgie and Wesley and felt a grimace turn his lips. They were so happy and in love they would surely pick up on the fact that he and Lena weren’t. “We could always explain.”
“Horror of horrors. I can just hear Georgie’s gushing sympathy right now.” She looked over at him, a pained expression on her face. “I don’t think I could take that. It was bad enough dealing with the chaos at the wedding.”
“Then I guess if we can’t get out of it we’ll be married. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?”
Her eyes sharpened with a deep intensity that he didn’t quite understand. Slowly, she answered, “I suppose not.”
LENA HAD NO IDEA what they were doing. All they’d been told was to disappear for a while and to return to their bungalow at eight sharp. Obviously, Marcy’s next photo shoot had something to do with their room. Fine.
In the meantime, she and Colt had finally managed to get into the pool. The water had been heavenly. They’d skipped the dining room in favor of fattening fried foods at the snack shack. The atmosphere was completely different, which was a good thing. The last thing she needed was another romantic meal with Colt. Playing around in the pool had been bad enough.
Grabbing his ankles to dunk him in. Her fingers grazing across the tight wall of his abs. His body sliding against her beneath the water. Lena gulped, squeezing her eyes shut and hoping the building storm of awareness would disappear, like the monster that couldn’t hurt her if she couldn’t see it.
The problem was it was still there, eyes open or closed.
The more time they spent together, the more aware of him she became. Lena was beginning to worry that ignoring her stirring emotions wasn’t going to be enough. They were getting more powerful, more demanding.
She needed to get hold of herself and her libido. The problem was she no longer trusted that she could actually control either one. And she was starting to question why she needed to—why couldn’t she have him?
A shiver raced down her spine as she remembered the exquisite pleasure of his body rubbing against hers.
“Are you cold?” Colt asked from behind, his palm landing gently at the small of her back.
Ripples of awareness continued through her body like rings from a stone hitting a pond. She wanted him to go on touching her forever, which was why she shook off his hold and said, “No, I’m fine,” tossing a smile over her shoulder to take the sting of her rebuke away.
They rounded the corner in the path to see Marcy waiting for them, the door to their bungalow standing wide open behind her.
Marcy swept them inside and with a grand gesture of her arm, indicated the single room.
It had been completely changed.
The couch and end tables had been removed, along with the small table and chairs in the eating nook. The beautifully carved wooden bed had been placed in the center of the room, and draped with gauzy white material that fluttered on an easy breeze. Someone—probably Marcy—had flung open every door and window, letting in the scent of tropical flowers and the salty tang of the sea.
Drippy, mismatched candles had been placed across the few remaining surfaces—a faux mantel, the kitchen counter and even the floor.
There was no question, this was a seduction scene taken directly from the most romantic and unforgettable movie she’d ever wanted to see. And Marcy clearly expected her to star in it. With Colt. Lena swallowed and waves of heat washed across her skin. Anticipation mixed with dread. Her worst nightmare and hottest dream all mixed into one.
Colt spun slowly in the center of the room. “Someone’s been busy,” he drawled, leaving to interpretation whether his words were complimentary or derogatory.
Lena narrowed her eyes, studying his face, trying to figure out what he thought about all of this. Was he horrified? Or, possibly, intrigued?
“We aim to please,” said Marcy, grasping Lena by the elbow and pulling her along behind her. “I have several outfits for you to choose from. Whatever you’re most comfortable in is fine with me.”
“What kind of outfits?” Colt asked, his voice going dark.
“Nothing like that,” Marcy admonished. “We’re not going for salacious here. We want a few romantic shots highlighting the private bungalows that are available to our couples.”
Marcy pushed Lena into the bathroom, closing the door behind her. The wood creaked as she leaned against it. With trepidation, Lena took in the row of soft, filmy fabrics Marcy had lined up for her. She had to admit that considering where they were filming, the choices could have been worse. Not a bustier or padded bra in the mix.
Lena reached for one, a pale pink color that probably wouldn’t look great with her fair skin. But it was so soft beneath her fingers. She reached for another, this one dark red. Lena was afraid it would make her look as though she was trying too hard. She liked the black gown with lace edging, but it just seemed too stark somehow.
The final one had drawn her eye immediately which was why she’d saved it for last. To say that it was blue was somehow wrong. It was, but it had an iridescent shine to it that captured every shifting shade from the water outside their door. It was light and dark and bright and soft all at once.
It was perfect.
Slipping it on over her head, Lena felt as if she were wearing water instead of silk. It was longer than she’d expected, skimming just above the curve of her knee. The spaghetti straps might have left her feeling exposed, but the neckline was cut high enough to cover her cleavage so that helped. As far as lingerie went, it was enticing but not revealing.
Lena looked at herself in the mirror and felt a flutter of nerves, anticipation and hope deep in her stomach. She was…sexy. It wasn’t that she’d never thought of herself that way. She had. Just not with Colt waiting in the other room. Taking a deep breath, she headed out.
The sun had begun to sink as they’d come into the bungalow. Now it was almost completely down, just the rim of gray, gold and pink at the edge of the world brushing the room with a soft, romantic glow.
Colt’s eyes were bright as they slowly perused her body, taking in every inch of her. Her skin tingled and tightened. Lena shifted, trying to find some way to relieve the pressure that was mounting inside her.
His intensity was unnerving. She’d never seen this side of him. Lena wanted to back away, to pretend that none of this was happening. Instead, she found her feet moving slowly toward him, as if drawn by a gravitational pull she couldn’t see, but definitely felt.
Thank God Marcy broke the spell by clearing her throat. Embarrassment at forgetting they weren’t alone flamed up Lena’s face and body.
“Mikhail, what do you think?”
The photographer joined them in the middle of the room. He looked over at Lena for several seconds. “Lena, what do you think of being on the bed, with Colt in the background?” The other man was warming to the vision only he could see.
“With her almost blurry and slightly romantic?” Colt asked.
And apparently Colt saw the same thing. Gone was the devouring expression from moments before, replaced by a studied gaze as he contemplated what the lens would see. It had been a very long time since Lena had watched him work.
During college, his camera had been like an extension of his hand, always present and subject to being pulled out at a moment’s notice. Walks around the city had turned into photojournalism sessions. Heck, on occasion that lens had even turned on her. She wondered if he’d kept any of the photographs of her from years ago.
“Exactly.” The two men walked off for several paces, their heads bent together as they talked about shutter speed, light and exposure—things Lena didn’t fully understand. With nothing better to do, she climbed up onto the mattress.
She felt like a fool, stretched out across the cream silk sheets, which were not the standard Escape issue. Considering the price this bungalow rented for, they should be.
“So, what’s the story?” Marcy leaned against one of the posts at the foot of the bed, her eyes friendly and curious.
“What do you mean?”