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Slipperless Series (Book #4)

By´╝ÜSloan Storm

FIONA

Just as I was about to dive into the water, a now familiar splashing sound

caught my attention. I snapped my head in the direction of the noise and noticed Gabe surfacing once again.

“Gabe!” I screamed.

Yet, no sooner had I done so than I lost my balance on the side of the sailboat. I shrieked in terror as I tried to lunge for the sail, but it was already too late. The next thing I realized, my backside slammed into the surface of the water, and within a fraction of a second my mouth, nose, and eyes filled with burning sea water.

As quickly as I could, I shot to the surface. By that time, Gabe had closed on me and wrapped his arm around my midsection, pulling me hard against his torso.

“Fiona, hang on to me. Let’s get you back to the boat.”

“You fucking bastard!” I yelled, as he pulled me along. “You had me scared to death!”

“Oh come on, calm down.”

Just then, we reached the side of the boat, and as we did, Gabe hoisted me upwards. I grabbed onto the edge and pulled myself over, collapsing into the vessel with a thud. As I lay there soaked and gasping for breath, Gabe followed close behind and rolled up next to me. Still furious, I squeezed my eyes closed tight, balled my fists and pounded them against Gabe’s chest.

“How could you do that?! Why?!!”

I swatted against the hard musculature of his upper body in vain for several more seconds. It wasn’t hard to see the strikes caused him no pain whatsoever. More annoyed than injured, he grabbed hold of my arms.

“Fiona,” he said, as he held me firm, trying to refocus my attention. “Fiona!”

After another moment or so, I snapped back to awareness.

“What?” I screamed.

“Calm down! I wasn’t trying to do anything other than find your bracelet. All right? What’s gotten into you?”

“What’s gotten into me? What’s gotten into me? Oh gee, let’s see…”

Soon after, I started to rattle off all the reasons what he’d done was completely insane. Half of which wound up with him trapped on the bottom, the other half eaten alive, and in all of them he wound up one hundred percent dead!

“There was nothing to worry about, Fiona. I told you before I went down the first time I was an expert free diver, remember?”

“Yes, I remember,” I replied, as my rage deepened. “And that’s fine, so long as the only problem you have underwater is holding your breath. But, put yourself in my situation. How would I know you hadn’t gotten trapped on the bottom—or worse, attacked by something?”

Gabe leaned back and let loose with a deep belly laugh. “Attacked? Really?”

Doing a half-turn, he made a sweeping gesture back towards the calm, blue water.

“What would possibly attack me here? Fiona, do you have any idea of the kind of sea life you’re dealing with in this bay? Trust me, it’s nothing that would kill you. That is, unless you got nibbled to death by twenty thousand damselfish.”

My labored breath began to slow. “I don’t know what those are.”

“They’re harmless tropical fish. Just like almost everything else out there. The only exception would be a barracuda, and he’s only gonna go after you if you’re wearing something shiny.”

“Well, I don’t care, because you never should have done that in the first place!”

Gabe leaned back against the side of the boat and jammed one of his hands into his pocket.

“Okay, but… if I hadn’t gone in, I never would have found this.”

Just then, Gabe removed his hand from inside his swim trunks and moved a closed fist in my direction. I paused for a moment and looked at his hand. A few random drops of ocean water dribbled from his skin and splattered on the bottom of the boat as he held his fist in front of my face.

“Is it?” I asked.

A slight smile came to Gabe’s lips as he rotated his hand and unfolded his fingers at the same time. As he did, my bracelet appeared before my eyes in his palm. I shrieked with excitement as I lunged towards him, throwing my arms around his neck. Peppering his face with a dozen kisses, I delighted in the taste of salt water on his skin.

Gabe chuckled as I showered affection on him, and just as I neared his lips, I felt his fingers wrapped around my wrist. Glancing down, I watched as he slid my bracelet on and fastened it. Afterward, I turned my gaze back towards him.

“Thank you,” I said in a whisper. “But, I wish you wouldn’t have done that.”

“I know.”

I shook my head and smiled as I leaned in towards him once again. Reaching up, I slid my fingers into his wet hair, and with my other hand, I caressed his cheek. Without hesitation, I moved in towards his mouth and pressed my lips to his. Gabe exhaled a subtle burst of heat through his nostrils as our tongues began to dance inside each other’s mouth.

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