This is foolish. She didn’t know Andrés any more than she’d known that vile attacker on the beach, and yet she sank into his embrace, welcoming the calm it brought. In his arms there was a sense of safety unrivaled by anything she’d ever known. And right now she welcomed it. Needed it.
She blinked, realizing for the first time that he wore nothing more than swim trunks. The discovery sent a slow warmth through her chilled body. His chest was strong, solid and warm, despite having just swum in the ocean.
Chloe listened to the calming metronome of Andrés’s heartbeat, the dark hair on his hard chest tickling her cheek. Closing her eyes, she inhaled the smell of man and the saltiness of the sea. The memory of his kiss earlier tonight flickered through her mind and her pulse jumped. It didn’t take long for the thoughts of the attack on the beach to fade away. She was soon cloaked in the unexpected sensuality of the present. Nothing else mattered except the man who now held her.
Something stirred inside her. Something hot, potent, and startling. Maybe it was just her body responding to the presence of such a virile, near-naked man. To his confidence and protectiveness. Whatever it was, everything within her reacted.
The heat moving through her body spread low, creating a sweet ache between her thighs. Her breasts swelled and she squeezed her eyes closed tighter, embarrassed by her blatant reaction to being in his arms.
She shouldn’t be having this response. Not after what had just nearly happened.
What on earth is wrong with me?
Cristos, he wanted this woman.
Andrés hardened his jaw, trying to keep his arousal at bay to avoid startling her with a very physical reaction. In his embrace, Chloe was so small and defenseless. Deliciously feminine. He tightened his arms around her slim body; jolted with another stab of protectiveness. It was an unfamiliar emotion, and he hesitated to question why she brought it out in him.
Stroking a hand through her hair, he pressed a soft kiss against her forehead.
He should have beaten the man within an inch of his life. Hell, it was no less than the bastard deserved. If he’d been thinking more clearly, beyond the rage, he would have detained the man and called the authorities. He would make a call when he returned to the hotel and have the man hunted down. He still had a fairly good memory of the man’s physical description.
Chloe turned in his embrace and the softness of her breast brushed against his arm. Andrés could’ve sworn her lips touched his naked skin. Desire fired through his blood and he clenched his teeth, unable to stop his body’s reaction this time.
She inhaled swiftly and another tremble rocked her body.
“You are chilled,” he said roughly, and began to set her away from him so he could reach for a blanket.
“No, please don’t leave,” she pleaded, gripping his arm to stop his movement. She glanced up at him through her lashes and he saw desire in her eyes that matched his own. Then she whispered, “I’m not cold.”
Dios. She must know what she was saying. He shouldn’t…and yet he knew he could no more stop himself from what he was about to do than stop the sun from rising in the morning.
Andrés caught her chin in a light grip and tilted her head, bringing her mouth up in an offering he would not resist. His lips covered hers, gently, catching the soft sigh she gave. Chloe turned fully in his grasp, facing him now, and slid her arms around his neck. Her mouth parted beneath his.
He hauled her against him, crushing the mounds of her breasts against his bare chest. Delving his tongue into her mouth, he teased her, drove them both to a breathless fervor. Just as it had been earlier, the urgency in his blood shocked him. Never had he been so close to losing control with a woman. Never did he feel such a need to claim her.
Tearing his mouth free from hers, he tilted her back over his arm to bury his mouth against the hollow of her throat. The sweetness of her skin tempted him to flick his tongue against the rapidly beating pulse in her neck.
He moved a hand between them to cup the fullness of one breast, thrilling at the moan she made. Even through the stretchy fabric of her bikini top her hardened nipple pressed into his palm.
Sí. She wanted him.
Chloe cried out, her body arching up while pleasure skyrocketed through her body.
Too fast. Oh God, this is moving too fast.
His lips slid to the curve of her shoulder and neck, caressing. Tasting. The hand that held her breast squeezed just enough to drag another moan from her, and the need that settled low in her belly grew stronger.
“Andrés,” she pleaded, her hips rising, begging for something she wasn’t even completely sure of.
“Sí, Chloe,” he murmured, nipping at her flesh. His hand moved lower, tugged at her sarong. “I know.”
Another wave of doubt rushed through her. Stronger this time, refusing to let her be drawn back under the tide of this sensual irrationality. She barely knew him, and would be leaving Spain in less than a month, not to mention he was likely one of the guests at the resort. Was this really such a good idea?
“Wait,” she whispered, shaking her head to clear it. “Please.”
His lips brushed hers while he caressed her hip. “¿Por qué? I can ease the ache, cariño. I can pleasure you if you’ll let me.”
Oh, she didn’t doubt it for a minute. But he was too confident. Entirely too seductive and with a practiced touch. How often did he do this—seduce women? She had to wonder just how long his trail of broken hearts was.
The idea sent a pang of hurt through her, a surprising disappointment that had her throat tightening. “No,” she said firmer now. “I’m sorry, but I can’t do this.”
Andrés lifted his head and stared down at her, his dark eyes filled with desire and yet a control that sent a frisson of unease through her. Who looked like that after such a passionate moment? It didn’t seem normal. “Chloe, tell me what is wrong.”
She slid out from beneath him, flushing self-consciously. How had she let things get so out of hand? This was completely unlike her.
“Nothing is wrong,” she muttered and rushed to grab her backpack. “It’s just…I’m sorry, Andrés. I really am, but I’m just not the type of girl who does this.”
Andrés stood slowly from the bed, his erection throbbing, and the need for her stronger than it had ever been with any woman. But now she stood watching him, her expression skittish and her body taut. She seemed ready to bolt.
“And what type of girl is that?” he asked gently, taking a step toward her. “The type to act on the passion between consenting adults? To take pleasure for herself?”
The muscles in her neck clenched as she swallowed. Andrés came to stand in front of her. He pushed a silky strand of hair over her shoulder and ran the back of his finger down her cheek.
“It is natural, Chloe. There is no shame in this.” He rubbed his thumb across her swollen mouth and said softly, “I promise I will not hurt you.”
Something flickered in her eyes, an image or a thought that was making her reconsider. And then her phone rang.
“I’m sorry. I really shouldn’t.” She jerked away, turned and then fled the cabana.
He sighed and closed the door behind him, walking slowly back to the resort. The sharp ache of arousal faded as he thought about all that had occurred in the last hour. His lips tightened into a grim line and he shook his head, dismayed at his behavior. He shouldn’t have touched her so soon, not after the attack on the beach. Perhaps she’d been eager to explore the passion between them, but he shouldn’t have let her. Not yet, anyway. Why hadn’t he taken into account the fact that she was still in shock? How had he not even shown the slightest bit of restraint?
What had come over him? Next time, and there would be a next time, he would maintain a bit more control. Because that was twice now she’d nearly made him lose it.
After arriving in the penthouse, he dialed security and put out an alert for Chloe’s assailant from earlier. Then he made a call to his assistant and instructed with quiet calm, “The woman on the beach this evening. Her name is Chloe. I want you to find her.”
Chloe arrived at work the next morning a few minutes late. Sleep had been elusive, and she’d stayed up late rereading the weathered pages of the diary she nearly knew by heart. Her favorite entry had been engrained in her mind from the first day she read it.
When he kisses me, I swear I forget to breathe. Can barely tell the moon from the stars. He makes me wonder about destiny.
The woman’s entries about falling in love in Spain had become magically serendipitous to what was happening in her own life.
When Chloe had finally fallen asleep, the diary tucked beneath her arm, she’d dreamed of Andrés and their sensual moment in the cabana. Only in her slumber, she hadn’t called things to a halt.
So she’d awoken this morning cranky, her body craving the touch of the man she’d refused last night. And in the light of day, she questioned her sanity. Maybe she should’ve stayed with him. Even if it would’ve been something completely unusual for her. Sometimes, well, didn’t you just need to take chances in life?