Rancid sweat and stale cigarette smoke. Darkness. I wasn’t alone.

A few minutes ago, a rosy-hued sky reflected on shimmering Caribbean waters. Now the hotel drapes were shut. I stared into the blackness. A flash of steel. Wrapping my wet towel around my hand, I whipped it at my target and heard the satisfying clatter of a knife, followed by a guttural curse. I screamed, kicked him and ran, but he didn’t want to let me off easy. He came at me from behind, his arm tightening around my throat. I was losing consciousness, but at the last minute I thrust my hand out behind me over my shoulder, making contact with something wet and slippery. Jerking back in pain, he withdrew but was pumped and wouldn’t be stopped. He was enormous and wanted me dead.

This was not my idea of a fun vacation. Instead of a romantic evening out, I was fighting a losing battle for my life.


A couple days back…I was home resting on the couch, eyes closed, day-dreaming. A white powdery beach, a frothy strawberry daiquiri and a cool guy beside me—buff and tanned with incredibly sexy eyes. Magichands soothe my skin, massaging in slippery suntan oil, sending pleasurable tingles down my body until I’m aching for more.

Escape. That’s what I needed. My Christmas reality was too much for anyone to handle, what with my overbearing brother, his tactless wife, not to mention snotty little Tasha. When the phone rang, I let it. I felt comfortably relaxed, my cat curled on my lap. I had another sip of red wine, a soft-in-the mouth shiraz, and ignored the noise. Let the answering machine deal with it.

My fantasy man slowly brushes my hair aside, his fingers lightly stroking my neck before he kisses my throat, capturing my skin with his lips. His tongue trails to my shoulder and flicks over to the rise of my breast—silken and hot, feathering downwards to the flimsy fabric of my bikini. I thread my fingers through thick clean hair, smelling of soap and balmy ocean breeze. My hands glide over his broad shoulders to his muscular arms. He’s firm and powerful, yet he’s all natural, untamed and wild. The intense passion in his eyes fills me with longing. He wants me as much as I want him.


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