An all expenses paid, trans-Atlantic cruise has romance written all over it…unless you’re the poor sap who has to inspect the toilets and time the cafeteria lines. As if secret-shopping her company’s failing cruise ship isn’t bad enough, Lydia Johnson is forced to bring along a “top talent” new hire as her assistant. With a heart barely healed from her ex-fiancé’s deceit, she’s in no mood to train a man who might cheat her out of an overdue promotion.
Paul Thomas may be new to J.P. Theriot Enterprises, but he certainly knows his way around cruise ships. The Cajun charmer also isn’t shy about pursuing his desires, including his wary, but oh-so-sexy-when-she lets-her-hair-down manager. He’s shared more about himself with Lydia than any other woman…except who he really is–J.P. Theriot.
Twilight had begun to assert itself, tamping down the sun’s rays and casting long shadows. They walked the length of the first pier and paused at the rail’s edge to look out to sea. A light breeze skimmed the water and tousled Lydia’s hair. She paid it no heed but let it have its way with the strands. Following the wind’s example, he stepped closer to her, their arms lightly brushing as they stood side by side.
“Every port has its own special siren’s call,” she said, brushing the hair away from her mouth.
“Hard to resist,” he said gazing at her.
She angled her body toward him. “Except sirens usually lure the susceptible to their doom.”
He stepped closer. “A nasty rumor begun by those with no heart or imagination.”
“I’m not so sure I agree,” she whispered.
“Try.” He leaned down and kissed her lips softly. Pulling back barely enough to end any contact but still close enough for their breaths to mingle, he offered her an escape. When she didn’t take it, he moved in again, encircling his arms around her waist and pulling her closer.
The second kiss obliterated the first. For the first time, he felt her surrender, reluctant as it was, and reveled in it, taunted her with his triumph at proving she wanted him as much as he wanted her. Deepening it further, her soft moans filled his ears, her breasts pressed against his chest. His body responded to hers. Hands stole lower to grasp her hips and press his erection into her. She had to know how she affected him, there could be no doubt of the strength of his desire, the urgency of his need to touch, taste and bury himself in her.
For a long while, she moved with him, her hips grinding into his with a writhing need as their lips and tongues dueled in a sensuous dance. It wasn’t enough. He needed more of her. Lips traveled to her jaw and then to her neck, to the spot right below her ear. Lydia caught her breath on a moan when he tasted the smooth skin there. An answering groan, nearly a growl, came out of him. He hadn’t consciously made it, and yet he would claim it. All his instincts rallied and urged him to claim the woman in his arms, to drag her off somewhere private, to pin her beneath him and take her to the heights of pleasure. Forces stronger than the debating voices in his head whispering, “she’ll hate you for seducing her” and “yes, yes, she wants you; she wants this; she just needs you to relieve her of a few barriers.”
He slipped a hand between them to cradle the warmth of her breast in his hand. Her shirt and the bra beneath were both thin and minimal barriers, but barriers they still were. His other hand dropped to the swell of her ass, full and curvy and a sensuous delight to grip. The woman in his arms was sex incarnate. She was his siren and he gladly went down with his ship, drowning in her seductive depths.
Claire Gillian is the pen name for a number-crunching executive by day and a darkly romantic curmudgeon by night. She also writes fifty shades naughtier stuff under the pen name of Lila Shaw (but please don’t tell her mother) and young adult fiction as Iris St. Clair. No matter which name she uses, Claire is happiest penning romance drenched in humor with a dash of intrigue and loads of spice. Claire lives in the boggy Pacific NW with her husband and two teen-aged sons.
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