Brandy searched until she found a secluded sundeck, a small one isolated from the others, toward the back of the boat. Delighted to find herself alone, she lay back in the deck chair, closing her eyes and sighing contentedly. She'd enjoyed chatting with her tablemates at breakfast, but sometimes she needed a little space.
The meal had been awesome, with more food laid out than Brandy had ever seen in one place in her life. She had heard that about these cruises -- that the food was to die for. She'd have to be careful, or she'd get back to Galveston ten pounds heavier.
As she'd suspected, she had yet to run into the anonymous couple from the night before. For that, she was thankful.
Her belly felt cold for a moment and she opened her eyes. “Do you mind?” A tall, lean, darkly tanned man with laughing blue eyes pointed at the chair to her left.
Brandy's voice froze in her throat as she recognized him.
He raised his eyebrows. “If this seat's taken …” There seemed a world of meaning behind those simple words.
She should say yes. She wanted to say yes. Didn't she?
Nope. She wanted to say no, I was saving it for you. She wanted to say, what was that last night? She wanted to say, could you please
fuck me? Now? Instead, she settled for “Go ahead.”
The stranger turned and stretched out on the lounger. He exuded confidence and moved with the liquid grace of a jungle cat. Brandy studied him surreptitiously. He was older than she'd thought. In the light of day, a touch of gray glinted in his short-cropped, light brown hair. Forty, maybe? But he was in damn good shape. Through lowered lashes, she admired his narrow hips, his well-defined thigh and calf muscles.
“May I join you?” A deep, slightly husky voice with a musical lilt startled Brandy. She looked up into hazel eyes dotted with flecks of green. There was a hint of accent to the words. French, maybe? Without waiting for an answer, the woman sat down in the chair to Brandy's right and held out her hand. “Hi. I'm Madeleine, but you can call me Lin.”
Brandy hesitated for a moment. This wasn't a chance encounter. These people had sought her out. If she picked up her bag and left, then this would be over before it started. That's probably what she should do.
The woman waited, she and her partner watching Brandy patiently with their unusual, mesmerizing eyes. Like a match to dry tinder, their presence fanned the heat in her groin.
Brandy took a deep, unsteady breath. Held out her hand. Listened to herself say, in a strangely breathless voice, “It's nice to meet you. I'm Brandy Mitchell.”
Their smiles were like twin suns, burning their way into her soul. Her heart skipped a beat. She stared at Lin's smooth hand in hers.
The woman held on for just a moment longer than necessary, then let go with obvious reluctance. Her fingers grazed Brandy's palm lightly -- sending a shiver up her spine -- as she pulled away. She gestured toward the man in the lounger. “This is my husband, Eric Brogan.”
“That's right,” Brandy said, striving to keep her voice light and friendly. “I remember seeing you two together at the party last night.”
Oh. My. God. Heat rushed to her cheeks as she realized what she had just said. Frantically, she reached for her beach bag. “Here. I'll move so you two can sit together.”
“Oh, no.” Madeleine reached out and grasped Brandy's arm to stop her from rising. The tips of her fingernails inadvertently, or perhaps purposely, brushed across Brandy's nipple. Brandy felt a very different kind of flush rising in her chest at the contact. “You stay right there,” Madeleine purred. She exchanged a glance and a small smile with her husband. “We're fine.”
Brandy had no idea what to do next. They seemed to be waiting for something, but she didn't know what it was they wanted her to do. Actually, she had an idea, but she wasn't sure she was ready yet. She imagined saying, “Your cabin or mine?” but the words just wouldn't come. Her brain kept telling her to get up and walk away, but her body wanted to stay and see what would develop. Disgusted with herself, she settled for a noncommittal, “Okay, if you're sure.” Lying back against the lounger, she closed her eyes, wondering what she would do if they made the next move.
She didn't have long to wait. As she lay there, she could almost feel the tension building in the air -- like the electric potential that gathered just before a lightning storm. Without opening her eyes, Brandy sensed that both her companions were watching her as they had the night before, their gazes raking her body. She shifted nervously, her nipples hardening into rounded pebbles that strained against her bikini top.
A cool touch on her neck nearly made her jump out of her skin. She opened her eyes to find Lin's hazel ones only inches from hers. “You're so fair. You're getting a little pink. I thought you might want some sunscreen.” Her lotion-slathered hand slid smoothly down Brandy's neck.
Brandy swallowed hard, working to keep her breathing slow and measured. She gazed into those hazel eyes as the woman's hands smoothed the cool lotion over her chest. Distracted by movement, she looked up to find Eric kneeling by her side.
Squirting lotion into his hands, he smiled. “I'll do your legs.”
Brandy's heart was stuck in her throat. Lin's touch stoked the fire in her belly, and her breath fluttered in her chest at the look in Eric's eyes. They hesitated for a moment, as though waiting for her to protest. When she said nothing, they carried on, as though it were the most natural thing in the world.
She was both startled and excited by her body's strong responses. Appalled at her willingness to let it continue, and yet intrigued by the fierce attraction she felt to them both. Wondering what it would be like to be loved by them.
She looked from Eric to Lin and back again. Lin's palms were cool and soft on her chest; Eric's warm and rough on her calves. He worked his way up to her thighs, kneading them softly. Lin described soothing circles on Brandy's heated flesh.
Moisture gathered between her legs. Her nipples ached. Madeleine's gaze flickered, resting on the taut peaks evident beneath the thin material of Brandy's swimsuit. She licked her lips, ran her French-manicured nails over the swell of Brandy's breasts, along the edge of the cream-colored swim top.
Eric's fingers were toying with the elastic of her bikini bottoms. She tensed, and they both looked up. For a long moment, the three of them seemed suspended in time. Eric and Lin watched her intently. Waiting. They seemed to see so deep, reawakening dark desires she had relegated to the depths, hiding them even from herself.
She burned for them. Yearned for their touch.
As though sensing her desire, Lin slipped her hand beneath the top. Ran her lotion-slicked fingers over Brandy's nipple.
Brandy sighed. Spread her legs.