She lifted her face to the wind and inhaled the rich sea air. The last time she'd been here, she'd been in high school with her then boyfriend Ted Reece. It had been well-after midnight and they'd had a bottle of cheap rum they passed between them before making out on the rocky ground. Walking toward the edge of the cliffs, she looked down at the waves pounding against sheer rock. The earth rumbled beneath her feet.
Nico sat with his legs outstretched and face lifted toward the setting sun. "That day I took off with mom's car I ended up in a place similar to this. I sat there looking at the ocean until my father found me."
"What was that like?" She sat next to him and leaned back on her palms. "Was he angry?"
"You don't know my father. He becomes, shall we say, temperamental." He opened his eyes and looked at her. "I tested his authority a lot, which meant I got into trouble nearly every day."
"Why do I have a feeling you're a lot like him?"
"That is a conversation for another day." He laughed quietly while his gaze roamed over her face. "I like remote places like this where no one is constantly needing my attention."
"I need your attention," she said without thinking, gaze locked on his lips.
"You're the exception. You can have my attention whenever you want it." He shifted into a kneeling position, grabbed her shoulders, and moved her around until her back faced him. Before she could ask a question, he started massaging the tense muscles of her back. Thumbs pressed firmly into the base of her neck. "Right now, I sense you need to relax."
"I'm not usually the damsel in distress." She sighed while his hands worked magic on her tense muscles. "Or the woman who picks up men in bars."
"I thought that was your idea of fun." He moved his hands from behind her neck to her shoulders.
She closed her eyes and relaxed against him. "I say strange things around you."
"You don't like being off your game, do you?" His hands worked their way from her biceps to her forearms before going back to her shoulders.
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"Being an athlete, you are disciplined about routine. Dedication is your middle name." He pressed his knuckles against her spine. "You left the circuit to start a business from nothing, that takes focus." His fingers splayed across her ribcage in more of a caress than a massage. "You like being in control. Around me, you are off balance. Am I right?"
"Lucky guess," she whispered. "Most people wouldn't say I'm the nervous type. I've been called reckless and wild, but never...off balance."
"Oh, you're an obvious risk taker, but I don't think you're reckless. There's a difference." His fingers grazed the bottom of her breasts as his hands slid around her sides. "But you like calculated risks where you know what you're dealing with going in."
"Your theory is that I'm not sure I can handle you so that's why you make me nervous?
"Are you nervous or excited?"
She smiled as both his arrogance and astuteness. From the corner of her eye, she noticed that he'd brought a blanket she kept in the backseat. "I forgot I had that back there."
"You have what looks like a closet in your car. Are you secretly homeless?" He brushed her hair back from her neck before his lips caressed her ear.
She inhaled sharply at the contact. Goosebumps skittered across her skin with the touch of his kiss.
"I haven't made the best first impression on you, I'm sure." She tilted her head until her chin touched her chest, unable to deny the magic his fingers and mouth delivered to her body.
"Do you know when I first saw you?" He shifted so that his legs pressed along the outside of her hips.
She shook her head 'no' and held her breath.
"You were in Hawaii for a competition and we were at a sponsor party. You were excited and on everyone's must-meet list."
She frowned. "I don't remember meeting you."
"We didn't meet. I was called away as usual for some kind of emergency, but I definitely had a first impression of you."
"And what was that?"
"Beautiful. Genuine. Exciting. Unique." His teeth caught her earlobe before he kissed the sweet spot on her neck. "Is what I think about you that important?"
She twisted to look at him through a veil of her hair. "I think it might be, yes."
He stared at her for what felt like minutes before nodding. "I never do anything I don't want to do, Josie. I'm here with you because I choose to be."
With a slowness that drove her mad, he pushed the hair away from her face and bent within a fraction of her lips. His gaze scanned hers briefly before he kissed her.
She moved her mouth against his with a laziness meant to savor the sensation. She hoped she'd never get used to the energy that zapped between his skin and hers.
"What did you used to do here when you were a teenager?" he asked against her mouth, eyes alive with knowing.
"A little bit of this and that."
"A little of this?" His tongue slid between her parted lips—teasing—before he slid his mouth down the length of her neck.
"And a little of that?" He moved his hands to her bare thighs beneath the dress and squeezed. "Am I close?"
"You're getting closer." She grabbed his face and ground her mouth against his. If he wanted to fool around on a rock, why the hell not?
His tongue slid against hers in a dance that made her squirm. She wanted to toss her dress off and let the wind take it away, surrender to recklessness and desire.
He lifted her and pushed her back against the blanket. His dark head moved from her mouth to her collarbone as he squeezed her breast through the thin material. His hand moved to her panties that were wet with desire. In one yank, he ripped them from her before sliding his fingers between her legs. He pushed her dress up and kissed her bared abdomen.
Eyes open, she stared at the clouds passing overhead, cherished the hard earth beneath her back, savored the sensation of his fingers sliding inside of her, gasped as his mouth sucked her clit, and spread her legs wide as the wind sent her yellow dress billowing around her torso and slapping against the ground.
He nipped and sucked and fucked her with his fingers while she gripped the blanket at her sides and surrendered to him manipulating her body with his mouth.
She arched her back as an orgasm quaked through her body like tremor from deep within her soul. Still he sucked at her, his fingers and tongue ravaging her. Owning her.
"Nico, my God, I can't take—" Another wave of orgasm ripped through her. She twisted, but he held her legs open while he continued his feast.
When she finally lay spent and exhausted, he climbed over her and looked her in the eye. "A little bit of this and that?"
She grinned, grabbed the back of his head, and pulled his face against hers. "Kiss me."
"What the lady wants, the lady gets." He kissed her until she moaned with primal need.
"Are you relaxed now?" he whispered against her ear.
"Then let's find a restaurant off the beaten path and I'll buy you dinner." Abruptly, he stood and pulled her with him. "I'll take you on a real date tomorrow night."
"A real date? So this was just a preview?" She walked with him on trembling legs.
"I am capable of more than you realize, Josie, including romance and charm. Trust me." He retrieved her torn panties from where they fluttered against a boulder and tucked them in the back pocket of his jeans. When she laughed, he snagged her hand in his.
"I'm feeling selfish right now." She crossed her trembling legs and latched the seatbelt.
Nico grabbed her chin and kissed away her guilt. "Your surrender is more than generous."
As they drove away from the remote cliff, she sighed and closed her eyes. She'd been in charge of too much for too long and surrendering felt better than she'd imagined. When he dropped his hand on her thigh, she grinned.
She could get used to being manhandled by Nico Triton.
He's risking immortality for the love of a mortal.
Nico Triton has a secret. He's a merman who saved the life of a champion surfer and now he's being hunted. As the leader of the merfolk, his interference with Fate has had severe repercussions. Not only has his father, Poseidon, banished him from his homeland, but the dangerous organization Mythquest is out to prove his existence and destroy his family. As punishment, he's been forced to erase Josie's memory of him and the sacrifice he made in exchange for her life.
Murder on the beach.
Josie Wells knows how to conquer the waves, but when she witnesses a murder on her beach, the impact shatters the surfing community of Santa Cruz. The tragedy brings her up close and personal with her secret crush, the elusive billionaire, Nico Triton. A nagging feeling tugs at her that she knows him from somewhere...but how could that be?
Will love be enough to bridge their two worlds?
Secrets become confessions and trust is tested as betrayal threatens their lives. When a merman falls in love with a surfer chic and two worlds collide, expect an Impact Zone of danger and passion. Will love conquer all or be the thing that destroys them both?
*contains explicit sexual contentagraph here.