The morning sunlight filtered through the tent. Maryanne stretched and rubbed her eyes. A rolling snore purred next to her. Lucas’ scent mixed with Old Spice calmed and excited her. She arranged her head on the pillow. Just a bit longer before she had to get up.
Lucas’ face exhibited a day’s growth of beard. Interesting how his beard was reddish brown, but his hair curled dark brown. Eyebrows and eyelashes were thick and lush, also dark brown. His nose flared at just the right angle, and his lips combined a rakish upper curl with a luscious lower lip. The top part of his chest lay exposed, tempting her to touch.
He was right to remain just friends. His priorities were obvious. His triathlon training took precedence over relationships. He would never be as nasty as Barry had been when he’d sneeringly offered her cash to never bother him again. Somehow, no matter what, Lucas would be friendly, and still care.
Lucas’ sea-green eyes opened, and a smile brightened his face. “I could get used to waking up with you. Did you sleep well?”
Being around him was reward enough. She wouldn’t ruin their friendship by wanting more. She scanned the rumpled blanket and smushed-up sleeping bag. “Were you warm enough?”
“Brrr…” He clutched his bare arms. “You left me cold and naked while you hogged the sleeping bag.”
“I would have shared if you were fully clothed.” She sat and pushed her hair from her face. “I need to go to the outhouses. Is there a shower anywhere?”
“Shower? Who needs a shower when the ocean’s right there?” Lucas pulled on a sweatshirt and swept out of the blanket. He had on sweatpants the entire time. “Race you!”
He unzipped the tent and crawled out. Maryanne put on her hoodie and jogging shoes. “I need to brush my teeth. Is there running water?”
“I have a water jug. But first, the outhouses.”
They jogged in the sand, and by the time they reached the outhouses, Maryanne was fit to die. She had to take two steps for every one of his, not to add that sinking into the sand made for hard going.
Lucas gave her hand cleaner after she finished. “Let’s walk along the water’s edge before heading back.”
The sand was wet and foamy, littered by dark green strands of seaweed. A seagull cried and dipped over a set of exposed rocks, and the surf splashed over them leaving a slippery surface pockmarked by cups and bowls of water.
“Oh, look, tide pools.” Maryanne headed toward the wet rocks. A sandy area, like a child’s wading pool was left in the middle of a rectangular ledge. Maryanne waited for the waves to recede and ran across a sandbar. She followed a miniature crab over a ridge and peered into its hollow. Tiny fish darted in a shallow pool.
“Watch out!” Lucas shouted, pointing over Maryanne’s shoulder.
A giant swell of water rose behind her. She lunged toward the sandbar and grabbed wildly for Lucas’ outstretched hand. Cold water slammed over her head. She lost her footing, and the wave shoved her down. Bubbles, black and white, exploded around her.
Ebook Available At: Barnes & Noble (Nook), Amazon (Kindle) [US, India, UK, DE, FR, ES, IT, Canada, Brazil, Japan], Smashwords, KoboBooks
Genre: Women's Fiction, Contemporary Romance