Authors: Terry Bolryder
© 2015 by Terry Bolryder
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
, king of the Arctic.
eah Maitland looked
from the address on her phone to the palace-like building in front of her and stared in shock.
Someone, somewhere, was playing a universal joke on her, and it wasn’t very funny.
“Are you sure?” she asked, turning to the cab driver. But he had already shut her door and was pulling away. She sighed and put a hand over her face, which was sweating in the warm ocean breeze blowing from the beach only a hundred yards away, just on the other side of the expansive hotel.
When she’d received an invite to this little island in the Caymans, she’d been sure it was a scam. She never won things like this, and besides, she couldn’t remember ever having entered the so-called contest she’d won.
She sighed and put her phone in her pocket. Best to just get this over with and hope that whoever planned this wasn’t waiting to just laugh at her.
The hotel was the nicest she’d ever seen. Clean, intricately in-laid tiles greeted her, sparkling in granite in the open, spacious lobby. People sat here and there in plush, circular chairs with cushions in tropical colors. Everyone seemed relaxed and happy, drinking fruity, refreshing looking drinks from tall glasses. She breathed in the air conditioning that mingled with the refreshing island scents and looked out through the windows at the back of the hotel, which overlooked a perfect blue and green ocean.
She took a few steps toward the check-in counter, but before she could reach it, she was greeted by a man with a tray.
“Leah Maitland?” he asked. He was tall, tanned from life on the island, with short blond hair and striking blue eyes. He wore a professional-looking gray suit and had a sharp look to his features.
“Yes,” she said hesitantly, turning to him as he looked her over. She knew what he saw. An woman of average height with short, intensely curly hair in a wild halo around her face, a curvy, some would say generously proportioned body, and deep brown skin. A pretty face with round eyes and a wide, generous mouth.
She used it to smile at him and she swore she saw a blush beneath that deep island tan.
“I’m sorry.” He held out the orange, icy-looking drink from the tray. “Mr. Weston will be right down to take you to your room. Well, your suite, really.”
Her eyes widened. “Suite?”
He waved a hand. “As you know, Mr. Weston made sure it was all taken care of.”
“Because of the contest?” she asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Yes,” the man said hesitantly. “If you would like to sit for a moment...” He tucked the tray under his arm and gestured to a chair not far from the front desk. It was by a small table and looked out toward the ocean. Leah sighed and walked with her drink in one hand and her large suitcase in the other to the chair and slumped in it, setting the drink on the small glass table so she could pull the large tote she was carrying off her shoulder and drop her purse.
So many things.
Her phone beeped and she ignored it. Stupid Ignus (her boss) would be probably bothering her this entire trip, making it everything but fun. But she was tired of spending every second at his every whim. Just these two weeks, she’d have her time all to herself.
The phone beeped again and she muted it and picked up her drink again. She kicked her legs over the arm of the chair and looked over at the back doors. And froze.
They were glass, and through them, she saw a man walking in.
No, that was understating it.
There was a MAN walking in. Slow motion, ginormous pecs bouncing, tanned six-pack glistening, long legs muscled, taut and large. Dripping wet, wearing only a low-slung swimsuit and sandals on his gloriously nearly naked body. Gorgeous blond hair shimmering with water and sunlight.
She sucked harder on her straw to prevent an immediate drool fest. She then realized there were others with him. Women, mostly. One stopped to talk to him and Leah nearly fell in love with him as she watched him explain something while pointing to a piece of equipment the woman had handed him.
Then she frowned. She recognized that. A snorkel. And then she noticed he had something in his other hand. A black vest, attached to a heavy metal tank. Her heart sunk.
A scuba instructor.
Just great, she thought, sitting back in her chair with a sigh. The first man to make her heart beat double time in over ten years, and he had to be someone who spent 90 percent of his time in one of the places she had little to no experience with. The water.
She kept her eyes on the captivating man-creature walking further into the lobby, flexing those amazing muscles as he carried all of that equipment. He stopped at a desk near the back and started handing equipment over it. She bit her full lower lip and worried it slightly, imagining those huge, capable, tanned, strong-looking hands running over her curves.
Mmhmm. She was drinking her drink and imagining just how hot this tropical paradise could be for the two of them, when he turned and pinned her with a glowing grin. His teeth were dazzlingly white against his tanned skin, and his face was gorgeous. Beyond gorgeous. Carved from stone for pure masculine beauty. Dazzling blue eyes that reminded her of the man who had greeted her with a drink. Carved lips with an intense dip in the upper one.
And an adorable dimple.
Plus that gorgeous blond hair that shone in the sunlight streaming through the open windows all around the hotel lobby.
He looked like he was going to walk toward her. Her breath caught in her throat, and she fought to keep her heart from jumping out of her chest. Eye contact with this man was too much. She could already feel a slight ache between her legs just at his notice of her, but that
But then it faltered slightly as someone touched his arm, drawing his attention back to the counter.
It was like someone had told her it was okay to breathe again. She exhaled and nearly dropped her drink when someone touched her shoulder lightly.
An older man, gorgeous, with the same tropical blue eyes of the man she’d met before, and the man who had walked in with the scuba gear, was picking up her bags before she could stop him.
“That’s me,” she said.
“That’s what I thought,” he said, putting an arm out for her. The man was a fox, even with silver and white threaded through his dark blond hair, and she could feel muscles under his shirt that would give her scuba diver a run for his money. He was tall, even compared to other tall men. She’d put him at at least 6’6”, maybe even 6’7”, almost a foot over her own average height of 5’6”. She felt tiny beside him, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
A dimple flashed at her as he led her toward the elevator. “It’s nice to meet you, Ms. Maitland. We’re so grateful you could come to stay.”
“Me too,” she said, resisting the urge to fan her face. This place was a paradise, and the men were ridiculous. If she’d really won that stupid giveaway, she had to thank whoever had entered her.
off his gear and tried to be patient with the clerk flirting with him at the front desk. For once, something was interesting him more than his next dive. And she could disappear by the time Tammy figured out that he wasn’t the least bit interested in a barely-legal seasonal employee.
“Yes, I understand, Tammy,” he bit out, trying to look back to where he’d seen the stunning woman who’d made his body take notice immediately.
He and his brothers were polar bears. Shifters. And anyone who thought polar bears couldn’t live in warm climates was totally wrong. Polar bears had to put on massive amounts of fat just to survive in arctic climates. He chuckled, flexing a bicep. No fat here.
Just as well, he didn’t have to use as much weight while diving.
By the time Tammy finished and took his gear off to be cleaned and stored, the woman he’d been looking at was gone.
He hit the desk lightly with his fist. It wasn’t often a woman caught his notice. In fact, he couldn’t remember the last time. He had two loves, diving and the ocean, and women didn’t have a lot to do with either. Although, a lot of them sure did take his class. He shook his head and put his towel over his arm to walk toward the elevator.
And then he saw his dad, with the woman on his arm, in the elevator, with the doors closing.
Something in Sky jumped within him, and he strode toward the door, not caring that it could close on him, or before he got there.
Something in him said,
. For the first time in his life. But before he could get there, the door closed, leaving him with just that brief glimpse of his mate’s deep brown, sparkling eyes.
And a burgeoning erection.
He swore and strode off to another elevator to go up to his room. He’d been planning to go out for a dive after class finished, but now he had bigger things to do. Like getting dressed so he could go investigate why his dad had a stunning woman on his arm, and what he planned to with her.
Because Sky had a few things he’d like to do with her himself.
her heart after she entered her room. The handsome older man had left her at the door with her bags, simply pointing in the direction of her suite and giving her a card that had a number she could call if she needed anything. He was handsome, as was the man who had held the tray, but he just wasn’t the scuba guy.
He’d seen them in the elevator, and she’d seen the look of a true hunter flash in his amazing sea-green eyes as he strode toward the elevator with a determined purpose that had made her clench her legs together with sheer want.
Damn, they made men differently here.
Then she realized two pairs of eyes were watching her curiously.
Holy crap, she wasn’t alone. And when she removed her hand from her heart and looked at the spacious living room around her, she realized why. This was no room, this was a suite that probably took up a third of the floor they were on. There was the common room, with couches, hammocks, and a large TV. Plus a deck that led out to an infinity pool that seemed to go out into the ocean, but really just stretched to the edge of the deck. She took a step toward it, and then realized she should probably introduce herself to the women waiting for her.
She took a step forward, leaving her bags at her feet as she did. She pulled nervously at the purse strap on her shoulder and put out a hand. “I’m Leah Maitland.”
One of the women, a sporty looking woman that was tall and curvaceous with an amazing hourglass, came over and shook her hand firmly. She had her hair in tight braids that were tied in a thick braid over her shoulder, and she was stunningly beautiful, with gray eyes that looked amazing against her dark brown skin.
“I’m Kim Starling,” she said, stepping back to reveal the other woman, who was short, with relaxed hair that went to her shoulders in a chocolate brown color. She had warm brown skin and glowing black eyes. Her face was sweet and feminine, and she wore clothes in colorful silk that accentuated her short, plump body. She took her glasses off of her head and put them on to study Leah.
“Nice to meet you, dear,” she said, “I’m Mara Kyle.”
“What?” Leah said, running forward to take the other woman by the hands. “You aren’t.”
Mara smiled. She had a maternal air about her. Soft and good smelling with a kind smile, despite probably being around Leah’s age in her mid-thirties. “I am, I assure you.”
Leah sat on the couch across from her, realizing she was too close to the other woman. “I love your seascapes. I have them hanging in my…” She trailed off, thinking of her unpleasant work place. “At the office I work at.” Just the thought of it brought Ignus to mind, and for some reason the thought of her boss made her stomach roll.
“I’m flattered,” Mara said. “I’m excited to be here. I’ll be able to paint some amazing things, I’m hoping.”
“Damn straight,” Kim said, stretching her athletic arms. “I’m dying to get out of here, but we were supposed to wait for everyone to get here so we could go through our orientation pamphlets.” Kim tossed a packet to her and sat next to Mara with her own.
“I’m sorry you had to wait. I was barely able to get away from work to come here,” she said, shrugging. “As it is, my boss is probably going to bother me the whole time.”
“You want me to chuck your phone in the pool?” Kim asked, face totally serious. She looked like the type who could throw it all the way to the ocean if she wanted to. Kim was strong, tall and healthy, with nice hips and a killer ass that made Leah jealous.
“No,” Leah said, laughing. “That’s okay.” She looked at her packet. So, should we open them?”
“Supposedly, we all got different prize packages depending on our interests,” Mara said.
“Does anyone even remember entering this?” Kim asked. “I mean, not that I’m complaining, but something kind of sketchy is up.”
“I’m not complaining,” Leah said. “As an administrative assistant to the biggest asshole on the planet, I haven’t had a vacation in about a million years. Now, should we open them?”
After a held breath of silence, each woman dug into their packet. Leah pulled out colored pamphlets and fliers, coupons and offers. And a paper that had an itinerary of everything she could do on her trip here.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” she said, setting the paper down. This vacation had just turned from a dream into a nightmare.