Harlequin Blaze
www.girl-gear . . .
ISBN 0373790449
May 2002

It was guaranteed to be seven days of sun - and sin!

A relaxing vacation with the winner of the scavenger hunt becomes downright sticky for CEO Sydney Ford when Ray Coffey - her one-time lover - claims the prize! Now she and her fellow gIRL gEAR partners are stuck together with Ray and his friends in this exotic locale for an entire week. For Sydney, the memory of her one steamy night with Ray is distracting her from running her business. He couldn't have been all that, could he? Well, only one way to find out!

For Ray, being marooned with Sydney is sheer torture - from seeing her gorgeous body on the beach in her bikini, and out of it in his dreams! He can't understand how that one night - albeit one incredible night - has lingered for so long in his mind. It was only sex, right? One more night with Sydney should be a reality check. But Ray's beginning to worry that once simply won't be enough . . .

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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

He was large and he was broad, and he filled her vision as he moved so lithely through the loose white sand. He stopped when he was but two feet away. For a minute he did nothing but look down. His eyes were hidden behind sunshades, so Sydney couldn't see the sparkle in his eyes. But she knew it was there. The teasing quirk at the corner of his solemn mouth gave him away.

"Ladies," he said and held out a hand to Sydney. She accepted and got to her feet, dusting stray particles of sand from the seat of her yellow bikini.

"Hello, Ray." Poe returned to reclining on her elbows. "It's nice to see you."

Sydney wanted to roll her eyes. But then Ray said, "It's nice to be seen," and tugged his glasses down enough to give Poe a wink. Sydney managed to resist smacking him on the shoulder. And then all she could do was let out a loud, "Whoop!" as Ray hoisted her into his arms and headed back for the lagoon to the tune of Poe's call of, "You two have fun!"

Ray glanced down at Sydney and raised a brow above the rims of his shades. "Your suit is water proof, right?"

"It's a swim suit, Ray. It's made to get wet." Oh, but he felt good. One arm around her back, the other beneath her legs. His fingers tucked into her ribs. His chest warm and hard and solid at her shoulder. She laced her hands behind his neck and held on tight, refusing to be alarmed by his grin that was borderline dastardly.

The grin widened. "Just making sure it's not one of those fancy look-but-don't-touch numbers."

Please touch, she wanted to say but instead she waited for the dunking she was sure he had planned. Surprisingly enough, he didn't. But what he did certainly grabbed her attention in ways a dunking would've failed to do.

He settled his body back into the center of the circular float and settled her body on top. The float was sturdy and easily held both of their weights. Ray had once again draped his arms overhead, giving Sydney the broad expanse of his chest to lie back on.

She kept one hand on her stomach. The other she trailed over the side, dangling her fingers in the water. Her legs tangled in and out of Ray's, but it was her backside in the dip of his lap causing her the most grief. She wanted to wiggle. She wanted to be still. She wasn't sure which want she wanted the most.

"I've been thinking, Sydney."

Ray's voice rumbled through her ribcage. She waited for the shudders to fade, savoring the deep echo before she replied. "That can be dangerous, you know."

"Watch it, woman. I can still change my mind about sharing this float."

"I don't remember asking to share your float."

They drifted silently for another moment or two, until Sydney started to wonder if she could maneuver with enough dexterity to dunk Ray while staying high and marginally dry. But she was enjoying his lap way too much to act on the renegade thought.



"You've been thinking?"

"I've been thinking that you've been making promises you can't keep."

"Is that so?"

"Yep. It's so."

"I suppose you're talking about finding time for us to spend together?"

"That would be the one."

"Well, we're together now."

"We're together with Poe."

"Hmm," Sydney mumbled, pulling her hand through the water enough to turn the float beachward. "Poe's gone."

"Yeah. Some friend you are, abandoning her like that."

"I got . . . an offer I couldn't refuse." She'd started to say, "a better offer," but had stopped the words before they'd rushed out. She wasn't sure why.

"Damn straight. And a better offer at that."

"Oh, yeah? Says who?" She slapped both soles of her feet against the surface of the lagoon, splashing water over their legs.

"Says the man who wants to get you naked in the worst possible way."

"Oh. That man," Sydney said, barely able to get the words past the rush of desire working to close off her throat. Especially when she felt Ray begin to stir and harden further. Neither one of their suits was made of anything but the thinnest fabric and he had to know she could feel him.

She wasn't sure what move to make next. And was glad that he let her off the hook by saying, "We're three days into this trip, Sydney."

She sighed. "I know."

"And I'm usually a very patient man. But not this time. I've been waiting for you for eight years." He lowered one arm and splayed his hand flat across her belly. "Eight years is a helluva long time."

And didn't she know it as well. Waiting to touch him, to learn him, to know him. Waiting to have his hands on her body the way she had them now. "You're right. It has been. And you'd better be worth all this waiting."

Ray stilled beneath her. His second hand joined the first, both measuring the span of her stomach. And then he chuckled and Sydney felt the tickle scuttle the length of her back.

"I could say the same thing to you."

"You could." She smiled to herself. "But you won't."

This time he laughed and the sound rolled up from deep in his belly. His hands squeezed her where they held her by the waist. "You know, Sydney Ford. There's one other thing I want to do in the worst possible way."

"You wouldn't dare," she said sensing that the time for that dunking had arrived.

"Oh yeah?" he answered.

And he did.