Beach Blanket Bad Boys

SARA SMILES
a novella in BEACH BLANKET BAD BOYS
Kensington Brava
print edition
June 7, 2005

amazon | barnes & noble

Sara Smiles by Alison Kent

BABY DON'T GO
(was SARA SMILES)
digital edition
November 22, 2014

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Read an Excerpt

BOOKLIST

The Comfort of Favorite Things - Bliss and the Art of Forever - The Sweetness of Honey - Beneath the Patchwork Moon - Boots Under Her Bed - A Blue Christmas/Jingle Bell Rock(Digital Edition) - Unforgettable - The Second Chance Café - Unbreakable - Undeniable - Holiday Kisses/This Time Next Year - Twenty-One Hours/SEAL of My Dreams - At His Mercy - Playing Love's Odds (Digital Edition) - Love Me Tender (Digital Edition) - Love In Bloom - (Digital Edition) - The Icing On The Cake - With Extreme Pleasure - One Good Man - No Limits - A Long, Hard Ride - Maximum Exposure - Kiss & Tell - Deep Trouble - In Danger - At Risk - Tex Appeal - The Perfect Stranger - Beyond A Shadow - Infatuation - The Complete Idiot's Guide To Writing Erotic Romance - Deep Breath - Goes Down Easy - Red Letter Nights - Totally Charmed - Kiss & Makeup - Undressed - Larger Than Life - Sara Smiles/Beach Blanket Bad Boys - The McKenzie Artifact - The Beach Alibi - The Samms Agenda - The Shaughnessey Accord - The Bane Affair - Mother, Please! - Indiscreet - Wicked Games - A Blue Christmas/Jingle Bell Rock - Striptease - The Sweetest Taboo - Bound To Happen - No Strings Attached - Roped Into Romance - All Tied Up - Love In Bloom - Four Men & A Lady - Love Me Tender - The Badge And The Baby - The Grinch Makes Good - The Heartbreak Kid - Call Me - Playing Love's Odds

Sara Wade stood on her suite’s balcony overlooking the villa’s private beach of tropical white sand and stared unsmiling across miles of blue Pacific at the horizon awash with the first rays of the sun. She’d been up long before dawn.

Sleeping in an unfamiliar bed, an unfamiliar room, no matter how comfortably lush, never came easy. But last night’s insomnia had another name.

Jax Stacey.

The man she’d been seeing for three years, in love with for two, living with for one.

The man who, six months ago, had proposed.

The man to whom she’d said no.

He’d taken her refusal better than she had. She’d wanted immediately to call back the word, retract the shake of her head. What she had not wanted was to replace it with a nod, or to say yes.

She’d only wanted not to hurt Jax.

He’d told her that she hadn’t, that he understood her reticence-hell, he’d known her long enough, loved her long enough, to get where she was coming from, especially considering the circumstances.

It was hard for both of them to watch marriages of friends and family disintegrate around them and want to risk their own status quo. Why mess with a relationship that was perfect by putting matching rings on their fingers?

They didn’t need an outward symbol, a document, a ceremony to prove to anyone what they already knew.

That their love was meant for a lifetime.

She’d felt even worse after that. His steadfastness meant everything to her; her refusal reduced his needs to nothing. And he was arriving today. Any moment, in fact. Her stomach fluttered madly at the thought.

It had been a spur of the moment decision that had her booking the long weekend at the plush resort nestled into Mexico’s Pacific coastline. A decision as right as the reason behind it. A reason that, right or not, had her as nervous as did the wait for Jax.

She’d spent a tidy sum from her savings-money earned billing clients for a Houston law firm-after he’d assured her he’d have no problem getting free. He and his partner often traded weekends; their auto body shop was closed half days on Saturdays as it was, and going in late Monday would be no big deal.

The sun now sparkling on the rippling ocean waters, Sara breathed deeply of the salty air, of the chlorine rising from the private pool on the suite’s first floor, of the tropical blooms turning a kaleidoscope around hovering butterflies. She had come a day early to make certain the place was as wonderful as her travel agent promised.

It was more than wonderful. It was perfect. The service, the food, the facilities made for the perfect getaway. The ambience made for the perfect lover’s tryst. All she could do now was hope it also made for the perfect magic she needed to pull together her full circle plan.

Oh, but wasn’t Jax going to be surprised.

She curled her fingers over the balcony’s dark green railing and leaned forward, eyes closed, absorbing the tingle of the ocean cooling the breeze. The sun hadn’t yet risen fully to heat the surf and the sand.

It would be a good time to walk down and enjoy the secluded beach, to get a grip on her emotions, to organize her thoughts so he wouldn’t see her anxiousness and worry.

Because he would worry. He would.

And she loved that about him. The way he was so perceptive of her moods. How he knew when to coddle, when to protect, when to back off because she needed to step up to her own plate and swing.

Sighing, she wrapped her arms around her middle, and silently shook her head, wondering what in the world she had done to deserve him.

Here was this big gorgeous man who worked with his hands, who could crush a skull if he had to, yet understood her so well he seemed to be capable of reading her mind.

She’d never find anyone else to compare, had never known anyone else like him. She never wanted to imagine her days spent without him. He was the love of her life. He had been since the moment they’d met.

“Sara?”

She startled. Surprise skittered the length of her spine, settled at the base, and spread deep into her bones. Her body resonated with his voice as it would from his embrace. She inhaled slowly and turned.

Jax Stacey was a beautiful man, and her stomach clenched so hard she ached with it. He stood in the rectangle of the open French door, one forearm braced shoulder-high on the frame. He wore indigo jeans and biker boots, his waistband dipping low due to the hand shoved down deep in his pocket.

His hair was short and dark and tousled, as if he’d tried to sleep on the early morning flight but had managed to do no more than muss himself up. She liked him mussed up. Liked the sleepy look in his dark gold eyes. Liked the way his thick lashes drooped down and fanned out to shadow his cheeks.

He made her hungry. He made her knees weak. He made her wonder what she was going to do if this time he turned her down. Her lips trembled. It was almost a smile. Almost, but not quite. She wasn’t quite ready for that.

“You were so quiet. I didn’t even hear the door.”

He stared at her for another long moment, searching, seeking, studying . . . then finally shoving away from his perch to join her. He came closer, moving the way he always did, his steps purposeful yet unhurried, his body fluid and loose and built to make her think about sex.

She tilted up her chin as he drew near, holding his gaze that simmered. The one time she opened her mouth, he simply shook his head to shush her. She swallowed hard and took a step in reverse.

When her backside contacted the railing, she reached back with both hands to hold on. And when he reached her, he cupped her arms just above her elbows and pulled her hands forward. He wanted her to hold onto him.

It made so much sense to do so. He had never let her down. He had never turned her away. She knew, as well, that he would never hurt her. He would never hurt her the way she had surely hurt him. His denial all those months ago had only been halfway convincing.

And so much had changed since then.

She sighed as he held her, moving her hands to the small of his back, pressing her face to his chest and breathing him in. He smelled of clean air and woods, grasses and Ivory soap. “You feel so good. You smell so good.”

He cupped the back of her head with one big palm. “You’re not too lumpy or stinky either.”

She rolled her eyes, pushed back far enough to look up into his face. “You flew all this way to tell me I’m not lumpy or stinky?”

“No, Sara.” He shook his head, reached up to brush stray wisps of hair from her face. “I flew all this way to tell you this.”

She closed her eyes as his head descended, parting her lips to accept his kiss. He was gentle, and he tasted like home and like heaven. Like her life and her future. Like the Jax she knew and loved so very much.

He caught her bottom lip between both of his and tugged, sucking it into his mouth briefly then letting her go. She returned the show of affection, and so it began, that way they had of speaking without speaking, of turning a kiss into an act that said everything neither of them needed words to say.

When his tongue pressed for entrance, she opened up and let him inside, melting at his touch, at the way he filled her mouth even as he filled her soul, at the way his hand move from the center of her back to the base of her spine and lower still, until he cupped her bottom, squeezed and drew her flush.

She felt him against her belly; he was thick and hard already. Thick and hard and so very tempting, yet he wouldn’t push or press or insist. He would wait until she was ready. And, oh how easily he made her that way.

Even now she responded, splaying her palms between his shoulder blades, absorbing his body’s heat as well as the tension tightening his muscles.

She loved how he held back, hated how he held back, wondered where he found the control when she had next to none. She wanted so much from him. She wanted it all. Things that surprised her with their insistence. Things that never before had seemed so right. Things that had always been a dream, one from which she was slowly waking up.

She wanted everything.

Everything.

And she wanted it with Jax.

The reminder brought her back to the truth of why they were here. She slipped out of the kiss, eased her mouth away, her body away, sighed in his arms and turned. He continued to hold her; she leaned back into his chest.

In the near distance, the shadow of the villa had retreated leaving a long stretch of white sand to welcome the sun. “Jax, we need to talk.”

“I’m listening.” He said it as he would were they discussing replacing the refrigerator or the habit his shepherd mix, Bongo, had of burying Milk-Bones. And then he did what he always did, what he was so good at doing.

He nuzzled the skin beneath her ear, rubbing his coarse two-day-old beard against her until she shivered and her nipples tightened. “Maybe so, but I can’t think when you do that, much less talk.”

Instead of backing away, he dipped his knees, fitting his lower body into the curve of hers. His hands found their way to her waist and slipped beneath the loose Indian cotton of her sleeveless shell to her bare middle. “I like it when you’re speechless.”

She tucked her head back into the crook of his shoulder, closed her eyes, lifted her chin. “You like shutting me up, you mean.” Even though she could hardly care that he had.

He shook his head. “No, baby. I like this.”

He brought up his hands, skated his palms over her gumdrop nipples, teasing her, only just touching her. The link between them tugged at the tightrope strung from that barest point of contact into her womb.

“I like the way you always respond. I like making you breathless.”

“You like making me horny.” Though that had never required much effort on his part at all.

“What I like, is making love to the woman I love,” he murmured close to her ear, his hips grinding into hers, one hand now kneading the breast he held, his other hand busily gathering up the loosely woven fabric of her madras print skirt.

When his fingertips grazed her thigh, teased the elastic edge of her plain white panties, she shivered. “We really need to talk, Jax. I need to tell you something.”

“So, tell me.” His hand left her breast and moved to her other hip. The breeze whispering through the balcony’s bougainvillea whispered over the backs of her thighs bared completely now that he’d lifted her skirt to her waist.

“How am I supposed to put anything into words when you’re doing that?” This time she was the one who whispered, her voice hardly louder than the sound of her cotton panties being pulled down.

“And I thought I was the one with the one-track mind,” he teased, his fingers teasing, too, sliding beneath the curves of her ass, slipping between her legs.

She spread them, she opened, how could she not? “Jax, please.”

“Please stop? Please don’t stop? Tell me, Sara. Tell me what you want.”

What she wanted was to tell him how their lives were about to change. How nothing about their world would ever be the same. How much she loved him, wanted him.

How he would always come first in her life.

That one thing she had to convince him of. That one thing he had to know. That she would never push away his needs or wants. “Don’t stop, Jax. Don’t ever stop. Touching me. Loving me.”

She turned in his arms, saw the clear and raw, the unshuttered emotion welling in his eyes before he did that guy thing he was so good at and masked his feelings with a smile that was all about sex.

“Are you kidding?” He laced his fingers in the small of her back, rocked their bodies in a gentle side-to-side sway. “You’re everything I could ever want. I don’t know many guys as damn lucky as I am. But then, I’ve always been about getting lucky.”

That killer smile again. White teeth and dimples in a shadow of dark sexy beard. She slid her hands from his chest to his shoulders. “You, Jax Stacey, are such a man.”

“Do something for me, Sara?” he asked softly.

“Anything,” she said and meant it.

“Undo my pants."