Authors: Delilah Devlin
Tags: #Sea, #Short Story
Copyright © 2015 Delilah Devlin
A mysterious man rising from the sea awakens a woman to her past…
Note: This 5000-word short story was previously published as part of the DREAM LOVER anthology. It may be short in length, but it’s not short in passion!
For more short stories by Delilah Devlin, check out:
And coming soon:
Long Ride Home
The Pleasure in Surrender
To those of you who’ve read me before—hello, friends! To new readers, welcome to my world!
As you’ll discover, I tend to bounce around in different genres, from contemporary to paranormal and sci-fi—all are very sexy,
so be warned
. I also write in many lengths from short story to full-length novel. If you can’t tell, I love to write. And when a story is fast, it’s short. If my characters need more pages, well, you get the picture. I’m a slave to my muses (I have three—or so three different psychics have told me!).
I love hearing from readers, have a very active blog and Facebook friend page. I run contests, talk about my favorite TV shows, what I collect, what drives me crazy. I ramble a bit. I’m doing it right now. But if you’d like to learn more about me and what I’m doing or writing about, be sure to check out the “About Delilah Devlin” page after the story.
And if you enjoy
story, please consider leaving a review on your favorite retail site or simply tell a friend. Readers do influence other readers. We have to trust someone to tell us whether we’ll have fun when we open a new story!
ea foam lathered
the jagged rocks lining the shore, each lap sounding like a soapy caress. A sensual sound that fired my imagination to think about things I hadn’t since…since…
Well, in a very long time. I frowned, annoyed that the thought had been so fleeting I couldn’t give it substance, but that was just how my mind worked.
Frustrated with the elusive memory, I turned my face into the wind and enjoyed the way it whipped at my hair and the nightgown I’d thrown on before making the trek down to the beach. The way the light played at the edge of the horizon had proved too much temptation for me to stay inside the cabin that hugged the cliff.
The air was cool with an underlying note of humid heat. Cloying enough to make the silk stick to my skin, but I didn’t care. No one was there to see my thin nightgown mold to my body. I hadn’t wanted to dress since I rose from bed that morning. One of the perks of being a writer. I’d worked without a break all day, but now needed to clear the cobwebs before I headed back into my story.
I strode beside the water, jumping back to avoid the tidal fingers that seeped between the rocks lining the shore to rush across the sand. I headed to the small pool the ebbing tide left each day to see the treasures the sea deposited for me to admire.
Or so I liked to think. Not that I ever took them home. I hadn’t the courage to wet my fingers in the brine. An old phobia—one I wasn’t sure where it started.
Tall, sharp-edged boulders framed the opening where the water lapped into the pool. Peering into the water, I lay on my stomach on a flat rock above the pool. I edged closer and closer, tempted to trail my fingers in the silky saltwater. An orange starfish, bits of broken shell, a long thin strand of seaweed were all that filled the clear pool. Still, I stared, wishing I were braver.
“Do you always whimper when you stare at starfish?”
I jerked back, my gaze flying to a man, his hands braced between the two sentinel rocks and his body completely nude. “You startled me,” I blurted, scrambling to my knees. Then I narrowed my eyes. “What are doing here? This beach is private. And why the hell are you naked?”
“Don’t you have you any pity for a man washed up on your shore?”
I didn’t believe him. A quick glance showed his skin hadn’t been torn or bruised by the force of water crashing against the rocks. But how had he come here? And why hadn’t he worn a swimsuit?
I didn’t want to know. No matter how handsome he was. And gods, he was. His hair was nearly black, and the wet strands grazed the tops of wide shoulders. His eyes were a startling blue, like a calm sea. However, staring into them was anything but reassuring.
The longer the moment stretched, the harder I fought to ignore the dark hair matted to his chest or the hollows that outlined the muscles stretched over his abdomen.
I tried to keep my gaze glued to his crooked smile, but I knew the attempt was a battle I’d lose. I glanced down, thinking I’d hide it with a blink, but found myself ensnared by the sight of his erection. Thick and alert, without a curve, it pointed slightly to the side. In that second while my gaze lingered, I felt a deep pang of loneliness echo through me.
He cupped his cock. Was he hiding it? Or making sure I’d continue to stare?
My nipples tightened and poked against the silk. I hunched my shoulders to disguise my body’s reaction. “I’m asking you to leave,” I said, forcing a hard tone. “Now.”
“Are you afraid of me?”
I should have been. He’d appeared out of nowhere, invading my personal haven.
However, I’d been alone for nearly a month. This conversation, as strange as it was, was the most thrilling thing that happened since my arrival. “I’m not afraid.”
Just feeling horny and stupid.
My cheeks began a slow burn.
His shoulders relaxed, and he dropped his arms, striding forward into the tidal pool. He bent and picked up a shell, then wiped it off on his belly and held it out.
I didn’t want to take it his gift. The way he looked at me, his stare so intense, set off tingles of alarm that lifted the hairs on the back of my neck.
Still, I raised my hand, accepting it, and then cradled it in my palm as I met the stranger’s steady gaze.
His mouth curved into a half-smile tentative enough not to alarm me. “If I join you on your rock, will you run?”
Damn. I wanted him here, even though he’d be near enough I couldn’t escape. “Should I run?” I asked, tilting my chin.
His smile widened. “Only if you worry about your gown getting wet.” His gaze studied my expression, and then he gripped the ledge and hauled himself up beside me.
I made more room for him to sprawl backward on his elbows. Eyeing him, sitting this close to his nude body, disturbed me more than I wanted to admit. I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction—him, with his masculine frame stretched beside me, so close I could sweep a hand over his hard belly or bend to take his cock inside my mouth…
At the direction of my thoughts, my heart pounded like a sledgehammer.
“The sun’s setting,” he murmured, turning to catch me staring again.
I really couldn’t resist. His cock lay against the thigh nearest me. And disappointingly, it had softened. I wondered how that could be when my own body was reacting so wildly to his proximity.
“Really, did you park along the cliff?” I blurted, wanting to talk about anything to fill the silence that made me more nervous and embarrassed by the second. He had to know how he affected me. My breaths were coming faster. My cheeks heated.
He arched a dark brow, and the fading sunlight glinted in his mysterious, sea-blue eyes. His white teeth flashed. “I swam here.”
Our gazes were locked, making the moment feel more intimate, as though a promise was made. My body leaned toward him, but I resisted. He was a complication I didn’t need. No matter how handsome. I shook my head to clear it. “Do you have a house farther down the beach?”
“My home is farther along than that.”
Growing annoyed with his evasiveness, I frowned and rose on my knees. “I have to get back.”
“Is someone waiting for you? Will you be missed?”
The way he asked, as though my answer would determine his reaction, made those warning tingles clamor. I tried to stand, but he gripped my wrist and held me.
His thumb stroked my thudding pulse. “I can’t let you leave.”
“Do it. No one will hear.”
Since he was right, I bit my tongue and glared.
“Say you’ll stay, and I’ll let go of you.”
I nodded slowly. “I’ll stay.”
He eased his grip, and I glanced down to rub my wrist, waiting for him to lower his guard. The moment he offered me a smile, I shoved his chest, pushing him off the rock into the pool. Then I scrambled up the rocky pathway.
In moments, I was halfway up the narrow, uneven rock steps that ran from the beach to the cabin porch, forty feet above. However, I heard no sounds behind me and I slowed, worrying that maybe he’d hit his head against a rock and lay bleeding or drowned in the tiny pool. Huffing a bit, I halted, gripping the handrail in my indecision, and then glanced back. I gave a startled yelp because he was only two steps behind me. And smiling.
Naked and smiling, I revised. I couldn’t get past the naked part, not when his cock was filling again. I backed up a step.
He followed, crowding closer.
Because I couldn’t stop gauging the growing size of his erection, I held tightly to the rail. I was breathing a little too fast and feeling light-headed. “Why are you following me?” I asked, exasperated both with him and my own reactions.
“Since you’re so eager to return home, I thought we would continue our conversation there.”
“You can’t come. My husband wouldn’t like it.”
He pried my left hand from the rail and held it up. “No ring?”
With reluctance, I tried dragging my fingers from his, not wanting to admit the thrill his touch had given me.
His grip tightened.
“I don’t believe in symbols.”
“I don’t believe that.”
I tried to pull my hand from his again but felt foolish because he held it easily and didn’t attempt more. I gave up and let him soothe my pulse with a rub of his thumb. “Do you think I’m lying?”
“I think you’re unaware. Why live beside the sea?”
“It’s not permanent. I needed a change of scenery.” I gave him a scowl before continuing. “
to be alone so I could work.”
“But why come to the sea when you’re afraid to get wet. You are afraid of the water, aren’t you?”
“Only salt water,” I responded automatically. And then I realized what he’d guessed. My eyes and the back of my throat burned. “How can you know that? And why the hell would you care?”
He tugged me closer until I had to tilt my head to meet his gaze. His expression was still taut, but his gaze was warm. He studied me, seeking something in my expression. For just a second, I wished I could give him an answer. “I came here for you,” he whispered in a confidential tone. “To return you to where you belong. But you don’t remember, do you?”
I shook my head. “Remember what?”
“Let me come home with you. I’ll explain.”
So close now I could smell his sea-fresh scent and feel the warmth of his breaths, I caved to the wild impulse thrumming through my veins. “Come then,” I whispered. “But we really do need to hurry. If the sun sets, we won’t be able to find our way up the cliff.”