The Billionaire's Paradise (Sexy Billionaires)By: Victoria Davies
“Glad to see I can always count on some good mocking in my time of need. I’m humbled by your support.”
“Fine, fine. Go not enjoy his company. I’ll see you at breakfast tomorrow.”
“We could go for a morning—”
Karen held up a hand. “I don’t care what you next word is, the answer is no. I need some beauty sleep to off-set the jet lag. You’re on your own until the omelet station gets fired up.”
A smile tugged at her lips. “Sleep well, then.”
With a last wave, Karen closed the door on her. Shaking her head, Avery headed down to the water alone.
The sun had just started dipping toward the horizon when she reached the beach. Tourists filled the sand as the other guests of the hotel had obviously shared her thought. Finding an empty spot near a palm tree, she stood and watched as orange and red fire painted the sky.
But as breathtaking as the show was, her attention soon turned to the other occupants of the beach. She smiled at the families huddled together, their young children making sand castles in the dimming light. And then there were the couples. Women stretched out in the sand, their partners cradling them in their arms, providing a human support to lean against. They appeared so content, entwined together watching the sun. A pang filled Avery’s chest at the sight.
She’d thought she’d had that once. A partner to watch sunsets with. Someone to catch her when she tripped, or tuck the tag back into her shirt when it poked into view. Someone to experience the small, simple moments of life with.
She rubbed the empty ring finger of her left hand. Even after all this time, it was still strange not to feel the gold band she’d once worn so proudly.
A warm hand cupped her elbow, sliding along her arm as she felt a solid chest at her back.
She should pull away. The touch was too familiar. Too reminiscent of the way he’d touched her at the gala.
Time to step forward.
She meant to. Really she did. But the spell of the light and the presence of so many other tourists calmed her instincts. Instead she let herself enjoy his presence, just for a moment.
“I thought I was imagining things when I saw you over here.” The whispered words tickled her ear. “The professional Avery Clarke, caught without her suits? I didn’t think such a thing was possible.”
“The professional Avery Clarke knows multiple layers and tropical temperatures are a hard mix.”
“I’m all for shedding one’s clothes,” he said into her ear. “More shedding, I say.”
A finger traced the thin strap of her dress, edging it closer to falling from her shoulder.
“You’re hopeless,” she sighed.
“Not necessarily.” His lips brushed the naked skin of her shoulder. “There are a number of things I’m hoping for right this very instant. Most of them require less of an audience, though.”
“Only most?” She shook her head, catching herself. “Stop that, or I’m finding a new palm tree to stand under.”
With a sigh, he straightened. “We could have such fun if you’d let us.”
He’s not wrong.
But nothing good could come from falling into bed with this man. One night had haunted her for weeks. How much worse would a full-blown affair be on her psyche?
“Hush and enjoy the view,” she said.
Surprisingly, he did as she commanded. Together they watched the sun sink toward the horizon as the orange in the sky darkened into purple streaks. She shouldn’t feel such contentment standing in his arms, but if she closed her eyes, she could pretend for a moment that they were like all the other couples on the beach, merely enjoying each other’s presence at the end of a long day.
Of course, unlike the other couples, they wouldn’t be returning to the same room, ready to fall into bed together.
The last sliver of sun dipped below the horizon, and the crowd around them began to stir.
“It’s over,” she said, stepping from his light hold. She thought she heard him sigh, but when she turned to face him, he appeared as unflappable as ever.
“Time for our drink, then,” he said.
“I could point out it’s a five-minute conversation we could have right here.”