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“Miss, are you here for the wedding?”
A man stepped out of the small boat, dressed in a crisp white maritime uniform.
The wedding. The NDA had said this was a wedding gig. But this couldn’t be the place. Not by the water. The ocean. The most dangerous place in the world for a person like me.
I’d rather be in the dentist’s chair.
I’d rather be slurping warm oysters by the bucketful.
I’d rather be marrying a man who smelled like the runniest blue cheese in the world, stuffed inside the dirtiest old socks.
“No, not me! No boats for me, thanks!” I chirped, walking backward while I fished in my purse for my phone. I’d sent off my contracts, but hadn’t received any details other than the address, length, and event type. I’d assumed the job was in a mansion near the waterfront. If I’d known it was a boat, I would never have taken it, no matter how much it paid.
The sailor called out again, “Miss? Can I at least help you with your case?”
I waved him off again, pulling my suitcase backward like a demented crab. “All a terrible misunderstanding!” I replied, starting to turn. But my heel caught on something, and I slipped. My knee buckled as I began to fall.
My suitcase tipped over with a thump, but I never hit the ground.
Something warm, hard, and smelling like warm chocolate and coffee, pressed against my back. I peered down at my waist.
Massive, firm hands wrapped around me, the skin slightly darker than tan. No rings, but a sprinkling of dark hairs and—holy hell, I’d never seen fingers that looked like they worked out. But if I squinted I could actually see… definition.
“Finger muscles?” I murmured, touching one of them. “Who has finger muscles?”
“Finger what? Who the hell are you?” The deep, alpha voice had every single one of the hairs on my entire body standing on end.
I sucked in a breath to answer, got a lungful of that rich, decadent scent, and the words I meant to say came out as a moan. The man actually growled.
“Are you on drugs?”
Holy crud, I was acting like I was in heat! I shook my head and pulled away from the addictive warmth of the arms that held me, and turned to face my rescuer. “I’m so sorry, Mr.…” I began, before I saw him.
I tried to speak, but my lips were no longer listening to my brain. No, the only parts of my body that were answering any sort of call to action were my ovaries. I pressed one hand against my abdomen as a thrumming pulse below my waist began to beat out the ancient, doubled drumbeat that chanted: Al-pha. Al-pha. Al-pha.