I go inside in search of one of the many bedrooms.

He described this as a smaller yacht, but to me it’s huge. I turn a corner expecting to find the bedrooms, but walk right into the kitchen where I find several of the staff sitting around making their own sandwiches for lunch. I’m about to apologize and turn around when I notice that they have roast beef.

“Excuse me,” I say, eyeing the roast beef. “Would you guys mind if I made myself a sandwich?”

They shrug and nod, so I step in further and help myself to bread, open the fridge to see what sort of fixings they have.

When I finish making the sandwich I halve it and put it on a plate, and head out up to the indoor seating area where I know Collins is working. I find him at his computer, deeply engaged, so much so that I’m able to set the sandwich next to him and rush out just as he looks up to see it.

“Hey,” he hollers at me.

I turn at the door. “Sorry. I couldn’t stand the thought of you working on an empty stomach.”

He meets my eyes with a meaningful look. “Thank you.” I don't know if he's thanking me for that kiss, or for not saying anything to Tatianna, or for the sandwich.

“You're welcome.”

I watch with satisfaction as he takes a huge bite. “You know what I like.” I'm pretty sure he’s talking about the sandwich at the moment, but I can’t help blushing.

I nod and smile. Then head back down to find a nice place for a nap.


Chapter Seven


I'm sitting up in bed with my laptop perched beside me, when Tatianna crawls into my lap.

“I'm going to be gone for the next few nights,” she whispers, bringing her mouth to my neck.

“Where's the shoot this time?” I ask, peering around her head to finish typing the email I'm trying to send.

“In Utah,” she says. “I'm modeling a fall line for Calvin Klein.”

I always find it interesting how they plan a season ahead. She does swimwear work in the dead of winter for the following spring, and in the summertime, she models winter coats.

“Do you want me to take you to the airport on my way to work in the morning?” I ask.

She chuckles. “No. That's not why I brought up my trip. I'm going to be gone for the next couple of nights.” She wiggles her eyebrows at me. “I want some.” Her hand reaches lower and she grabs onto my package, giving him a gentle squeeze. I'm soft, but she doesn't seem to care.

She brings her lips to mine, and I kiss them, dutifully, but something about it feels off.

“Not tonight,” I tell her. There is no way I'd feel right being intimate with Tatianna knowing that Mia is right down the hall. “I'm tired, and I have a few more things to finish yet.”

“Why are you so stressed out, babe?” she asks, pressing her fingers to my temples and lightly rubbing.

“Mm, that feels nice.” I close my eyes and enjoy the relaxing sensation. She continues lightly rubbing, moving her hands into my hair and massaging my scalp.

I feel Tatianna's lips against mine again and her pelvis press into me. “Come on, Collins, I want to have sex,” she breathes against my mouth. Her lips are stiff and practiced. I don't know why I would just now notice that after three years of dating her.

I can't help but recall the feeling of hot Mia's mouth against mine. Her lips were full and lush and moved so easily with mine. I remember her suntanned curves, the freckles across the bridge of her nose, and the water droplets clinging to her dark eyelashes just before I took her mouth. Her tongue was shy at first, but when I deepened the kiss, she licked against my tongue and then sucked it into her mouth with a soft tug. My cock hardens at the memory.

“That's it, babe,” Tatianna says encouraging, rubbing herself against my erection.

Fuck. I'm hard, but it's not for Tatianna.

I remove her from my lap and rise from the bed. “I'm not feeling well tonight.” Why am I lying to her?

“What's going on, Collins?” Her eyes narrow on mine and they're full of confusion. I know she's remembering the last time we had sex I couldn’t even orgasm. For which I still have no answer, because Mia wasn't even here at that point.


A fresh wave of memories flood my brain. The way her tight nipples felt against my chest, the way her generous ass felt in my palms as I held her in the water…

I adjust my erection and head into the bathroom, locking the door behind me.

Placing both palms flat against the travertine counter, I stare straight ahead into the mirror. What in the fuck is going on with me? Dark blue eyes stare back at me, looking lost and uncertain. Everything in my life is so exact and calculating, I'm at a loss about what's happening to me. Am I sick? Dying? I take several deep breaths and force myself to relax. I pace the large bathroom, walking from one end to the other while I try to clear my head.

Earlier, out in the cold water, when I'd kissed Mia's soft lips, the promise we'd made to each other came rushing back. We haven't talked seriously about that childhood promise, but shit, maybe we need to. There is obviously unsettled business between us, but the idea of marriage is insane. We were ten years old for fuck's sake. You can't decide who you're going to spend the rest of your life with in fifth grade. I don't even know if I want to get married. I haven't ever given the concept much thought. Maybe it's time I do, that way I can explain to Mia why it was a silly childhood fantasy, and why it can never happen. She will have to see reason.