Saturday, 25 June 2011
What He Taught Her by Anne Whitfield
Rob Healy has everything he wants, or will have once he’s built his new resort on a small island in the Pacific. A woman in his life isn’t planned at the moment, but when he sees Cassandra Kearns in the foyer looking stiff and out of place amongst the holiday makers his interest is spiked. What is a beautiful woman doing wearing a business suit and holding a laptop doing on an island resort, especially when there are no conferences booked that week?
Cassandra Kearns is fleeing New York and all that makes her comfortable for two idyllic weeks in the tropics. She’s stressed, overtired and close to breaking point. Her divorce is finalised, her daughter is grown and she’s realising that she’s on her own and dare she say it - lonely.
She needs to take some time and recharge her batteries. But how is she to do that? She’s worked 24/7 for years. Does she know how to have fun?
When Cassandra meets Rob she rejects the spark of attraction she feels. A man in her life, after the betrayal of Oliver? She’d rather eat broken glass!
Yet Rob is persistent, he’s funny and he’s gorgeous, but what exactly does he want?
The music changed to a faster tempo and some of the couples got up to dance. Rob got them another bottle of wine and refilled her glass. Cassandra studied him as he secured the bottle back in the sand. Had she ever met such a man as him before? Yes, he was attractive, but he had something else that drew not only her attention, but the stares of other women around him.
There was magnetic quality about Rob, a mixture of a devil-may-care attitude and an inner strength of purpose which fascinated her. Desire grew inside her, igniting, and she felt a delicious heat in the pit of her stomach. It had been so long since she'd throbbed in need for a man’s body.
Reggae thumped out of the speakers. Rob stood and held out his hand. “Come on, let’s dance.”
“Really?” She stared, as he helped her to her feet. “You dance?”
“Don’t you?” He led her closer to the fire.
“I haven’t for a long time, and the men I know never dance, at least not to this type of music.”
He didn’t answer her as the music was turned up, and the Jamaican rhythm of steel drums and a Caribbean voice urged them to let themselves go.
Fired by the wine, the heat of the fire, and the music filling her senses, Cassandra was transported to another world, one full of sensual stimulus, of earthy primal urges: to eat, to frolic, to cavort. Nature’s way was very powerful, and she didn’t fight against it.
She raised her arms and swung her hips, dancing as she hadn’t done for a very long time. Laughing, Rob twirled her under his arm. The flames reflected off her gold shimmering dress. All the guests were dancing now, the music infectious, the atmosphere festive. Everyone seemed to just want to have fun, forget their problems and dance.
Cassandra squealed as Rob lifted her off her feet and spun her around. He stepped aside, grinning as a guy in his twenties came up to her and did a bit of dirty dancing with her, grinding his pelvis against hers, and she threw her head back and laughed. She felt young and completely alive. Within moments, he’d gone on to another woman, a young twenty something wearing hardly anything at all. The people around her were happy, and it had been forever since she'd felt this way.
The music changed to Salsa, and Rob took her in his arms and pulled her against him. Sexual need lit his blue eyes. He hungered for her. Her skin heated, longing for his touch.
Her smile melted away as the length of his body moved as one with hers, their steps not perfect, but instinctive, powerful. His shoulders muscles bunched beneath her hands. She ran her fingers down his back, and he tightened his hold even further.
They were locked in a dance as sexy and sensual as actually making love. Rob’s eyes never left hers, his mouth only inches from her touch. His hands cupped her hips, guiding them against his own. She shimmied, turned and, with her back to him, danced in a way she’d never done before. Every provocative movement was a gesture of intimacy, of want, of promise. Through music, their bodies touched, sending silent messages to one another. Rob flipped her around to face him again and slipped his thigh between hers. His hands slid down over her bottom, and she gasped at the ache throbbing inside her.
The music changed again, back to a pumping beat. Rob slowly released her, and she regained some of her sense and took a step back. Shocked at her wanton behaviour, her smile was perfunctory.
God, she hoped she hadn’t humiliated herself. She desperately wanted to sit down. What had gotten into her? She turned away from the bonfire and wandered away from the other dancers. Rob kept pace with her.
“Would you like to go for a walk up the beach?”
“No!” She jumped at the harshness of her refusal. “I mean no, sorry, thank you. I think it is time I went back to the beach house.” She gathered up her purse and shoes from the blanket, refusing to make eye contact.
“Please, Rob. I must go. Thank you for tonight. I had a great time.” She flashed him a tortured look, silently begging him not to say or do anything else. “Good night.”
As fast as she could run in the soft sand, she left the beach and headed up to the steps to the path. “What a mess,” she cried. Not bothering to put her heels back on, she ran along the shadowy path, away from Rob—wishing she could run away from the feeling he brought out in her, too.
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Labels: Anne Whitfield