Dangerous to Love [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Eden Arthur & Amelia Arnold
eBook Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Description: Steve Bishop allows passion to overrule his good sense and learns the real meaning of 'Till Death' from his beautiful wife, Selene. Gina is "Dangerous To Love" and needs a special man who can withstand her demands--and survive. A reporter gets caught up in Shane's "Quest For Mercy."
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, Published: 2008
Fictionwise Release Date: October 2008
by Amelia Arnold
DANGEROUS TO LOVE
Gina watched the tropical sun sink into the dark waters of the Pacific. Palm trees swayed in the ocean breeze and frangipani scented the warm air. Her travel agent was right ... it was the perfect setting for romance.
She gave a deep sigh and wished she could find one love that would last. Things were complicated. If she let herself fall for someone back home, there would be severe repercussions. The family had strict rules, and she dared not defy them--but here she could be free, at least for a time, before she had to sail back to the frozen north country of her birth.
She'd checked in the night before, weary after her long flight. The food on the plane had been less than appetizing, but enough to keep her from suffering any hunger until breakfast. All she'd done was climb into bed and sleep.
By the time she awoke this morning, the sun had risen high and breakfast was long past. She entered the resort's restaurant famished. What she really wanted was a thick, rare steak, but, with an eye to the impression she might make, she ordered the seafood salad and a bloody Mary.
Couples occupied most of the tables. A few single men hovered around the bar. Not interesting. They were graying or balding, with visible "spare tires." Some of them tried to make eye contact with her. She ignored them.
Gina glanced about the room, searching for that one man who would be strong enough to match her appetite for love. She would know him when she saw him. It had been months since she'd had a lover--that big, blond German fellow she met in Zurich. She smiled to herself. He had been a delight, a delicious affair.
If it could just have lasted...
With a feeling of disappointment, Gina concentrated on her meal. She finished the salad and sat back, sipping her drink, when she had the unmistakable tingling sensation that meant someone was watching her. She turned slowly, studying her surroundings. Then she saw him.
Oh, yes. He stood a good six-four and had the body of a superhero, broad at the shoulders, powerful arms and narrow hips. His dark hair fell a bit too long, as if he couldn't be bothered to take the time to get a trim. He was staring, dark eyes fixed on her, and he didn't look away or pretend his attention lay elsewhere. She could feel the heat generated in that gaze.
He walked toward her with the easy grace of a man who knew what he wanted and how to get it. His lips curled in a sensuous, half mocking smile. He slid into the chair opposite her at her small table.
"I'd buy you a drink, but it seems you already have one."
Gina laughed and took the last sip of the bloody Mary. "I could use another one."
"How would that look if I got you drunk before I even know your name?" He didn't wait for her answer, but gave a low laugh and signaled the waiter.
"Just to protect your good reputation, my name is Gina. Gina Delnorte."
He continued to smile. "What makes you think I have a good reputation?"
Gina eyed him boldly, from his expensive leather loafers, well-tailored trousers and colorful aloha shirt to the ruggedly handsome face. The brilliant reds and golds of his bright shirt contrasted with his dark coloring. Not many men could have worn that without being self-conscious. "I haven't heard anything bad about you, but maybe that's because I haven't heard anything at all."
"Touché. May I introduce myself. Sebastian Martinelli."
"Sebastian. That's a mouthful. What do they call you for short?"
"That sounds dangerous."
"Does it frighten you?"
"I don't frighten easily," Gina responded, meeting his steady gaze with a smile. She ran her tongue over her lips to moisten them. "I can take care of myself."
"Ah. I'll bet you can. The lady is bold. Are you brave enough to have dinner with me tonight?"
"I might be. It depends on what goes with dinner."
The waiter arrived at their table and placed a fresh drink before Gina. Sebastian waved him away, and the little islander scurried off as if he'd rather be anywhere else.
"Good food and music. Pleasant talk while we get to know each other. There's a small amusement center in the town. Perhaps you'd enjoy trying your luck at some of the games. It's an interesting place, but I don't advise you to go alone. We have a lot of sea scum waiting to prey on foolish ladies. Especially those as lovely as you."
Gina bowed her head slightly in recognition of the compliment. "Thank you for the warning. Yes, I'd like to join you for dinner."
On the far side of the room a short, swarthy sailor gestured frantically at Sebastian. He frowned. "It seems I have a problem on my ship," he said. "I'll meet you on the terrace at sundown."
Gina nodded and watched him hasten away. He was one fine specimen of manhood--that is, if the rest of him matched the visible. She sat back in her chair and again sipped her beverage. She startled slightly when an elderly Asian woman stopped beside her and whispered, "Be very careful, Missy. Do not trust that one. A broken heart is the least that will come of it."
Gina turned to her and smiled. "Thank you."
The old woman looked deep into Gina's pale eyes and stepped backward, mouth agape. She regained her composure, gave a quick bow and hurried away. * * * *
From the hotel's restaurant came the soft music of the islands. It fit, somehow. The low, fluid notes held a hint of sadness and longing. The horizon burned with the golden flames of the dying sun, while clouds of purple lined with salmon flitted across.
Where is Sebastian? Gina was not a woman men kept waiting. At five-foot-eight, she was not particularly tall, although, with heels, she stood eye to eye with most men. Tonight, with the possibility of walking the arcades, she wore sensible sandals. She knew men considered her figure spectacular. Women picked faults. Too busty. Too much curve of the hips. Too much derriere. Women shook their heads and debated what men saw in her.
Tonight she wore a strapless dress of aquas, greens and blues, a dress made to resemble the sarongs of the natives. She let her long, dark auburn hair hang loose and had pinned a blossom over her ear. There was some sort of tradition--single women wore it one way and those with mates the other. She couldn't recall which was which. It didn't matter. Sebastian would likely know and correct her if it was necessary.
Sebastian. The sun slipped down into the sea and left just streaks of fading colors. The brightest of the stars appeared in the darker sky above. For the first time, Gina began to doubt.
She never heard him approach. All at once she was caught from behind in his powerful arms. She could not have freed herself if she tried, and she didn't. It was Sebastian. She could tell by his scent, a musky aroma of expensive cigar, good scotch, and healthy man's sweat. There was something else, something vaguely familiar, but she could not place it. He grasped her about the shoulders, pinning her arms to her sides.
She relaxed back against him. "I began to think you weren't coming," she murmured petulantly.
"I make it a point never to disappoint a lady." He released her and bent to brush aside her hair.
She shivered when he ran his lips along the nape of her neck. Disappointment filled her when he straightened to his full height and asked in a casual manner, "Are you ready for dinner?"
Food might be important, but that wasn't uppermost in her mind. She reminded herself that she was moving too fast. Take it slowly and enjoy the hunt. Still, she had only three days left in this island paradise before the long trek home. So much of her vacation time had to be spent in travel. If she appeared too forward, though, she might lose this one. With a smile she turned to him and took his hand. "Oh, yes."
They ate in the hotel restaurant. It had the best food on the island, unless one preferred some of the local native delicacies. The man at the check-in desk had mentioned a Chinese restaurant down in the dock area that had excellent Szechuan food, but warned that she must not venture there without an escort. Gina again curbed her appetite and ordered the crab imperiale. The dish proved excellent, but she found herself wishing she had the very rare steak her companion devoured with great relish.
After dinner they strolled into the town to the amusement center. They played the many electronic games and competed for the highest score. In spite of herself, Gina enjoyed the evening, laughing along with Sebastian. Later, they walked back to the hotel and he escorted her to her door.
"Do you want to come in for a nightcap?" Gina asked him.
Instead of an answer, Sebastian took her into his arms and kissed her. She had been wanting that, waiting for it, but it took her by surprise. She found herself unable to resist the insistence of his mouth. With one hand he cupped her breast, running his thumb across the nipple until it grew taut. Her breasts grew heavy, and her body responded with an ancient hunger. Tight against him she could feel the bulge of his erection through the light fabric of her dress.
The kiss ended and Gina, breathless, would have opened her door to admit them to the comfort of her bed when Sebastian whispered, "How long will you be here?"
"The morning flight to Hong Kong?"
"Yes. How did you know?"
"It's the best connecting flight. That's good." He gave her a strange smile. "We have plenty of time then. Sleep well. I'll see you in the morning for a swim." With that he gave her a quick kiss on the forehead and left.
Gina stood outside her door, incredulous. He wanted her. She knew it, and yet he left her there trembling with desire. She opened the door, entered and slammed it behind her.