Shannon Fabray is a sculpture artist and her love of the pure masculine body is demonstrated in every work of aesthetic art she creates. But her passion for the body doesn't extend into her personal life after a hellish experience in college left her with nowhere to turn but her work. After several criticisms about the lack of passion in her sculptures, Shannon is determined to face her fears and take desire by the balls. A one-night stand should do the trick. 2nd Lt. Brody Essex is an active duty Marine with one goal: come home, get rested, go back. Brody isn’t interested in a date arranged through Madame Eve’s 1Night Stand service like the rest of his friends from the Corps have had, but he doesn’t hesitate to fill in for a Brother who can’t go on his own. The last thing either Shannon or Brody expect is a wondrous, soul deep connection, but is the spark of lust enough to bring the two loners in from the cold?
The woman’s voice perfumed the foreign lyrics with forbidden promises. Servers in unrelieved black slipped in and around the tables, delivering drinks and food without disturbing the spell woven on the stage. He didn’t understand the woman’s sultry Italian, but his lack didn’t detract from the emotion.
Captivated, Brody stared as she massaged emotion from the music. His heart thudded a quiet counterpoint to the beat. Everything in the room hushed, from the whispers at the tables to the movement of the wait staff. When a man strolled out to meet the woman, she turned and caught his hand. He took up the song and it transformed from something provocative to a note that squeezed around his heart.
An echo of movement next to him tugged his gaze from the stage. A gorgeous woman stood next to him, her short black curls pinned carefully to frame her porcelain skin.
“They are singing about goodbye,” she murmured, her voice almost too low to be heard over the voices twining together, lovers dancing around the notes of the man’s baritone and the woman’s husky alto.
“I don’t know the words.” He followed her lead, loathe to break the spell spinning between the two singers. Somewhere on the stage, dancers moved, but they were so understated, he doubted the crowd was quite aware of them.
“When I’m alone, I dream of the horizon and words fail me. There is no light in a room where there is no sun.” The woman’s words translated the underlying score of the singing. “And there is no sun if you’re not here with me. From every window unfurls my heart, the heart you have won. Into me you’ve poured the light, this light you found by the side of the road.”
Oddly, tears pricked the back of his eyes at the sweet little catch in the siren woman’s voice. Pulling his gaze from the performers, he canted his head. Moisture glittered around the woman’s impossibly long eyelashes, but while she watched the singers, one hand toyed with a coin hanging by a silver chain around her neck.
“She tells him it’s time to say goodbye, places that I’ve never seen or experienced with you, now I shall. ‘I’ll sail with you upon ships across the seas, seas that will exist no more. It’s time to say goodbye.’”
The music rose as the woman’s voice faded. His siren’s face arrested with emotion, her fingers white-knuckled around the coin.
On the stage, the man’s voice rolled in, a gentle thunder promising a storm across the waves as the water whispered to the shore.
“He tells her, when she’s far away, he dreams of the horizon and words fail him. He knows that she is with him, always with him. She is his moon, the sun, and no matter where he goes, she is with him, always and forever.”
Brody didn’t imagine the hint of tears sweeping through her words. He swallowed back the catch in his own throat. He’d witnessed too many goodbyes in the last decade, husbands, wives, or children wishing safety to their Marine as they headed overseas. He’d never envied those goodbyes, the poignant longing, the whispered promises, the quiet terror, or the brave faces. He never missed the letters carrying word of love and need, or the scratchy Skype calls with their glimpses of home.