Authors: Kira Sinclair
Tags: #Island Nights
Lena shifted, using the pretense of arranging her legs and the silk gown to avoid looking into Marcy’s eyes.
“There’s more going on with you two than meets the eye.”
“I told you, we’re old friends.”
“Please. I’ve spent the last two years managing a resort that specializes in selling sex—tasteful and romantic sex but sex nonetheless. I know chemistry when I see it. He couldn’t keep his eyes off you when you walked out here. And the minute you stepped through that door he was the first thing you wanted to see.”
Lena’s eyes were drawn across the room to Colt. She couldn’t help herself even though it was a dead giveaway.
“Isn’t everything?” Marcy asked. “He is beautiful,” she added, her eyes cataloguing Colt in a purely academic way.
Lena was used to women staring at Colt, calculating whether he was available and if she was competition. There was absolutely no interest in Marcy’s gaze.
“Athletic, with enough little-boy charm and mischief to make him approachable,” Marcy analyzed. She leveled a pointed look at Lena.
“He moves around a lot. No roots. Anything we start would be short-lived and when it was over our friendship would never be the same.”
“That’s assuming it ends.”
“It would. Colt doesn’t form attachments.”
“Except to you.”
“I told you, we’re just friends,” Lena protested.
“Isn’t friendship an attachment?”
“It isn’t the same.”
“But it’s something. More than he’s had with anyone else, I’d hazard. It’s easy to dump someone you don’t really like, harder to walk away from someone who’s already important.”
For no good reason fear swamped Lena. Her mouth felt dry and gritty, as if she’d swallowed sand. A bone-deep chill washed over her and her hands began to tremble.
That was exactly what she was afraid of. If she gave in to this and he walked away, could she survive? For the first time in her life, she understood how her mother had found herself repeatedly ruled by her emotions. They were too overwhelming to ignore.
Even though she knew giving in would be a mistake.
“Everyone ready?” Mikhail asked, interrupting Lena’s little panic attack. She wanted desperately to say no, to rush out of the room, away from Colt, from temptation, from inevitable heartache. But she didn’t. She couldn’t. Not with Colt standing in front of her, a concerned expression on his face.
“Are you okay?”
She swallowed, the lump of sand in her throat refusing to budge. He moved closer, reaching for her. Lena scooted away, knowing if he touched her right now she would erupt into an inferno of demanding need neither of them could control.
Unable to speak, she nodded. And hoped it was enough.
“LENA, CAN YOU LOOK a little more longingly at Colt? Extend your lines. You’re yearning for him. Trying to get him to come to you, to join you.”
Mikhail had been barking orders at Lena for the last twenty minutes, clearly not enamored with her performance. Colt had no idea what was going on with her. She’d gone from relaxed and enjoying the process this afternoon to uneasy and awkward. Maybe the gown was making her uncomfortable, although she hadn’t appeared so when she’d walked out in it. She’d looked sexy, confident in her allure as a woman. Besides, the bikini she’d worn earlier had covered far less.
Colt bit down on the inside of his cheek to keep from snapping at Mikhail. He realized the photographer was just trying to get the picture he needed. But the more he barked at Lena the stiffer she became. She wasn’t a natural model. She was beautiful, poised and self-contained, not an exhibitionist who relished displaying herself and her emotions for the world to view.
“This isn’t working.” Mikhail dropped his camera to his side with a huff of frustration.
“If you’d stop growling at her then maybe you’d get what you want.” So much for trying not to interject and make things worse.
“Do you have a better idea?”
As a matter of fact, he did. “Can we clear everyone else out?”
Marcy began to sputter in protest, but one look from Mikhail seemed to stop her in her tracks.
“Sure.” It took exactly five minutes for Mikhail’s assistants and Marcy to clear the room. By the time they were gone the sun had completely sunk and the lighting was actually better—darkness outside and romantic, flickering lights inside. Mikhail took the opportunity to fiddle with the light stands in the corners, adjusting for the changes.
Lena flopped back against the jewel-toned pillows piled high at the headboard, her arm flung across her face. “When will the torture end?”
“Torture?” Colt asked, walking around the headboard to stand above her. The gown covering her shimmered in the shifting light, making it look as if her body undulated beneath the thin layer of silk. A sharp spike of need lanced through him. His fingers curled into his palms to keep from reaching for her.
But he couldn’t stop himself from moving closer. Placing a knee on the bed beside her, he enjoyed the way she rolled toward him, her hip bumping against the inside of his thigh.
Even as he bent above her, words he hadn’t meant to say fell from his lips. “The only torture has been watching you writhe around on this bed and not being able to touch you.” His words were guttural, primal, pulled from a place deep inside him that he didn’t want to acknowledge but couldn’t seem to contain.
She gasped, her eyes widening as she looked up at him. He watched her swallow, the long column of her throat working.
“Then touch me,” she whispered, the words pulled from her body as reluctantly as his had been. He heard the hesitation, understood it.
But couldn’t seem to do the right thing.
Her features were taut. Her eyes glittered, possessed by the same driving need that pulsed inside him. It was new, startling, tempting.
Colt slowly reached for her, running a single finger down the exposed curve of her arm. Her skin was so soft.
Her breath hitched. He heard the sound, saw the catch as her chest rose, paused and finished the climb.
In the back of his brain Colt heard the click of the camera, but this time he didn’t let it matter. Nothing could distract him from Lena.
Her lips parted in anticipation. His finger continued over the slippery silk that covered her body. He brushed the side of her breast and watched in fascination as the nipple, so close he could have reached out and touched it, puckered and jutted towards him.
He stopped at the curve of her hip, pressing his curled fingers into the mattress for balance. He loomed over her, expecting that at any moment she’d come to her senses and tell him to stop.
But she didn’t.
Instead, she arched beneath him, exposing the long, slim line of her neck. Her hair, darker in the low light, fanned out around her. He wanted to bury his fingers in the thick mass, use it to hold her to him.
The gown she was wearing pulled tight across her chest. He was sure there was some name for the neckline, probably something tantalizing and provocative since it tempted him with the curve of her flesh beneath the slick material. He didn’t know what it was though, and frankly didn’t care.
Her eyelids drooped heavily over mesmerizing blue-gray eyes. She was a temptress, pulling him in and making him forget why he shouldn’t have her.
His lips drifted across her skin. He licked at the pulse point pounding against her throat. He breathed her in, consuming the scent of her as it swirled around them both. Dark, mysterious, feminine.
He latched on to her skin and sucked, drawing a sigh of pleasure from her as she surrendered to whatever he wanted.
What he wanted was her.
With an answering growl, Colt dove in and claimed her lips. She opened for him as he pushed inside. This kiss was completely different from the one they’d shared before. It wasn’t soft and persuasive. It was fire and heat and devouring desire. It was demanding and yearning and the release of denying what he wanted.
In the back of his mind red warning lights were flashing, but he was too far gone to care. His hands were rough as they pulled her to him. His fingers tore at the silk covering her body. He needed to feel her. Touch her. Own her.
Make her his…
The loud slam of the door had him shooting up and off the bed.
But she wasn’t his.
Lena looked up at him, a mixture of embarrassment, horror and desire swamping her eyes. Her chest, now barely covered by the slip of soft fabric, rose and fell in halting time to his own uneven heartbeat.
He’d almost made a huge mistake. He liked things casual. He never slept with anyone he truly cared for, which made it easy to walk away.
He couldn’t walk away from Lena. Once Pandora’s box was opened there would be no going back.
And that scared the shit out of him.
Backing slowly toward the door, Colt couldn’t pull his gaze from Lena’s. Not even as he fumbled behind him for the knob and slipped out into the comforting darkness.
A KNOCK ON THE DOOR HAD LENA bolting up in the bed. Her hair hung limply into her bleary eyes. She pushed the mop away, clearing her vision, and then regretted it when the bright morning sunshine speared straight into her brain. Squinting, she mumbled a curse and stumbled for the entrance to the bungalow.
To anyone else it probably appeared as if she’d been on a five-day bender. The reality was that she’d gotten barely a few hours’ sleep, and those had come in random snatches between crazy nightmares and erotic dreams—both featuring Colt.
She had no idea where he was, but he definitely hadn’t shared the bed with her last night. If he was the one on the other side of the door it was entirely possible she might kill him.
Somewhere during the night she’d gone from relief that he’d had the forethought to stop what they’d started, to anger that he’d walked out without a word, to worry that he’d do something stupid such as hike into the jungle in the middle of the night and fall off a cliff.
The pounding increased, joined by the cheerful sound of Georgie’s drawl. “Wake up, sleepyheads. We’ve been waiting on y’all for a half hour.”
Lena’s right eye began to twitch, but she opened the door anyway.
Georgie leveled a knowing, conspiratorial look in her direction as she brushed past into their bungalow. “Someone had a fun night.”
Lena self-consciously patted her hair, trying in vain to smooth out the knots.
“Honey, you look like you’ve been rode hard and put up wet. At least tell me the ride was worth it.” Georgie took in their bungalow. “Well, this is…interesting. A little different layout than ours.” The frown on her face said she wasn’t impressed.
“Marcy moved everything around. We had a photo session last night.” Lena couldn’t stop the hot flush that burned her skin at the memories. A stinging heat settled between her thighs and she shifted from one foot to the other, trying to find relief.
“Where’s Colt?” Georgie asked, her puzzled eyes looking around the space as if he might pop out from beneath the kitchen sink.
Lena opened her mouth to tell a lie—although she wasn’t sure which one—but the dark rumble of Colt’s voice stopped her.
“Right here,” he said, leaning against the open doorway out to the patio and private pool. Had he been out there the whole time?
Arms crossed over his chest, he lounged there, looking for all the world like a relaxed—sated—groom. His wide chest was naked, a tempting V of hair running in an arrow down his body to disappear beneath the low-riding band of his jeans.
Lena swallowed, her mouth suddenly dry and useless. Colt’s eyes flashed for a moment as they ran over her body, rekindling what he hadn’t been willing to finish last night.
Lena’s hands crumpled into fists at her side, although she wasn’t sure who she wanted to use them on more—Colt or her unruly libido.
Georgie reached out to pat her arm, grinning slyly. “Don’t worry, sweetheart. Looks like someone has enough stamina for both of you.”
Colt’s lips twitched. Lena’s eyes narrowed in warning. Clearing his throat, he said, “Why don’t you give us time to get ready, Georgie? We’re obviously running a little late.”