Melodie felt like slapping the crap out of the enraged old bat who stood in front of her making a scene in the lobby. But she hadn't made it to the top of the corporate ladder by beating up the hotel guests.
She needed to resolve the ugly situation quickly to reduce the impact of this shrew on the other guests. She looked away from the couple momentarily and spotted a very handsome specimen of a man staring at the shrieking witch. There was some serious eye candy to savor over there. A shame she didn't have time to enjoy the view. Yeah, she had to shut this old woman up fast. Using the standard techniques she'd learned in her management course at Harvard, she offered the woman a room discount and free tickets to tomorrow's cruise.
At her husband's insistence, the woman accepted, and the couple departed. Melodie waited until they were out of sight before she rolled her eyes.
"No problem, Tracey."
"Oh, my, that's him."
Melodie lifted an eyebrow and asked, "That's who?"
"The guy I was telling you about--the gorgeous one staying in the honeymoon suite all by himself."
Melodie quickly glanced over her shoulder in the direction of the handsome specimen she'd noticed earlier. Not only was he gorgeous, but he seemed very well endowed, if she wasn't mistaking that bulge in his pants. She took a quick mental snapshot. About six-two, maybe one-eighty, athletic build, honey-golden skin, curly black hair, and dreamy hazel eyes. Wearing low-riding blue jean shorts, white tank top, Birkenstock leather sandals ... nice feet. Yummy.
Her gaze swung back to Tracey. "Are you serious? That's the guy in the honeymoon suite? Alone?"
Tracey smiled. "Yep."
"So, where's his wife?"
"I don't know, but I sure as hell wouldn't mind standing in as a replacement bride. I take that back. I wouldn't mind being the stripper at his bachelor party. That'd be one lap dance neither one of us would forget."
Melodie walked around the registration desk, smothering back a snicker, and shaking her head at one of her best friends. "You can't. You're married."
Tracey laughed. "Oh, right. I forgot."
"As my last duty as manager of this wonderful hotel, I'm going to type up a note about the griping couple so you can put it in their file. Then, my dear, I'm going to start enjoying my vacation."
"If you had any sense, you'd go sidle up to that hot stud and get laid before you fly to New York and start your new job."
"Yeah, right. I don't think so."
Melodie refused to look behind her to see if he was still there. Who in the world sent that man to Aruba all by himself? To the honeymoon suite, no less. Whoever she was, she had to be an idiot.
Maybe he had issues. And issues were not what she needed in her life right now. A good fucking maybe, but no one else's issues. Still, he was scrumptious. Being a stand-in bride--scratch that, lap dancing stripper--was an appealing thought. She giggled to herself. He probably wasn't looking for a replacement bride, but maybe he'd consider a playmate. She shook her head again, laughing to herself.
Melodie finished the letter, printed it, added her signature, and took it back to Tracey. The lobby was now, thankfully, empty.
"I'll see you later."
"Enjoy yourself, Mel."
Bending over, she picked up the plastic green bag she'd dropped before she'd had to deal with the irate couple, and smiled at Tracey over her shoulder as she headed to the beach. The slap, slap of her flip-flops on the marble floor echoed throughout the halls and followed her across the sun deck. When she stepped off the deck, she slipped them off and stood in the sand, wiggling her toes.
She loved the feel of sand under her feet. It reminded her of being a child, when her parents would take her and her sister to the beach every spring break. She lifted her face to the sky, letting the warm sun heat her skin.
She found her favorite spot on the beach. Encircled by large rocks, it provided a cover from peeping eyes, a place for her to disappear and skinny dip in private.
And she needed the respite. Her new job as Vice-President of Planning and New Development of Marriott International, Inc. would consume her every waking moment.
This was her first vacation in--crap, she couldn't remember when. The only thing she wanted to do was swim, get some much-needed rest, and read a few romance novels. If a handsome, naked stud happened to show himself, well, maybe she'd take Tracy's advice and get laid.
She grabbed her towel, whipped it out on the sand, unwrapped her sarong, and put it in her bag. On tiptoe, she peered over the rocks to make sure no one was around, and then removed her bathing suit. The steady wash of waves over sand erased any memory of the screeching shrew. Taking a deep breath, she ran and plunged into the water. Icy cold wetness shocked her senses, but she ignored it as she swam a few strokes. Her body would get used to it.
Engrossed in her swim, Melodie didn't notice the man until she began to surface out of the water.
"Aaahh," she shrieked.
Her startled gaze swung up to meet the same hazel eyes she'd seen in the hotel. There was her handsome specimen standing on the beach like a black Adonis.
"Um ... hi." What in the world was she supposed to do now? She was naked. Stark, raving naked and he stood there with a grin lighting up his gorgeous face. The mental snapshot she'd done earlier had missed the deep dimples in his cheeks.
He waved. "I'm Sam. I saw you walking this way and decided to follow you. I hope you don't mind. I'm not a beach stalker or anything."
Her arms covered her breasts as she hovered in the water. "Well, seeing that I'm naked, and you're standing between me and my clothes, I think I do mind."
He continued to smile and her stomach flipped. Why wasn't she scared? Why did his presence make her want to run up and jump his bones?
He turned and took in their surroundings. "I see you've found your own little corner of the beach."
"Yeah. There's no bartender to give you another round of rum punch, but it's a quiet place to relax and read and, I thought, skinny-dip in private."
There went that smile again. Her body had gotten used to the water, but now, one look at those dimples, it shot into hyper-drive. Hyper-sex was more like it. Lust pooled between her thighs. A whole list of options raced through her brain at something approaching supersonic speed. Only a few seconds passed, but it was enough to make her question twenty-eight years of reasonably rational behavior. Was she that bold? Could she just step out of the water and pretend as if it was nothing?
He reached down and picked up a huge seashell. Well-toned muscles flexed as he tossed it between his hands like a baseball. A sly smile lit the corner of his eyes. "Tell you what. If you want, I'll turn around and give you time to retrieve your bathing suit and put it back on. If you want..."