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His Fantasy Girl

By:Nina Croft

Prologue

Things to do before you die…

In the distance, the ship burned, listing in the water like the great bloated corpse of some sea monster. The sea had settled, the rage of the storm dying to nothing, and the lifeboat swayed gently in the ebb and flow. Back and forth…

“Oh, shit.” Heat washed over him. Logan McCabe slapped his hand over his mouth and lurched to the side of the boat. There was nothing left in his stomach, and he hung there staring down at the dark, treacherous water below.

Never again.

Pushing himself back up, he sank onto the bench seat, eyes narrowing at the looks of amusement directed his way. “I fucking hate boats,” he growled, swallowing the sour taste in his mouth. “I’m never going on a goddamn cruise again.”

The man sitting to his left let out a short laugh. Vittorio D’Ascensio appeared amazingly cheerful considering it was his multimillion-dollar cruise ship rapidly sinking beneath the Mediterranean. But things could have been much worse. At least everyone was accounted for, and Vito hadn’t wanted the ship anyway—he’d been in the process of trying to sell it to Logan when the storm had struck. That’s what had brought Logan here. He wanted to expand his business out of nightclubs and had thought a cruise line might be an interesting addition.

Never going to happen.

Vito reached inside his orange life vest and pulled out a silver flask. He offered it to Logan. “I take it the deal’s off?”

“Too damn right, the deal’s off.” Logan unscrewed the lid and took a swallow. The smooth scotch—double malt if he wasn’t mistaken; nothing but the best for Vito—flowed down his throat, soothing his stomach. Then the boat rolled again and he clamped his lips closed to stop the scotch coming back. When he was sure he wasn’t going to puke again, he took another swig and leaned his head back. “I feel like crap.”

“And I thought you were a tough guy, McCabe.” The man on his other side held out his hand. Logan handed him the flask and gave him a quick once-over. Josh’s face was pale, lines of pain bracketing his mouth, his broken leg stretched out in front of him, held straight by the makeshift splint.

“Well, I was too busy carrying your sorry ass to safety to think about throwing up earlier,” Logan replied.

“Yeah, thanks for that.”

As head of security for the ship, Josh had found Vito in the chaos, meaning to ensure he got to safety, but the Sicilian had refused to leave until everyone else was away. Logan had battled side-by-side with the two men, directing the last of the passengers off the ship before nearly getting cut off by the flames.

Logan didn’t make friends easily; he was a loner at heart, but something about facing death together forged a bond. Once the shock of near death, and the euphoria of actually surviving, had faded, they’d talked. And as they talked, something changed. What started as a joke—things to do before you die—took on a more serious tone. Everyone had regrets. Now, each of them vowed to choose the one big regret of their lives, and after this was over, they would go home and do something about it.

“Come on, McCabe, time to choose,” Josh said. “We’ve told you ours.” Josh had a wife he hadn’t seen in over five years; he intended to change that.

“Now it’s your turn,” Vito added. Unlike Josh, Vito had no wife, because his bride-to-be had run out on him mere hours before their wedding. Vito planned on finding out why. “One thing you’re going to go back and change.”

Logan hugged the blanket around his shoulders and gazed across the sea. Far off to the east, the sun was finally rising, lighting the sky with the new day. The wind had dropped to nothing, and everything had an eerie stillness in the half-light.

Did he have any regrets?

It was so long since he’d seen her. In reality, anyway—even after all these years, she still visited his dreams. He closed his eyes and her image flashed up in his mind. Heart-shaped face, blue eyes, long, mahogany hair. His fantasy girl.

“I had this one-night stand,” he started. “Eleven years ago. It was…good.” It had been the hottest night of his life. “The next day I was arrested—long story. I spent a year in prison and never saw her again.”

But the memory of that one night with her had kept him sane through the horror of prison. He’d thought he was a tough guy and could handle anything, but that first night, when the door clanged shut, locking him in that tiny cell, he’d really believed he might not be tough enough. So he’d pushed away reality and thought about her instead, her sweet mouth, her soft breasts, her tight, hot pussy wrapped around his dick. She’d got him through the worst year of his life.

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