Ch. 7 Quintessential Adventure

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***Russell***

Shoulders, Russell thought, still kicking himself for his stupid comment. Smooth. Only an idiot would think you meant her shoulders and not...well, yeah. Beth was no idiot. If he kept leering at her, she would call hotel security.

Somehow, he made it through dinner and desert without dragging her off to the hibiscus bushes. She was even more desirable than he had realized during the two years together at the office. Unbidden, images stormed his mind of her writhing beneath him; their bodies entangled and the sheets twisted up her hands....

More than once, he had to shift in the chair and adjust the uncomfortable bulge in his shorts as discretely as possible. What was wrong with him? Ever since he had seen her coming through the lobby with her hair down and that tight shirt on, his blood refused to stay in his head and kept rushing off to his lower extremities. It was the heat and the air here. It was the intoxicating salt-smell of the ocean blowing in on the trade winds. He was twenty again, but if he didn't keep his hormones in control, his growing interest in Beth would be visible to everyone around.

The food was good, if a bit of a standard selection for a hotel. This was the food he remembered, though; the taste of summertime, sunburns, surfing, staying up late with his brother and sleeping in a tent. He had a small twinge of a bad conscious for making Beth try the poi without properly warning her first, but only a small one. It was fair. Of course, paybacks were always hell. When she had licked the poi from her finger, he nearly fell out of his chair and came begging for more. He needed to get a grip.

After he asked her if she wanted to go for a walk, they took off their shoes where the sand met the grass and left them sitting together next to a palm tree.

He was drawn to her, and wanted to make her a part of his world. And here he was; bare-foot on the beach, face to the flaming red and orange sunset and a beautiful woman at his side. Not that she was his. Nor was she the woman he had originally chosen to be here with, either, but he refused to dwell on it.

Beth raced away from him suddenly into the oncoming waves, jumping on the water at the same time as it hit the sand. Droplets sprayed in every direction, soaking her skirt and even getting him wet.

"I can't believe how warm the water is!" Beth squealed. "Russell, you should try this!"

He was happy to oblige. He took a huge step forward to reach her side, then jumped up and down, splashing as much as he could when he landed. She laughed and kicked water up at him, soaking his shorts. Well, if that was the game they were playing....He bent over to trail his hands in the water, ready to attack.

She started backing away, taunting him with an eyeful of that lovely cleavage and before he thought about what he was doing, he was chasing her. She was laughing when he caught her around her waist and they fell in a wet tangle into the sea. A wave crashed over their heads at that instant and they were underwater for several seconds, tossed about by the current.

They came up sputtering for air.

Beth had her hand over her face and she yelled, "Ah! I got water up my nose! It burns, it burns!"

"I'm sorry, just give it a moment," Russell said, full of sympathy. He remembered this, too.

"Oh, this place is so much fun," she said, chuckling and fanning at her nose.

Russell suddenly noticed that he was lying halfway on her legs, one hand under the small of her back. The sea water was streaming from her neck and hair in sparkling rivulets down her arms and chest. She was breathing heavily, her smile and the last rays of the sun lighting her whole face.

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