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by Ashley Ladd
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: Katie's life is one huge shipwreck. But when she runs away from one disaster, bigger ones await. Whilst fleeing from her rich and powerful ex-fiance, Katie McLaughlin's ship runs aground. Lo and behold, she is shipwrecked on a deserted tropical island with Scott Vanderhorne, a man ten times more rich and powerful than her ex, a man with a fiancee back home. To survive, Katie and Scott must join together, but many dangers await, especially to their hearts.
eBook Publisher: Total-e-bound, 2007 2007
eBookwise Release Date: July 2007
36 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [193 KB]
Reading time: 119-167 min.
"...Ashley Ladd weaves a spicy romance that captures the reader's attention from the first page..."--Cherokee, Coffee Time Romance
"...I enjoyed the story and would definitely read more by this author in the future..."--Pam,My Book Cravings
"...this story has something for everyone and I enjoyed it thoroughly."--Maura Frankman,The Romance Studio
The arms around her felt so good, so warm and strong, that Katie fought waking up. She buried her face against the protective shoulder that blocked out the sunlight streaming into their hut.
Hut? Arms? Shoulders?
She awoke with a start, stunned to find herself burrowed against Scott's warmth, her head tucked under his chin, cosy and comfy as if she belonged there.
She did not belong there. She did not want to be there.
Most of all, she shouldn't be there. He was engaged and as one recently jilted woman, she had no desire or intention of hurting anyone else with the same pain with which she'd been inflicted. Flirting with an engaged man, was taboo. It was unthinkable. Not that she was attracted to him. Not really. Circumstances kept throwing them together. Their aloneness here created false intimacy and comradeship.
She liked her men dark and swarthy, like Sam. Intensely dark eyes could pierce her to her soul. And Scott couldn't get any blonder if he tried.
Embarrassed to be in such a precarious position with such dangerous thoughts, she eased herself out of his arms, hoping he wouldn't know she'd been in his arms. The knowledge would probably make him insufferable. He already held too high an opinion of himself, not that she could thoroughly fault him--all wealthy men of her acquaintance suffered from the same malady. That's why she'd sworn off rich men after Sam's desertion. Being burned once was more than enough.
She must to insist on a room of her own when they improved the hut. Sleeping in the same quarters was too dangerous to her tender feelings. The longer they were marooned, the better he'd probably start looking to her. He was after all, young, and virile, and had an endearing dimple in his chin. And she was female, prone to a woman's yearnings and instincts and she'd not been with a man in well over a month. She'd have to guard against these inklings of attraction. They couldn't be true attraction, she told herself. It was just a natural reaction of a lonely, scared woman to the only male in sight. Once they were rescued, she'd never see him again. Even if she wanted to be with him, he'd rush back into his fiancée's arms.
No good. She could not, would not, put herself into another situation where she was set up to fail. The rich always won and the poor always lost. She didn't like it, but she was logical and realistic, and knew the score.
Her stomach rumbled so she untied the door and trekked down to the beach, curling her toes into the wet sand. White capped waves reached out to grab her, spraying seawater in her face. Graceful white birds sailed several feet overhead, looking for their morning meal, too. A bright yellow and orange sun shimmered upon the horizon like a sorbet.
Bowled over by the beauty of the new day, she sat at the edge of a miniature sand-shaped cliff where waves had eroded the shore, and took a few quiet moments to commune with nature. Resting her chin on her hand, she revelled in the beauty all around her.
"Breathtaking, isn't it?" Scott lowered his bulk next to her, stretching out his long legs before him. She'd never really looked closely at his legs before and was surprised by how hairy they were. Like the rest of him, they were covered in very blond hair that wasn't easily discernible from a distance. She also noticed how well-muscled they were.
She realised he was staring at her, grinning, and she felt a blush rise in her cheeks. Maybe he thought she was staring elsewhere, perhaps somewhere a little higher. Clearing her throat, she said, trying to get her thoughts under control, "It's okay if you don't get bored with sun and water and sand all day I suppose.
"I presume you prefer tall grey buildings jumbled together and people crushing one another in their effort to survive the nine-to-five world?" He scooped up a handful of sand and let it sift through his fingers. When his hand emptied, he repeated the process.
"No. This would be great if we had a way to leave when we want, and if we had a few amenities such as a bed and a pillow and ice." And a bathroom, but she wasn't going to voice that aloud.
"And if we had our choice of companionship." Not that she had anyone at this particular time she could've asked to join her on a romantic get away. Here, she couldn't even meet anyone. The only male in sight was engaged. Of all the luck.
"I'll concede you those. I wouldn't mind having a pillow or a long cool drink, either." Without warning, he brought his hand over her midriff and drizzled sand on her bare belly.
It was cold and wet and totally unexpected and she vaulted to her feet, swishing it off with both hands. "Ooh! I'll get you for that, mister! This means war." She advanced on him, shoving him backward into the water with what she presumed was a wicked smile curling her lips.
Laughter bubbled out of her lips as she stood over him, her feet spread, her hands on her hips. "That'll teach you to mess with me. I don't get mad, I get ev--"
A hand grabbed her ankle under the water and pulled her foot out from under her, much as she'd done to him one time. She swayed on the other foot for several moments before plopping into the water with a gargantuan splash that shot up and over both their heads.
Mischief danced in Scott's eyes that held flecks of brown around the irises. "It takes two to battle."
Not if she walked away it wouldn't. Deciding this game was over she rose to her feet with as much dignity as she could muster, without a second glance his way, presuming he wouldn't protest her quitting while he was ahead. Men liked to win. So be it. He could have this round.
"Not so fast, Katydids." She tried to sprint at the warning in his voice, but she didn't get enough head start.
He threw his entire weight into tackling her, his body engulfing hers, his hands poised to tickle her unmercifully, under her arms and across her stomach.
Giggling uncontrollably, she tried to escape his merciless assault, writhing beneath his fingers. Every time she tried to launch a defensive tackle, he blocked her, thwarting her attempts to tickle him back. She laughed so hard she couldn't breathe. Holding one hand perpendicular to the other, she tried to say "Pax" several times but couldn't spit out the word.
Throwing her over his shoulder as if she weighed no more than a toddler, he carried her further out into the ocean, until he was waist deep. He ignored her fists pummelling his back. His mouth set in a grim line, while mirth danced in his eyes. "You throw me in the water and I'll throw you in the water." His hands slid to her waist, spanned it so that his thumbs and fingertips met, and their gaze met and held.
She caught her breath as a fire ignited in her belly and licked up her spine. He was going to kiss her. She knew it. Worse, she wanted him to with all her being. Closing her eyes and puckering her lips, she waited for the first searing touch of his lips. Instead, with a mighty roar, he flung her into the waves.
Her eyes opened so wide, the sockets ached. Sputtering water out her mouth and nose, she vowed revenge. Diving under water after she caught her breath, she grabbed him around his knees, trying to pull his legs out from beneath him.
Although his knees buckled a fraction, they did not give way.
To her horror, his hands caught her around her waist again and hauled her up against his chest. "Good try." He hoisted her out, tossing her into another oncoming wave, his laughter echoing in her ears.
She struck out in a strong, clean crawl, trying to escape him, but he was fast on her tail, grabbing her calf, pulling her backwards. Again, he caught her in his arms as lithely as if she put up no struggle, trapping her against his chest, his heartbeat pounding against her ear.
Despite the cool water, his warmth seeped into her, beguiling her, teasing her. Swirls of blond hair tickled her cheek, teasing and tempting her. Instead of flinging her away from him this time, he gazed deeply into her eyes, the passion igniting in his stealing her breath. He lowered his head, capturing her lips in a soul-shattering kiss that would have knocked her off her feet if she'd been standing.
Without her volition, her arms crept around his neck and her fingers tangled in the wet hair at the base of his neck, playing in its thickness. His beard scratched her tender face, grazing her lips, but she revelled in the all male feel of it, desire inflaming her.
His low growl poured into her mouth as his tongue duelled with hers. He drank deeply of her, his chest crushed to hers, his thick mat of chest hair teasing the swell of her breasts, making her long to rip off her top so that she could rub her nipples against him.
Waves crashed against them, making him sway, but not loosening his grip on her. Carrying her, he waded to shore. Once there, he laid her gently on the sand, never releasing her lips, caressing her face, her breasts, and the swell of her hip. When his hand splayed across her belly only fractions of an inch away from her pussy, she bucked beneath him, grounding her hips against his.
Unable to remember why she shouldn't be kissing or caressing him, she let her hands explore his rugged frame, running up and down his chest, his back, and kneading his firm buttocks. She rubbed her pussy against his growing cock. Their groans grew louder, more ragged.
Her breath coming in short bursts, she could hardly breathe. Sweet emotions engorged her and without thought, she lifted her arms for him to lift her top off.