Authors: Beverly Preston
Tags: #Contemporary, #General, #Romance, #Fiction, #C429, #Extratorrents, #Kat
Tom rented an electric car, stopping at a dive shop to
purchase his own snorkeling gear. They hit a few beaches before stopping at The
Freaky Tiki. The colorful bar set up high on a hillside and resembled a shabby
run down shack ready to fall down at any moment. They relaxed in a hammock
slung between two palm trees and gazed out over the pristine Pacific Ocean
. She lay quiet, sipping the Tahitian beer.
“What’s weighing on your mind?” he asked, running his finger
across her forehead.
She sighed heavily.“I was just counting up the days I’ve
already been here.”
“Oh…oh,” he stammered, struggling for words, followed by the
same heavy sigh.
Tess didn’t want Tom assuming he needed to coddle her or
worry about their goodbye. They were having a wonderful time, but she was well
aware that he didn’t date long term. No matter how much it would hurt to say
goodbye to this amazing man lying in the hammock next to her, she refused to
dwell on it. Rendezvous. This is nothing more than a wonderful, amazing,
She lifted her
to his and said, “Here’s to
the best vacation.”
Tom drew back his face, and furrowed his brows. Nodding
hesitantly, he clinked his beer to hers. “To the best vacation.”
Later that night, they enjoyed a private dinner on the
beach. A Tahitian man and woman performed a traditional Polynesian dance in
grass skirts, asking Tess and Tom to join them. Tess loved to dance and knew
this dance well, slowly moving her hips in a circle by barely moving her feet.
The ocean blue pareo she’d bought that morning was tied in a knot low on her
hip, exposing her bare leg to the top of her thigh as she danced.
Tom picked a pink hibiscus and slipped it behind her ear.
They danced barefoot in the sand as tiki torches flickered beneath the palm
trees. She relaxed into his arms and rested her cheek on his chest, hiding the
tears that pricked her eyes.
How am I going to say goodbye?
When she rolled over, Tess found a note saying, “Be right
back.” She threw on bikini bottoms to lie in the sun. Torn between the polar
opposite emotions of guilt and pleasure, she forced herself to acknowledge the
fact that this was undoubtedly one of the best trips she’d taken to Bora Bora
and all because of Tom. However, the pleasure, passion, and happiness were overriding
the guilt, which made the guilt even worse. She dove in the lagoon to cool off.
Tess turned over to float on her back and noticed Tom
staring at her from the handrail. “How long have you been standing there?”
“I have breakfast and coffee, if you’re hungry.” He smiled,
ignoring her question.
She slipped a sheer white swimsuit cover over her bikini
bottoms. Tom’s eyes strayed slowly over the damp material clinging to droplets
of water on her breasts as she sipped her coffee.
“When do Tracy and JC come back from Europe?”
“They get home a week after me.”
“Tess,” he said in a voice so delicious, the mere sound made
her go weak at the knees.
Even though playfulness lingered in his tone, she glanced
into his dark brown eyes and realized Tom had something on his mind.
“Do you need to go home in three days or can you stay on
vacation with me longer? I’ll understand if you need to get back, but I’m not
ready to let go of you yet.” His brows creased slightly, revealing the
indication of seriousness to his offer, as if it were uncharted territory for
Her mind raced. She didn’t really need to go home yet, but
the idea of Tom wanting her to stay longer filled her full of happiness
I stay, what will that mean to him? What does it mean to me? Nothing? Something?
Everything? Are we dating now? Am I simply going to be able to just walk away
from this amazing man when the vacation is over?
She wanted answers to all of her questions, but one thing
she knew for certain, if she pushed Tom, even the smallest amount, he’d be
Lowering her gaze to the table, she drug her hands through
her hair and chewed nervously on her lip. “You really want me to stay longer? I
“I don’t have any commitments for a few weeks.” His lips
caressed her neck. “I’m enjoying my time with you and I’m under the impression
you’re enjoying yourself, too.”
Acting on a whim was completely out of character for her.
This trip was the most unpredictable thing she’d ever done in her life.
“Come with me, Tess. I’ll show you a great time. What else
do you have to do right now back at home that can’t wait for awhile?”
After every sentence he paused, giving her the impression he
was waiting patiently for her response. She lifted her eyes, searching for
reassurance that she wouldn’t regret her decision. He gave her a sexy imploring
“Why, Mr. Clemmins, are you trying to seduce me into staying
here with you?” She teased with a quiet chuckle.
“Is it working?” he whispered in her ear.
“Yes, I believe it is. I can stay.” She imitated his slow
sexy tone, “I’m not through with you yet, Tom Clemmins.”
Reality sunk in a few hours later.
“I should call my girls,” she said apprehensively.
“Are you going to tell them the truth? Will they be upset
you’re here with me?” he asked honestly.
“Can I tell them I’m here with you, Tom?”
“What do you mean?”
“Everything we’ve done has been so discreet. I know you’re
worried about your privacy. And to tell you the truth, I don’t have a clue what
“Of course you can tell them you’re with me. I trust you. I
do enjoy my privacy, but that’s not why we’ve been doing everything
. I wanted to be alone with you. I want you to myself.”
Tom grinned mischievously. “By the way, if it’s all right
with you, I’d prefer to stay somewhere else for the rest of our vacation.”
“A different resort?”
“No. I’d like to take you somewhere else.”
“Where are we going?”
He didn’t answer.
“You’re not going to tell me are you? I can tell by your
devious grin you’re up to something.”
“It’s a surprise.”
Tess called John first. He didn’t answer, so she left a
message, explaining she was fine and having a good time, but wasn’t ready to
come home yet. She’d be switching resorts and would call him in a few days with
That was easy
She dialed Tracy’s number next. “Hello?” she answered in a
Tess completely forgot it would be four in the morning in
Europe. “Hi honey, crap, I’m sorry. I forgot about the time difference.”
“Mom? What’s going on?” She sounded concerned.
“I’m fine. Do you want me to call you back?” Tess asked.
“No, its fine, I’m up now. Did you do your thing with Dad
today? Are you upset?”
“No, I did that when I first got here and it went perfect.”
Tess paced nervously, realizing her girls might get upset with her news. “I
need to talk to you for a few minutes.”
“I’m up, JC’s right here, too.”
“Hi, Mom. It’s amazing here, and European guys are
JC sounded half-asleep in the background.
Tess chuckled, shaking her head at her youngest daughter.
“JC you’re not there for boys. My trip has been wonderful. I wanted to let you
know I’m not going home yet. I’m staying another week, but I won’t be in Bora
Bora. I left a message with your brother, so if you talk to him will you fill
“What do you mean? Are you changing islands?” Tracy asked.
Tess’ face turned beet red as she struggled to find the
right words. “Well, actually I’m not sure where we’re going.”
Tom sat on the chaise, smiling, watching her pace around in
Who’s we? Who are you with?” Alarm sizzled
through the phone line and JC uttered something in the background about a
Polynesian fire dancer.
“It’s kind of a long story, but I met someone. He’s taking
me somewhere else, but I’m not sure where exactly.”
“What! You met somebody? Who is he? How do you know he’s not
some psycho?” Tracy shrieked, sounding more like a hysterical parent than a
daughter. “Are you joking? Where’s-”
Tess cut her off. “I’m not joking and he’s not some psycho.
In fact, he’s quite wonderful.” She turned redder by the second. “He’s just
surprising me, that’s all.”
“Are you out of your freakin’ mind? Do you even know
anything about this guy? What does he do? I can’t believe you’re telling me
this. I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to be running off in a foreign
country with some stranger! What the hell, Mom!”
“Come on, Tracy, I’d never do anything stupid.”
“No offense, but it doesn’t sound like the smartest
decision. You don’t even know this man.” Tracy frantically repeated the
conversation to JC at the same time she lectured her mom.
Tess took a deep breath. “I’m here with Tom Clemmins. We’ve
been together for the last week. He’s taking me somewhere else, but won’t
divulge that information because he wants to surprise me.”
Tom Clemmins?” Tracy exclaimed. JC
shrieked with excitement in the background.
Tom Clemmins?” she asked again. “Hollywood
JC grabbed the phone from her sister. “Right on, you go,
Momma. How’d you hook up with him?” She squealed before Tracy yanked the phone
“I just wanted to call and tell you what was going on.”
“Wow! How’d you hook up with Tom Clemmins? I bet you are
having a good time.” Tracy said with a touch of cynicism.
“We met on a shark excursion. Actually, he tried to steal my
private tour, but it all worked out for the best. I’ll tell you all about it
Tom raised his eyebrows. “I hope you’re not going to tell
them everything, and that’s not fair, I didn’t steal your tour.”
“I’m just so…surprised. Isn’t he supposed to be a total….
….jeeze, Mom…doesn’t he date a lot?"
“He’s very nice,” she chimed sweetly, winking at Tom.
Tom motioned for Tess to give him the phone. “Can I talk to
her for a minute?”
Tess eyed him suspiciously, wondering what he’d say, but
decided what the hell. “Hold on Tracy, he wants to tell you something.”
After handing him the phone, she began pacing back and forth
again wondering if it was a wise idea to let him talk to her girls. She’d never
intended on needing a
“Hi, Tracy. I don’t want you to worry about your Mom,” Tom
said in a sweet slow voice.
Tess couldn’t hear Tracy’s end of the conversation, however
she could hear JC from across the room as Tom held the phone away from his ear,
yelling in the background, “Hi, Tom! Tell him I said hi!”
He chuckled. “If it’ll make you feel better, I’ll get your
number from your mom and text you in a couple of days when we leave, so you can
have the address of where we’ll be staying. I just want it to be a surprise for
Tom’s grin turned sober. “I promise. I’ll take good care of
her. I understand. Okay. I won’t. Yep. Thanks. It was nice talking to you. I
can hear your sister in the background, tell her I said hi. Have fun in Greece,
it’s beautiful there.” He handed the phone back to Tess.
“I hope you’re having fun, I miss you and please don’t worry
about me I’m fine. Actually, I’m great. I’m sorry for waking you up, go back to
“Mom, we love you. Please be careful, he’s supposed to be a
total lady’s man.”
“I can see why they say that.” Tess smirked at Tom. “Call
your brother for me. I won’t be able to call him again. Love you, be safe.”
Closing the phone, she huffed out a big anxiety-filled breath of air.
“I’m sure they think I’ve lost my mind.” Tess laughed
nervously. “What did she say to you?”
“She seems a lot like you,” he chuckled sarcastically.
“Practically de-ja-vous of our first meeting on the dock.”
She groaned. “Oh great! What did she say?”
“She said her mom had been through a rough year and was just
starting to heal and I better not hurt you. Apparently, they’re under the
impression I’m a real “womanizer”. I’m quite sure that’s the term she used, but
she said it in a nice voice.” He stared into her eyes, running his finger under
her chin. “Am I hurting you, Tess?”
“Yes, you’re torturing me slowly,” she teased, but realized
he really was concerned.
“I’m serious. I don’t want to cause you any pain. I care
“Look Tom, I knew this was a vacation for both of us. I
won’t pretend that the last week hasn’t been much more than I ever imagined it
could be, but I knew where I stood when I agreed to stay with you. I’m not
going to say goodbye now. It’s still going to hurt just as much in another
His brows wrinkled apprehensively.
She rested her hands on his firm shoulders and confessed,
“I’ve learned the hard way that every day is a gift. I refuse to waste one more
moment of my life. I won’t do it.”
He frowned. “Tess, I don’t-”
“Tom, you agreed with me when I asked if you believe
everything happens for a reason.”
“I do believe that, but this is different.”
“No, it’s not different. We were supposed to meet. For what
reason I don’t know. It wasn’t by chance you came here with someone who was
unimportant to you, or that you taking my tour led me to a perfect place to say
goodbye to Richard and brought me to you. What about the manta rays? They
miraculously found me after all these years of trying. I believe those things
are meant to be. I’m not naïve. I realize that you don’t have long-term
relationships. I’m okay with it. Life is too damn short. I don’t care where we
go or what we do. I only want to enjoy my time with you, even if it’s only one