The Trouble With Paradise

Day Two on deserted island without cookies, and it’s not pretty.

Only a week ago, Dorie Anderson’s night-time fantasies had run along the lines of say Matthew McConaughey, but now as she lay on the long, golden stretch of beach, staring past their shelter to the star-riddled night sky, she fantasized about chocolate chip cookies.

Make that double chocolate chip cookies.

Sorry Matthew, but priorities were priorities. Stuck on a deserted South Pacific island without cookies? Serious suffering going on.

All around her came the sounds that people tended to buy those nature CDs for; the waves gently hitting the shore, crickets chirping, an exotic bird squawking . . .

Her stomach growling.

She put her hand on her belly, thinking she’d give her right arm for an entire bag of cookies all to herself. Maybe even her left as well.

“How’s the patient?”

Ah, there he was, the bane of her existence. She knew this because just his voice made her nipples go all happy.

Damn nipples.

She felt him sit in the sand at her side but she didn’t look at him. Nope, looking at him was a really bad idea because then her brain would begin that painful tug-o-war.

Want him.

Hate him.

Want him.

Hate him.

She sighed. “Go away.”

“Ah. You’re feeling better.” He lay next to her so that his arm brushed hers, the one she would definitely sell for that bag of chocolate chip cookies.

“Question,” she said.

“Hit me.”

“Do you ever think about chocolate?”

He turned his head and looked at her. He was all hard, lean, sinewy lines to her soft, curvy ones. She imagined if she pointed out how different they were, he’d say he liked those differences very much. “I think about other things,” he finally said.

“Like?”

His arm shifted, just barely pressing into the side of her breast. And more than just her nipples got happy. Bad. Bad body. “I’m tired.”

“Here’s something to wake you up.” Instead of taking the hint and leaving, he rolled to his side, facing her. “Our bet.”

Oh, no. “We are not going to talk about the bet.” No way.

“That’s because you’ve lost.”

“You cheated.”

He was silent, letting that lie live a life of its own as she remembered the details . . .

As if she could forget.

“You could just pay up,” he suggested.

That thought shot excitement directly into certain areas of her anatomy that had no business getting excited. She closed her eyes, a bad idea because then her other senses took over. She had no idea how he managed to smell like heaven on earth while on a deserted island, but he did. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she finally said.

He just laughed softly.

Bastard.

“You didn’t hit your head that hard,” he said. “You know.”

“You’re not going away. Why aren’t you going away?” she asked desperately, because she knew exactly what he was talking about, exactly what bet she’d made, and what she now owed him. Which involved her.

Dancing.

Naked.

Beneath this very star lit sky. “If you were nice, you’d go.”

He lifted a broad shoulder. “Never claimed to be nice.”

Also true. Damn it.

“Plus we’re stuck on an island,” he pointed out. “Just how far away do you think I can go?”

Keeping her eyes closed, she sighed again. Because she really hated it when he was right.