Charge up the e-reader, snuggle up and
get ready for an adrenaline rush
get ready for an adrenaline rush
No one is as they seem and
the stakes are higher than any ever imagined
the stakes are higher than any ever imagined
Travel to Grand Cayman without leaving home in this action-packed, sizzling romantic suspense and adventure
Excerpt (adult content)...
The man had the body of a god.
And the mind of lunatic.
Lexi dropped the fork onto her plate at the site of his hard ass walking away from her and bit her lower lip. He'd stripped like he'd been naked in front of her a million times.
Last night had been too dark to appreciate all the delectable details, but daylight did not disappoint.
"That was weird," she mumbled to herself. "I'm stuck on a boat with a lunatic, isn't that perfect."
She debated about her next move. The way she saw it she had a few options—she could stay here and eat like a civilized person or she could get naked and join him in the warm Caribbean Sea so they could both burn off this excess energy.
Cooking calmed her down, as did organizing, which is why she'd decided on a table setting on the boat deck. Her hands had needed to be busy to stop her mind from going and going and going. Being a sane person, she had had no idea he would freak out.
When she heard his fierce strokes through the water behind her, she pushed away from the table and peeled off her clothes. A swim sounded perfect and she'd skinny dipped back in her sorority days.
Before she knew it, she swam just as strongly as he did in a strange lap around the yacht. With each kick of her legs and every forward motion with her arms, suppressed emotions surfaced.
It wasn't fair.
It wasn't fair that she'd sacrificed and worked her butt off for a company that might be into illegal activities. What would she do if she survived this? Even as someone championing justice, everything she'd ever fought for would be gone. Poof! Just like that. She'd need to testify, all the fake friends she'd accumulated might stick close for the gossip, but who would be there for her when it was over?
It wasn't fair that she wanted to fight for Luella who had basically sworn to call her a liar.
He will make you disappear.
It wasn't fair that she was stuck on a boat in the middle of the Caribbean with Captain Hotness and he was a giant prick.
It wasn't fair that, when this was all over, she'd be alone.
She slapped the side of the boat with her hand before pressing her forehead against the hull and battling against tears. Water sloshed against her and pushed her body to and fro. Maybe she'd be dead and no one would ever know or care what had happened to her while Owen played his sex games.
It wasn't fair.
Larry treaded water behind her.
"You should be." She blinked away the tears, unwilling for him to see her crying after he'd basically instructed her to do so earlier.
"I can't explain my outburst."
"I didn't ask."
She moved away and swam toward the back of the boat, tired of swimming and needing space. She spit water from her mouth before grabbing the ladder leading up the back of the stern.
His hands closed over her fingers. His breath caressed the side of her face. "I am not a Hollywood caricature of anything. I'm me. This is who I am."
She closed her eyes and savored the sensation of his naked body sliding against her backside. "But you don't like plates?"
He laughed and rested his chin on her shoulder. "Can we just forget about all that? I will be the first to admit that I'm an asshole."
Unsmiling, she turned within the circle of his arms, wrapped her legs around his hips, and pushed the wet hair from where it streaked across his face. "Why did you think someone paid me to pretend? Why would anyone go to such extremes? What are you running from?"
Something flickered deep within his blue eyes but he didn't look away. "I've got sort of a fucked up family. It's a long story, one I'd rather not discuss, but this is me. What you see here, what I've built on Grand Cayman, my friends, all of it...one hundred percent authentic."
She curved her thumb along his cheekbones and nodded. "I'm trying to do the right thing. I'm not a bad person. I don't want to die."
He shook his head. "I won't let that happen."
"You said you weren't my bodyguard," she reminded him with a small smile, once again trying to hold the tears at bay. "You're just my captain, remember?"
"Yeah, well, I'm full of shit." He smiled against her lips before licking the salt from them. "I really am sorry for losing it up there—"
"I forgot about it the moment you stripped," she whispered against his mouth.
"One drunken night is a hook up and nothing more...but the second time feels much more deliberate." He hesitated a breath away from her face, his blue eyes dark with both desire and concern.
"Let me guess," she pressed closer to him, enjoying the feel of the metal ladder pressing against her back while the warm Caribbean Sea lapped against their bodies, "you're not the kind of guy who usually has more than a one night stand."
"Stop worrying about the kind of guy I am."
"That means I'm right?" She nuzzled her nose against the side of his face. The dread that had sunk her heart only minutes earlier dissipated.
"Do you really care about anything beyond this moment?" He brushed his lips over her neck, his massive body making her feel small and vulnerable in the water.
She didn't care about anything except the sensations of warm water, metal, heat, salt, his body, his mouth, his breath. Sounds of the rope holding the dingy behind the main yacht slapping against the hull competed with the sound of her heartbeat reverberating in her ears.
She slid her hands down his chest to his waist and back again. "I totally understand why the coeds go for you even though you're past your prime."
He laughed against her neck before pulling away and looking her in the eye. "Past my prime, huh? My bet is that we are the same age."
Her lips twitched because she knew she'd hit a nerve. Obviously, they were both in their thirties, but she hadn't been able to resist a dig. Feeling more adventurous than she had in a long time, she grabbed the steps of the ladder behind her, unwrapped her legs from around him, moved up toward the boat, and pressed her breasts against his face.
He licked her abdomen as she slid past him toward the deck and she smiled at the gleam in his eye.
He followed, covering her body with his before she was fully out of the water. Flat on the lower deck used for divers to come in and out of the sea with the ocean sloshing beneath them, he captured her mouth in a kiss that left her breathless with need.
Passion from the night before had been fueled by whiskey, but today it erupted from pure desire. She couldn't get enough of touching him, kissing him—couldn't get enough of him manhandling her as if she were his plaything.
No man had ever before triggered her into this frenzied lovemaking. She craved him. It was as if inhibition had evaporated in the sea breeze and all common sense had been left on land.
He nipped, pinched, licked, and kissed every inch of her until she slapped her hands at her sides and prayed for release. The boat rocked beneath them, saltwater splashed over their joined bodies, and the sun dipped lower in the sky.
He consumed her, his body claiming hers while his mouth crushed her lips.
She screamed, losing all control of her body as it shuddered and bucked beneath him. The intensity of the orgasm left her weak and satisfied.
He propped himself above her, his wet hair sticking to his neck and face, and smiled that smug, toothy smile that made her ache for more.
"Now I'm ready to eat."
"Despite the plates?" She ran her fingertips over the tattoo of a budding rose before moving down to its thorny stem.
He rolled from her, snagged her hand, and pulled her up. His face grew serious for a moment before he looked away.
"We'll eat and you're going to tell me everything. I need to know what we're up against, no more secrets."
The man switched gears so fast it made her head spin.
"Does that apply only to me or are you going to confess all your mysteries as well?" She couldn't stop touching his tattoo now that she had full access. It was so elaborate, so well done. She wanted to know the story behind it.
She wanted to know all of his stories.
As if reading her mind, he snagged her hand, held it against his chest, looked her in the eye and said, "No, that vault is permanently locked."
She swallowed hard and pulled her hand from beneath his. For a minute, she'd almost forgotten why they were here on this boat alone in the middle of nowhere.
Get your dignity together, Lex, she reprimanded herself as she pulled on her discarded clothes. You're wearing borrowed clothes, hiding from a former friend who wants to kill you, life as you knew is officially over, and yet here you are letting your guard down with some guy who's a good lay and that's all he'll ever be. Toughen up.
He'd pulled on his pants, but hadn't buttoned them. Once again, he wore the lopsided hat and sunglasses. He reached for one of the ice-cold beers before turning his focus toward the clouds approaching in the distance.
"Here's the thing," he said after a long silence, "your pal the oil guy has a plane flying around looking for you, or I assume that's what its doing although I am not sure what they are hoping to find by buzzing over a few boats."
She stiffened, fork in her mouth, and flicked her gaze toward his face.
"I called my guy Pete—"
"Your guy who?" she asked after swallowing.
"We locals stick together, especially those of us in the dive community."
She rolled her eyes. Her ex Bill would go on and on about the dive community.
"Sometimes I think you forget you're not wearing sunglasses and I can see your expressions." He laughed before continuing. "Anyway, I saw the plane head toward Cayman Brac, that's why we anchored for awhile, but the storm looks like it is ahead of schedule."
She twisted on the bench to look out toward the clouds stacking up over the turquoise sea. "It's not a hurricane is it?"
"Tropical Storm Selma," he said, sounding amused. "I'd like to rename it to Tropical Storm Alexandra but—"
"You're a funny guy, Larry."
"I am, actually. My friends adore me."
"I'm sure they do."
She turned and resumed eating. She'd never felt so hungry.
"He intends to do whatever necessary to find you. I want to know why." Suddenly serious, he leaned his elbows on the table and studied her intently from across the table.
She took her time chewing before paying extraordinary attention to the placement of her fork on the plate. When she finally leaned back on the bench with a beer tucked between her fingers, she looked anywhere but into his face. Without emotion, she described the scene she'd walked into with Luella and the stilted emails she'd unearthed that spoke about an auction coming up in several days.
"I'd say your suspicions are true judging by his overreaction to your disappearance," Larry said after she'd finished.
"I need to prove it, though." She shrugged. "I need something concrete, not just vague emails, my word against Luella's—if she is still alive—and some documents that apparently I signed, although a review of my work shows nothing out of the ordinary." She rubbed her fingers over her temples. "I can't figure out what she meant when she accused me of making this happen, of signing the documents."
"Dummy corporation, probably out of the Middle East, Africa, or another oil rich area of the world that you wouldn't second guess, especially if your boss vouches for their credibility."
She squinted at him, at the authoritative way he spoke, and started questioning her assumptions.
"That's plausible. I'll look through everything again, dig deeper."
"Your death or disappearance is better than setting you up because that would open the company's internal documents for review," he continued before finally reaching for his sandwich and adding some salad to his plate.
"That's exactly what I was thinking," she said with a grin. "You're not exactly the bubble headed beach bum you look like."
"There's that mean girl you hinted at." He nodded, his smug smile reappearing. "So what is your plan?"
"Finding what I can, taking it to the authorities you say you trust, and catching them in the act at this auction. Think you can keep me off their radar long enough to do all of that?"
"Yeah, I think I can handle the job."
They finished their lunch slash early dinner before consuming every last beer in the ice bucket without speaking. Both stared at the sea, the clouds, listened to the water caressing the side of the boat, and allowed the sun to soak into their skin.
She'd never felt so relaxed in all of her life.
The irony intrigued her.
Arms spread wide on the back of the bench seat, she looked up at the sky filling with clouds and sighed. Maybe she couldn't explain it, but sitting here on this boat with this man in shared silence felt like the safest place in the world despite the dangers she knew waited somewhere in the distance.
Nothing bad happens in paradise...or does it?
Lexi Dubois is in trouble. On Grand Cayman for business, she discovers the company she's been working for is funding a human trafficking ring—and the money trail leads back to her. Scared for her life, she charters a boat for a week to hide from the men on the small island who want her dead and to buy time to find enough evidence to take them down. The last thing she expects—or wants—is a torrid affair with the hot captain and dive master.
Larry Gibbon has been running a charter dive boat operation in Grand Cayman for years. He's seen it all—and done his share of creating havoc. But when a mysterious woman charters his boat for a week—alone—he has no idea what trouble she's bringing aboard.
The ocean is vast and unforgiving, but will Larry's knowledge of the Cayman Islands and Lexi's relentless determination to survive be enough to save them?
**The Wanderlust Series consists of stand-alone adventure romance novels. Occasionally, characters from previous novels may make a cameo, but each story truly does stand on its own merits.
Be swept away to the Cayman Islands today!
PS: If you've read Riptide, then you'll recognize Larry...this is his story.