“What the heck!” Drew dropped his binoculars and grasped the sides of his kayak. As the boat rolled, he caught a glimpse of a white fiberglass hull—right before he splashed into the warm, salty water. The strap around his neck attached to his binoculars floated free, and he clutched them to his chest.
Too late, he reached for the glasses he’d left perched on his head. He bobbed up and slapped the water. Binoculars saved. But his new prescription, lens-darkening glasses? Swimming with the fishes. Now he’d need a freaking seeing-eye dog.
The water was too choppy, too deep, and too crowded with boats for him to dive down and search. He threw both arms across his boat, and a flurry of words erupted. “Can’t you drive! How could you not see an orange kayak? Are you—” A pixie face popped over the bow and he swallowed his tirade.
Her shrill voice cut through the noise of the rumbling engines. “Oh, my gosh! I’m so sorry. Are you okay?”
He squinted so he could appreciate the skimpy, flowered bikini top that showed lots of bronzed skin. Did he smell coconut? Must be her suntan lotion. Skinny straps that tied at the neck drooped down the front of her chest.
Guess she doesn’t like tan lines.
She bent closer and ratcheted her voice up a notch. “You’ve got to get out of the water. Now!” She pointed over his shoulder. “The guy on the sport fishing boat hooked a huge bull shark. It’s still on his line.”
He couldn’t see her eyes, but he heard fear in her voice. His gaze followed her tanned arm to where her fingers pointed to a large boat. Though temporarily distracted by her smooth, feminine skin and tropical scent, his brain kicked into gear and finally processed her words.
Message received. “Shark!”
As if he called it from the depths, a fish jumped twenty feet off the stern of the fishing boat. A fist of fear gripped his gut and squeezed. He kicked and hoisted himself onto his narrow craft, but the binoculars caught the edge. His feet fought the water, and he shoved harder with his arms. The binoculars, fastened around his neck, jabbed into his chest. He slid back into the water for another try. The vision of a shark, swimming in circles beneath him, rushed panic-fueled adrenalin to his limbs. He lurched at the kayak—too far forward. It shot out from under him.
He surfaced, spitting water. He grabbed the kayak with one hand and lifted the binoculars from around his neck. “Here. Take these.”
The sexy pixie grabbed them. “Maybe it would be easier and faster if you just got in my boat.”
“I like your idea.” As he pushed the kayak toward the stern of her ski boat, his head pivoted in all directions, searching for a fin, or turbulence, or a wide, gaping mouth. Every kick sent pin pricks of fear rushing like an avalanche down his exposed extremities. Extremities waiting for the crunch of razor-sharp teeth.
When he reached the back of her boat, he ignored the ladder and used every ounce of fear-induced adrenaline to yank himself straight out of the water onto her deck. He ripped off his wet t-shirt and wiped his face. His heartbeat rang in his ears, and he took slow, calculated breaths to control his runaway pulse.