Deeper Diving

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Deeper Diving

Cate Ellink

It’s fifteen months since Samantha and Cooper left Lord Howe Island, are they still competing?

Deeper Diving is an epilogue, featuring Sam and Cooper from Deep Diving, published in September 2014 by Escape Publishing.

I follow my giant human god into the cafe. He’s solid, muscle-bound, and totally and completely mine. I would never have dreamt it possible. It seems dreams do come true.

Cooper holds Alice Josephine, while I push the baby paraphernalia-holding pram. Ali Jo is a tiny bundle of cloth safely balanced along his forearm and cradled against that solid expanse of chest. Delight spears through me and my lips curl to let some escape. I cannot contain it. When I glance up, his chocolate gaze snares mine. His tongue sneaks between his lips and slides from one side to the other. Pure lust stabs me right through and I have to consciously tighten my knees to remain standing. Lord alive that man does things to me. Still.

He winks before he leans close and catches my lips against his in a sweet kiss. Then sweet turns to need when his tongue darts into my mouth quickly before it’s gone. I laugh because there’s little else I can do in public. I’d like to hold that tongue for longer, partake in a tongue duel, kiss until we’re lost in lustland…but it’s not to be. Public place and newborn baby.

“Thank you,” he whispers. I’ve no idea what he’s thanking me for but it could be anything and everything.

I don’t know how I’ve survived the last year without ending up a puddle on the floor. From the moment I saw him, he’s messed up my mind, my libido, my sanity. The first dinner we shared, I worried I might orgasm watching him eat and fifteen months later, I’m no better. I cheekily wolf-whistled him because I thought his legs were hot, and his butt, and shoulders…and he only gets hotter. Every day I discover another tiny thrill—a muscle I had forgotten or never seen before, a touch that makes my temperature soar, a look that ignites the fire inside me, or lately, the intensely gentle relationship between him and his five-week-old daughter. Ali Jo brings out a side in him I had glimpsed when he was with other children, but I never imagined that I would react so much more strongly when it was Cooper holding our child.

Our friends, Cass, Peter and little Mia, are seated around a table close to the outdoor terrace. After glancing at them, I’m momentarily entranced by the view—of the harbour, not my husband this time. I’ve seen Sydney Harbour before but today it sparkles under the most brilliant sunshine. The intense blue of the sky creates an incredible backdrop for the dark, arched beauty of the bridge, the gleaming white scalloped sails of the Opera House and even the colours of the boats and ferries as they glide across the green-blue water. A big sigh escapes as I take in the magnificence.

Lips nuzzle beneath my earlobe. “Too much bliss?” Cooper asks.

“Always.”

He laughs with such satisfaction, I’m glad I answered that way. I had trouble accepting this man’s friendship, not to mention the trouble accepting my need for a relationship and family. I had trouble accepting so damn much but his love has been a continuous stream of gentle comfort I’m unable to resist. Despite this tenderness, he’s as tough as they come, competitive, dedicated. Sometimes single-minded. I adore him.

After our brief moment to bask in the view and each other, we take our seats. Peter and Coop together so they can talk football. Cass and I next to each other with little Mia, pigtails bobbling as she chats with her doll, between her mum and dad.

While the guys talk teams, players and football, Cass leans across. “How’re the new-baby-nerves doing?”

Cass is one of my closest confidants. A retired hockey player, married to a rugby league player, we met and our similarities were immediately obvious. She’s been with Peter a couple of years, so she’s been where I am now. Cass is the one person I can speak freely to, in a world where I have to be careful what I say.

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