I came into awareness of wet grit and heat covering me. I was wet, hot, and covered, and none in the good kind of way. I cautiously raised my head from the sand that cradled it and scanned my immediate area.
I was alone. Images and sounds flooded back of crunching metal and rushes of water. I scooted to my knees and called out with a shaky voice.
“Hello? Anyone there?” I prayed I wasn’t the only survivor.
A moment later I saw two sets of sexy, muscled legs come into view.
The men from the plane!
“Hey there. We would have moved you, but we feared doing so until we knew for sure you hadn’t suffered any injuries,” stated my knight in shining armor, who’d moved to sit next to me.
Neither man had his suit on anymore. They had cut off their pants at the knees and had tied their shirts around their waists, leaving them bare-chested, to my silent delight.
“I’m Lucas, and this”—he motioned toward Mr. Man Bun—“is Austin.” Lucas helped me to my feet. “I felt bad leaving you sprawled like that, but…”
“It was my fault. Blame me. They say you aren’t to move an injured person, and though neither of us saw you hit anything, well, crashing into the ocean is a bit disorientating,” Lucas finished.
Disorientating? Fucking terrifying is more like it.
“Better to err on the side of caution I suppose,“ I answered now that my voice had returned.
“And you are?” Lucas asked.
“Oh, yeah…name. I’m Lacy. Lacy Dawson. A pleasure to meet you…er, sort of.”
“Yeah, bad circumstances. I’ve heard of dream vacations going bad, but this?” Austin agreed.
“What about the captain?” I asked, fearing the worst.
“We aren’t sure. We saw him swimming toward us. He was waving and yelling something. He had a floatation device and one of those flashing beacons. We think he was trying to get to us, but a large wave came between us and sent us all over the place. We haven’t seen him since bringing you ashore last night.”
“How long was I out?” Maybe that was why I felt so refreshed after a freaking plane crash.
“From the time we pulled you to the surface until just now. That’s why we were worried maybe you’d been injured. We gently checked you out and found no evidence of any trauma, but out of caution, and making sure you were turned enough to breathe safely, left you alone.”
“Ahh, okay. I wondered why I was feeling, well, not as bad as expected—considering, you know.”
“Well, the pilot did an amazing job at landing us. A wing came off, but we basically landed over crashing,” Lucas reiterated.
“Amazing,” I commented, meaning it. How he’d managed to land us as he apparently had was a miracle. I patted my body down. “Well, far as I can tell, I’m fine. I actually feel pretty darn good.”
“Good.” Both men answered simultaneously, while gesturing me to follow them. I did, maneuvering in and around all the tropical plants that surrounded us as I followed them from the beach into the lush forest.
As hard as I tried to keep my eyes on the foliage, they continued to stray on the two firm asses in front of me. Lord have mercy! You could bounce anything off of them. And those legs. Lean, toned, golden, and images of all those muscles flexing for good cause, such as pumping against me, kept slithering through the known need for practicality right now. We’d just survived a crash landing. Sex so shouldn’t even be on my mind.
“Here we are. Home sweet home until we figure something out,” Lucas stated, pointing to the structure he and Austin had built while I’d been dozing under a palm tree.
“You did all this while I was sleeping?” I’d expected nothing more than a lean-to, but this? Wow. It even featured a sleeping stand that would keep us off the ground. This was then covered with large, green leaves. I also recognized the strips of cloth tying limbs here and there as where most of their pants had gone.
“Lucas is an architect, and I work for a travel magazine, which has afforded me insight into many cultures and rural practices.”
“Wow—I mean. I’m so impressed, I’m near speechless.”
“Austin did most of this. While I am an architect and was able to offer input, Austin’s hands-on knowledge came in handy. Where were you again, where you helped construct huts?” Lucas asked Austin.
“Thailand. While I was over there, a village was struck by a massive hurricane. Those uninjured came together to build as many emergency structures as possible. It was a horrific, yet truly inspiring sight. Put my faith back in humanity.” Austin, in a matter of a few moves, had re-twisted his hair back into a perfect bun to tuck away several loose strands.
“Thought I’d lost my best friend. It was several days before he was able to get access to a satellite phone and let his family know he was fine,” Lucas followed up.
Lucas’s concern for his friend touched me, as did Austin’s actions in Thailand.
“Bottom line, we’re both pretty handy at making the best out of very little,” Austin summed up. “Hopefully the pilot’s last call went out and search parties will be on the hunt for us. But in case, we sought out a water source and created a shelter.” The man was proud and had every damn right to be. His green eyes danced with life. My nipples pebbled under their gaze, and I had to fight to squelch the rapid desire raging within me.
A slight, jasmine-scented breeze blew over us, and something swinging from branches drew my attention.
“What’s that?” I asked, pointing to a baglike thing hanging high in the branches.
Lucas answered, his blue eyes taking in first me then the bag. “Foods we’ve scavenged up. We didn’t think having them around the ground would be wise.”
“Why? There aren’t wild animals or anything around are there?” I immediately scoped out our area. I wasn’t a weenie who went screaming over some armadillo waddling by, but I sure as hell wasn’t up to taking on a panther or bear or anything either.
Or spiders. Never, ever spiders. I shuddered just thinking of them and the idea one might crawl over me during the night. Hopefully our rescue came before nightfall. Though it would be a shame to waste all the guys’ hard work.
Men and their egos. Never screw with a dude’s ego.
“I’m sure there are wild boars, and, well, insects are a given. Honestly, I’m not sure what island we landed on, so I can’t be positive of the demographics.”
Great. My all-expenses-paid, dream vacation might just cost me my life. Perfect.
“You’ll be fine. Most critters try and avoid people at all costs, but in any event, we’ll have a fire going.”
“Wow, I’m impressed. I didn’t even think of a lighter or anything,” I admitted.
“Lighter? Nah, old-school Boy Scout here,” Lucas stated, grabbing a piece of wood from the pile I just now noticed.
“Ditto here,” Austin announced, doing a two-finger salute up by his forehead. I assumed it was some Boy Scout sign or other.
Both knelt before me, bare-chested, and began working in earnest with some dry, mossy stuff until before my eyes, a small puff of smoke appeared. However, my attention wasn’t on the amazing fire they were creating but rather all those muscles moving back and forth and all those decadent beads of sweat that lured me into following their paths.
I fanned myself, and it had nothing to do with the heat around us.
“Why a fire now? Wouldn’t it be better to do this at night?” I inquired.
“In situations like this you don’t put off emergency items. Fire means boiling water to drink and cooking food to eat. If we chanced waiting until tonight and something happened…well, ya know?” Lucas explained.
I nodded. I understood.
“If you want to take a dip and maybe rinse some of the sand off, Lucas and I found a beautiful spring. Would you like us to show you?”
Austin’s question might have been posed with innocent intention, but my mind took it somewhere else entirely!
A dip did sound heavenly. As did anything that might transpire in the process.