[BookStrand Contemporary Romance, HEA]
Sarah Templeton suffered a heart-wrenching betrayal and loss, convincing her that love should always come second to her career and subsequent independence. Now, years later, Sarah travels to see her brother’s best friend and surrogate brother, David Maddex, at his top-rated dive resort on the tropical island of Cozumel. She hopes her vacation in the land of the hot sun will not only deliver fantastic diving but also warm her cool heart for her traveling companion, the man she’s been dating for several weeks.
When overbooking necessitates Sarah share David’s oceanfront suite, his new relaxed, beach-bum persona and tan, muscular body has her feeling less-than-sisterly sensations for her old friend. Propriety and fear have her initially fighting the sizzling fantasies plaguing her dreams and thoughts, but Sarah soon succumbs to the all-consuming desire erupting within her...forcing her to decide how much she’s willing to risk for love.
A BookStrand Mainstream Romance
She heard a knock at her bedroom door and grabbed the orange cotton bath sheet hanging next to the shower, “Is that you David?”
“Yes.” The outer door opened and David started to enter the room. “Just wanted to see if you…” He stopped midsentence and midstep when he saw her standing in the doorway between the bedroom and bathroom in nothing but the towel. His eyes scanned up and down her body before he stammered, “Oh, sorry!” and quickly turned around.
“Seriously, David? I appreciate the chivalry, but we’re practically related and I’m completely covered.” Sarah kept her voice casual but her heart skipped a beat seeing him so close. She suddenly felt very naked under the thin cloth. “You’re like my brother,” she said, trying to remind herself along with him.
He turned slightly but kept his eyes averted toward the floor as he said in a disheartened voice, “Yeah. Right. A brother.”
“Oh, you know what I mean. It’s not like we’re all hot and bothered for each other.” Her body contradicted her words. She felt her breathing ratchet up a notch, her temperature up a degree.
“Really, I thought you were into my new style,” he quipped, humor back in his tone.
“I have to admit, this new look is very cute.” And muscular…and sexy…and alluring, she finished in her mind. He was much more appealing now that he was relaxed and happy, tan and buff. Her heart thumped hard against her ribs. “You are much more attractive as a Mexican beach bum than you were a stuffy banker. The poor Mexican women must be lining up,” she only half-teased.
With his back half-turned to her, she could appreciate how the filtered sunlight from the French doors illuminated the way his cotton T-shirt stretched indecently across broad shoulders and shadowed the rigid sinew of muscle. She wondered what it would feel like to run her fingers over those brawny shoulders, down that firm back. The image filled her brain and she felt herself moisten in response. Shocked, she quickly shook the dangerous thoughts from her head.
David tilted his head as he asked, “What? Why couldn’t I have women lining up?”
She blushed at having physically shaken her head to clear her lusty thoughts. “No, the cute comment stands.” She paused, silently counting to ten, trying to control her body’s reaction to him. She needed to change the subject. More, she needed David to leave before her crazy thoughts had her doing something equaling crazy, like dropping her towel and jumping his bones. God, I have gone over the edge!
She struggled to make her voice sound casual. “Hey, I thought I would take a bath and a short nap, unless you have other plans.”
“No, I still need to get everyone in your group settled. I just wanted to make sure you were settled and to thank you again for being so accommodating.”
“I’m good. What time is dinner?” She hoped her voice didn’t sound as breathless as she felt. Just a few more seconds.
“Cocktails at six, dinner at seven. That gives you a couple of hours to rest before drinks.”
“That sounds great, David. I’ll see you down there.” That was her exit line, but her feet stubbornly remained in the danger zone between the safety of the cool bathroom and the molten heat of David.
“I’ll be in to change for dinner, so we can walk over together. Okay?” He seemed to hesitate before turning toward the open door.
“Sure.” Then, for the first time since David’s knock, she thought of Cliff. “Hey, just to let you know. I’ve been kinda dating the group leader, Cliff Reed, for the last couple of weeks. I will need to explain the room situation with him at dinner. He might misunderstand the sleeping arrangements, so if he acts…well…rude, you’ll understand why.”
David froze in the doorway, hand on the knob, and turned toward her in response. “All right, I’ll leave that to you.” Then she saw a mischievous smile curve his lips. “But fair warning, I may play it up a bit if he acts like an ass.”
“After his behavior on the trip down, I might even ask you to.” She held up her hand to stop him when it looked as though he was going to ask her to expound. “I’ll explain later—maybe. Right now, I hear bubbles calling my name,” she joked as she walked back into the bathroom and closed the door. She leaned her fevered back against the cool wood and held her breath until she heard the latching sound of the outer door.
Whew! She gave herself a mental high five for successfully escaping before doing something unforgivably stupid and hung the towel on the hook. She sank into the tepid bubbles and refused to ponder on what just happened.