Ch. 15 Toe Sucker?

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He refused to let his mind dwell on what his body had noticed; Beth's tussled hair across her pillow and her languid smile begged for a man to tease her shirt off and kiss every inch of skin.

Half an hour later, she appeared. She had on her baggy fleece sweater from the airport against the chill morning air and her eyes were rather puffy. He held up a cup of coffee and pointed at it.

"This one is for you," he said.

"Thank goodness. Did you take me to my room last night? I don't remember a thing. I'll have to put myself on a strict drinking limit here pretty soon. It feels like those zombies were chewing on my brain all night." She took her coffee in both hands to warm them and sighed with happiness.

There, he said to himself, the truth of the matter is that she had way too much to drink and doesn't even remember asking you to ravish her or that she licked your neck. Good thing you resisted. She would have regretted it this morning and then where would you be? In Shitville.

The first and probably last time a woman begs you to make her purr like a kitten, and she doesn't remember it the next day. It went perfectly with the crappy state of his life.

He ordered another coffee for himself while she had breakfast. Keeping his voice as steady as possible, he reminded Beth that they were checking out of the hotel so they could stay in Hilo that night. They talked a bit about their work for the day and then met up at the car as soon as Beth had her bags and camera.


Now that Operation: Get Russell's Pants Off had gone up in blinding show of flames and nothing was left but a pile of ashes, Beth's new plan was Operation: Don't Do Any More Stupid Crap. She couldn't quite work out any logical phases to accomplish Operation: DDAMSC since her brain felt half eaten, but that was secondary. Plans never quite work how she wanted them to, anyway.

Feigning forgetfulness had been a stroke of desperate genius. The only real thought in her head was how embarrassing she was. Embarrassing to herself. If all she really needed was a rebound thrill to help her through this break-up with Brian, there were plenty of single men in Denver who would not turn her down.

That was all she needed, after all.

During the short walk to the car, she broke out in a sweat. The heat started early here, especially on the black pavement. It reminder her a bit too much of the lava field.

"Care to do a quick sightseeing trip before finding some garden owners?" Russell asked her. "It's truly spectacular."

"Is this part of your trip down memory lane?" she asked, peevish that sweat was rolling between her boobs at nine-thirty in the morning.

He had the decency to look guilty, but he nodded.

"Just how spectacular is 'truly spectacular?'" she asked. "And does it include a hike, because I am already sweating ferociously." So sexy....

He shot her a startled glance from over the top of the car before climbing in. She took her seat, too, in order to get the air conditioning started. "Well, it's so spectacular that I can't describe it, except to say there is a huge waterfall with a cavern underneath. The hike is approximately sixty seconds," he said.

"All right. I'm assuming there's a great photo op? Good. Where are we going? That is, if you can tell me because it's not a secret." She knew she sounded annoyed with his sightseeing adventure, and part of her was.

The other part was stuck in repeat. She was still attracted to him. After all his rejections, the only thing she wanted was to rub her hand on his stubbled jaw and nibble on his lips.

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