Taking a Risk by Lyncee Shillard
part of the Dangerous Men, Dangerous Places anthology
erotic contemporary suspense short story (approx 8000 words)
Cover art by Winterheart Designs
Dumped by her fiancé for being dull, Leigh Ronaldson decides to live on the edge. She books a week long trip kayaking/hiking up the Amazon River with Eden's Explorations. She expects adventure in the wild. However, she does not anticipate just how hot her tour guide Nick will make her feel.
Nick Greco helped to open up Eden's Explorations so he could share his love of the wilderness with others. There are very few rules he follows except for one: he does not have sex with the customers. But then he’s never seen a client with legs like Leigh’s. The attraction between them sizzles until it explodes.
The small plane sliced through the thick clouds. The Eastern Cordillera of the Andes rose up to meet them. Leigh laced her fingers together in an effort to stop them from shaking. Glancing to her right, she took in her three companions. All males, younger than her. From their conversation, she gathered they were friends.
She mentally scolded herself for coming. How stupid could she be? The only woman traveling through the Amazon jungle with strange men.
As her grandma would say, a chicken had more brains than to do this fool move. When they landed, she’d tell whomever came to pick them up she was returning to Quito. They could keep her money. A couple thousand wasn’t worth dying for.
“You the base cook or something?” one of the men asked.
Shifting, she faced the man. His face had a boyish quality to it. “I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“Just wondering what your job was at Eden’s Exploration.” He smiled with the confidence of a man who rarely heard the word no from a woman’s lips.
“Why do you think I work for the tour company?”
He shrugged. “You one of the tour guide’s girlfriend?”
“So I either work for them or sleep with one of them? Why can’t I be going on the kayaking expedition?”
The only sound was the steady hum of the airplane’s single engine. All three men stared at her as if she’d just sprouted a second head.
“To your left is the last human settlement you’ll see for the next eight days,” the pilot announced. His thick Spanish accent added a mocking quality to the statement.
“I think this is his way of asking if you gentlemen are having second thoughts or developing cold feet?” Leigh smiled. All three of them ignored her and returned to their conversation. Once she got home– if she got home–she was going to find a way to get even with Rayna.
The plane touched down on the makeshift airstrip. It bounced several times and then the pilot angled to the right. The plane came to a complete stop yards away from a jeep with Eden’s Exploration painted in faded yellow on the side. Leigh allowed her fellow passengers to exit.
Licking her suddenly dry lips, she leaned back and closed her eyes. What would it matter if she didn’t get off? It wasn’t like she was ever going to see those men again.
It mattered because no one thought she could do this. Not her best friend, not her ex-fiancé, and not even a group of complete strangers.
“Senorita, everything okay?” the pilot asked.
“Si,” she replied and stood.
Leigh walked out into the early morning. The air held a crispness that made her lungs tingle. As a runner, she was always aware of the quality of air in her surroundings.
“Welcome to the Amazon,” a deep voice said from behind her.
Smiling, she turned. He didn’t sound like a murderer. The air she was just enjoying rushed from her lungs as her heart slammed into her ribs. While the man standing in front of her may not be a killer, there was no doubt he was dangerous.