“Did something happen to make you afraid of the water?”

“Fortunately, no. I’ve just always been scared of water. If it isn’t in a concrete bowl in someone’s backyard that I can see clearly to the bottom, I have never been able to go near it.”

Contemplating her words, Logan wanted to urge her past her fears. He wanted her to trust that he would take care of her, so he told her so. “Come on, baby. Trust me, please.”

A full minute passed before she said a word, and Logan half expected her to back out altogether. Instead, her next words filled him with pride.

“I trust you.” She laced her fingers with his and took a step away, looking up at him for direction. “Please be careful.”

He nodded his understanding and then led her the few steps that would take them onto the pier. When she hesitated once more, he reassured her.

“Come on, baby. Focus on me. I won’t let anything happen to you.” Logan stated as he stopped, turning around to face her again.

“Maybe if you took your shirt off, I could focus on you and not the water.”

Logan laughed at her attempt for humor.

“I’ll do it.” Logan smiled back as he took the hem of his shirt in one hand and started to raise, giving her a slight glimpse of his abs.

Her sexy laugh broke some of the tension and Logan took another step forward.

“I’ll take you up on that when we’re on the boat.”

After she managed to take several steps on the wooden planks, Logan suspected it became easier for her, or she just wanted to get to the boat as fast as she could. A minute later they were settled on the deck, and Logan was putting a lifejacket around her.

Logan untied the boat from the dock, started the engine and took another long look at the woman beside him. Clad in short denim shorts and a tiny black halter top, she made his mouth water. He could see the black straps of her bathing suit tied behind her neck and he wondered what type of suit it was. The mental image of her clad only in a small, black bikini had him wondering if they’d make it out of the dock.

Tearing his mind out of the gutter, Logan went through the motions of getting the boat out of the marina. He took it slow and made small talk as he went along. He answered her questions about the boat, giving her some basic details when she asked. She seemed enthralled with the sundeck and even asked about the hydraulic swim platform, though Logan knew she wouldn’t go anywhere near it.

He wondered what she would think when he gave her a full tour of the cabin.

In an attempt to alleviate more of her tension, Logan opted to pull his t-shirt off, hoping the diversion would make her feel better. Her eyes went wide when he did so, and a smile creased her lips. He thought he heard her laugh, but it was hard to tell over the hum of the engine.

After Logan had the boat out far enough, he turned to look at her. She watched the water and other boats as they passed and he found he couldn’t help but smile. She had trusted him even though he could tell the fear had nearly strangled her when she arrived.

“Come here.” He said as he slowed the boat and stepped back from the steering wheel. Her head turned toward him, but he couldn’t see her eyes due to the dark sunglasses she wore, but he knew she was paying attention. “I want you to steer the boat. Feel the power beneath your hands. It’ll be ok. I won’t leave you for a minute.”

He held his hand out so she only had to take a few steps before she could grab on to him. Once she was close enough, he wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her against him, her back to his front, the steering wheel directly in front of her.

“I’m going to take this off for a minute.” He said, referring to her life vest which was wedged between them. He unhooked the clasps and pulled it off of her arms and then laid it on the counter beside them. “I’ve got you. You’ll be fine.”

Her breaths were a little erratic, and her hands shook as he placed them on the wheel. Once she took hold, he knew it would take some work to break her death grip, but he smiled anyway. He placed his hands over hers, felt the slight tremble and the feel of her small hands beneath his. Then he turned the wheel, steering the boat in the direction they wanted to go.

“How’s that?” He asked as he moved in closer behind her, trying to shield her between his arms and his body, giving her more stability as the boat rocked over the small waves.

She didn’t answer, but she did lean further into him, offering him her silent trust and making his heart swell in his chest. He could get used to this. Taking care of this woman. Protecting her. She felt perfect in his arms, and Logan was content for the first time in a long time.

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