From the book
Abby stirred at the unmistakable pressure of a man's mouth on hers, coaxing, tantalizing. The kind of yearning she'd buried for years awakened with a vengeance. Whether this was a dream or reality hardly seemed to matter as her breath caught and her pulse raced. It had been so long since she'd felt like this.
She sighed when the man drew back, then slowly opened her eyes to find a soaking wet, bare-chested, incredibly gorgeous stranger kneeling in the sand beside her, his expression every bit as startled as her own must have been.
"Looks like you're going to be okay," he said, a hitch in his voice and a surprising hint of color in his sexily stubbled cheeks.
"Okay?" she echoed, bemused. There had been nothing wrong about the past couple of minutes. They'd been enchanted, in fact. Spectacular, even. Definitely well beyond okay.
"I pulled you out of the water just now," he reminded her, worry darkening his blue eyes. "You don't remember going under? Calling out for help?"
Suddenly the panic came rushing back, the sensation of water closing over her head, her feet unable to touch the sandy bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. One second she'd been standing in waist-deep water, the next a wave had caught her and the floor of the Gulf had fallen away.
Memories of another near drowning right here in these waters years ago had arisen, right along with a bubble of hysteria. Then the memories had faded and a harsh present-day reality had set in. She'd been fighting her way to the surface, gasping for air, screaming for help. She'd choked on water before going under again and again.
"I was drowning, just like before," she whispered, shaking, the potent effect of what she'd thought to be a kiss vanishing. He'd been doing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, she realized, embarrassed that she'd thought otherwise, wondering if she had, in fact, tried to kiss him. She had an awful feeling that she had. A very powerful memory of tongues tangling in a shockingly sensual way tugged at her. Humiliated, she knew her cheeks must be flaming.
Years ago in a similar situation, Luke Stevens had been close by. He'd saved her, become her hero. They'd been inseparable after that along with her best friend, Hannah, but she and Luke had been a couple, right up until the day they'd left for college and gone their separate ways. Though they'd both claimed to be brokenhearted, they'd been resolute about not standing in the way of each other's hopes and dreams-his to be a doctor, hers to be something. She'd wanted to excel at anything that would get her away from this deadend island life.
As immature as they'd been, somehow they'd known they weren't meant to last forever. And while she and Luke had deliberately separated, she and Hannah had simply drifted apart.
It was ironic really that now, after so much time had passed, all three of them were back on Seaview Key. Now, though, Luke and Hannah were married and Abby was the third wheel...or would be if she reached out to them. She wasn't sure she wanted to be cast in the role that she'd forced Hannah into back then. Life had taught her that being witness to someone else's happiness could be incredibly painful.
Besides, for the moment she was content just to be on her own, getting her feet back under her. Not that this morning had turned out to be a very good start on that front, she thought with a touch of the wry humor she counted on to get her through tough times. For a woman who'd been swimming since before she could walk, she was surprisingly inept in the water, apparently.
The man kneeling next to her was still studying her...