Authors: Kira Sinclair
Tags: #Island Nights
This decadent adults-only resort is nestled on a secluded island in the heart of the Caribbean. It’s called Escape—and it’s paradise, even for those who live and work here. But could the island’s aphrodisiac-like qualities suddenly affect the owner himself?
Sexy, reclusive resort owner Simon Reeves and his dedicated executive director, Marcy McKinney, have always had a volatile work relationship. But when the resort is closed down for two weeks and Simon intentionally traps Marcy on the island, she snaps—and quits.
Marcy wants to teach Simon a lesson, but she has no idea the tension between them is about to evolve into pure, unadulterated lust. Or that her hot boss has very definite—and exquisitely tantalizing—ideas on exactly how to keep Marcy from leaving the island...and his bed!
“I really need a shower.”
Simon's husky words tripped down Marcy's spine and she swallowed. Hard.
“Okay, but be quick about it. I have things to do,” she said, just to remind them both where they stood.
He disappeared into the bathroom but his voice floated back out at her. “Like more dancing?
I wouldn't mind sticking around to watch that show.”
“No. No sticking, no show.” Her face flushed hot.
“That's a shame. I could use some entertainment.” He stuck his head back around the corner.
He was naked. At least what she could see of him. All wide shoulders and taut, tanned skin. The swell of well-defined pecs and just the hint of sculpted abs. A sprinkling of golden hair narrowed to a line down the center of his chest to vanish behind the dark wood of the door frame.
His heavy-lidded eyes searched her face, for what, she wasn't sure. But whatever it was, he found it.
Simon wanted her.
And what Simon wanted, Simon gotâ¦.
Have you ever read a book where a secondary character caught your attention and just wouldn’t let it go? For me, that’s what happened with this hero and heroine, Simon and Marcy.
I knew the minute Marcy hit the page in
Bring It On,
she’d have her own story. She was feisty—the way I like my heroines—and therefore needed a really strong man. And, oh, Simon fit the bill. He is the epitome of “looks can be deceiving” and I fell a little in love with him myself. Please don’t tell my husband.
My favorite relationships to write about are those where the characters strike sparks off each other the moment they meet. I don’t mean arguing, although these two do plenty of that. But that combination of friction and attraction that you know is just a smoke screen hiding so much underneath. It’s a lot of fun watching the haze clear.
I hope you enjoy reading Simon and Marcy’s story! It was a pleasure to write. And be sure to check out
Bring It On
Take It Down—
the first two books in my Island Nights trilogy. You don’t want to miss the fireworks leading up to
Rub It In.
I’d love to hear from you at [email protected]
Rub It In
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When not working as an office manager for a project management firm or juggling plot lines, Kira spends her time on a small farm in north Alabama with her wonderful husband, two amazing daughters and a menagerie of animals. It’s amazing to see how this self-proclaimed city girl has (or has not, depending on who you ask) adapted to country life. Kira enjoys hearing from her readers at her website, www.kirasinclair.com. Or stop by writingplayground.blogspot.com and join in the fight to stop the acquisition of an alpaca.
Books by Kira Sinclair
415—WHISPERS IN THE DARK
588—CAUGHT OFF GUARD
605—WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN
667—BRING IT ON*
672—TAKE IT DOWN*
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I'd like to dedicate this book to a group of women who have become sisters of my heart:
Kimberly Lang, Andrea Laurence, Marilyn Puett
and Danniele Worsham. Without you guys
this journey wouldn't have happenedâ
and it sure wouldn't have been as enjoyable
even if it had. It seems like you've been a
part of my life for as long as I can remember instead of only a few years. Y'all mean the world to me and I hope you guys know that. Love you!
until next week for the delivery. You promised it would arrive today,” Marcy McKinney snarled into the phone. Taking a deep breath, she pasted a smile on her lips—because you really could hear it and her dad had always taught her you catch more flies with honey than vinegar—and said, “If you can’t have the building supplies here by tomorrow then I want you to cancel my order and I’ll get what I need somewhere else.”
Slamming the phone back into its cradle would have felt good, but Marcy resisted. Barely. She had no idea where she’d find a store that could fill her rather large order, but she’d figure that out if the dissolute man on the other end of the phone actually called her bluff.
It wasn’t as if hardware stores were thick on the ground in the middle of a secluded island in the Caribbean. Escape—the resort that she worked at as general manager—was actually the only thing on Île du Coeur. St. Lucia was the closest major hub, and it was forty-five minutes by ferry.
Getting the supplies from another island would probably double the cost…but that wasn’t her problem. It was Simon’s.
She should probably feel bad about making Simon’s life difficult. She didn’t. It was his turn, damn it.
The resort would be closed for the next two weeks—their off-season hiatus. In two days she had a job interview for the general manager position at a boutique hotel in New York City. This could be her ticket off the island and back to civilization.
And nothing, not Simon or lost building supplies, defecting security personnel, not even—
—whatever was the latest disaster to hit her desk could keep her here.
Tina, the front desk clerk, bellowed down the back office hallway again.
“Coming,” Marcy hollered back, modulating her voice to a pleasantly official tone. Scrambling out from behind her desk, she tried not to panic at the piles of paper, messages she still had to return and color-coded folders that needed her attention. She had so much to handle before she could walk out the door.
And by the time she could mark one thing off her list, three more tasks seemed to crop up to take its place.
The minute Marcy rounded the corner she knew there was trouble. Tina’s normally brilliant smile was tight and as fake as her long red fingernails.
A couple, sunburned and cranky, stood on the opposite side of the counter.
“Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” Tina rolled her eyes. While it wasn’t their main focus, they had their share of Smiths, Joneses, Johnsons and any number of generically named guests who were most likely cheating on their spouses. Marcy didn’t like it, but there was little she could do.
“Thank goodness. I’ve explained to—” the woman leaned forward and squinted at Tina’s name tag “—Tina that we need to extend our stay.” She held out her lobster-red arm, “As you can imagine, explaining how I received a second-degree sunburn while on a business trip to London might be slightly difficult.” The woman sneered, including her companion in her raking gaze.
“And as I’ve told Mrs. Smith…” This time Tina couldn’t help but emphasize the misnomer. Marcy probably should scold her, but she wouldn’t. “We have no available rooms, as the resort is closing for two weeks tomorrow.”
“We’ll pay whatever.”
Marcy’s own smile was tight as she said, “It isn’t a matter of money, ma’am.” She refused to let the false name pass her lips. “The resort is undergoing construction and our insurance company won’t allow any guests on the premises for liability reasons.”
The woman’s scowl deepened. Marcy could see the snit she was about to unleash as it built in the back of her beautiful green eyes. Cutting it off at the pass, Marcy continued, “However, I’d be happy to contact a resort on St. Lucia and see if something is available while you recover.”
Instead of a tirade, a sigh of relief exited through the woman’s pink and pouty lips. “Oh, yes, that would be wonderful. If you wouldn’t mind.” Marcy fought the urge to smack the smile off
“Give us a minute.” She ground out the words through clenched teeth as she pulled Tina into the back office behind her. “Run down the list of resorts on the island and see what you can find. Start with the family-oriented resorts. The more obnoxious the kids, the better.”
Tina giggled. “Happy to.”
Marcy left her to it, heading back to her desk and the pile of work waiting for her there. Despite it being afternoon, the other offices were already dark. Most of the staff were busy packing their own bags for a change. Everyone except a skeleton crew left the island for these two weeks each year. When a tropical paradise was your home, vacations usually meant visiting family you hadn’t seen in forever.
Marcy had no family to see. Her mother had died when she was a little girl. Her father, a hotel manager himself, had died five years ago. She had no brothers or sisters, and only one aunt on her father’s side, but the last time she’d heard from Suellen had been at her father’s funeral.
She had several close friends from college, but they were all scattered around the country. And while she talked to them as often as possible, most of them were busy starting families and building careers. Several years ago they’d given up trying to plan a girls’ week away. It was just too hard to work around all their schedules.
Some of the staff would stay. She’d spent last year here herself. In theory having the entire resort to yourself—including all the amenities the guests used but she never had time for—wasn’t a bad thing. If she’d actually taken time to use those amenities. Instead, she’d spent the entire two weeks—weeks that were supposed to be her vacation—working.
Not this year. Tomorrow afternoon she was leaving. Marcy sighed. Two blissful weeks with no Simon—the bane of her existence.
In her opinion, no laid-back surf god should ever own a resort. It had gotten to the point where just the sight of Simon’s low-riding shorts and tight T-shirts had begun to grate on her nerves. They were running a business!
Besides, no man should look that sexy while somehow still managing to appear as if donning clothing had been an afterthought. The problem with that kind of…demeanor was that most of the time she feared Simon was two steps away from shedding his clothes again just because they were annoying him. And she didn’t want that. Really, she didn’t. It would set a bad example for the employees.
She preferred men with more structured wardrobes. The kind who wore business suits every day…and liked it. If she discovered Simon owned a single pair of tailored pants or a silk tie—let alone a suit—she’d die of shock.
Before moving to the island she’d lived in cities. Lots of them. London, Prague, Chicago, San Francisco. And she’d loved them all. But her heart belonged to New York, where the men definitely knew how to wear their suits. And run their businesses.
Simon might have had the money to purchase the resort, but he didn’t seem to care much about keeping it going. Even the disheveled blond hair that notoriously hung in his dark blue eyes bothered her. She constantly wanted to sweep it out of the way, but the one time she’d given in to the impulse her hand had tingled for twenty minutes. And that was the last thing she needed.
But it was difficult, as a woman, not to recognize that Simon was an attractive man. He was tall, his athletic body moving with a grace that seemed counterintuitive considering his height. Charm and devilment mixed with his inherent sex appeal—a potentially lethal combination.
But she refused to feel attracted. Not to her boss. She’d learned her lesson the first time around that block.
“Marcy.” The two-way radio on her hip squawked. “We have a problem.”
Tom, their only remaining security person, thought everything was a problem. Since the head of security, Zane Edwards, had left to follow the woman he loved to Atlanta and his replacement had lasted all of six weeks, Tom was all she had right now. Marcy couldn’t really blame the guy for his “the sky is falling” attitude—he was so far out of his element. Tom was great at watching the monitors and keeping drunken guests in line. But at twenty-two, he was hardly ready to take on the task of head of security for a resort as large as Escape.
Marcy was hoping to fix that problem before she left, as well. On her desk sat three résumés from three very capable candidates. All were to arrive on the afternoon ferry. They’d stay the night, be interviewed tomorrow, tour the facility and then leave on the morning ferry. Simon had balked at the expense, but after Zane’s replacement hadn’t been able to handle island life, she wasn’t making that mistake again.
The last stragglers would join them. Marcy was half packed and come hell or high water would be on the last ferry.
Snatching the radio off her belt, Marcy huffed, “What is it, Tom?”
“Several men—” she could hear the hesitation in his voice “—just got off the ferry. You said not to allow anyone off.”
What she’d said was not to allow any guests off. She had no doubt, based on the falter in his voice, that the group he was referring to were her construction workers.
“Do the men have toolboxes, ladders or anything else resembling construction equipment, by any chance?”
“Yes.” He sounded surprised, and Marcy fought hard not to roll her eyes.
“Could they be the crew coming to handle the maintenance and renovations while we’re closed?” she asked patiently.
“Maybe.” He drew out the single word, telling her that he was quickly reevaluating the situation in front of him. Really, he was a good boy who could do with just a little more common sense and practical life experience. Marcy could hear a rustle as he placed his hand over the phone. Unfortunately it didn’t dampen the sound enough for her to miss as he asked the men, “Are you construction guys?”
Their yes was muffled but audible nonetheless.
“Uh, yeah, they are.”
“Great. Maybe next time you’ll ask them why they’re here first before calling me up with a non-crisis. Put them in the old bunkhouse.”
The bunkhouse was left over from the days when the island had been a cocoa plantation, though it had been updated and renovated since then. The building was rarely used, but it would serve perfectly for the next two weeks. Most of the permanent employees had either bungalows at the back of the property, like hers, or living quarters close to the job, like their chef, who had a rather large apartment above the kitchens.
Great, now she had workers but no supplies for them to actually do anything.
Blowing at a wisp of hair that had fallen into her eyes, Marcy flopped back into the executive chair behind her desk, not sure whether she wanted to scream, cry or start smashing things. Probably a little of all three.
Her to-do list was a mile long. Nothing was going right.
And she had no doubt that the minute Simon realized she was leaving tomorrow he would blow a gasket. Not that her departure should surprise him, since she’d told him in person, sent him an email and reminded him a dozen times over the past few weeks.
However, if there was one thing she’d learned about Simon Reeves, it was that his brain was like Swiss cheese and his hearing was more than selective…as in nonexistent.
But that was another thing that was his problem, not hers.
Pulling up the document she’d been working on, Marcy looked at the detailed instructions she’d written in an effort to help Simon through the next two weeks—and if the interview went well, to help her replacement. Part of her had wanted to leave him with nothing, but that just wasn’t her style. She’d put too much time and effort into the resort to see Simon ruin it the minute she walked out the door.
The document was currently sitting at twenty-two pages. Marcy was a little worried the sheer size of the thing would prevent Simon from reading it.
She stared at it for several seconds.
Cut it down, or leave it as is?
It was an argument she’d had multiple times over the past few days. Ultimately she came to the same conclusion she’d come to numerous times. Once again, what Simon chose to do or not do was not her problem.
And hopefully, if things went according to plan, wouldn’t ever be again.
* * *
to grab the first thing and throw it at the door when a loud knock blasted through his office. The scene he was writing wasn’t working and he couldn’t figure out why. Frustration rode him hard and probably wasn’t helping the situation. Neither was the bustling noise that even here, behind the closed door of his private office, couldn’t be disguised.
The staff was happy at the prospect of having two weeks off. Frankly, he was happy to see them leave, at least for a little while. Having the place virtually to himself was going to be a godsend.
He was months behind on the deadline for his current manuscript. It was so bad that he’d actually unplugged his phone and uninstalled the mail program from his computer to avoid email from his editor and agent. If he didn’t finish this thing in the next two weeks he could probably kiss his career goodbye. Again.
Thanks to Courtney’s betrayal three years ago, the resulting plagiarism scandal and his fruitless attempts to prove the work was really his, his career had already dangled by a thread once. He really didn’t want to go through that again.