Personal Best by Rhyll Biest
What do cocky Olympic water polo players have in common with cranky equine surgeons? Nothing, thank heaven, as recently-divorced vet, Eve Ransom, would say. But when she decides to teach hunky athlete, Cain Nadeau, a lesson about chatting up strangers on planes, she thinks to trick him into backing off by offering a week of handyman duties. Before she knows it, he's stripping more than just her house paint—he's stripping away her resistance to him one kiss at a time...
Fan Girl and the Geek by Krystal Brookes
Rhett Williams, the hunky captain on the TV show Starship Einstein, is coming to a convention in the UK, and Shona Ross is determined to meet him. Having spent years dreaming about the handsome actor, she nurtures dreams of becoming more than just a fan.
When Rhett does not live up to expectations and leaves Shona despondent, Daniel Adams, the geeky kid from the show, befriends her. Only he's no longer a geeky kid. In fact, her attraction to him is almost interplanetary. Can Shona get over her infatuation, forget about Daniel's weak role, and see the man for what he is now?
Spike by Lyncee Shillard
Mutual passion was something Brody and Rae had in abundance, but then Brody disappeared in the night. Now he travels on the pro beach volleyball circuit while Rae keeps control of the locals at the tavern. Still, after all these years, she wonders what if…
Forgiveness isn't something that comes easy for Rae, but she'll do whatever she can to ease her sister's struggles with her five-year-old niece's fight against cancer. In desperation, Rae calls Brody and asks him to do a benefit volleyball match.
Though at the top of his game, only one thing keeps Brody from enjoying his hard-earned success—memories of Rae. When she calls, he believes this may be his chance to make it right with her.
Fighting her old attraction and the flames between her thighs, Rae is determined to stay out of the ripped volleyball player's bed. At least until he shows up with his teammate, Treyvon. Is the hate she's groomed against Brody for the last seven years strong enough to keep her from falling for both men?
The game is on.
My Bad Boy Biker by Sam Crescent
Mandy Straus is looking for a distraction. She’s quit her job and escaped her lecherous boss, it’s Friday, and for once, she doesn’t want to be a good girl. A drink and a lay is what she wants to knock out her dull sense of routine.
Leather-and-denim-clad Dan Sawyer fits the bad-boy image Mandy hungers for. He likes his women fast and easy. Though Mandy isn’t prepared for his gritty speech and steamy moves, she goes with the burn of attraction she feels.
One night soon turns into a weekend. However, there is more to Dan than meets the eye. Can Mandy find it in her heart to forgive him for the secret he harbors concerning her? Is it possible for a bad boy and a good girl to have a future?
An Enchanting Surprise by Brian Collier
Skie Wilson is a simple girl with simple tastes. Give her the job at the Cambridge Inn, her outrageous best friend, some puzzles, and a beer, and she's good to go. Of course, the one thing missing from that mix is passion and heat—the kind that makes her heart race, her toes curl, and her body tingle.
Jaded by a cheating fiancé, Skie has avoided commitment ever since. No man has caught her eye enough to make her change her mind, at least not until the Spanish Olympic team arrives for their last summer of training before the event. The scorching hot athletes offer quite the temptation, with their sweat-glistened muscles and taut bodies, but one sinfully sexy triathlete captures Skie’s attention the most. Will she hide behind the safety of the inn’s “no fraternization” rule, or will she let her hair down and have a little fun?
Diving In by Andra Ashe
Mia and Luke have a great relationship and a sizzling hot sex life. So why is she fantasizing about the surf-drenched hunk on the beach? And why doesn’t Luke mind? Perhaps their feelings for each other aren’t as true as they should be.
When Luke invites said hunk to join them for lunch and some "afternoon delight," Mia dismisses her doubts and discovers she has a bad-girl side. Being the focus of two naked, adventurous men is exhilarating and addictive.
But while Luke appears to enjoy this new Mia in his bed, will he still want her in his heart?
Changing Swell by Marie Laurent
On holiday between college terms, Jason spends a vacation with his friends, in hopes of surfing Tofino waves. But when he meets Casey, a cocky and handsome surfer, Jason learns more about himself in a few short days than in a lifetime. How will he handle the struggle with his sexuality—or his imminent departure? If he can't come to terms with Casey, he may be left in the shallows.
She snuggled into the vinyl cushion of her front row window seat and breathed in the silence of the nearly empty business class cabin. Ahhhh. After a night spent elbows-deep in a million-dollar racehorse repairing an almost fatally twisted bowel, she deserved some comfort. And sleep. A bit of luxury before she came home to her leaky roof, peeling house paint, and lonely bed. Yes, the life of Eve Ransom, internationally renowned equine surgeon, was all glamour. No doubt that was why she felt like a soggy ball of shrink-wrap.
She shook the negative thought off to focus on her pre-take-off ritual: daypack stowed above, shoes slipped off, neck pillow at correct height, earplugs stuffed deep, light coat draped over her front like a blanket against the chill of the air conditioning. Everything was in order. She drifted.
“That’s my seat, loser.”
“You’ve been snorting too much cocaine, Nadeau, this is mine. Look—two-A.”
“Yeah, but this is row one, dip-shit.”
Voices. Fuck. Why the fuck can I hear voices? She opened one reluctant eye and followed the progress of invading mountain-sized men built to haul fridges. Booming baritones rumbled through her earplugs and the clumsy hips and butts of passing giants fumbling with bags and overhead lockers collided with her seat rest. As they laughed at each other’s sallies, the formerly Zen-like cabin morphed into a mosh pit for honking testosterone, and the urge to grind her teeth gripped her with jaw-aching intensity.
Weren’t air stewards or air marshals meant to arrest noisy people on planes? Or shoot them? The two stewards she could see, a short, fussy man and a heavily made-up brunette, looked excited and lustful rather than disapproving.
The men around her weren’t tall enough to be basketball players or thick-set enough for footballers, but whatever their team sport, they would soon be dead sporting heroes if they didn’t shut up and let her sleep.
Late boarders sucked. None of these late-boarding losers had better sit next to her and disturb her rest or she’d sharpen her claws on them. Clenching both eyes shut, she willed sleep.
Her seat jerked with whiplash violence as something heavy hit the adjoining seat and forced it to sag. Holy fuck, was it her imagination or did she hear the metal groan through her earplugs? Don't look. She resisted the urge to rub her maltreated neck and squeezed her lids shut tighter. It was one of the giants, she knew it. Don’t open your eyes, Eve, don’t do it.
A flurry of vibrations shook her. What the fuck is he doing? No. She would not open her eyes. She was a general holding the strategic bridge of sleep against a horde of sleep-depriving enemies, and all was lost if she raised even one lid.
The scent of pool chlorine teased her nostrils, enticing her to look, but she tightened her jaw and breathed deep, resolute breaths. Victory was hers—as long as she stood firm.
A warm, heavy weight fell on her shoulder, and she cracked a lid open to slide it a sideways glance.
A tanned cinder block of a hand rested there, its friend a ridiculously large bicep at eye-level, the bicep partying with a thick shoulder, sturdy neck and chiseled jaw. That jaw…and the sexy little cleft in the chin. Far too sexy. Midnight stubble painted both chin and cheek with dark, manly hotness. From below raven brows and lashes, a piercing gaze of electric blue seared her vision.
Holy hydatids, she was looking at God's gift to selling men's cologne and expensive watches. There was probably some reproductive bylaw requiring her to hand over her ovaries on the spot. Too bad her innate rudeness trumped such bylaws and she wasn’t on speaking terms with the males of her species right now.
Mr Advertising Wet-dream’s lips were moving, and she took out her earplugs, bracing herself for the inevitable disappointment of a jockey’s high-pitched voice or bovine speech patterns. “What?”
Azure eyes narrowed at the fluorescent pink earplugs squeezed between her fingers then shifted to meet her gaze.
“Excuse me, I think you might be sitting on my seat belt.”
Thick, deep, and rich, with the hint of an American twang, his voice rubbed her ears the right way. But her still-sulky libido and self-esteem registered the seductive baritone with resentment. Sour acid rose in her stomach as her body reminded her he was an XY chromosom-er, a card-carrying foot soldier of the army of bastards that included her ex-husband. She didn’t need her stomach’s reminder. Her memory worked just fine. Without a word, she lifted one cheek and scrabbled around under her rump. Her hand snagged on a seat belt, and she fished it out to thrust it at him.
He looked at it, her unsmiling face, and blinked. Savage joy burned an acid path in her veins at having nonplussed the enemy by refusing to pay homage to his looks.
She nodded, re-arranging her light coat around herself and fluffing her inflatable pillow pointedly. About to squeeze her eyes shut, she saw him look at his watch. Before she could stuff her earplugs back in, he raised a dark brow at her. “Rough night?”
She gave him what she hoped was an inscrutable look. Out of all the seats on the plane, she had to get the one next to unbearably handsome Chatty Kathy. If she didn't sleep soon, she would die; the first equine surgeon ever to die of surgery-related fatigue.
“The downside of a successful career in table-top dancing,” she snapped, stuffed her earplugs back in, and closed her eyes.
Fan Girl And The Geek by Krystal Brookes
“This is the life.” Shona held onto the rail at the deep end of the pool, and kicked her legs leisurely. They had the pool to themselves, and the night air was warm. The stars shone clearly in the black sky above the rural resort.
There was a splash at her side as Kirsten took off for another couple of lengths of the pool. Honestly, the girl was incapable of just relaxing and enjoying the water. If Shona had been willing, they would now be engaged in a long race to see who could swim fifty lengths the fastest.
She didn’t bother to look when there was another splash at her side. She assumed Kirsten had come back to tell her something. “What time is the opening party, anyway?”
“Nine o’clock.” The deep American voice startled her and caused her to let go of the railing. Luckily she was still kicking her legs and was able to adjust herself to tread water.
“I’m sorry,” he said taking her hand and guiding it back to the railing. “I didn’t mean to startle you.” She looked up into a pair of dark, velvety brown eyes, which looked concerned but had a glimpse of mischief in them.
“It’s OK. Thanks.”
“I know. Umm, I mean, nice to meet you. I’m Shona.”
“Not always. Scotland can be pretty wet and cold most of the year.”
“So I’ve heard, though I’ve never been. Are you an attendee at the convention?”
“No, I’m crewing.”
His gaze flicked down towards her breasts and back up to her face. Her cleavage was very obvious in her swimming costume, and she grimaced internally. He was used to Hollywood women who were flawless and all a size zero. She had an ample butt and a couple of love handles.
She noticed Kirsten slipping out of the pool and giving her a little wave as she disappeared into the hotel, wrapped in a towel.
“I hope we get the chance to talk at some point over the weekend.”
“That would be nice. Anyway, I’d best go and get ready for the party. It takes ages to dry my hair.”
She needed to get away from his intense gaze. It was making her heart flip in a way that it hadn’t for a long time.
“I’d better do a few laps. I’ve been eating rubbish for two days. I’ll be like Man Mountain if I’m not careful.”
This time she allowed her own gaze to flick over his perfectly formed pecs and the flat, ripped stomach that he was patting.
“Is that a lame attempt to get me to tell you that you’re not fat?” she teased. “I thought it was only women who fished for compliments.”
Daniel threw his head back and laughed. “Am I so transparent?” he asked, the gleam back in his eye.
“I’m afraid so.”
“It’s nice to meet someone at one of these conventions who doesn’t want to just flatter my ego.”
“Sorry, the Scots just don’t do flattery and ego massage.”
“In that case, I look forward to visiting.”
“You can always stay on my couch.” What was she saying? She’d just invited this actor to come and stay with her. Even though he’d never take her up on the offer in a million years, it was still a bit forward. “I’m sorry,” she spluttered. “I meant…”
“I’m sure your couch would be much preferable to a bed in a faceless hotel chain,” he grinned.
“Well it’s an open invitation to anyone who was in the cast of Starship Einstein.”
“I’ll be sure to spread the word,” he grinned.
“Hotel Ross is now open.”
He laughed again.
“It was lovely meeting you, Shona.”
“It was nice to meet you too, Daniel. I hope you enjoy the convention.”
“This one certainly has its appeals.” His gaze held hers, and she was unable to tear her gaze away from him. “Well,” he said, clearly feeling a little uncomfortable, “I’d best…” He pointed at the pool, and she smiled and nodded, then watched as he swam away.
Surely he wasn’t interested in her. But he’d made all the right overtures. Anyway, he lived in Los Angeles. It was silly even to think about such things.
Spike by Lyncee Shillard
Rae looked over at Tara. The girl wore an oversized sweatshirt and a short denim skirt, her honey brown hair pulled back in a ponytail. They both worked as waitresses at The Sand Pit, a beach bar restaurant and the hub for the upcoming event.
“So he can rub his success in all of our faces?” Rae snarled, not wanting to admit she really was thankful he agreed to do the benefit. Bitterness tainted everything surrounding Brody Slyvan.
He’d left Hampton two weeks after they’d graduated high school. A quickie before he hit the road was the only goodbye she’d gotten. For two years, no one had heard a word from him, then he’d hit the pro volleyball circuit five years ago. For the last three years, Brody and Treyvon had held the title of top pro beach volleyball players in the world.
During all those years, Brody had made one attempt to contact her. A year and half after he’d left, she’d received an airline ticket with an invitation to one of his semi-pro matches. It would have been less cruel to send a note saying, “see I’ve made it–how are things at the bar?”
“Well that’s one theory, but the other is to reconnect with you,” Tara smiled, and Rae wanted to stomp across the sand to slap the silly grin off the girl’s face.
“There will be no reconnecting,” she growled. “He’s going to come with his harem intact, so the smart bet goes on that he’s here to show-off.”
Tara opened her mouth to say something, but Rae held up her hand. “I don’t care what he does or who he does it with as long as the money made will go to Vonnie.”
The rumble of a truck made both women look toward the parking lot. Del’s flatbed was loaded with bleachers from the high school.
“I’m going to check on how things are going in the kitchen, and I’ll send the guys out to help Del set up.” Turning, Rae moved away before Tara could object to being left alone with Del. The man was extremely creepy, but harmless, so helping him would be Tara’s punishment for the reconnecting comment.
"Maybe he brought his sock collection with him," Rae yelled back. Del had every sock he'd worn. His goal was to set a new world record.
Sighing, Rae walked across the wooden deck. At least Del had a dream. Something she lacked. Ever since the announcement that Brody Slyvan would be doing a benefit volleyball tournament, the whispers of a hook-up between them had been more numerous than a flock of starving seagulls on a bag of popcorn.
She’d loved Brody–seven years ago. Before he’d slithered out of town like some snake, too spineless to tell her goodbye. Truth be told, when she’d contacted him about doing the benefit, she really had thought he’d immediately turn her down, but she was desperate to help Vonnie. So she’d swallowed her pride and asked. Then when he said he’d look into it, she figured she’d never hear from him again. Three weeks later, he called back saying he had four other pro teams willing to do the benefit and donate all proceeds.
“Greg, the bleachers are here,” she shouted. The smell of stale beer replaced the fresh breeze. The only lights on were those behind the bar. A deep sadness she’d been trying to ignore filled her. She doubted there was any place in the world lonelier than an empty bar.
Greg walked out of the kitchen and pulled a hair net off, releasing thick, sandy brown hair. Tan cargo shorts hung on his thin hips, and an orange t-shirt with the Harley logo hugged his chest. “The taco meat is done. Lettuce and onions chopped.”
“Thanks for all your help.”
“We all love Vonnie, and no parent should have to deal with shit like this,” he said. “You left Tara with Del?”
Shrugging, she walked over to the bar. “Retribution for telling me about the betting pool on me and Brody making it.”
“Jesus, the girl is dumb.” Greg smiled and a dimple appeared in his left cheek. He’d hinted a couple times that maybe they should go out, but Rae had ignored them, so he stopped and moved on to someone else. Since then, they’d fallen into a lighthearted banter that included flirting. “Does she have a rake sticking out of her ass?”
“No. I’m a woman of self-control.”
“Oh how I know. You’ve resisted my charm for over two years.”
“It hasn’t been easy. Nightly cold showers and a fresh supply of batteries.”
“I’m sure we could work something out that would allow you to take a warm shower and give your toy a break,” a familiar voice spoke from behind her. A ghost from a past she hadn’t been able to escape. Without turning to face him, she knew she was in deep shit.
“Rae, remember Vonnie needs the money so don’t kill him until after the tournament. Then I’ll let you use my boat to take his body out to the middle of Lake Michigan.” Greg moved around her. “Greg Michaels. I’d heard rumors you were a jerk. They were wrong. You’re a fucking asshole for making that comment. However, thanks for doing this for Vonnie.”
Rae studied Brody in the mirrors lining the back of the bar. He wore his brown hair in a taper cut. Hours on the beach had colored his skin a deep bronze, which was highlighted by the sky blue oxford shirt he wore. His lips still made that “eat shit and die smile.” A tattoo ran down his left arm. Damn it, she wished she didn’t know it was of a dragon carrying a sword.
Greg glanced over his shoulder at her. “Want me to send Tara in, and you can replace her with Del?”
Brody glared at Greg. “I was making a joke, nothing more. Don’t worry. I didn’t come back to steal your girlfriend.”
“Since he’s dating your Aunt Carol, I don’t think that’s what he’s worried about.” The words came out with much more venom in her voice than she’d intended. “Greg, go help Carlos, Tara, and Del with the bleachers. I’m fine.” Rae drew a deep breath. Those last two words were one of the biggest lies she’d ever uttered. She was far from fine. The impulse to grab a whiskey bottle and smash it over Brody’s head battled with the desperate want to fuck him. Her body tingled as she remembered how his skin felt next to hers. How could it be after all these years and the way he’d treated her, that just by looking at his reflection in a mirror had launched more of her lust hormones into overdrive than any other guy in seven years?
My Bad Boy Biker by Sam Crescent
Mandy Straus slung back another shot of vodka and slid the glass to the bartender. “Fill her up,” she said and tapped her hands on the bar. Tonight was special. In the last five years since leaving high school, she’d been working for a lecherous snake of a man who’d done nothing but hit on her and make her uncomfortable. After all this time, she’d stood up to him in front of his wife and told him to keep his wandering hands to himself and to stick his job up his ass.
“You’re looking a little out of sorts,” Bill, the barman, said.
“Not at all. I’m out of a job, but I don’t have to deal with sexual harassment anymore.” She raised her glass and gave him a salute. Mandy intended to get pissed, maybe do something completely out of character like screw the first man she saw. At least a man she could stomach first thing in the morning.
“I’ll get you another one. On the house this time,” Bill said to her. Mandy gave him a dazzling smile and flipped her long hair over her shoulder. The straight brown locks were a nightmare to keep tidy but she loved having long hair. When she sat on her bed brushing out the strands, the motion gave her a sense of peace not many people could find.
Bill came back with her drink.
“Thanks.” She took sips rather than knocking it back. Mandy glanced at the reflection in the mirror and wondered what the hell she was going to do. Yes, she’d quit her job and felt liberated for her trouble. What was she going to do about work?
A commotion behind her made her turn around. Bill cursed. There wasn’t anything of interest that she could see, and she went back to her drink.
“Tonight’s going to be a fucking nightmare,” Bill muttered.
Sighing in frustration, she turned back to the scene. A large man stood just inside the doorway with his arms folded. Tattoos ran up and down both arms, the muscles the same size as her legs combined. He looked cocky, arrogant and dangerous. All three were a combination she despised in a man. Having no interest, she spun in her seat and drank down her shot. Bill stood near her, glaring at the man.
“What’s with you?” she asked.
“He causes trouble wherever he goes. A biker. A thug and a pain in my fucking ass,” he growled.
“Never seen him before.”
“That’s because you’re a good girl and never come to this part of town on the rowdiest nights. Give it a few hours and you’ll see. Dan Sawyer is a royal fucking pest. I hate the summer. Brings all the fucking criminals out.” Bill handed her another drink and walked away.
He’s so dramatic.
Intrigued by the man who’d gotten to Bill, Mandy grabbed her drink and walked over to a booth in the far corner. She wasn’t up for company, and it gave her a decent view of the room. Men and women danced to a country tune as other groups played pool or drank beer. Bill had been right. She didn’t go out on Friday or most of the days that were high-risk for social interaction.
Growing up in a family with three older brothers and two prettier sisters, she’d felt like an outcast. Being the late arrival in the family, she’d never felt a part of it, as she didn’t achieve as much as the others. Most of her family were high achievers who craved respectability of the highest order. Even though her family did everything to include her. She wasn’t designed to crave attention as they did.
The only outrageous thing that happened in her family was with her oldest brother, Rick. He’d disappeared a few years back with one of his friends—she couldn’t remember his name - only to return and settle down as best as he could. They’d stayed in touch via letters, and she recalled sending him some pictures to help him with his travels. That was the extent of her family’s blackened name.
Most of the time, she was happy to lay back, read a good book, and let the world go by. The lecherous boss had been the only interesting thing to happen to her. She sighed and took another sip of her drink. The effects of the alcohol were warming her from the inside out. However, Bill had also been a good friend to Rick, and she’d seen him water down the strong liquor with water.
At least he didn’t charge her the same rate as a full shot.
“Stupid,” she muttered to herself.
“What’s stupid, darling?” Dan Sawyer asked from his position against the booth where Mandy sat. He must have moved closer while she was away with her own thoughts.
“Nothing,” she said. Putting the glass to her lips, she tossed the contents back with a flick of her head as if she had nothing better to do than get drunk. Without asking permission, Dan moved into the seat opposite her. His presence invaded every corner of her quiet booth.
“What are you doing?” she demanded.
He didn’t say anything and just stared, making her uncomfortable. Mandy glanced around the room, but everyone seemed oblivious to her. Even Bill.
“I wanted to come and sit with a gorgeous woman.”
She ignored him and made to vacate the booth. Dan reached over and grabbed her arm, stopping her from leaving.
“Don’t go,” he said.
“I don’t want you here,” she said.
“I don’t want to go anywhere else.” The hand holding her arm moved down in a caress to entwine their fingers. “Your skin is so soft.”
“Do you seriously think I don’t see through this?”
An Enchanting Surprise by Brian Collier
Staring down at the filthy bench, Skie groaned loudly, stretching her sore back. Glancing down the pathway, she counted how many benches were left and swore softly–three down and eight more to go – and then got back to work.
“This damn dirt must be melded to the metal,” she muttered as she scrubbed diligently, trying to get the grime to pry loose. The benches had not been cleaned in ages, a fact well documented by the state of her blue coveralls, once clean but now covered in a fowl-smelling sludge.
She used a rag and a bucket of soapy water that she had already changed twice, but somehow more water got on her than in the bucket. In hindsight, she should have used the hose that a co-worker had offered, but she had assumed it would be an easy job.
Cursing some more, she shifted the bucket further down the path while she reached toward the bench legs and wiped them down. A noise caught her attention and she lifted her head, watching as a large group of men entered the far end of the walkway.
Furrowing her brow, she wondered who the men were. Then it hit her — the inn’s special guests were supposed to arrive today!
Feeling like an idiot, Skie stared at the men. How many of them belonged to the Spanish Summer Olympic team? From the looks of their builds — what she could see of them from that far away at least — most could have fit the bill.
“Damn, I picked a good time to start getting back into the game,” she said, smiling wickedly. That smile disappeared when she remembered the “no fraternization with guests” rule.
“God, Ted can be such an ass sometimes,” she muttered, shaking her head. Deep down, she knew it was a good rule but as she stared at the handsome faces and bodies chiseled to fine perfection as they moved towards her, she could only hate her boss.
Feeling desire stir within her for the first time in ages, Skie groaned and slowly stood, trying hard to keep her jaw from dropping open.
The first wave of men passed her, a few casting weird looks toward the bench and one even turning up his nose and sniffing exaggeratedly. Skie frowned for a moment, considering their behavior. Then she remembered how she looked and groaned again. Closing her eyes in embarrassment, she felt heat flare across her face.
“Is everything ok, señorita?” a strange voice asked, the words deep with just a touch of an accent. Her eyes snapped back open, and she stared into beautiful hazel eyes framed by a deeply bronzed face.
“Uh…um...yes…I mean yes, everything is ok. I’m just sore from cleaning benches,” Skie stammered, her brain failing her in the one moment she needed it most.
He chuckled lightly, his gaze slowly rolling down her body and back up to her face. “You should be. From the looks of it, the benches are winning the fight.” A grin bloomed over his face as he spoke.
Skie blinked, trying to comprehend what he’d said, before she glanced down and burst out laughing. “Oh god, I guess I do look pretty horrible. Ignore me, really, you should. I mean, you have better things to do, I’m sure.”
The man studied her for a moment before holding out his hand in an offer of greeting.
“Better things to do than meet an attractive woman? Please, what are they going to do to me if I’m late? Train me harder?” He laughed at his own words, the sound filling the area where they stood.
Smiling, she found herself stepping forward, reaching out to take his hand in hers. Just as their fingers touched, she slipped and sent a mud-caked shoe crashing into the bucket of water. Despite its obvious weight, the offending container tipped with ease, sending a wave of filthy sludge cascading over the man’s spotless sneakers, covering them.
Skie yelped in shock at the same time he swore, his athletic reflexes not quick enough to keep the footgear from getting a bath. She grabbed the rag and immediately dropped to the ground, preparing to dry them off. Realizing that she would only make things worse, Skie felt her face turn hot as she stopped. Dropping the rag on the bench, she lowered her gaze and took a deep breath.
“I’m so, so sorry. I’ll replace those shoes for you, I swear. I can be such a klutz!” Realizing she sounded like a fool in front of a guest, she began to stammer again, the words making no sense before she finally trailed off at the sound of laughter.
Looking up, she grunted, one hand resting on her hip as her body tensed.
“You’re laughing at me!”
The gorgeous man shook his head. “No, not at you, at the situation; I mean, come on, even you have to admit this is pretty funny. Just look at my shoes.”
One look was all it took before she started laughing also, her body wiggling with each wave of sound that left her mouth.
“I really will replace them for you,” she finally said, the last of the laughter trailing off. “It’s the least I can do.”
He smiled at her and shook his head. “No need. The team provides them free of charge. It’s one of the perks, so we might as well take advantage of it. Let’s try this again though. I’m Rafael but my friends call me Rafe. I’m a triathlete for the Spanish Summer Olympic Team. And you are?”
Skie studied him, his name rolling through her mind, before she wiped her palm against her coveralls and shook his hand. “You can call me Skie. As in the blue thing up there.” She pointed upward after reluctantly pulling away from his grasp, her skin tingling from the simple touch. Rafe glanced up and grinned, but before he could say anything a voice rang out, calling his name.
Turning to look down the path, he waved to one of his teammates. “Well, time for me to go, I guess. It was a pleasure to meet you, Skie. Perhaps we’ll cross each other’s paths again…hopefully under cleaner circumstances.”
Diving In by Andra Ashe
Postcard perfect. Sapphire ocean, almost blindingly white sand, cloudless sky…Adonis emerging from the water.
Mia followed his progress from the shallows to a towel on the sand a few feet from where she’d just settled, fascinated by the droplets of water on his toned and tanned body, like pinpoints of diamond light under the brilliance of the sun.
From behind her sunglasses, she continued to watch. He shook his dark hair and smoothed it back from his forehead with strong, tanned hands. Then with a grace that didn’t detract from his blatant yet unselfconscious masculinity, the object of her undivided attention stretched out on his towel, one forearm flung over his eyes.
Propping herself up on her elbows, all the better to see black and white board shorts riding low on narrow hips below sculpted abs, Mia’s thoughts roamed over this glorious example of maleness. How would he look, naked and sweaty on rumpled sheets instead of ocean-soaked on the sand?
Her mind didn’t usually take such a carnal direction about a total stranger. Perhaps it was being here, so far from her humdrum daily usualness. She was entitled to daydream — she was on holiday.
They were on holiday, she corrected.
‘Enjoying the scenery?’ Luke’s voice broke into her musing as he dropped a small cooler onto the sand, kissed the top of her head, and unfurled his towel next to hers.
Without looking away from the object of her lust, Mia replied, ‘Just making sure I don’t miss any of the local attractions.’
She knew she was lucky that Luke didn’t go into jealousy meltdown about checking out a good- looking guy, but sometimes she wondered why he didn’t. Her head told her it was because he didn’t feel threatened, but her heart sometimes whispered unsettling explanations like ‘maybe it’s because he doesn’t care enough to be upset.’ Mia dragged her gaze back to the seemingly endless expanse of cerulean water and her thoughts back into holiday mode. She wasn’t here on Broome’s pristine, white Cable Beach to examine the intricacies of her relationship. She was here to enjoy playing hooky from work in the company of the man who loved her.
Mia rolled onto her stomach, unhooked the back of her bikini top and slid it out from under her. ‘Can you do my back please, baby?’ she asked, resting her head on her arms and closing her eyes.
The familiar strength of Luke’s hands on her skin sent a shiver of pleasure along her spine. After five years, his touch still made her wet. As he stroked the coconut-scented oil up from her hips, his fingertips brushed the sides of her breasts. Mia arched her body enough to allow his hands to slide under her and briefly squeeze her nipples before returning to her back.
‘Soooo good,’ Mia crooned as his hands curved over her behind, then onto her thighs, thumbs slipping under the edges of her bikini bottom, brushing where she was wet. She groaned in appreciation, thighs parting slightly in invitation. Luke slid his thumbs along her damp, swollen lips, finding her tight nub.
Mia’s eyes drifted open in a haze of desire and collided with those of Adonis, now on his belly on his towel, watching her. The corners of his mouth curved upwards almost imperceptibly. He knew.
Adonis held her gaze.
Luke’s finger nudged her clit, and Mia arched against his hand, and then clamped her thighs together. ‘Later, baby.’
What was she doing? Joking with Luke about checking out a guy was one thing. Fantasising about said guy as he watched her man slide his fingers inside her was…was... pornographic.
Struggling to sit up and keep the towel covering her breasts, Mia turned her back on the voyeur, the pervert in hunk’s clothing. It was creepy.
Who was she kidding? It was hot.
It was wrong.
Damn, that made it hotter. She’d obviously been out in the sun too long.
Luke grumbled, not impressed about the sudden stop to his sexy exploration but reached for his iPhone, plugging it into his ears, no doubt to listen to the current cricket match. With his hat pulled down over his eyes, Mia knew before long he’d be halfway to dozing. Her back still to Adonis, she fumbled to do up her bikini top.
‘I’m going back to the hotel, babe,’ she said, leaning over Luke, kissing him lightly on the mouth. ‘We can finish what you started later.’ This time her mouth lingered, and his opened in response, their tongues meeting and withdrawing.
‘Cool,’ he murmured against her lips. ‘Can we start with you in this position?’ Luke said, his hands caressing her arse.
Position. Oh no. Mia could all but feel Adonis’s gaze roaming over her behind as she straddled Luke on her hands and knees. She scrambled off him, resisting the temptation to glance over her shoulder.
She did not need another eyeful of him, half-naked and smiling.
Changing Swell by Marie Laurent
Jason swallowed, looking over to his new companion with his shaggy blonde hair and confident face. He was going to get shown up so easily, and he knew it. On his Hawaiian vacation, he'd used a lighter board, and the waves had seemed so much smaller on that trip. In Tofino, it was just cold, even in the summer.
When he got up, Jason fought his cry of elation and tried to focus on his new companion's moves across the waves, trying to learn from the experienced surfer. It was not as cold as he'd expected in the water—the dampness the fog had brought to everything else was irrelevant once he was in the warm salt water.
Imitating Casey started off easy, but he had an eerie feeling that the other guy had noticed and was slowly taking more and more chances. Getting a little tired of the game, Jason swam to the shallows, watching Casey show off.
He shook his head. Casey wasn't showing off for him. He was just surfing and having fun. He'd have to be pretty obsessed with humiliating Jason to bother showing off for him.
Jason yawned. He hadn't swum in months, let alone surfed, and the early morning wasn't being kind to him. His eyes dropped, but he shook his head and then swam back out to join Casey.
Again he began the game of following Casey's moves. Both had grown playful, experimenting with each other. Jason's gaze locked on Casey, and Casey's back to him. Then Jason's gaze began to wander, no longer so focused on the task at hand. He cursed himself for not paying more attention to the water, but a second later found himself looking at Casey's back, then lower, as he dropped into the pit, watching the muscled legs exposed by the partial suit, and everything hidden by the wet suit. He wondered if Island boys looked different than he did, since they did all this surfing and mountain biking instead of avoiding the extreme Alberta weather in its extreme heat or cold, as he did.
He turned and saw Casey's worried face for only a second before falling into the waves. Jason kicked off the bottom, sputtering as he came up. "What happened?" he asked his new friend, who was already next to him.
"Your board started wobbling. Maybe it's just that you got distracted. You weren't looking at the water or anything else really, when I saw you. I guess I didn't get your attention in time."
"No, I was being an idiot. Thanks for trying."
Casey smiled. "I bet your sinuses hurt. Let's go to shore—the sun's coming out. We can have a bit of a rest on the beach before all the tourists come out."
The pair walked along the shore, until Casey lead him up to the logs at the high tide line and grabbed a backpack from behind them. "You have to keep things tucked away, or you don't know who'll take it. Want a sandwich? Soda?"
Jason obliged, and sat on Casey's blanket, downing his soda. The exercise was starting to hit him already.
"Hey, let me help you out of your suit. I doubt it's any easier to take off than it was to get on."
Having forgotten all about the damp cloth surrounding him, Jason looked up with surprise at the man above him and swallowed a gasp.
The wetsuit Casey had worn had concealed his flat, muscled stomach and his smooth chest. With it on, he'd looked average, just barely avoiding a bit of flab. But with that blubber removed, the cut muscles were all too obvious. Jason felt self-conscious of his lack of toning only for a moment, then felt Casey's hand at the back of his neck, firm and strong, holding the zipper, and shivered.
The shaking quelled as Jason peeled off the wetsuit, and tossed it across a rack of logs with Casey's. The sun was hot on him, and the nervous shivers were soon replaced with sweat as he looked at his companion yet again.
The wet shorts he wore did nothing to conceal his ass. Jason was surprised at how pleased he was to see it matched his new friend's body. It was just too bad that Casey was resting on his stomach, Jason thought, then reprimanded himself.
Why did it matter if this random person slept on his stomach?
Suddenly, Casey rolled over.
"You want to go for a walk?"