Her Island Fantasy
by Emma Jay
Copyright © 2012 by Emma Jay
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To Fred. Thank you for my happily ever after.
Bailey Warwick unzipped her suitcase, which had been packed for a week, and unpacked it. She stared at the clothes, none of which were now good enough to take to Hawaii for Eric and Haven’s wedding. And they were leaving tomorrow. No time to shop.
She looked at the linen, t-shirt and denim assortment, the modest retro-style bathing suit, the pretty but unremarkable dress she’d bought for the rehearsal dinner. When had she become so boring? And why did she decide, the night before her flight, it wasn’t enough?
Why? Because Haven told her about fifteen minutes ago that Eric’s hottie brother Ian was single again. He’d be attending Haven and Eric’s Hawaiian wedding alone, and Bailey’s libido, which had been in hibernation, woke with an evil plan in mind. One that required sexier clothes than these. While she’d been on a diet and exercise regime since Haven announced her Hawaiian wedding, and had lost thirty pounds, she hadn’t changed her style. Why oh why did she realize this the night before she left?
She looked at the clock. Eight thirty, definitely too late to go shopping. She walked to her closet and pulled out a few pieces, then pulled out her sewing machine. She could adapt.
“You look like hell,” Joslyn said as they sat together on the plane to San Francisco, where they’d change planes for Hawaii. “Did you sleep at all?”
“Hour and a half, maybe.” By the time she’d tried all her outfits on to her satisfaction, added accessories and repacked, it had been four o’clock in the morning. But she was pleased with the alterations in her wardrobe, and grateful to her mother for teaching her to sew, though she probably wouldn’t appreciate Bailey’s motivation—to seduce Ian Viera.
She’d only caught a glimpse of him running toward the gate as they boarded. She, of course, had been at the airport a full two hours before the flight, even had time to stand in line for coffee—which she promptly followed with mints, just in case she talked to him—and read two chapters of her book on her e-reader. She’d been in line to board when he came running up to the gate, a cap pulled low over his face, sunglasses hiding his eyes, scruffy stubble, wearing a white shirt that looked like he’d just picked it up off the floor, cargo shorts and flip-flops.
She usually hated flip-flops on men, but today her heart did a little skitter of delight. They were flying to Hawaii, after all, and he looked like he was ready to head straight to the beach when they arrived.
Now he sat a few rows back, and when she’d last looked, he was sleeping. He’d probably been up all night, too, but for a different reason. He was a cop in the vice division.
The idea made her heart do another flutter. Why she found that career so sexy, she had no idea. Probably because she could imagine him pulling a gun just as well as she could imagine him sweeping her into his arms and kissing her brainless.
“You were probably worried you’d miss the flight, or that you’d forgotten something, or that Haven wouldn’t make the flight, or one of a million different things.”
Bailey blinked at Joslyn, completely forgetting they’d been holding a conversation. Actually, Joslyn was spot-on, or would have been had Bailey not been frantically altering her wardrobe. Okay, not frantically. She didn’t do much frantically. She was actually quite methodical. Which meant she needed to come up with a plan to get Ian in her bed. Ian, who could have any woman he wanted and probably saw her as nothing more than his brother’s future wife’s plump best friend.
“I need to buy a bikini when we get there,” she said out loud.
Joslyn stared. “You mean you didn’t bring a bathing suit?”
“I did, but I decided last night I want to try on a bikini. I didn’t even think about it until last night.”
Joslyn grinned her approval. “Well you should. You worked hard to get that body. You should show it off.”
Bailey’s thoughts exactly.
Thanks to the time change and the early as damn flight, they arrived in Hawaii in time for lunch. Eric and Haven had arranged for a meal for the wedding party on the hotel patio overlooking the beach. Bailey happened to know what this week was costing the couple and their families and winced at the price tag. But it was Haven’s dream wedding, wrapped up with her honeymoon, and she’d waited a long time for the man of her dreams.
Elizabeth, the other bridesmaid, was at the hotel to greet them with her boyfriend Max. Elizabeth had flown out last week to spend more time with the surfer/teacher she’d fallen in love with on their previous visit, when they were finalizing details for the wedding. Max Sullivan, who liked to be called Sully, had been their tour guide and Elizabeth’s fling, but the relationship had morphed to something more, and
Elizabeth had taken a two month sabbatical to be here with him. She hugged her friends, looking happier and more relaxed than Bailey had ever seen her.
Finally, as they all sat around the table—bridesmaids and groomsmen, parents and siblings, Bailey got a good look at Ian. He sat beside his brother near the head of the table and all Bailey could think of, “Good job, Vieras.” Wow, those genes were good. The rumble of Ian’s voice carried down the table, another thing she found just breathtakingly sexy about him, something she hadn’t admitted to herself when he was dating Mallory, the woman he’d lived with the past two years. All she knew about their break-up was that Mallory had gotten sick of his crazy cop hours and took off, and Ian spent about a week inside a bottle. But that had been three months ago, though Bailey had just learned of it. Which meant he was ready to move on. Right?
She resigned herself to thinking a relationship with him would be more rebound than anything permanent, a fling, something she’d declared she was done with. But for Ian, she’d make one last exception.
Since it was almost suppertime back home and the in-flight meal had been something she didn’t want to waste her calories on, Bailey was starving. She was tempted to gorge herself on the delicious food served family-style. But if she was going to look good in a bikini, she needed to keep eating the way she’d been eating for the last nine months. So she nibbled at a salad, had a bite here and there, to go along with her Blue Hawaiian.
When Eric rose and declared it was time to hit the beach, she grabbed Joslyn’s hand and headed for the shop inside the hotel.
Ian Viera dug his feet in the soft sand and let his head fall back to soak in the sun. Too many night shifts made the sunlight a stranger, and he had a week to soak up as much as possible.
That, and get laid. Three months since Mallory had left him and he hadn’t had sex. Okay, to be fair, he hadn’t had sex much in the months before she left him, which was part of the reason she took off. Yeah, one of these lovely bikini-clad ladies was just what he needed to get over his broken heart.
He blinked behind his sunglasses as four women strolled down the beach, in a line, a beautiful sight. He sat up, as probably most men on the beach did, to watch them approach.
The first one wore one of those Olympic-style one-piece bathing suits, and she peeled away from the rest to throw herself at a dark-haired surfer. The second was a tiny brunette in an equally tiny bikini, barely containing her curves. The third was tall and willowy, wearing a colorful wrap around her white bathing suit, and she laughed in his direction. Only then did he realize it was Haven, his future sister-in-law, and she was looking at his brother.
But the fourth one, the golden blonde in the black bikini, the one with the long legs and the big boobs, that was the one that interested him. Except if the willowy one was Haven—
“Is that Bailey?” he asked his brother.
Eric tore his gaze away from his fiancee. “Yep.”
“Wow, I had no idea she looked like that under all those clothes she wears.”
“Yeah, huh. I knew she was trying to lose weight for the wedding, but yeah. Wow.” And then Eric nudged him hard with his elbow. “She’s a nice girl. Don’t get any ideas.”
“I know she’s a nice girl.”
“You’re not ready to get involved again, and she’s not the one you want to rebound with.”
“Nope.” He wanted a stranger, a fling, something he could leave here on the island when he went home. But he couldn’t take his eyes off the woman moving toward him.
She noticed, too, and slid him a look, a small smile, that he couldn’t help but return. She sat in one of the beach chairs, her legs stretched out in front of her, pale but shapely, and reached back to twine her long hair into a braid.
“Are you going in?” she asked, inclining her head toward the water.
“In a while,” he said, lifting his bottle of water to his lips.
“I’m not wasting a minute,” she said with a smile that he thought might have another meaning behind it—but damn, the girl blushed from her breasts to her throat, how adorable was that?—and she headed toward the waves with that long-legged stride.
The view from behind was as good as the view from the front. He could almost feel that smooth skin beneath his palms.
She approached Elizabeth and her surfer, who gestured toward his board. Bailey shook her head and laughed, backing away, and waded into the water. When she bent over to drag her hands through the surf, he tightened his grip on the bottle, making it crinkle.
“So what’s on the agenda tonight?” Ian asked to divert his attention from those curves and that white skin.
“We’re going on a sunset cruise.”
“Not the ‘three hour tour’ type, I hope.”
“You bet,” Eric punched his brother in the arm. “Take your seasick pills.”
“Oh, you don’t get seasick, do you?” Haven asked, alarmed, from the chair beside her fiance.
“Not sure. I don’t go on boats.”
“Since he got seasick on a pontoon boat on Canyon Lake,” Eric said. “Don’t worry, bro. I’ve got the Dramamine. And I hear their life vests are very stylish.”
“I can’t believe Bailey’s wearing a bikini,” Haven said. “I’ve never seen her so confident in how she looks, and I’ve known her a long time.”
“She looks good,” Eric said.
“She worked hard to lose that weight.” She looked past her fiancee to Ian. “What do you think?”
“She looks good,” he echoed his brother as Eric gave Haven a stern look. He placed his bottle in the sand by his chair, sensing the tension between them. “I think I will go into the water.” He stood, stripped off his shirt, kicked off his flip-flops and followed Bailey into the water.
How was she supposed to keep her cool when he looked like that without his shirt? Bailey thought she’d played their earlier conversation well, keeping it light and playful, making sure he saw her—and he’d seen her. She’d felt his gaze travel over her from her toes to her hair. It had been a long time since a man had looked at her like that, and that it was Ian…
Now he was coming toward her, broad-shouldered and muscular, dark hair curling on his chest. Everything in her took notice of that. Her nipples hardened and she stepped just a little deeper into the water so it lapped at her hips, hips she was still a little self-conscious about.
Just when she thought he’d say something, he dove underwater and swam past her. She let out the breath she’d been holding, quit thinking about how she looked—and how good he looked—and dove in after him.
When she surfaced, she saw Ian by Elizabeth and Sully, his hand on the surfboard.
Oh, please, God, let Sully give him lessons so she could watch.
“I could teach you,” Sully offered. “We need to start on the beach, but Liz here picked it up pretty fast.”
Liz. No one called her Liz. Bailey looked at Elizabeth to see her reaction but there was only joy on her friend’s face.
“Nah, that sounds like too much work,” Ian drawled, floating on his back. “I’m on vacation.”
Sully’s expression was puzzled as Ian drifted away, then he turned to Bailey. “Want to try?”
She backed away. “I am not coordinated enough for that.”
“Ah, come on. Liz, show her how easy it is.”
Liz rolled her eyes, though if it was at “easy” or “Liz,” Bailey didn’t know. But she hopped on the board and paddled out like a pro. She watched her friend miss the first wave, but catch the second and ride it toward shore, her form a little shaky, but the smile on her face priceless.