Perfectly Equipped
a prequel

Chapter 4

We stood a few feet away from the water, face to face, staring at each other for at least a minute. It was the longest minute of my life. My heart was beating so fast I didn’t know what to do. The kind of connection I felt with this man couldn’t be normal. I wasn’t sure I’d ever felt a spark turn into something much more than a glow so quickly. I had never believed in soul mates, although at one point I thought I’d found one in Simon. Being so close to Sean felt like we were actually sharing a soul. That unbreakable link between us was almost magical. Did he feel it too or have I completely lost my mind?

“Is your son’s father present in his life?”

“No, he’s passed.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. It was two years ago. What about you?”

“I never got a chance to marry Charlie. We had plans to but there were complications at birth.”

For a moment Sean seemed to have gone to a distant memory. It was much more than grief. Regret washed over his face as if he blamed himself for her death.

“I’d like to take you snorkeling tomorrow morning, but tonight, how about I ease that burn on your backside?”

Swift change of topic? Maybe that’s for the better?

“How would you do that?”

He tugged at the hem of his tank top and pulled it up over his head. My fingers tingled with the urge to rake them through that mesh over his chest. And before I knew it, off came his Hawaiian shorts. And Sean was not wearing any underwear, either. I snaked my gaze over his perfect tan, from the bottom up, noting that slight twitch between his legs. God, did that body ever look delicious.

“April, you’re licking your lips again.”

I am?

“Come on, the water will ease that heat.”

Not a thousand days out in the sun could heat me as much as what I felt between my legs at this moment. I hoped a dip would ease much more than the pain on my scorched behind.

Was I about to go skinny dipping?

Sean left his clothes on the sand, turned, and ran into the ocean. His taut behind flexed with each leap over the water. And that beautiful tattoo was another item on my “Things to ask Sean” list. He was gorgeous. It could never get old watching him.

Become one with the environment. I remembered Millie’s advice. Except my surroundings now included a hot-off-the-skillet man I found way too attractive to be swimming naked with.

I let out a breath and pulled the zipper at the side of my dress. The fabric dropped to the sand, and crossing my arms over my chest I stepped forward. The perfect temperature didn’t shock my skin, but it did ease the pain on my backside as I waded through the water.

Waist deep, Sean waited for me. He pulled his fingers through his hair, wetting it. Under the moon, his silhouette looked perfect, the wet specks on his body reflecting the light. For the second time that day I wondered what it was that he did for a living. The muscles appeared natural and unforced.

“You’re beautiful. You shouldn’t hide,” he said as I stepped closer, and I lowered my arms. Thankful for the evening’s shade, I was glad he couldn’t see my entire body flush with heat at his comment. “How does your back side feel?”

“Better,” I said.

“Are you a good swimmer?” he asked.

“I think so.”

“Come, I want to show you something.”

I swam beside him toward the cliff, wondering how this man I’d only met that morning had managed to swoon me so quickly. “Don’t step on the bottom, now. It’s not deep, but it’s rocky.”


In even breaststrokes we passed the cliff’s nose. The resort disappeared, and for a moment I thought he was taking me out into the middle of the ocean. Didn’t sharks like to feed at night? Was this even safe? Just as my mind filled up with all the possible ways in which this evening swim could turn into a tragedy, I saw a small beach clearing ahead, which we seemed to be swimming toward.

Let go of the responsible side of you for once, Millie’s voice rang in my mind.

When Sean stood up and reached for my hand, I took his, feeling the wave-sculpted sand underneath my feet. He guided me toward the shore where I thought I saw movement. The beach wasn’t wide, but deeper than I anticipated. We stepped onto the shore, and I got a better glimpse of what he wanted to show me.

“No way.” I covered my mouth with my free hand. Under the moonlight, swiping the sand with their fins to the sides, turtles were preparing nests to lay their eggs in. I crouched as we got closer, not wanting to scare them. Sean sat down in the sand, and with one pull on my hand, I found myself right beside him, leaning against his body, skin to skin.

“We can wash the sand out later. Enjoy, April. This doesn’t happen often.”

It was beautiful. Mesmerised by the sea creatures, I forgot I was sitting naked next to a gorgeous man. Right after the birth of my son, I had to admit that this was one of the most wondrous things I’d ever witnessed.

“How did you know about this?”

“One of the locals told me. This is one of the few beaches without human access.” He pointed to the cliffs that blocked the beach off from the rest of the land. “With the minimal wildlife, the chances of most of these eggs hatching are much better.”

“I’m pretty sure this will be the highlight of my vacation,” I sighed.

“I hope not.” The intensity with which he spoke could have knocked me off my feet. It was a good thing I was sitting. I turned my body to face him, and we were at that same point as we’d been on the beach, staring at each other.

“What are you thinking?” I broke the spell of his clear eyes with my whisper.

“Ugly wrinkled women.”

I laughed. “What?”

“If I don’t, I won’t be able to hide what I’m feeling for much longer.”

My gaze followed his to his crotch, where he seemed to have grown.


“Well, for what it’s worth, I like you too.”

“Ah, she’s finally honest.” He reached for my face and brushed his thumb over my bottom lip, leaving a salty trail of the ocean on my skin. “Please tell me you want to kiss me as badly as I want to kiss you.”

I felt my mouth open by a fraction, signaling an invitation. At this point I couldn’t even speak. Sean had sent my mind spinning from the moment I’d seen him – or should I say his crotch – that morning. Not the best way to meet someone, but definitely unforgettable.

His masculine breath blended with the ocean-seasoned air and flowed around my face. Once those perfect lips covered mine, tasting gently, I was lost, living out a dream I’d never dreamt. I let out what must have sounded like a whimper, and at the feel of his tongue, opened wider. He was strong yet cautious, as if he didn’t want to cross a boundary that would scare me, but when I leaned in closer, letting him know that I wasn’t afraid and wanted this as much as he did, he no longer held back.

The warmth of his swift tongue cruised through my mouth as he claimed me. And once I was his, it softened, overwhelming me, and I mellowed in his arms. Sean was like a fine wine, after tasting a sip, you knew you’d have to finish the bottle. Hopefully it was a bottle with an infinite bottom.

I felt him gently lift me off the ground, and lay me on top of his body, feeling those hard ridges underneath my palms, noting how the temperature of his skin matched mine, our limbs twined and muscles connected. My thigh between his legs was being bruised by his erection, and his hard muscle between mine gave the perfect resistance to rub against. If someone told me this morning I’d be playing out a scene from “From Here to Eternity,” naked, I’d have laughed.

Careful not to touch my burnt back, for which I was grateful, his hands traced my curves. That mouth of his did wonders to mine. I hadn’t been kissed with so much need in years – if ever – and I didn’t want him to stop. I wanted to be locked in his hold forever. I wasn’t sure whether it was the atmosphere, or him, or us and the whole idea of meeting a man while naked that had opened me, but I needed this. No, I needed him.

This was definitely a kiss of the century, one I would never forget. For a moment I thought I felt a tremor underneath us, but maybe it was just me.

I pulled away and leaned my forehead against his, breathing heavily.

“Did you feel that?” he asked, and I realized it wasn’t just me.

“Yes. Earthquake?”

“Given we’re in Hawaii, it’s possible. We should go back.”

As he stood up, I hesitated. The girl that had been swept off her feet whined inside me. I didn’t want this night to end. But Sean had a concerned look on his face, and I didn’t want to argue.

“Yeah, we should.”

“April, look at me.” He held my face between his palms. “If I didn’t care about your safety, neither the sand in my ass nor an earthquake could stop me from taking you. But we’re not exactly in the safest place if the earthquake was out in the ocean, and I’ll be damned before I let anything happen to you”

Right… tsunamis.

I got up and off his body, saying, “Okay, let’s go, then.”

He stopped me before I got back into the water, and said, “This isn’t over.”

I felt that flip-flop in my stomach again, wondering what would happen when we got back to the resort. Should I ask, My room or yours? Was that too forward? As we swam around the cliff and toward the shore where we’d left our clothes, I could still feel the heat of him – everywhere. Heck, I still wasn’t sure what was coming over me to make me so willing to invite a man I’d only met this morning back to my room. The earth must have definitely turned on its axis.