Oh, he'd be damned if he'd let her know how freaked out he was. They'd been swimming for two hours and the island still loomed out of reach. Insidious fear whispered through his mind that it could all be a trick of the Triangle. Maybe they were swimming toward a mirage.
"We've got company." She yanked back on his arm before pulling her full mask over her face, hooking up the regulator, and dipping her head beneath the surface. When she looked back up, she confirmed his suspicion. "There's a shark checking us out. Hammerhead. I only see one. "
"Being on the surface makes us look like dinner. Let's go down." He glanced at the island. He knew it was a risk either way, but he felt safer beneath the water in this situation. "Remember when we swam with the sharks in Barbados? We went to the bottom and became very still. Let's do that."
She blinked at him a minute before nodding. "What do we have to lose, right?"
"Right." Damn, he wanted to turn back time and take up a safer profession. He could be a professor at Berkley now, flirting with coeds and going out for happy hours.
"We've been through worse things," she said their usual phrase that they repeated to one another when facing the absolute worst thing they'd ever encountered. She produced a cord above the water before reaching beneath the surface to wrap it around her waist and then his. Their legs slid together. "We stay together no matter what, right?"
He saw a fin break the surface about ten feet behind her before pulling his gaze to her face. "Don't move. It's coming to get a closer look."
Their gaze locked.
The shark moved past them, out of reach, as if debating on whether or not they would make a nice lunch.
Both hands on her sides, he held her close and never looked away from her face. Even though she put up the badass-adventurer facade, he could see the fear dance in her eyes. Black hair flattened to her neck. He felt her heartbeat as he held her firmly against his chest.
"We'll go down slow, non-threatening like—"
"Like he'll feel threatened by us?" she asked.
"Just like Barbados, okay?"
"Only without the rum punch waiting for us when we're done or the snipers on the boat ready to—"
"Shh..." He slammed his mouth against hers, feeling that if this were their last minutes on earth, he wanted to be her last kiss. Her fingernails sank into his shoulders as her mouth opened to his and her body plastered as close as it could while their legs moved in unison to keep them upright.
They felt the whoosh slide by them, the mass of the shark apparent, without breaking their kiss. Eyes wide open to one another, they held on until they felt the absence of the predator.
"We'd better go." He pulled his mask over his face and watched her do the same.
Both double-checked the other's regulators before silently slipping beneath the waves. The shark loomed in sight circling as they sank toward the bottom, breathing slow and steady to limit the bubbles they would create. The Bimini Road still laid out beneath them, creating an ominous almost fateful feeling to their situation. Searchers for adventure and mysteries, they were alone amid ruins while at the mercy of a predator.
They settled between the large stones, eyes on one another rather than their new friend who now dominated the water above them.
"Do you think we're getting all of this on camera?" she asked, using all of her strength to remain still despite the current that pulled at them.
"Morbid thought. Who do you think's going to find it if something happens to us? We're miles off course from where we began." He glanced up toward the shark before allowing himself to appreciate the magnificence of the stones surrounding them.
"People like us, I suppose." She grinned and linked her fingers with his. "No regrets here, Ryder."
"I have a few regrets, to be honest...but none of them are about partnering up with you."
They remained steady for a few minutes, settled between the ancient stones on a sandy bottom, before looking up and around.
No shark could be seen.
He looked to his left, then his right. Only a clear Caribbean Sea for a good fifty feet before it fell to shadow. A glance at his compass showed him the way toward the island. Without saying another word, he motioned for her to swim.
Staying low to the sandy bottom, they moved away from the ruins toward the island, with only a few stops to check their air pressure and the safety of the waters surrounding them.
"We're getting low on air, best to surface. I think our friend has decided we're not good enough to eat," he said after they'd traveled a long while and empty ocean had transformed to reefs with active sea life.
She nodded without saying a word and he knew she battled exhaustion. They moved once again toward the surface.
"We're close," she gasped after pulling off her mask and inhaling the air.
The island loomed a half-mile away. Palm trees waved a welcome against a curving white sand beach.
"How'd we get this far so soon?" A glance at his watch indicated that they'd traveled miles within an hour. Impossible.
"Nothing about this day makes sense. Let's get to land." She started a steady swim toward the beach.
Tied together, they stumbled into the shallows, ripped off their swim fins, and waded toward the beach. Without saying a word, they collapsed onto the sand and stared at the flawless blue sky.
"Josh...Bethany...Over." A faint transmission sounded from their discarded masks. "Josh...Bethany...Over. Come in, please."
He scrambled to grab it and answer. "This is Josh. Over. We're on an island near the Bimini Road. Over."
Beth peeled off her gear without looking away from his face. Sand stuck to her skin and hair. Chest heaved with exhaustion. Eyes were wide with both hope and concern.
"This is Josh. Over. Come in Don...Jack...Come in. Over." Static. "If you can hear us, we're somewhere on an island near the Bimini Road." He held the receiver to his forehead and prayed they'd heard him and that they could somehow get to them.
"The good news is that we're not in another realm." Her twisted grin made him laugh.
Unbelievably, after all that, he laughed. His whole body quaked with relief.
She leaned over him to untie the cord that had held them together, the curve of her breasts slid against his shoulder. They made eye contact, laughter fresh on their lips.
"We've been through worse things." He shrugged before grabbing the back of her head and grinding his mouth against hers.
Her tongue toyed with his before teeth lightly bit his lower lip. Need pulsated through her touch as she framed his head between her hands.
"Bad idea," she whispered.
She rolled away from him, just out of reach, pulled open her gear, and rifled through it before tossing a granola bar in his direction. Hugging her knees to her chest, she ate her own snack while keeping her gaze deliberately focused on the horizon.
He freed himself from his gear before mirroring her pose on the sand. They'd find shelter if need be, but for now silent companionship seemed best. The weight of all they'd survived and witnessed settled between them while the white curve of the waves kissed the sand at their feet.
The Bermuda Triangle — a source of mysterious disappearances and theories of aliens, portals, and even sea monsters — lures the world's sexiest paranormal team to its deep blue waters.
Bethany Colton and Josh Ryder are the co-hosts of the Uncharted Territory paranormal investigation television show. They travel the world investigating the unknown, but neither can shake the feelings of doom on their journey into the Bermuda Triangle.
When the crew of their yacht vanishes, Josh and Bethany dive into the depths in search of answers. A mysterious force pulls them into another dimension, however, and the duo needs to find a way back to their team. Stranded on a lost island, Josh and Bethany battle their fears, attempt to find another time portal, and traverse their complicated sexual relationship.
Will they find their way back and solve the mystery of their missing crew? Will their tumultuous off-screen relationship find any resolution in the face of a life-and-death situation?
**This is book one of an ongoing erotic paranormal romance series that contains explicit sexual situations**