© L. Rosario
“You have to get yourself together, girl.” Her voice could barely be heard above the sound of the ocean, but it felt good to speak out loud, and it gave her the strength to square her shoulders and get on with things. First on the agenda was a trip to Captive Fantasy to find out if the owner, Valentino, would take her to Sera. Considering what he and Sera had gone through to be together, one would think they’d still have a relationship. Only one way to find out.
Nadia gave the ocean one last look before stepping back out of the surf. Maybe the first thing she needed was a shower to wash away the stench of the beach. Yes, excellent idea. She turned from the water’s edge, intent on making a quick detour back to her motel room, but took only one step before stopping to stare. A man strolled toward her with his head down and his hands shoved into the front pockets of his long shorts. He had the kind of stride that screamed familiarity with the stubborn sand, and even in the moonlight she picked out sun-bleached strands snaking their way through his otherwise caramel-colored hair. If she needed further proof of his affinity for the beach, it was there in the golden hue of the skin left bare by his tank top.
Looking him up and down, she realized the only thing missing was a surfboard. Ick, he probably tasted like the ocean, and she wasn’t that hungry. Before she could escape without notice, his head came up and their gazes met. He stopped, and Nadia continued to stare.
The highlighted hair feathered over his forehead, nearly eclipsing his eyes, but doing nothing to hide the raw masculinity of his features. His strong nose might have dominated his face if not for the lush mouth below and the perfect line of his jaw. Lips quirking, he started toward her again.
Nadia dragged her attention back to the man’s eyes, dying to know what color they were, and held her ground as he approached. No one in their right mind would forgo the chance to sink their teeth into such a divine treat, and if he turned out to taste like the ocean, she’d chew some gum afterward.
He halted, leaving a few feet between them, but it was close enough for her to see that his eyes were some nondescript hazel color. It was the sort of color that changed depending on what the person had on, and she wondered what color they would be if he were naked. The dark baggy shorts and loose, white tank top did not necessarily showcase the body underneath, but they could not hide the defined muscles of his shoulders. No one could have shoulders like that without having the rest of the package to match.
“Are you out here alone?” Mmm. His voice carried just a hint of an unexpected accent. Although too subtle to place, it stirred memories of Jason murmuring to her in his native Portuguese, which was odd considering this man couldn’t look more California surfer if he tried.
His question seemed an odd way to start a conversation, but it was better than her asking him to bare his neck. “I am, yes.”
His gaze swept the beach before coming back to her. “Should you be?”
“A few moments ago, I might have answered no, but now I’m beginning to think coming here was an excellent idea.” Her meaning wasn’t lost on him, and he flashed a heart stopping smile that revealed perfect white teeth.
“Before I get my hopes up, tell me why you’re alone at the beach, at midnight.” He took a few more steps toward her, and she caught the fragrance of his skin. Coconut. Now why wasn’t she surprised?
“I came here to think.” Nadia glanced toward the ocean and watched while a wave washed over the shore. The air stirred beside her, and when she turned, she looked right into a pair of mischievous hazel eyes, which at the moment held more green than any other color. Standing this close, not only could she smell his skin, she could hear his heart racing. He didn’t know enough to fear her, so she assumed it was excitement.
“What does a pretty thing like you have to think about so deeply that you need this sort of solitude?” He swept his arm out to encompass the vast beach. To her surprise, instead of shoving his hand back into his pocket, he lightly brushed a few strands of hair back from her forehead. Their skin didn’t touch, but the air between them thickened into something palpable and rare enough not to ignore.
Nadia took the final step that separated them and felt the heat pouring off his body. Her mouth watered with the need to feed, and she wanted to rip the tank top off him and rake her nails over his chest while burying her mouth against his throat. Despite how lovely his face was, it had not escaped her notice that he possessed a neck any vampire would kill to bite. Thick chords ran up either side of his throat, and his pulse visibly beat at the base. The sight called to her already enflamed hunger, and she stifled the urge to lunge at him.
“Believe it or not,” she forced out, around her lengthening fangs. “I have a great deal to think about.” Very lightly, she trailed her fingertips up his left arm, making the muscles dance and tighten in the wake of her touch. “But I’ve done all the thinking I want to do for one night.” She lifted her gaze to his and caught the hunger there. “I want you.”