Authors: Debbi Rawlins
Tags: #Spring Break
“I can’t seem to keep my hands off you.”
“Or my mouth.” He nuzzled the side of her neck, then pressed light kisses across her collarbone.
She shuddered, and slowly, deliberately, moved her hips against his. Her entire body tingled with awareness. She couldn’t believe their chemistry was still this strong after six years of not seeing each other. It was almost embarrassing.
“Let’s order room service,” he said. “We’ll eat on the balcony. Share a nice bottle of wine. Remember?”
Oh, she remembered all right. The cool air danced across her skin, making her shiver. Or maybe it was the way he stared at her, his eyes dark with promise and danger, as if his plans for her landed on the other side of wicked. The thought triggered a delicious tingle of anticipation.
“Perfect,” she whispered into his ear and kissed him gently once, twice on his cheek. “You’re perfect.”
When I was a teenager living in Hawaii, surfing was big. You didn’t have to watch the news or listen to the radio to know when the swells were up. Half an empty classroom said it all. I never thought about it then, but looking back now, I don’t think many people considered ditching school to go surfing was the same as cutting class. If they did, the beaches would have been crawling with truant officers instead of sand crabs. Surfing was simply part of the culture. That said, because I attended a small private school until my senior year, absences were not tolerated and yours truly was stuck at a desk sweating over Algebra.
Still, that didn’t keep me from the surfing beaches. Because there were boys there. Really cute boys with killer bodies. That was high school, though, and my tastes have vastly changed since then.
I never thought I’d write a surfer hero. But when it came time to create a second story for my Spring Break series, Rick Granger wiggled his way into my brain and stuck. He was perfect for shy, sheltered Lindsey. Who better to convince her that she already was the strong woman she wanted to become? The kind of woman who ended up helping Rick put his own life into perspective.
I very much enjoyed crafting both characters. I hope you enjoy them, too, as well as a glimpse of the quieter side of Hawaii.
143—HE’S ALL THAT
159—GOOD TO BE BAD
183—A GLIMPSE OF FIRE
250—THE HONEYMOON THAT WASN’T
312—SLOW HAND LUKE
351—IF HE ONLY KNEW…
WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS
417—ALL OR NOTHING
455—ONCE AN OUTLAW
467—ONCE A REBEL
528—LONE STAR LOVER
603—SECOND TIME LUCKY
“Uh, Lindsey, you do know we’re celebrating, right?” Grinning, Mia picked up the champagne bottle and started to refill glasses.
Lindsey quickly grabbed her half-empty flute. “No more for me until we eat something.”
“Seriously?” Shelby made a face. “And ruin our buzz?”
“I’m not flying back to Chicago tomorrow morning with a hangover.” Lindsey hadn’t meant to sound defensive. Now wasn’t the time to get squeamish. She’d agreed to take the plunge. Sign her life away. Give up her job. Move back to Manhattan. She wouldn’t change her mind now. Even though she wanted to throw up just thinking about the uncertainty they faced in starting the new business.
“Sometimes you’re just no fun.”
“Shut up, Shelby.” Mia set the bottle back in the silver bucket. “This is huge. Not that I don’t have total faith in us, but let’s be real. We are taking a big risk.”
Lindsey’s stomach clenched. The three of them had talked about opening the concierge/rental business ever since junior year in college, when their sorority had used the concept for a fundraiser. Then they had only rented themselves out, but the new business would be more comprehensive, renting out everything from designer purses and iPhones, to college students willing to run errands or host parties. It was a perfect concept for a city like Manhattan, and in theory she’d been all for it, until it meant giving up everything that made her feel safe and secure.
Mia happily lifted her refilled flute. “To Anything Goes.”
“I think we’ve already made that toast.” Shelby grinned and clinked her glass to Mia’s.
“A couple of times,” Lindsey murmured, then smiled gamely and raised her glass in solidarity.
These were her best friends in the whole world. She’d missed them desperately since moving to Chicago after graduation. It hadn’t been enough that they talked or texted every day, or that they got together twice a year. They were all busy with their jobs, and life seemed to be passing them by.
Mia had been the one gutsy enough to do something about it. She’d made the call, got them all on a conference line and reminded them that they’d sworn on their beloved iPods that once they’d saved enough money, they would take the leap. Lindsey admired Mia’s confidence and take-charge personality. And Shelby was just so charming and comfortable in her own skin that Lindsey was unashamedly envious. If she were going to gamble her future on anyone, it would be these two.
. She’d already signed the loan documents. Two hours ago. Mia would turn in her resignation tomorrow. Shelby would submit hers when she returned to Houston on Monday. Lindsey had to step up and do the same.
She stared out the bar’s window at the gathering darkness, squinting when she thought she saw snow flurries. Certainly not impossible. It was early March after all.
Blinking, she heard a couple of key words that made her realize she’d missed out on part of the conversation. The discussion had turned to men, or the lack thereof.
“It’s not like when we were in college,” Mia was saying. “Manhattan isn’t exactly teeming with eligible men.”
“Well, neither is Chicago,” Lindsey added. “I haven’t had a real date in seven months.” She eyed Shelby, who never seemed to have trouble in that department. “Maybe we should’ve moved to Houston, Mia. If things got too bad, at least we could count on leftovers.”
Shelby waved a hand. “Oh, sweetie, you’re delusional if you think I’ve had any better luck there.”
Lindsey snorted. “Right.”
Mia’s brows arched. “Really, Shelby?”
“Really,” she answered defensively, and then shrugged. “I can’t remember the last time I went out a second or third time with the same guy and those are the dates that count.” She sniffed. “And no, it’s not because I’m too picky.”
“You have every reason to be damn picky. We all do,” Mia said.
“Amen.” Lindsey downed a sip, even after she’d told herself to lay off for a while. “Still would be nice to have an assortment to be picky over.” She frowned at Mia. “Whatever happened to that guy you worked with? David, right?”
Mia choked out a laugh. “There was never anything there.”
“Yeah, I remember him,” Shelby said. “When you first started with the firm you thought he was hot.”
“He is hot. Sadly, he’s taken.”
“Married?” Lindsey said sympathetically. She’d nearly made that mistake with a guy who worked for the same accounting firm she did. Fortunately, he worked out of the Detroit office and their flirting had taken place over the phone. Good thing she’d found out the jerk was married before she’d met him in person.
“To the job,” Mia said, and went on about David being too chicken to break company policy. Then she grabbed the champagne, and topped off everyone’s glasses. “This is what I don’t get…when we were in school there were all kinds of guys around. If we didn’t have a date, it was because we didn’t want to go out.”
“I know, right?” Shelby frowned thoughtfully. “Even when we went out in groups, guys always outnumbered us. So what the hell happened to them? They can’t
be married and living in the burbs.”
“You have a point.” Mia sipped slowly. “Even during spring break, I swear, there were two guys to every girl.”
“I’m the accountant,” Lindsey said. “I’d say more like three to one.”
“Junior year. Fort Lauderdale.” Shelby slumped back, sighing. “Oh, my God.”
“Are you kidding?” Mia stared at her in disbelief. “Come on. Senior year, Waikiki beach, hands-down winner.”
Lindsey smiled broadly. “Yep,” she said, easily recalling Rick’s face. His body. Oh, God, what a night that had been.
“Hey, guys,” Mia said, after a long silence. “I have an idea.”
“Oh, no.” Lindsey groaned. “I don’t know if I can take another one.”
“No, this is good.” Mia grinned. “There’s no law that says spring break is just for college kids.”
“Okay.” Shelby drew out the word.
Lindsey had the distinct feeling she wouldn’t like where this conversation was headed.
“We’re going to be working our asses off until we get Anything Goes off the ground, right? If we want to take a vacation, this is the time. Probably the last time for years. Who knows, maybe we’ll even get laid.”
Lindsey frowned. “Hawaii?”
“Why not?” Mia glanced at the empty champagne bottle and signaled the waiter.
“Because it’s too expensive, for one thing. Are you forgetting we’ve just signed our lives away?”
“I don’t know.” Mia sighed, moved a shoulder. “Maybe we can go on the cheap, pick up one of those last-minute deals.”
“It wouldn’t hurt to see what’s available,” Shelby said.
Lindsey hated the idea, but she figured she’d get voted off the island. “I suppose not.” She set down her glass, her head spinning. “But we’d have to set a budget first. A firm budget.”
Mia nodded in agreement, and Lindsey studied her, wondering what the heck was going on. This wasn’t like Mia. She was usually more cautious and sensible. They were alike in that way.
“You know what would be really cool?” Shelby leaned forward. “Remember those three guys we met on our last day on Waikiki beach?”
“Uh, yeah,” Mia said. “Smokin’ hot.”
Lindsey stiffened. “What about them?”
“What if we could get them to meet us?” Grinning, Shelby darted a mischievous look between them. “In Hawaii.”
Oh, lord. Lindsey’s stomach churned and for a moment she thought she really was going to be sick.
“How would we do that? We don’t even know their last names.” Mia snorted. “Not to mention they’re probably married or in prison.”
Shelby made a face at Mia, then ignored her completely. “We know what university they went to, so we use Facebook.”
“Huh.” Mia looked as if she were mulling it over. “We could send a message to the alumni group. It couldn’t hurt.”
“But they’ll have to have signed up as alumni in order to get the message.” Lindsey clung to the hope that this crazy idea would fall apart. She couldn’t see Rick again. Her friends didn’t understand. She hadn’t told them everything about that night.
Shelby shrugged. “Lots of people do. I have, haven’t you?”
Mia shook her head. “Look, they answer, they don’t, so what? It’s Waikiki. We’re bound to meet some gorgeous surfers who’ll be ready to party.”
“I like it.” Shelby dug in her purse and produced a pen. “Anybody have a piece of paper or a dry napkin?”
Mia pulled her day planner out of her leather tote and tore off a used page. “Here.”
“Oh, my God, they still have those things around? Why don’t you use your BlackBerry?” Shelby found a clean spot on the table and started writing.
“I do both,” Mia said, and glanced meaningfully at Lindsey, who Mia knew would normally appreciate the caution.
Right now, all Lindsey could think about was what it would be like to see Rick again, to feel his talented hands all over her body.
“Okay, how about something like this…” Shelby squinted as if she were having trouble reading her own writing. “Here we go… ‘Remember spring break? Mia, Lindsey and Shelby will be at the Sea Breeze Hotel during the week of March whatever. Come if you dare. You know who you are.’”
“Not bad, but we’ll have to be more specific.” Mia did a quick mental calculation. “Remember spring break 2004.”
“Right.” Shelby scribbled in the correction. “Lindsey, what do you think?”
She shoved a hand through her hair and exhaled a shaky breath. It was dim in the bar. Maybe they couldn’t see her blush all the way to her blond roots. “I think you’ll have to change Lindsey to Jill.”
Shelby blinked. “You didn’t give him your real name?”
Lindsey slowly shook her head, and ignored the eruption of laughter. She was too busy panicking over seeing him again.