Luke Coulter was no poet. But as he lay on the private Palau beach, smelling of palm oil and sun, sipping something rum, cold and fruity and enjoying the hell out of the sight of his beautiful bride emerging from a gently rolling surf, it was all he could do to keep from bursting out something in iambic pentameter.
Lord, thank you.
Life is good.
It’s turned out just.
The way it should.
Hokay. That’s it. No more rum for him
“You going to lay there and be lazy all day?”
Val stood over him wearing a soft smile and an electric blue string bikini. Water rivulets trickled down her magnificent, golden curves; salt water dripped from her long black hair and beaded on her thick lashes. With her ebony eyes, melting pot heritage of Latino, Irish, African American and Cherokee, she looked like an exotic sea nymph, risen from the depths of Atlantis to entice him – like the handmaidens of the goddess Persephone had been sent to lure the Argonauts to their deaths with their bewitching songs.
Bewitching. Yeah. That was Val, all right. Only she’d lured him back to life, not death. She still didn’t get it. Didn’t realize how close he’d been to the abyss when they’d met on that chance encounter in the Andes on a midnight train to nowhere. She thought he’d saved her life when he’d rescued her from assassins send to kill her. On that level, yeah, he had saved her. But she’d saved his soul from sinking into the deep, into the dark and … Jesus. He wasn’t going back there again.
He tipped up his sunglasses. “With a view like this, yep. I think I might get good and lazy.” He gave her a long, leisurely once over. “And the scenery isn’t bad either,” he added with a grin that had her rolling her eyes.
And to think, he’d balked at the idea of making this trip.
“Palm trees, tropical beaches, sun and surf.” His new bride had spread an array of brochures featuring Palau over their dining room table. “What about paradise does not appeal to you, darling?”
“Paradise, with you? Very appealing. Paradise with a full camera, production, and technical crew ogling you in a bikini? Not so much.”
Val ‘Valentina’ had been a hot ticket in the fashion world for over a decade. And like fine wine, she only improved with age which made her one of the top ten paid models in the world.
“So join me when the photo shoot is over,” she’d said. “We’ll rent a house and stay on a few days after they finish shooting. We’ll have our own private beach. We can be Emmeline and Richard and swim naked in our very own Blue Lagoon.
“Come on, Luke,” she’d settled onto his lap – a tactic that never failed to arrest him. “I really want you to go with me. We’ll make it our honeymoon – the one we’ve never found time to schedule.”
She’d been right, of course. They’d been married two months and if a mission for his boss, Nate Black, with his Black Ops., Inc. team hadn’t tromped all over their plans, then one of her photo gigs had.
“We can go snorkeling,” she’d persisted with an impish grin. “And you can scuba dive to your heart’s content.”
The woman knew how to cut straight his Navy SEAL heart.
He’d pressed his forehead to hers. “Well, since you mentioned my favorite word-“
Smiling, he’d brushed a fall of hair behind her ear. “Yeah. Um, no. Nekked.”
Visit the author: Cindy Gerard
New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly and USA Today Bestseller, Cindy Gerard, is a 6 time RITA finalist and is proud to display 2 RITAs in her office. Cindy writes fast, sexy, action-adventure romantic suspense featuring former Spec Ops warriors and is proud to count many military families among her readers. LAST MAN STANDING, book 7 of her award winning Black Ops Inc series is available in Feb, 2012.