Friday, October 9, 2009


“Don’t stand up!”

But the loud warning came too late. In a desperate dive to grasp the tail end of the oar Maggie jumped to her feet and leaned over the side of the boat. By the time she realized her mistake it was too late to do anything about it. With a cry she went over the side headfirst. The water was cold and she surfaced with a gasp. Kicking her feet to stay afloat, she brushed strands of clinging hair out of her face so she could see, cursing the stupid boat, which had managed to float several feet away from her.

“Give me your hand.”

Maggie twisted toward the masculine voice behind her, her gaze falling on the hand near her face. Her gaze followed the path up a strong, muscular arm until her eyes locked onto all too familiar brown ones. She groaned and glanced around, half expecting to see lightning in the air. Even though her heart gave a little start she muttered miserably, “Go away.” She turned around, fully intending to ignore Matt. Why should he always see her at her worst?

“Give me your hand,” he insisted in a tone that revealed he was trying not to laugh. She reluctantly raised her hand and with a sharp pull he had her on board his boat in no time. “Out for a little afternoon dip?” He stepped away from her dripping body and crossed his arms, his gaze moving over Maggie as though to make sure she was alright. There was amusement in his voice when he said, “I’ve seen you looking better.”

“Really?” Her tone was thick with sarcasm as she tugged at the hem of her shorts. She couldn’t look him in the eyes, embarrassed he’d witnessed her ungraceful plunge into the lake. And she didn’t need or want his misplaced humor, either. She peered down at herself and groaned noticing the wet material of her tee shirt revealed she wasn’t wearing a bra. Heat crawled up her neck into her cheeks. Her nipples were clearly visible and taut. She plucked the clinging material away from her breasts. “Do you have a towel or something?”

“Why, I like the view.”

Maggie felt a slow burn spread through her body when Matt’s eyes lingered on her breasts. His slow smile was sexy. His gaze revealed growing awareness. “Really?” She smiled in return, while quaking with unusual nervousness inside. “You’re not the one freezing.” It was a warm, sunny day.

Matt’s eyes shot back up to hers. “You’re cold? There’s a remedy for that.”

Maggie wondered what that meant. His hands went to the white shirt he was wearing. Suddenly buttons were flying everywhere when he ripped it open, exposing his masculine chest and washboard abdomen. She caught her breath and stepped back, coming into bruising contact with the side of the boat. “And what would that be?”

Thank God it was a bigger boat than hers or she might find herself treading water a second time. On second thought, the way Matt was staring at her, eating her up with his eyes, she might stand a better chance in the lake.

“Body heat.”

Oh! Instant desire erupted inside Maggie. Matt was appealing when he wasn’t being all serious and matter of fact. She recalled the body heat between them the other morning. How could she not? It had equaled nothing she’d ever experienced before. But here on the lake, in the open, did she dare give in to the hunger simmering between them? She cast a glance back to shore, chagrined to find she couldn’t even see her father. She looked back at Matt. The truth hit Maggie like a ton of bricks. It didn’t matter where they were. She wanted him. And the gleam in his devilish eyes said he was hungry for her, too. The longer they stood there, staring at each other, the stronger the urge became to tempt fate.

Still, Maggie wasn’t ready to give in so easily. She enjoyed the cat and- mouse game they were playing. She held out her hands as if to ward him off. “I’ll scream.” With pleasure, she didn’t add.

Matt paused long enough to look around. “Go ahead,” he said with a significant lifting of his brows.

The lake was suddenly empty of boaters, swimmers and anything else in their immediate vicinity. Matt whipped off his shirt and Maggie jumped at the unexpected action. “Why so jumpy?” He handed it to her. She clutched it to the front of her. He was close, too close for her peace of mind. Maggie held out her hand. “I hope we can be friends.” She tried not to smile, aware her comment was outrageous after what they’d shared.

“Friends?” His eyes gleamed like polished mahogany, holding hers captive for a long minute, before his gaze dropped to her hand. “I think we’re past that.” Ignoring her offer of a handshake,he gave a slight nod. Then his gaze moved past her, “I think we’d better retrieve your boat before it floats further away.”

She turned her head in the direction Matt indicated, seeing her father’s little canoe had floated quite a distance from them. While Matt started the engine she gratefully slipped into his shirt. She could smell the scent of him on it, accepting the welcoming warmth where his body had been only moments ago.

“Can you reach the towline?”

She glanced down at the rope trailing in the water and bent over the side to reach for it. It was farther than she thought. The rope remained just beyond her fingertips. She stretched as far as she could, until the muscles at the back of her legs tightened as she balanced on the very tips of her toes. Oh no! Her eyes rounded when her feet slipped on the deck and she felt herself going over the side headfirst...

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