Excerpt Mele lay motionless, feeling like a fool. She'd been manipulated, pure and simple. Akua Lapu had scared her into Rick's strong arms.
Still, as much as Mele hated the trickery, she didn't want to move away from the freshly-showered scent of this man or from the light kisses he rained in her hair. His arousal pulsed once against her thigh, but he'd immediately shifted away; he hadn't touched her in any manner that wasn't sweet and caring. While attracted to the rugged side of him, she would never have guessed that his gentle side was just as seductive.
She longed to draw his lips down to hers and test the waters, see if his kisses were as terrific as he looked. But as wonderful as his body felt against hers, as much as she wanted to kiss him, she already had enough guilt. Until she ended it with Geoffrey, she had no business acting on her desire for another man, no business exploring the possibility of there being more between them.
Hours later, with early sunlight bouncing off the walls, it stunned Mele to awaken still in Rick's arms. His soft breathing convinced her they both had slept. With all the pent-up desire between them, she would've bet against it. It proved how wrong she could be. He'd made her feel so safe and cared for that she must have finally dropped off.
This was a first for her. She'd never spent the night in a man's arms before. She'd never had that kind of relationship with Geoffrey. They were both saving themselves for marriage – although lately she'd begun to wonder if Geoffrey really was. Now she realized why she really hadn't cared that he'd started taking his secretary out for long lunches. Her subconscious had told her that she and Geoffrey were friends but nothing more – friends forced into this marriage by parents who didn't have a clue as to their real feelings.
But how could they? She hadn't known herself until yesterday.
Mele slipped gently out of Rick's arms and with her newfound trust for this man, she headed for the shower. She had no worry that if she undressed he would bother her. In fact, if she'd already contacted Geoffrey and broken off the engagement, she might have encouraged a little bothering.
Fifteen minutes later, she came out of the shower fully dressed. No sense tempting fate. The aroma of coffee and bacon wafted in the air. She could hardly wait to tell Rick the plan she'd come up with while showering.
As the scent of fresh shampoo hit his nostrils, Rick looked up. Mele's hair, still wet from the shower, was a glistening mop of waves. She wore the same wrinkled red outfit from yesterday. He'd imagined all sorts of scenarios for her entrance: nude with only a towel wrapped around her, nude wearing only the shirt he'd left on the hook, nude….
"Rick, I have an idea to get Bethy back safely."
With a spatula, Rick lifted the bacon out of the pan and transferred it to a paper towel to drain. He wiped out the pan and dumped in the scrambled eggs. "Thanks, but this is out of your league." Rick recalled his ex-wife's inborn helplessness. He'd always been the one in control, and he liked it that way. Vibes from Mele revealed to him that she liked to be in control, too.
Well, neither of them were in control now, and how they handled their runaway lives would be a real test. Would they pass or fail?
Mele's eyes flashed. She crossed the room like a hurricane and grabbed his arm. "Hey, don't dismiss me like that! Not without hearing what I have to say."
He laughed. "You're right. I'm being a chauvinistic jerk." She couldn't help with the problem, but he was beginning to learn that it was so like her to try. "Okay. What's your idea?"
"I know you don't believe in Akua Lapu."
He gave the eggs another stir then divided them onto two plates. "Come on, Mele. You're starting to sound like a broken record on that subject."
"Listen to me, damn it! I think our ghost brought us together to help each other."
Her earnest expression stopped him from any further protest, and he slouched into one of the chairs. Managing to keep a straight face, he said, "I'm listening."