A broken, jilted bride. An exotic paradise. A lonely man who craves her innocence.
Catherine Dalton can’t believe her eyes. That couldn’t be Jack. Not her Jack. And certainly not two days before they’re supposed to marry! As Cat’s world crumbles around her, she wonders how she’ll ever pick up the pieces in a life that she devoted and built around one man and move on. At the urging of her bestie, she escapes to the beautiful island of St. Lucia, hoping against hope for a way to mend her broken and devastated heart.
Nicholas Westbrook has traveled to the Caribbean many times. It’s the company’s most-profitable territory… and the perfect stepping stone to his next promotion. The last thing he expected on another business-as-usual trip was a chance encounter with the lovely jilted bride from Austin, alone on her honeymoon. He shouldn’t pursue her–rebounds aren’t his style. But this blonde beauty draws him in like a fine wine who needs to be uncorked and savored.
Can Cat unwind and enjoy everything Nicholas coaxes out of her, knowing there’s no future between them?
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I am often asked how I got started writing. Well, my response is always, “My career found me.”
I’ve enjoyed reading romance for years, and sometimes I would get caught up in a scene, my mind would race ahead and play out the rest of the scene. I would return to reading to see how the author ended it, but ironically the scene would continue to play. And I see a scene like I’m watching a movie- with dialogue, scenery, sound, etc. I found myself adding on, changing things. At one point, I decided to put everything down on paper, in an attempt to get the thoughts out of my head. After 25 pages of just stuff, I realized there may be something.
Soon into my career, I realized all I need is one scene to build a book around. That scene is early in the first few chapters. Enjoy!
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I like characters that are relatable in the way that they are always somewhat flawed, like all of us. But they always have some fantastic, redeemable quality(s) they make you want to root for them. Cat is already fairly well defined early on in the story. Nicholas needs to be that subtle contrast. Together they give each other enough contrast to bring out the best in each other.
Cat decided starting a vacation with a massage was the right way to go. She lucked out when she called the spa Tuesday morning and they had an opening.
The previous night, she’d picked up the concierge’s recommendations of places to visit and then updated her two-week agenda. She looked forward to something for once that didn’t revolve around the wedding. She’d caught a glimpse of the vibe Celeste had packed for her and chuckled. Some things might still not be on the agenda.
After a late breakfast, she entered the hotel’s posh spa five minutes early. Soft, instrumental music played in the background and the scent of vanilla filled the air. “Hello. I have an appointment at eleven for a massage.”
“Excellent. You would be Miss Dalton?”
“Can I get you a glass of fruit-infused cold water before I take you back to Sebastian?”
What? Her back straightened. A male masseur? The idea hadn’t even occurred to Cat. Of course, it was possible, and not that it really mattered, but… Well, she couldn’t say why she was apprehensive.
“Is everything alright, Miss Dalton?”
Calm down, Cat. You have nothing to worry about. Just because she’d never had a male massage therapist before didn’t mean there was anything to be wary of. Jack might have been the last man to touch her, but Cat couldn’t expect for that to last forever. Eventually there would be men…
“Everything is great. And yes, I’d love some water.” She chased away the apprehension and forced a casual smile.
She followed the receptionist back to a cozy, softly lit room. “Make yourself comfortable. I’ll be right back with your water.”
True to her word, the receptionist returned shortly with a glass of ice water. “Sebastian will be with you in a few moments. Enjoy.” The young woman pivoted on her heel and left, closing the door behind her.
Cat sank into the upholstered bench and sipped her water. A male. Cat’d never had a massage given by a man before. Only ever a woman. She shook her head. She was overreacting. Not to mention, if he was gay, he’d have no interest in her.
The door opened quietly, pulling her from her thoughts. A tall, dark-haired, brown-eyed man walked into the massage room and smiled at her. His white, short-sleeve uniform shirt pulled snuggly over his shoulders and chest muscles. His waist was trim and his skin bronzed.
My! He was a fine specimen of a man.
“Miss Dalton, I’m Sebastian. I’ll perform your massage today.” He had an exotic Latin American accent. He leaned forward, offering his hand.
She hesitantly reached for it, allowing his large warm hand to engulf hers. “Hello.”
His brow furrowed softly. “I apologize for being late. My previous appointment was delayed. If you could remove your clothes and jewelry, and lie face-up on the massage table, I’ll return in a few moments, and we’ll get started.”
She swallowed hard. He certainly didn’t act gay. “Sure,” she choked out.
Sebastian left the room. Her heart beat faster. She could do this. Not all men were untrustworthy slime balls.
Cat stripped, hiding her underthings beneath her cotton tee and shorts. She gulped some cool water and climbed onto the table, under the covers. The table seemed wider than a traditional massage table. Not that that would matter for a tall man like Sebastian.
She pulled up the sheet, letting the soft cotton envelope her, brushing lightly against her bare form.
A soft knock at the door announced his return. Cat’s eyes were squeezed shut; she forced her face to relax.
“Comfortable?” She heard him adjust the music, then the lamp to darken the room, before he gathered his lotion.
“Any areas that feel particularly tight, Miss Dalton?”
She opened her eyes to see him looking down at her. Oh, she’d better not regret this.
“Cat, please. No. I just need to relax,” her tone sounded curt. Shoot! Why had she said that? Keep it together, she scolded herself.
“I can see that. Well, take a few deep breaths for me. I will start with your head and work my way to your toes. Then you will turn over and I’ll repeat the same process on the backside. If anything feels tight, and needs more work, please let me know. Also, if something is uncomfortable, let me know so I can stop. All right?”
Sebastian may look straight off the Man of the Year calendar, but he was professional and attentive, and Cat appreciated that.
“Yes. Thank you.”
She closed her eyes again when Sebastian’s fingers smoothed her hair off her face in light, feathery strokes. He applied an oil to his fingers and started massaging her face and neck, going into her hairline.
Quietly, he said, “I can see you have a lot on your mind. Try and quiet your thoughts. Be here in the moment. Find peace.”
He’d hit the nail on the head. She had a lot on her mind—cheating fiancés that lied through their teeth, and now, literally putting herself in another man’s hands.
She forced a deeper breath. She could do this. She needed a massage. Sebastian was a professional. She wanted to kick her vacation off with a bang. And she deserved it, dammit!
His hands moved over her neck and shoulders, making a few passes between her breasts. She was sure it wasn’t intended to be a sexual thing, but it certainly felt sensual. His hands were warm and the pace of his movements helped her nerves and muscles start to calm.
Finishing her arms, he moved the blanket aside to pull her right leg out. Applying more oil, he worked his strong hands up and down. His thumbs pressed firmly into her quads and a tiny moan passed her lips.
Heat rose in her cheeks. She’d never moaned with a female masseuse.
Cat tensed slightly when his hands worked their way upward, very close to her sex. She swallowed. His fingers never touched her there, instead they merely grazed passed to work her right hip and a bit of her stomach. Dang! Her muscles were tight. After several minutes, he covered the right leg and repeated the procedure on her left leg.
She noticed the blanket wasn’t really tucked in anywhere. In fact, moisture had begun to gather at the apex of her thighs, and whenever the blanket shifted, air sent a coolness over her vulva.
Her heartbeat increased slightly, but a hypnotic state also settled in. She felt so incredibly relaxed that she didn’t bother opening her eyes or care if any private parts were exposed. Sebastian had magic fingers. Her earlier nervousness was for no good reason.
He re-covered her leg and whispered, “Please turn over, Cat.”
He held the blanket to conceal her breasts. She rotated and placed her face in the padded face rest. She inhaled and a sweet scent of vanilla filled her senses. Sebastian lowered the sheet to her waist, maybe past her waist. She couldn’t be sure, but some of her derriere might be exposed. Her muscles tensed.
He whispered close to her ear, “Relax. Relaxation is good for your blood pressure, your memory, so many things.”
Right. She tried to calm down and focus on not letting her anxiety ruin her wonderful massage.
His oiled hands began long strokes up and down her back. He kneaded and worked out knots along the way. She breathed deeply. Oh yeah.
The sensual feeling flowing through her, coupled with the deep relaxation, brought Cat to a place she had rarely been. Simply euphoric. Sebastian massaged her arms, leaving them limp and pliable. He covered her torso and moved to her left leg next, this time exposing half her ass. However, when his hands began to stroke her leg, hip, and butt cheek in deep, satisfying, rhythmic glides, she didn’t have the energy to give it much thought.
An achiness built as Sebastian’s motions continued. He moved to the right leg. Again her right ass cheek was bared to him, to the room, to his marvelous hands.
A moan slipped passed her lips, and she wished she could reach down to take care of the blossoming need at her sex. Maybe she would have a use for the vibe after all.
After several minutes, he re-covered her leg, and she feared the massage was over. That was sixty minutes? Damn! But it was so good. Worth every blessed penny! Every one of Jack’s pennies!
She felt his breath at her ear, and his hand at her lip. “Lift your hips and I will slide a pillow underneath.”
Confused, she met his gaze. “My massage isn’t over?”
He shook his head. “You don’t have to be finished. If you’ll let me, I can help you. Help you to completely relax.” He spoke the words in a most professional manner, but his deep chocolate eyes told a different story. “Would you like my help, Cat?”
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