Chapter Fifteen

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"It's chilly for any nighttime activity," I grumbled, getting out of the back of the luxury SUV. I squinted into the now-cloudy sky, the kind of bright-white that I recalled from my winters during college in New York. It was eight o'clock, and nighttime was obviously a faint memory this far north. "Or daytime or whatever."

Colin tipped the driver, then slung a black leather duffel over his shoulder, as if it was perfectly normal to be taking a strange woman somewhere without telling her where she was going.

He turned and grinned. "Come. My friend said this is the best."

"I could be the judge of that if you'd tell me what this is."

"A summer solstice surprise, remember?"

We walked a few paces down a sidewalk, and Colin opened the door for me, then put his hand on the small of my back as we approached a counter, sending a pulsing warmth through my body. The signs were entirely in Icelandic, so I still had no clue where we were. There was a young, bearded man behind the counter, and he looked up.

"Mr. King?"

"Yes."

"Welcome to the Secret Lagoon. We're always happy to accommodate friends of Mr. Fontana. We've arranged everything for a private evening for you both."

Fontana was the name of the man who owned the condo. I wondered what kind of private evening Colin had arranged and what, exactly, a lagoon entailed. All I could think of was that campy 1950s movie with the sea creature.

"Men's changing rooms are there," the man said, pointing to the left, "and the women's are over there." He gestured to his right. "Make sure you take showers before you go in the water. There are showers in the locker rooms and outside. When you're both finished, follow the signs, and there you'll find the water, along with beverages and other amenities that we've set out for you."

"Meet you in the lagoon," Colin said to me, grinning.

I glanced at him sideways. "Have you been here before? You seem awfully familiar with this."

He shook his head. "It's actually my first time in Iceland."

"Hmm." We locked eyes. Not for the first time, I wondered what I was getting myself into. Why was I allowing this man to drag me outside of my comfort zone?

While Colin asked the attendant more questions, I turned and walked down a hall until I found the locker room. It was clean, but sparse. Colin obviously hadn't arranged an evening for us at a five-star spa. This looked more like a particularly sterile school gym, with blue lockers, a white cement floor, and average sinks.

I snapped the tags off the bathing suit he'd talked me into buying. It was a pale pink bikini he'd picked out earlier in the store. "This would be great on you," he'd said. I'd snorted in response.

I'd tried it on to appease him, but to my surprise, it had fit well. I hadn't paraded out to show him while in the store. I'd bought it because I hadn't felt like trying on dozens of suits.

Now, in the cold locker room, I wasn't so sure of my decision. I hadn't worn a bikini in years. On my way to the shower, I paused to assess myself in the mirror. I sighed. My rational mind told me I looked decent for forty-five, but nagging insecurities and my ex-husband's old taunts told me otherwise. I turned, pinching my own butt. My ex had always proclaimed I needed to be careful of droopy skin in that area, otherwise I'd look like an "old crone." For years, his words had made me exercise obsessively—harsh boot camp classes in the morning and at night. I rotated in front of the mirror slowly, like a rotisserie chicken, sucking in my gut. Since my divorce, I'd eased up on the workouts and only swam in the mornings.

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