When Amy Conrad books a spur-of-the-moment cruise to the Desirata Islands, she’s looking for adventure, for solitude, and for a way to escape the daily struggle for survival her life has become.
What she finds, however, is unlike anything she’s ever imagined.
A spiral golden conch is the catalyst that propels her to her own private island and into the arms of a stunning naked man who claims he’s been waiting for her. The heat he awakens in her body burns with an intensity that frightens her, but that’s nothing compared to the shadowy memories that play across her senses every time Simon Whittington comes near.
As Amy begins to learn the truth behind Simon’s mysterious existence, the fragile barrier separating the island from the outside world begins to unveil. When it shatters, Simon must make a choice…one that may cost Amy her life.
Read an Excerpt
She took in the long stretch of golden sand, the palm trees gently swaying in the breeze, the endless span of turquoise ocean. “This is your home?” she asked, unable to disguise the wonder in her voice. “You live here?”
“For now.” She thought he’d say more, so she listened to the sound of his footsteps falling on the soft sand as silence stretched between them.
Then, when it became clear he had no intention of either explaining how she got here or putting her down, she tried again. “You don’t have to carry me.”
To demonstrate, she wriggled in his grasp, hoping his grip would slip and he’d place her on her feet. Instead, his fingers dug into her skin and he only held her closer to his firm, muscular chest.
His very bare chest.
That realization made a tiny whimper slip out between her lips. Ripples of sublime longing made her tremble. She clamped her mouth shut firmly, hoping he hadn’t heard.
“Same Christabel.” The strange statement gave no indication whether or not he was aware of her lapse in judgment. “Less clothes, but definitely the same Christabel. Still squirming and fighting to get free.”
“Yeah, well, I can walk on my own.”
“You always could.”
She blew out a deep breath, considering his words. She could detect no obvious sarcasm in his tone. “You still don’t seem to understand. I’m not who you think I am.”
His full lips quirked upward in a teasing smile. “Perhaps you’re not who you think you are.”
She opened her mouth to reply, then closed it again. The man was clearly not all there. He spoke in oddly accented English, and the cadence of his words was slow and rich, as though infused with endless patience.
In fact, everything about him, everything about this place, made her think that she’d stepped into another universe, one where the past and the future collided, where time stood still and she no longer had to race against the clock with every breath.
Amy gritted her teeth, trying to rid herself of that wildly romantic notion. What had gotten into her? Before she’d embarked on this adventure, she’d been practical, rational. Yet ever since she’d booked the ticket for the cruise, every logical, level-headed impulse she possessed seemed to fly out the window along with the last of her savings.
She looked up. The man hadn’t taken his eyes from hers. She dropped her gaze to his luscious mouth, noticing it was only a feather’s breadth away. So close, in fact, that if she’d as much as extended her tongue, she could sweep it across his bottom lip and taste the silky smooth surface of his mouth.
Ah, what the hell. If she was going to give in to her base urges and wild flights of fancy in the time she had left, she was going to do it all the way.
Without giving the tempestuous compulsion another thought, she wrapped her hand around the man’s neck, pulled him down to her and lifted her head to meet his mouth halfway.
Their lips brushed against each other, a mere whisper of a touch, and for a moment, time and space really did stand still. Amy’s heart beat fast and the soft roar of the ocean rumbled in her ears, but she could feel nothing aside from the intense heat emanating from the man holding her.
His muscles coiled, tensing at the contact she’d initiated. As she opened her mouth and allowed her tongue to delve between his lips, she briefly wondered whether he’d respond in kind, or if he’d simply drop her to the ground. He hadn’t made a move to reciprocate. Embarrassment swept through her. She was a heartbeat away from pulling back and attempting to apologize when he groaned into her mouth and yanked her hard against him.
His mouth opened to hers and his tongue thrust deep inside, seeking, searching, tasting. Relaxing into the deep, endless kiss, she tangled her fingers in the soft curls at the nape of his neck. The strength of his body awed her, and the intensity in his kiss sent her thoughts reeling.
Cream flooded her pussy at the wave after wave of arousal the swipe of his tongue against hers sent into her body. He smelled like the sea, slightly salty, musky and natural. His warm, intoxicating mouth tasted the same way. She couldn’t get enough.
He broke away first. Somehow, she’d known he would.
Amy let out an involuntary sigh and gathered her courage to look at him. She wouldn’t apologize for what had just happened. Sure, she’d only just met him, but there was nothing forbidden about what they’d shared unless he was married, or engaged, or otherwise spoken for. She bit her lower lip and closed her eyes, feeling foolish.
His sigh seemed to carry a lifetime’s worth of pent-up frustration. “Christabel.”
There it was again, that name she couldn’t seem to escape. She’d first heard it on the coble, just before she’d plunged into the icy depths of the ocean.
She sat up in his arms, suddenly alert. This time she must have squirmed a little harder than she’d intended, because she felt her heel connect with something soft. He grunted and loosened his hold, and she slid out of his arms to land on her feet.
“I’m sorry,” she stammered, lifting her hand to shield her eyes from the glare of the sun and stare out at the shoreline. “I had a little coble. Where is it?”
“A boat. The last thing I remember is being in it. Well, I was…and then I wasn’t.” She clenched her fists at her sides, knowing how stupid that sounded and unable to do any better.
She hesitated, then turned back to him. Her breath hitched and her heart beat wildly in her chest. Blinking hard, she rubbed the heels of her palms against her eyes, then opened them once more. The view hadn’t changed.
The man who’d carried her, whose body she’d been pressed up against for the past twenty minutes, was remarkably, unabashedly, naked.
The lean lines of his deeply tanned body made her mouth go dry. She could still feel the lingering heat everywhere his solid flesh had touched her.
He looked like he’d been sculpted in the image of a Greek god, all firm planes and solid muscle, each dip and valley a work of art in its own right. She knew she should look away, but she couldn’t. Her gaze was irrevocably drawn to his comfortable, slightly spread-legged stance, to the dark patch of hair at the apex of his thighs, to the erect cock jutting upward from the mass of dark curls.
Sharp pressure mounted the entrance to her cunt, making her inner walls press tightly together. God, but he was gorgeous. It was gorgeous, she corrected herself. His rod, long and thick, thrust out boldly in front of his flat stomach. Blue veins snaked along the pale shaft, toward the shiny, dusky tip. Before she could catch herself, she licked her lips, the urge to bend down and taste it almost too much to bear.
It took all the self-control she didn’t know she possessed to tear her gaze away from the magnificent display of masculinity he offered her. Fighting against the blush she knew had to be turning her cheeks a very unflattering shade of crimson, she gave him a shaky smile. “I think it’s about time you told me your name, don’t you?”