April Day deeply loves her husband, Derek, but something’s missing. To heat things up, she books them on a Caribbean cruise for their seventh anniversary. She’s not sure what she’s looking for, but she knows she’s found it as soon as she spots the delectable sprite of an actress who stars in the ship’s daily shows.
Meghan Keenan’s having a blast with her latest squeeze, Clark Hendricks, who writes and directs the shipboard main shows. Should she turn down April’s request to heat up her marriage? And if she accepts, where will Clark fit in?
Derek is stunned by his wife’s brash pursuit of the hot young actress. Must he match her boldness to keep her from leaving him?
“There she is,” April Day whispered to her husband as they shared a late breakfast in the fourth deck restaurant of the cruise ship. “There’s that vivacious girl who does everything in the floor show.”
“You’re infatuated with her,” Derek grumbled. “You’ve been mooning over her for the past two days. Do you even know her name?”
“Meg something, I think.” April thrust out her chin. “Names don’t matter much for what I have in mind.” April inhaled, letting her gaze take in the petite auburn-haired actress. “She’s a woman’s woman. That’s what matters.”
“How do you know that? She’s having breakfast with the guy who directs the show.” Derek chuckled. “She looks like a man’s woman to me.”
Shrugging, April faced her husband. “So, I’m a man’s woman, too. Maybe she’s bi.”
“How can you be so certain?” Derek’s features remained stolid.
“A woman knows.” April sipped her orange juice.
Derek grimaced. “I can see those cute wheels working overtime in your head. I don’t know why you can’t be satisfied with what you have—this is supposed to be our seventh wedding anniversary cruise.”
“It is,” April said sweetly. “We went over this before we made the reservations. You and I need to spice up our marriage, or we may be in real danger. You know about the seven-year itch. This is it. We agreed I have free rein during these two weeks. I’m doing this for us. Even you agreed.”
“In one of my weaker moments. I must’ve been nuts to go along with this scheme of yours.” He exhaled. “But you haven’t found a willing partner yet.”
“That’s because I’m taking my time. I’m not in a rush.” She paused. “But I am determined. And this Meg woman looks like a worthy candidate for our bed.”
“What about the guy she’s with?”
April shrugged. “He can join us, too. The suite bed is large enough.”
“Damn suite cost us a small fortune.”
“We can afford it, Derek. What we can’t afford is staying stuck in a sexual relationship that’s lost its fire.”
“So you say.”
“You know I love you,” April said quickly, covering his hand with hers. “You don’t doubt that.”
He shook his head. “And I love you, but that doesn’t mean I understand you. You always said you got women out of your system during your college days.”
April felt her cheeks warm slightly. “I thought I did.” She frowned. “You know there hasn’t been anyone since you and I were engaged.” She smiled faintly. “And I got one of the hunkiest guys in the fire department, and a six-year-old daughter I wouldn’t trade for the world.”
“But we’ve grown stale. We keep going over old ground. And I’m tired of being taken for granted.”
“Hush. We get Sammy set up with her Saturday morning cartoons and then have something that passes in your book as sex.” Her voice rose. “If that’s not being taken for granted, if that’s not being in a rut, I don’t know what is. And I’m going to do something about it.”
“By fucking whoever you can entice to our suite.”
“You don’t have to be crude about it.” April felt the sharpness in her tone and quickly winked at him. “There may be other places that’d work besides our suite.”
“Great.” Derek reached for his coffee cup and hesitated. “And I’m supposed to believe this seven-year itch thing will be worked through on this cruise. No roving eyes when we get back to Chicago?”
April shook her head. “Hopefully I’ll have a re-energized husband by then.”
“I’m not the energizer bunny,” Derek said, looking glum and resigned.
“I’ve noticed. Come on, this is about both of us. Let’s enjoy our cruise. There was a time when you couldn’t get enough of me. Wouldn’t you like to have those days back?”
Looking trapped, Derek nodded. “Yeah, you’re right. I would, but this doesn’t seem like the way to do that.”
“I think it is.” April swallowed. “This isn’t just about you, Derek. I have to find my spark again. We’ve both allowed the sex part of our marriage to fizzle. I no longer believe you and I can find it on our own. I think another woman can help us both—at least, the right woman.”
“And you think Meg the actress is that woman?”
“She’s worth a shot. You know I’m not threatening divorce. But I’m not willing to give up on our sex lives just because I’m about to turn thirty, either. I don’t expect to ever have to give up on our sex lives, but that means we have to do some things to give it some new life.”
“You read too many romance novels.”
“Maybe.” She dragged a fingernail along his wrist. “But I’m not ready to give up on us. Now I’m going over there and introducing myself.”
His eyebrows shot up.
“You can watch, if that suits you better.” She narrowed her eyes at her husband. “I hope you’ll join us with some enthusiasm.” She pushed back her chair and grinned. “Maybe I’ll have to audition a series of women before you’re willing to join in.”
He shrugged and looked for himself at the curvy auburn-haired woman wearing a half-tank top and shorts, who sat a half-dozen tables away. “There’s nothing wrong with that woman. She does seem to have an outgoing personality.”
April smiled when she saw Derek swallow hard, then stood and pushed her chair back under the table. “I don’t know about you, but I’ve been more attracted to her budding nipples than to her smile—though I can easily imagine a place or two where I’d love to put those full lips. Wish me luck,” she said, waving.