Authors: Beverly Preston
Tags: #Contemporary, #General, #Romance, #Fiction, #C429, #Extratorrents, #Kat
Soft Tahitian music serenaded the boat passengers as they
approached the dock. Resort staff greeted them with warm smiles. A lovely,
older, dark-skinned woman handed each passenger a lei and a cool wet cloth
infused with the fragrance of Tiare flower.
Tess dabbed her neck with the refreshing cloth. She ambled
down the dock following the pathway bordered with pink hibiscus flowers. Swept
away by the tranquil setting, her heart began to soften as she strolled by the
exotic landscape and beachfront villas.
“Paradise,” she whispered, taking in the sultry air and
sweet scent of the exquisite lei draped around her neck. For the first time in
over a year, she felt at peace. Bora Bora had become her home away from home.
Coming here felt as comfortable as slipping into her favorite jeans.
The resort was everything she’d expected and more, filled
with traditional Polynesian architecture and exquisite furnishings hand crafted
by local artisans. Tess admired the craftsmanship of the open-air lobby while
waiting for her turn at check-in.
, Mrs. Mathews.” The clerk greeted and
offered a Mai Tai. “Thank you for staying with us again. It appears you will be
staying in one of our beach bungalows with a private plunge pool. Would you be
interested in upgrading your stay to an over-water bungalow? There are several
“No, thank you. The beach bungalow is my favorite.” As soon
as the words left her lips, she remembered the lure of the plunge pool. She and
Richard used to walk through the gate of their private bungalow, undress, and
slip into the warm water. Never even bothering to unpack.
“Of course. Mrs. Mathews you’re in bungalow-”
“Actually, do you have an over-water bungalow available near
the coral gardens?” Tess asked, realizing the plunge pool wouldn’t have quite
the same ambiance as it on previous trips.
“We have bungalow 35 available. It’s at the very end of the
North Pier facing the lagoon. It’s ideal for snorkeling and you have a view of
“That sounds perfect.”
“If you’d like to finish your drink, your luggage will be
taken to your bungalow momentarily. Enjoy your stay.”
Tess sipped her Mai Tai and munched on fresh pineapple.
The pier leading to her bungalow perched on stilts above the
turquoise lagoon. She stopped to watch an eel swim beneath it and spotted a
gray figure with ghost-like movements just under the sand. Tess exhaled
heavily, pleased with her decision to switch rooms. The over-water bungalows
came equipped with a glass panel in the floor giving her complete access to
watch the fish swimming below.
Stepping into her bungalow, she relaxed taking in the
tranquil décor of rich mahogany furnishings and vibrant Tahitian art. Tess
opened the glass doors leading to the deck where two chaise lounges sat and a
private outdoor shower beckoned.
Standing at the edge of the luxurious bed, she stared down
at pink flower pedals fanned out perfectly into the shape of a heart. “I sure
as hell won’t being needing those.” She tossed her bag onto the crisp white
linens, scattering the pedals to the floor.
A ladder at the edge of the deck gave access to the lagoon
merely yards away from the coral gardens. Unable to wait for the pleasure the
warm waters gave her, she changed into her bikini, grabbed her snorkel gear and
slipped into the turquoise lagoon. Drifting above the coral, she swam
side-by-side with vibrant canary-yellow, electric-blue, and tangerine-orange
schools of fish.
After snorkeling, Tess retreated from the late afternoon
sun. She wasn’t in the mood to see the famous Tahitian Fire Dancers, so she
ordered room service, dinner and a bottle of wine. The romantic sight of lovers
holding hands, gazing into each other’s eyes, and knowing where the night would
lead them wasn’t something she wanted to think about.
Tomorrow Tess would book a private excursion with Mr. Rene
on his boat, just as they’d always done in the past. Swimming with black-tip
reef sharks and stingrays had always been their favorite excursion. Plunging
into the clear water, observing sharks as they swam within two feet of them
seemed almost dream-like. All their friends back home thought they were crazy,
even by Las Vegas standards. Nevertheless, for Tess and Richard, it was always
first on their to-do list.
Well close to the first thing
, she thought
with a smile.
The night grew darker as she finished a second glass of
wine, gazing up at the stars as they began to put on a brilliant show. The
memories filling her mind now were as vivid as the fish swimming in the coral
beneath her bungalow. Tess knew this beautiful blue lagoon is where Richard
would want to be. She’d brought his ashes with her, so he could swim in his
favorite underwater playground forever and Tess would swim with him one last
The next morning, Tess awoke to the sound of Tahitian music
playing softly in the distance. Sunlight filled the room, and a balmy breeze
blew through the open glass doors. Gazing beyond the end of her bed, Mount
Otemanu crested over the top of her toes, giving the illusion that they were
holding up the towering volcanic peak. She giggled,
If this place is heaven
on earth, it must be Mother Nature’s bedroom
Dangling her feet over the side of her bed, she extended her
arms, stretching out the best night’s sleep she’d had in a year. Tess ambled to
the bathroom inspecting a basket on the counter filled with soaps and oils
infused with the scent of vanilla and coconut. She rubbed on the oil leaving
her skin silky smooth and then ran her fingers through her long, wavy, rich
brown hair, giving it the perfect amount of luster and control. No brush
needed. This is paradise.
Tess threw on a little blue dress and strolled down to
breakfast poolside, enjoying delicious fruit and a cup of strong coffee. She
wandered over to the activities desk, lounging on a luxurious white chaise, and
waited for the woman behind the counter to finish checking in new guests. She
inhaled deeply again, catching a whiff of the orchid leis the couple wore
around their necks.
Tess could only see the back of the couple from where she
sat. The man had a fit athletic build and dark, brown hair peppered with gray.
The woman dressed in heels and a red, backless dress, accentuating her pale
skin. Though sunglasses covered much of her face, she was very attractive with
long, blonde hair falling to her waist.
He spoke to the Tahitian woman in a deep friendly voice that
sounded familiar. Tess studied the man, listening harder to see if she knew
him. He casually stood at the counter in flip-flops, dark jeans and a white
If he’d turn to the side a little, I can get a better look
He turned away and Tess shrugged.
No, I don’t think I know him
The woman draped her arm around him, tilting her head to the
side so the large woven black hat she wore wouldn’t brush against his face.
Tess listened as she asked, “Can you tell me where the nearest shopping
district is? I didn’t see any big buildings as we flew over.”
“You know. A mall or shops, places like Gucci, Bebe…”
“We have a lovely boutique here at the resort and there are
several shops and local craftsmen at the outdoor market on the main island.”
“Are you serious?” the blonde whined. “Tommy, you said you’d
take me shopping. Now what am I going to do while we’re here? I didn’t bring
anything nice to wear because I was going to buy a new dress.”
If Tess hadn’t seen the woman’s arms around the man, she’d
sworn the girl was his daughter. A very spoiled daughter.
“Mariah, I told you I’m coming here to relax, not to go
shopping. I need some down time. There’s a beautiful pool you can sunbathe next
to. I want to try some snorkeling and go hiking, too. I’m sure you have
something to wear in the suitcases you brought.” Irritation sat heavily in his
“Hiking! I thought you were teasing when you said that. I
can’t sunbathe too much. I have a shoot in two weeks. Besides, how many days
can you look at fish underwater?” She pouted, running her fingers through his
He subtlety shrugged her off.
The clerk offered them a Mai Tai, stating their luggage
would be taken to their room momentarily.
Tess' mouth gaped open with the look of “unbelievable”
written all over her face when the man turned from the counter. She recognized
Tom Clemmins, famous actor and Hollywood hottie was staying
in her resort.
His lips pulled to one side, grinning at Tess. She timidly
smiled back. Her face turning redder by the second, Tess was embarrassed for
eavesdropping on their conversation. She stood, moving toward the counter. As
he passed by, their shoulders almost brushed and his dark eyes locked on hers,
making it impossible for Tess to look away.
“What can I do for you, Mrs. Mathews?” the desk clerk asked.
“What? Hmm? Holy crap it’s hot.” Tess muttered, wiping the
trickle of sweat from the nape of her neck.
“Would you like a wet cloth or a cold drink?”
“No. No, thank you. I need to book a private shark tour with
“He has an opening tomorrow morning if you’d like a half day
tour. If you’d prefer a full day, it will be several days before he has
“Tomorrow morning is perfect.”
Tess smiled to herself, listening to the couple on the
chaise behind her.
That poor girl isn’t going to win this argument. There
aren’t many shops on the island. Especially not the names she’s dropping
Tahitian people were very humble and the most elaborate things here besides the
resorts, were their pearls. Tess almost laughed aloud at the thought of the
young woman meandering through a pearl farm in the outfit she had on.
“How many people will be joining you tomorrow, Mrs.
Tess' smile faded from her lips, “Just me.” She shuddered,
sensing someone was staring at her from behind.
“You’re all set. Private tour for one. Mr. Rene will be
waiting for you on the dock at 7:45am. You should eat breakfast prior to
leaving and Mr. Rene will prepare lunch on a beautiful private
I be of any further assistance?”
.” She smiled appreciatively.
As she turned to leave, Tom Clemmins and his girlfriend were
finishing their drinks. Tess knew she wasn’t his wife because it was well
publicized he dated a lot and had never married. She wondered if they were
staying on the same pier as she was, or if maybe they had a villa. He flashed a
grin at Tess as she passed by and his girlfriend still pouted her beautiful
Holy crap he’s good looking
. Tess placed her clammy
fingers to her neck, feeling the blood pulse through her veins. “What the heck
is wrong with me?” she muttered under her breath. Running into movie stars and
professional athletes wasn’t uncommon in Bora Bora or even in Las Vegas. Tess
had never been awestruck by movie stars or famous people. She never understood
people’s fascination with fame and fortune. After all, neither made them a nice
I must be tense about tomorrow
Returning to her bungalow, she put on her bikini bottoms,
grabbed a book her daughters had packed in her suitcase and strolled out onto
her deck to sunbathe.
Her mind kept wandering to magical moments with Richard, so
she tossed the book to the side. Yearning for the lost comfort of his arms,
Tess slipped into the lagoon, immersing herself into the warmth of his favorite
As the sun dipped lower in the sky, she lugged herself up
the steps and into the shower. The hot water caressed her skin, washing away
the saltwater. The exotic sensual atmosphere made her body ache for the tender
touch of his strong hands against her skin. She wrapped her arms across her
chest, holding herself for comfort as she cried.
Mentally exhausted, she ordered dinner in again. As Tess lay
on a chaise star gazing, she found herself thinking of another star, Tom
How could anyone come to a place like this and want the main
attraction to be shopping? How could that woman not just want to take him to
Her thoughts stirred with curiosity as she drifted off to sleep.
Tess hadn’t slept well. Her thoughts weighed heavy with the
difficult task lying in front of her. She’d wallowed in grief for over a year,
but today she needed to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Today was the
day she would say goodbye to Richard.
It sounded silly, but sometimes Tess felt Richard watching
over her, and today she wanted to look good for him. She wore a black bikini,
her favorite cut-off jean shorts, white tank top, waterproof mascara and
Richards’s ashes rested in a wooden box with a hand-carved
manta ray on the lid. She took a deep breath, and picked up the box, tracing
her fingertips over the carving. Holding back the tears that pricked her eyes,
Tess packed the box into her snorkel gear bag and walked out the door.
After grabbing breakfast, she headed for the dock. Tess
arrived early, so she relaxed on a bench waiting for the boat. At 7:40, she
could hear Mr. Rene coming as he sang a Tahitian song while strumming a little
guitar. Palm fronds and beautiful pink flowers wrapped around the poles holding
up the shade tarp. He serenaded her as he pulled up to the dock.
,” he said joyfully. “It’s a beautiful day.”
She stepped onto his boat with a huge grin. Tess couldn’t
help but love Mr. Rene with his immense white smile, jet-black hair and dark
russet skin covered with tribal tattoos. “
Mr. Rene, it’s
wonderful to see you again.”