Authors: Roxie Noir
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Women's Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Romance, #Contemporary, #New Adult & College, #Romantic Comedy, #Contemporary Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Crime
Copyright © 2016 by Roxie Noir
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
In other words: don’t steal things. Come on. You knew that.
or Mr. Noir
, who muddles through life with me.
he ocean is bullshit
I surface and gasp for air, just in time to see the next wave coming for me, its curve glinting in the morning sun, the froth at the top arching over my head.
, I think, as I hold my breath and duck underneath it.
At least this time I don’t get knocked on my ass. It’s close, though. My surfboard is still attached to my ankle by its leash, and it gets caught by the wave, tugging at me nearly hard enough to pull my feet from under me.
I’ve got salt water up my nose, in my eyes, and in my lungs, thanks to losing my balance yet again and flying off the board and straight into the breakers.
I don’t know why I fucking bother
, I think.
I’m not getting any better at this, and I’m just getting shown up by a bunch of long-haired pussies who probably sit down to piss.
One of the long-haired pussies looks over at me as I try to blow salt water out of my nose. He’s ten yards away, and with the sounds of the ocean there’s no way I could hear him, but he gives me a thumbs up and raises his eyebrows.
I just nod once, then yank on my surfboard’s leash, pulling it back to me. There’s a lull in the waves, and for a moment I think about just leaving, going home, and having a shower and some coffee before work.
But that would be giving up. That would be letting the bullshit ocean
me. I wrestle my board back to me, climb on, and start paddling hard.
In a few minutes all the muscles in my arms and back are screaming, but I’m out past the breakers. I stop, floating on my surfboard as the swells pass under me. It feels like I’m riding a very quiet, very gentle motorcycle over a hilly road.
I run my tongue over my teeth and spit sand into the water, then sit upright on my board, watching the horizon and taking deep breaths. I force myself to relax and let the anger dissipate.
After a few minutes, I don’t want to punch the ocean in its stupid face any more. Hell, surfing is supposed to make me
angry, less aggressive, and more patient.
When I got kicked out of two bars in two weeks for fighting, Tony suggested I start meditating. There was no fucking
I was going to sit around with my fingers in circles and chant
, so he suggested surfing.
I had to do
about the anger issues if I was going to make it on the outside, so I tried it. Turns out surfing is harder than it looks. Just getting to the part where you sit on a board and wait for a wave is exhausting the first time you do it, because swimming in the ocean is hard as shit.
I think I wiped out a dozen times before I caught my first wave, but I’ll never forget that wave. I’ll never forget the feeling of getting something exactly right, of the ocean moving under me like it was lifting me up. I’ll never forget the feeling that I was flying.
, even for a jaded asshole like me. Besides, sitting here in silence as the sun comes up behind me and slowly lights the waves isn’t so bad. It’s peaceful, quiet, gives me some space to think. Sometimes I see dolphins further out, and that’s pretty cool. I’ve never seen dolphins in the flesh before.
One more deep breath. There are no good waves coming, so I shake my arms out and look around. There are only a few other surfers this morning, which is good, because my steering is still shit.
I turn my head and the surfer thirty feet to my left does the same. For a second, we look at each other, and I realize it’s a girl surfer.
girl surfer, her black wetsuit hugging her body perfectly as she looks over her shoulder, legs spread, knees on either side of her board. The way she’s looking behind her she’s half facing me, and my mouth goes dry watching her chest rise and fall inside her wetsuit.
, I’d like to be that surfboard. She could ride me all day and I wouldn’t mind.
The girl turns her head back around and looks at me for a split second. I nod once, but she’s already scanning the shore, her fingers beating a rhythm against the board.
, I tell myself.
Come the fuck on
You’re on the outside now. Know your manners
I look back at the beach as well, and I’m trying not to think about her taking off her wetsuit and straddling me instead, her perfect tits in my face as I grab her hips and pull her down onto me, right there on the sand like animals.
I’m hard as a rock. I sneak a glance down, but for once, it’s not too obvious. Being in freezing cold water is a blessing sometimes, even if my balls feel like they might fall off.
She’s not even that hot
, I tell myself.
What about that redhead last week, with the high heels and the cutoff shorts? She was hotter.
You should call her, if you’ve still got her number.
I sneak another glance at Surfer Girl. She’s looking right the fuck at me, like she can tell what I’m thinking, and this time I maintain eye contact like it’s a challenge.
It’s not a challenge,
I tell myself for the thousandth time this week
. No one’s gonna come up and shiv you while you’re surfing
hotter than the redhead. Miles hotter.
Finally, she looks away at the horizon, and frowns slightly. I look, but I don’t see anything. When I turn back she’s on her stomach, turning her board around, paddling. Looking over her shoulder, paddling more, and so is the one other guy out here.
it. I hate this feeling, that everyone else knows something I don’t.
I turn back around with a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach, and yeah, there it is: a monster swell that came out of nowhere, the first good wave that’s come along all day.
The dude to my right, the long-haired pussy who gave me the thumbs up, is gonna catch it. That means I fucking
to catch it, especially in front of Hot Surfer Girl.
I lie down on my board and swim as hard as I can, every muscle in my upper body straining. But she’s still ahead of me, and so are the wave and the other guy.
I give up and just watch as she pushes herself up and hops onto her feet. She rides the wave in, perfectly relaxed, then hops off and onto the beach, picking up her board.
Surprise surprise, she’s hot standing, too. So hot that I’m not even jealous that she’s ten times better at this than me.
I look like an asshole, because I tried to catch a wave, didn’t, and now I have to paddle the fuck out past the breakers again. The other guy managed to catch the wave, too, and there’s no
I’ve impressed this girl even a little.
For the second time that morning, I fight the urge to punch the ocean.
it, why do I do dumb shit like this? I couldn’t pass up the chance to show off for a girl, and now I look like some kind of douchebag.
I crack my knuckles and clench my hands into fists, but I don’t punch anything. I take a deep breath, then start at a hundred and count backward by threes, slowly. Ninety-seven. Ninety-four. Ninety-one.
Just paddle back out and try it again
, I tell myself.
Then there’s a roar to my left, and I open my eyes just in time to get knocked right the fuck over, because of course I’m sitting right where the waves are breaking. Before I know it I’m scraping along the sand at the bottom, my leg wrenched in one direction by my surfboard’s leash. There’s more salt water up my nose and in my eyes, sand in my mouth. I’m getting rolled over and over. I have no idea which direction is up.
The board hits me in the head, hard enough that I see stars and shout under water. More of it goes in my mouth and down my throat, and I thrash, trying to get the board away from me.
For a long second I’m certain that I’m about to drown twenty feet from the beach, in a foot of water, right in front of the girl I wanted to impress.
Then I’m on my hands and knees, on land, and the water’s receding behind me, tugging my surfboard with it. I pull a long breath in, eyes shut, and cough. My sinuses are burning as I gasp for breath, coughing and spitting sand out of my mouth, still trying to make sense of what happened.
Finally, I get to my feet and take a step toward the beach, but the surfboard’s still attached to my ankle, and it throws me off balance. I catch myself but nearly trip, and that fucking
I grab the leash with both hands and I pull it as hard as I can, but it doesn’t come free. With a snarl I tear the velcro off my ankle, pick the board up, and hurl that fucker down the beach as hard as I can. It skids along the sand, then comes to a stop.
” I mutter, still breathing hard and half-coughing salt water out of my lungs.
Fuck this. Fuck surfing, fuck waves, fuck the ocean. Fuck California.
“You okay?” a voice asks. A female voice, and I know who the only woman on this beach right now is.
“Yea—” I start, but then I’m coughing again, so hard I nearly puke.
“You took a hell of a ride,” she says.
My eyes and nose are streaming, and I can only nod. I fucking wish I were
else besides hacking my lungs out next to the hottest girl I’ve ever seen.
“Caught me by surprise,” I finally gasp.
“They do that,” she says, and she sounds like she’s amused.
I don’t want her to be
at me, but hell, I’ll take it. I paw at my eyes, and even though they’re stinging, I can finally see her up close. She’s got brown-gold hair knotted into a bun behind her head, light brown eyes, sharp cheekbones and full, plush lips.
Even though I might be dying from water inhalation, I
imagine her with those perfect lips around my cock, those eyes looking up at me. I can’t help it.
Fuck. I’m hard, and now I’m not up to my waist in the ocean anymore.
“It’s happened to me a million times,” she says. “Once, when I had a cold and blew my nose, I swear a three-inch strand of seaweed came out. I hadn’t even been surfing in a month.”
I imagine her pulling seaweed from her nose. Somehow, it doesn’t make my erection go away. It doesn’t even lessen it.
“Sorry, that was disgusting,” she says, a smile crinkling the corners of her eyes.
I cough one more time.
“I’ve heard worse,” I say, and try to smile.
“At least you’re wearing a wetsuit,” she says, her eyes sparkling in the morning sun. “I went without one a couple times and got sand in places you wouldn’t believe.”
I raise both eyebrows.
“Try me,” I say, doing my damned best not to ogle her body. I imagine the places that sand could get to, where she might need help getting it out.
She laughs and glances away quickly. I swear there’s a faint pink in her cheeks, buy maybe it’s just the sunrise.
“Trust me, always wear the wetsuit,” she says, her golden eyes shifting back to me. “Have you been surfing long?”
“Yeah, I’m nearly a professional,” I say, letting myself half-smile. “You couldn’t tell when I missed that wave and got knocked on my ass? Fucking expert surfer, right here.”
“You’re getting better, you know,” she says, tilting her head to one side. “And everyone gets thrown tits-over-ass sometimes.”
“I’m getting better,” I echo, letting my voice drop. “So you’ve been watching me?”
This time she
“I’m here a lot,” she says, and shrugs. “When you see the same people over and over again, you notice who’s getting better.”
I’ve definitely never seen her here before. I would
“You’ve seen me but I haven’t seen you,” I say, and narrow my eyes playfully. “Am I being spied on?”
She laughs again.
“No,” she says. “You’ve mostly been too busy trying to hang on to notice anyone else.”
She has a point. I’ve been pretty wrapped up in my own shit lately.
Another big wave comes in, and we both turn to watch one of the other surfers ride it in. He wobbles a little on his feet at first but then it’s smooth sailing after that. He hops off, onto the sand, nods at us, and I sneak a look at the girl’s face as she watches him, jealousy stabbing through me.
“Asshole makes it look like a piece of cake,” I grumble.
“Steve’s been surfing this spot for years,” she says. “You’ve been here what, three months?”
spying on me,” I say, and now I’m grinning.
“I just have a good memory,” she says, and lifts her surfboard to her side. “I gotta go to work, but I’ll see you around, yeah?”
“I’ll be here, pulling seaweed from my nose,” I say.
Hot Surfer Girl waves and walks away, and I watch her like an idiot, wondering if I chased her off.
All the blood in my brain has rushed straight to my dick, and I barely remember how to talk to women anyway. Drunk girls at the bar up in San Luis Obispo don’t count — buy them a shot, wink once, and they fall backwards with their legs open.
, I didn’t even have to do that. I used to be fucking charming. I used to have women text me, out of the blue, that they were thinking about my cock, wouldn’t I come over?
Deep down, there’s a voice saying
go after her
. No: it’s demanding that I go after her.
, even, and for a moment I imagine catching up to her. Pushing her up against the side of her car, leaning over her, my hands on her hips, asking if she wants to get together later.
I can practically imagine the way her eyes would go big and dark, the way her breath would catch in her throat. It used to work. Hell, the last time I tried that, there was no
, only right then in the backseat.
But I’ve been working on my impulse control. Surfing is supposed to help with that, something about patience and practice and nature. Besides, Tony’s said it over and over: I shouldn’t form attachments for a while, at least until I’ve settled in. It could be dangerous.
That’s not even the biggest issue. I’m used to dangerous. Dangerous is nothing.