Fifteen years ago, Tawny Reeve was in love, but her wealthy, jet-setting parents went to cruel lengths to separate her from her middle class lover. Emotionally barren, she despairs of ever finding love again. A friend sent her an email address with only a name in the subject line: “Madame Evangeline”. Tawny doubts she is capable of a normal, loving relationship, but maybe she can handle a one-night stand, at least meeting her body’s needs, if not her heart’s. Wyatt Mackenzie is an accomplished architect with a lonely lifestyle. None of the debutantes and gorgeous women he dates have brought him the electrifying passion he hopes to rekindle from his youth. There was only one who captured his heart, and then smashed it into a thousand pieces. An email from his client at the Castillo hotel in Vegas, offers a solution to his passionless life: “Email Madame Evangeline, and she can make your wildest dreams come true.”
At the foot of the staircase, Tawny stopped, removed her sparkling pumps, and carried them in her free hand. The cool grains of beach sand caressed her feet and buried her toes as she walked alongside him.
“What place?” Relishing the strength of his hand wrapped around hers, she stepped quickly to keep pace with his long legs.
“Down the beach is the tower and courtyard of the original castle this hotel was modeled after. It’s quite beautiful if you would like to see it?”
“That sounds wonderful.”
The thought of being out of sight of Alejandro brought about uneasiness, but she had developed a greater comfort level than she anticipated with her date. Her excitement grew.
Her weighty skirt flapped in the brisk wind, while the splashing sound of the heavy waves lapping against the sand and the rocks commanded her attention. A few stray seagulls walked solemnly along the waterline, scavenging through the swept up piles of sopping green seaweed. A flock of the squawking birds farther down the shore circled a larger prize, pulling and grabbing, then flew away with their bounty.
As an incoming wave of water and foam washed over Tawny’s toes, the ebbing tide left a starfish sprawled helplessly in its wake.
“Oh, this is so beautiful.” She gathered her skirt as she bent down to inspect the reddish, five-pointed creature. Her escort kneeled beside her.
“How will it get back to the water?” “That’s the beauty of it; when something gets lost or misplaced, nature usually finds a way of getting it back to where it belongs.” He gave a witty smile as the incoming whoosh of another wave drew closer. Taking her hand, he guided her to her feet before the cascading water arrived. Caught in his penetrating gaze, she followed his nod as he looked back to the wet sand left by the receding tide. To her pleasure, the starfish was gone.
“See, he’s finding his way home as we speak.”
Tawny returned his grin, still holding his hand. Off in the distance, the squawking of the seagulls faded as they flew away under the darkened sky. Her inhale carried the tangy odor of brine and the heady scent of musty ocean life.
They walked hand in hand while she eyed the shallow pools left in the hollows of the shoreline.
“Are you cold?” The mystery man paused, removing his long coat. Before she could reply, he draped it around her exposed shoulders.
“I look forward to taking it off, too.” He pulled the edges of the coat over her exposed flesh with a dark, sexy grin.