Authors: Alicia Roberts
Copyright 2012 by Alicia Roberts
This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental.
Disclaimer: The material in this book is for mature audiences only and contains graphic sexual content. It is intended only for those aged 18 and above.
Lea Wilson needed a nice, relaxing break. What she didn't need was to run into an annoying, rugged photojournalist - one who lived in her hotel and frequented her fantasies.
There’s no way she’ll ever be with Adam Brenner. He’s unpredictable and risks his life every day – what she needs is a dependable man who wants to settle down
. Too bad the chemistry between them is so hot…
"You have got to be kidding."
Adam Brenner stared at his editor in disbelief. Unfortunately, Larry didn't look like he was kidding - he looked dead serious.
"A vacation?" Adam repeated after Larry. "Because of what just happened? You know it was nothing, it was - "
"Not the first such accident," Larry finished drily. "What with the time you got stabbed in Outer Eastern Mongolia - "
"Five guys beating up a kid for no reason? You
think I'll just stand there and…"
Then in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Somalia…" Larry had started checking off each accident on his fingers and Adam winced.
"Come on, Larry, you know
each time I had no choice…"
"And now finally this incident in
Adam tried to speak nonchalantly. "I was trying to escape the gunfire."
"Bullshit. The hospital report's got everything I need to know." Larry tossed an envelope containing x-rays and doctors' reports on his table. "The bullet hit your tibia bone from the front, which means you were running
the gunfire, not away from it."
sighed, he'd never been a good liar. And as a veteran war journalist, Larry wasn't a guy who'd accept your bluffs. Might as well come clean. "She was four years old and caught in-between Gaddafi's forces and the rebels. If I didn't run in to grab her…"
The memory of that day rose up before his eyes, as real as if he w
as still there - the heat of the desert, the smell of fighting, the screams and gunshots, and above all, the toddler's terrified eyes. If he hadn't grabbed her - well, he certainly wouldn't have been able to look himself in the mirror again. He gulped and cleared his throat quickly. "You know you would've done the same thing if you were there."
But Larry didn't look sympathetic. His eyes were cold and he leaned back in his chair. "I pay you to report the news, Adam. Not create it."
Adam smiled and rolled his eyes
. "And who's going to report the news if I'm not there? You know the other guys won't ever get your shots rights."
"But they get back to me alive and intact. Unlike you."
He stared at Adam pointedly and a ripple of worry worked its way up Adam's spine. Was he really being suspended after all that hard work, all those amazing photos?
"I'll be more careful next time."
"Not with that limp of yours, you won't."
Adam laughed. So that was the problem! "The limp was just practice," he said lightly, "I was gonna use it on the ladies."
He got up and moved around the room. "I can walk just fine, see?"
The office was thankfully small, so he only had space to take a few steps and show off his gait.
Larry shook his head. "You need at least a month off to let the wound heal. I don't want you having to limp away from rebels next time - they might not miss."
started to protest but Larry raised a hand to stop him. "It's already arranged. There's a free ticket to Saint Martin's in this envelope, and the address of the hotel where you've got a month's free stay. Pierce was supposed to stay there and cover Kate's secret second honeymoon, but that got cancelled."
Pierce covered the celebrity gossip, so Kate must be the media's latest darling. Adam didn't care either way - all he wanted was to get back on the field.
"I'm fine and you know it. You know photo quality'll go down if I'm not doing my job and sales will go down. I'm going back on field."
"You're doing no such thing. Now, you can take those free tickets and get better in
Saint Martin's or if you really want to work, you can cover the New York social events."
Adam made a face. Larry knew his weak spot - he hated the superficial. He'd much rather be trapped in a small room with wild tigers than be at a high-falutin' snooty party.
"How 'bout I just stay here, visit my old pals and stuff?"
Larry's expression softened a bit. "You know, most guys would jump at the free tickets. And I think you need a break - something fun to take your mind off all that stuff. Sun and surf can clear your mind, and you'll probably take better photos after the break."
Larry sure knew how to convince a guy, Adam had to give him that. He rolled his eyes and let out a melodramatic sigh as he stood up and grabbed the envelope with the free ticket in it. "Ok, mom. I'll see you in a month."
He strode out of the room purposefully and Larry called out after him - "You'll need a doctor's clearance before I can let you board a plane again."
Sure, sure, whatever. Adam shook his head and once he was out of Larry's sight he dropped the act. It had been killing him to put pressure on his wounded leg, and he limped his way over to the elevator.
"Mmmfft …" Amelia Wilson took another bite out of the blueberry Danish. "You've really outdone yourself. No wonder your cafe's doing so well!"
Melissa Drake smiled indulgently as her cousin finished her Danish and moved onto a chocolate éclair.
"That's sweet of you to say, Lea."
"No, no, I mean it, these are amazing…"
Lea wanted to continue telling Mel how awesome here pastries were, but it wasn't possible to eat and talk at the same time - and eating more of that éclair was her top priority.
. "Well, I wanted you to eat something before you got on that plane. I know you're not going to eat anything on the flight and I didn't want you to land there half-starved. Have you finished packing?"
Lea shook her head and continued munching on the éclair. Her room was a mess, with clothes strewn about carelessly and discarded on the bed. "I really should get rid of most of these clothes."
Mel raised an eyebrow as she picked up a sparkly, gold-sequined tank top. "Wow, this sure brings back memories."
"Ugh. Speaking of things to get rid of…"
"Why don't you pack it for your trip? I'm sure there are nightclubs in Saint Martin's."
"Please. And give the paparazzi another excuse to hound me? I'm so sick of those 'Lea Wilson Lapses Into Old Ways' articles."
Mel held the top against herself and made an exaggeratedly sultry face. "Lea Wilson, It Girl. What
you packing by the way, where's your suitcase?"
With a mouth full of the creamy éclair, Lea gestured towards her small rolling luggage lying open in the corner of the room. Things had been stuffed i
n haphazardly - a hair straightener, bottles of sunscreen and lotion, underwear, a few sensible clothes. Mel pursed her lips when she saw the mess - Lea was a seasoned traveler, but her packing skills left much to be desired. Or maybe she planned to take it all out and roll things together and fit everything in nicely? She glanced back at Lea, who was still focused on the éclair.
A slinky black piece of fabric caught Mel's eye and she pulled it out, puzzled. It wasn't much fabric, and it seemed so much less conservative than the type of clothes Lea wore nowadays - she held it up against herself and the mystery solved itself.
to be kidding me." She looked exasperatedly at Lea, who merely shrugged. "No. Way. No way are you wearing this. Not in Saint Martin's, not ever."
"I need something for the beach…"
"Yeah, and it should
like something you wear to the beach. Not like some kind of tent, or super-conservative t-shirt with built in shorts." She walked back to the wardrobe and tossed it in. "Oh no, better yet…" She fished it out again and put it together with the slinky gold tank top. "You're getting rid of this piece of 1820's swimwear. If you're throwing clothes out, this thing should be the first to go."
"Oh, come on, it's not that bad…"
Mel shook her head in amusement. "Where did you even find that piece of bathing suit history? A museum? I haven't seen anything like that in stores recently. Or did you get it at the Show No Skin store?"
Lea had finished her éclair and she stalked out of the room in search of coffee. "I don't want any paparazzi hounding me," she called back over her shoulder as she headed towards the kitchen.
"Yeah, I can see that," Mel muttered to herself. She heard the sounds of the coffee machine being switched on, and the rattling of mugs as Lea selected one that was large enough for her drink.
"You want some coffee?"
"No thanks," Mel called back as she rummaged through Lea's drawers, "I should get going soon."
It took Lea a few minutes to make her coffee the way she liked, and when she finally got back to her room, Mel had pulled out a few different things from her wardrobe. Lea would've scowled at someone going through her clothes, but she and Mel had always been like sisters and had frequently shared clothes, so she didn't mind - but she did roll her eyes at the sage-green bikini Mel had laid out on the bed. "Did you want to take that home?"
"No, silly. It's for you. I've tossed that black t
ent-ey thing away, you're going to be wearing this and this and this," she gestured to another red bikini and a blue one-piece swimsuit with strategic cuts around the midsection, "In St Martin's."
Lea put her mug down on the dresser. "Ugh, h
on, I really don't think …"
, that's it - don't think. Have fun! Just for once! The paparazzi should be tired of you by now, and even if they aren't, forget about them and just enjoy yourself. Besides, there shouldn’t be any paps at St Martin’s, this time of the year."
Lea was about to protest so Mel quickly
held up two sundresses and a sarong. "Look, you can wear these over your swimsuits, ok? You're not seventy yet, so why should you dress like that? Besides," she raised a suggestive eyebrow, "You'll never catch a man dressing like that."
"Hah! I don't need to "catch" a man…"
"I know, I know," Mel said quickly. "But, you know…"
They both stared at each other uncertainly. Though they were very close and shared all the details of their lives with each other, Mel wasn't sure that she wanted to bring up Ted,
Amelia's ex-fiance. Ted had left her unceremoniously almost two years’ back - he'd decided he didn't really want to settle down and preferred a few more years of one night stands and "single life".
The breakup had been hard for Lea, who'd thought that Ted was a stable, emotionally mature guy with whom she'd have kids and raise a family. Since their breakup, Lea had guarded her heart carefully, hardly ever going out on dates.
Mel felt terrible about Lea's pain, but she secretly thought that Ted had never been good enough for Mel - he was boring, stale, and uninteresting. But since that fateful night
six years ago when Lea had given up her "It Girl ways" and the men who came with that lifestyle, she'd been determined to go out with only the most serious, family-oriented and "grown up" men. Men whom Mel found incredibly boring.