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He broke the kiss and leaned his forehead against mine, looking into my eyes.

We were both breathless and panting. “I felt it the first minute I looked at you. You felt it too.”

I couldn’t deny that he was right.

“Yes.” The word came out breathless and throaty, it didn’t even sound like my voice.

“You better unlock that door and deadbolt it quickly, before I stop being a gentleman and f**k you tonight even though you are drunk.”

I bit my bottom lip and he slowly lowered me to my feet, our bodies pressed against each other intimately as I slid down from his waist.

He kissed me on the lips hard and pulled back to look at me. His beautiful green eyes turned almost gray with intensity. “No drinking tomorrow.” It was more of an order than a request.

I opened the door to my room and turned back to him as he stood in the doorway. I could tell that he was fighting hard to control himself.

“Okay.” I whispered and then shut the door.

Chapter 3

I woke the next morning to a knock at the door and was quickly reminded of the night before as I attempted to lift my head.

My head was throbbing and I felt as though I had gone three rounds in a heavyweight match, with me being the loser of the bout. I looked over at Sienna’s bed, where she was still sleeping soundly.

I answered the door to find room service with a cart. “Good morning Ms.

Aldridge, we have your breakfast ready.” The waiter’s voice wasn’t particularly loud, yet every word felt like a nail being pushed further into my brain.

“I’m sorry, there must be a mistake, I didn’t order any breakfast.”

“Mr. Cole requested that we deliver to your room promptly at 11am.”

“Mr. Cole?” I must have looked as confused as I was.

“He wrote a note, maybe this will explain things.” The waiter patiently stood waiting for my eyes to focus enough to take in the words on the page.

I opened the sealed hotel envelope and read the note. The handwriting was dark, neat and heavily slanted. Good morning Jill. Drink the tomato juice; it will help with the hangover. Take two of the pills too. Eat the eggs, you will need the energy later. The flowers made me think of you.

Jack. I smiled and shook my head and directed the waiter to roll in the cart. There were two meals and an assortment of drinks, so at least he was thoughtful enough to feed us both. There was also a bottle of unopened aspirin and a beautiful arrangement of the most brightly colored wildflowers I’d ever seen.

I showed the waiter out and took a sip of the tomato juice with two aspirin. The man truly pissed me off and turned me on at the same time. It was very sweet to send me breakfast, but the note was more like an order to eat then a suggestion.

“You ordered me breakfast? It better be at least noon if you are waking me up.” Sienna groaned as she rolled over, her voice was raspy and her voice sounded like I felt.

“I didn’t order it, Jack sent it.

Along with instructions to eat it.” The sarcasm dripped from my voice on the second sentence.

“Jack? Oh. Mmmmm. That man is delicious. You are lucky that I am a good friend who knows you need a rebound f**k, or I would have tied you up in the back of the bar to get first crack at that one.” Sienna got up and went to the bathroom and then started picking at some of the food on the cart.

“Let’s be realistic, that man would have found you anywhere I hid you. The way he looked at you made me wet!” I threw a pillow at her. “You are insane…what doesn’t make you horny woman!” We both laughed and then devoured everything on the cart.


By the time we made our way down to the beach, the sun was scorching hot. My headache subsided as I swam in the crystal clear water and reveled in the feel of the soft sand between my toes. I relished the feeling of the sun drying each droplet of water as I relaxed into my lounge chair listening to the ocean waves lightly crash on to the shore.

The rhythm of the surf eventually lulled me to sleep as I laid on my stomach listening to the tranquil sound relaxing.

I moaned as I woke to the luxuri-ous feel of the big hands massaging my back. I was groggy and it felt so good as my muscles relaxed under the pressure of the skilled fingers.

My sleepy haze drifted, as reality seeped into my fantasy and I jumped as I realized that I was at the beach and had no idea who was touching me. Jack’s strong hands gently but firmly held me down on my stomach in the cushioned lounge chair, as I attempted to jump up. His words were low, but there was no mistaking his sexy voice.

“Don’t get up Jill, I untied your top to rub in the sunscreen and you’ll give the whole beach a good show.”

“You scared the shit out of me! Do you make a habit of rubbing down strangers as they sleep?”

He leaned down close to my ear, his front pressed firmly against my back. His voice was low and velvety. “Do you really want to waste one of your ten questions on my habits for rubbing down strangers?” Shit, I didn’t want to be, but I was instantly turned on. His voice, his confident words, and his bare chest pressed up against my back sent my body into a frenzy. My heart rate sped up and my breathing became more labored. God damn it, control yourself Sydney. “You scared me half to death.” I was hoping that he would buy into that my reaction was from being scared and not to being near him.

“I’m sorry baby.” His voice sounded sincere and I was surprised that the man apologized for anything. “Now if you want I’ll tie that string you call a top back on and you can get up, or we can both take a few more minutes to enjoy me rubbing your back some more.”

I didn’t want his hands off of me. I sighed, pretending it was a sacrifice. “Keep rubbing.”

I heard a devious chuckle before he sat back up and continued to rub my back until I was completely relaxed again. Then he tied my top back on so that I could sit up.

I righted myself in the oversized lounger and caught the first glimpse of him of the day. I had a picture of him in my head as he was rubbing me, but the picture didn’t come close to the real thing. His shirtless body was even more than I imagined. He had strong, square shoulders, toned pecs and a six pack that I thought only really existed in air brushed magazines. His dark plaid swimsuit hung low on his waist, revealing a deep v that pointed to what I imagined was probably also perfect down below. Jack stood and held out his hand to help me up.

I stood and he smiled a sexy devilish grin. “My turn.” He slowly looked me up and down, taking his time to admire all my girl parts. He leaned down to my ear. “Even better than I fantasized baby.” I laughed and then went up on my tippy toes to whisper back in his ear. “You took the words right out of my mouth.” He growled, literally growled at me. Then he scooped me up and started walking toward the water.

“I can walk you know.” I pretended to be annoyed, but did a lousy job since I was smiling the whole time.

“I know you can, but I am going to take care of you like a woman like you deserves to be taken care of this week baby.”

I think my heart skipped a beat for a minute at his words. Or maybe it just started beating again finally.


I leaned back in my lounge chair and took a deep, cleansing breath in, enjoying the moment. Jack was sitting up behind me, my back to his front and his hands were clasped tightly around my waist, in a possessive hold. We listened to the wave’s crash against the surf and watched the sun setting through an amazing bright orange and purple sky. It was the most beautiful sunset that I had ever seen and it felt so natural to be sitting in Jack’s arms watching it.

“Why did you call off your engagement?”

“Are you cashing in on question number one Jack?” I dared him.

“Yes, so let’s hear it. And remember, I’m using one of my precious chips here, so I want the full story.” I hadn’t really told many people the full story; it was just difficult to put into words. The people that really knew me just understood and knew I was making the right decision. I wasn’t sure where to start, so I decided to start from the beginning. “I met Michael in high school, we went to the prom together. We were together for six years when he proposed. I said yes, and we planned a long engagement before the wedding.” I paused, contemplating before I continued.

“I don’t think I ever considered not marrying him, it was just the normal progression in our long relationship and everyone expected it would happen. He would have preferred a shorter engagement, but I wasn’t ready yet so I dragged it out as long as I could get away with. He treated me really well over the years; at least I thought he did.

He was every parents dream for their daughter. He came from a good home, earned a good living as an attorney and had nice manners. It seemed like every girl’s dream. But as the wedding got closer, I grew more nervous. I started to wonder if I had made myself into who he wanted me to be, instead of who I really was. I started picturing myself having 2.5 children with a white picket fence and having lunches with PTA moms who wore sweater sets.

In the time we had been together, I had stopped singing with a band and went to school to get a music degree to teach. As my wedding date got closer, I was starting to question myself on why I had done that, when I really loved being in my band. Michael and Sienna didn’t get along, and he didn’t like me traveling at night to different clubs, so I eventually gave it up, even though he never actually asked me to.

One morning I woke up with a panic attack. I realized that something was missing in our relationship and that something was me. So I sat down one night to talk to Michael about what I was feeling and he completely flipped out. He blamed it all on my last visit to NY to visit Sienna and her filling my head with crazy unrealistic singing dreams. But the truth was, Sienna never said a word to me. She accepted me for whoever I was and didn’t try to change me.

I told him that I didn’t want to teach and wanted to join a local band again.

He told me that his wife was not going to be a stupid band slut traveling around town with a bunch of men. We argued back and forth and then things got really loud and heated when he realized that I had already made up my mind. The next day I felt badly about the way that we had left off, so I went to his office to talk to him and walked in on his secretary on her knees.” I stopped and thought for a moment and Jack tightened his grip around me.

“I left and he tried to apologize again the next day. Eventually, when I wouldn’t accept his apology, he got mad again and spilled that he had been sleeping with his secretary for more than a year anyway. I moved all of his stuff to the front lawn by the time he tried to come home from work that night, and had the locks changed.” I paused and regrouped from telling my sad tale. I forced a happier voice “Everything happens for a reason. I quit my job teaching and started singing again last month. It’s just a job as a house singer at one of the Heston Hotels, but it’s a start on my trip back to me.”

Jack was quiet and didn’t say anything for a moment. “You work at one of the Heston Hotels?”

I laughed, thinking it was odd that of everything that I had just told him, that was the part of my story that caught his attention. Men.

“Is that really a question that you want to use your second chip on?”


“Yes, I work at Heston Hotel in New York City. That’s how I was able to afford this fancy schmancy Heston Resort, they give a great employee discount.

I moved to New York from Boston last month.

I’m starting all over and doing what is right for me for a change. I’m going to start singing with Sienna again once in a while too, now that I am back in the same city again.”

Quiet again. I turned to look at him and his face was unreadable. He looked into my eyes and gently brushed the hair on my face back. Then he kissed me. A different kiss from last night, not a passionate, groping kiss, but a beautiful tender kiss. It took my breath away. I couldn’t remember the last time a kiss stirred so much inside of me. He watched me intently as I recovered from the moment.