Chapter three

Max

HOLY HELL, she fainted on me.

Of course, I can’t blame her. One minute she was fine—beyond fine if I’m being truthful—walking along the sand, her hips swaying in some sort of feminine magical way that had me entranced, her hands going to that perfect ass as she slipped her fingers beneath her bikini bottom and tugged, as if that could help the minuscule scrap of fabric cover all that bared skin.

No, more like those fingers fueled all sorts of sordid fantasies that had my cock twitching. Of me being the one slipping my fingers beneath her bikini so I can touch nothing but warm, smooth skin. Moving a little bit farther and encountering nothing but hot, wet skin. Skin that would taste fucking unbelievable as I licked her from front to back …

Yeah. Lily Fowler the non-party girl is like my every fantasy come to life. Who fucking knew? I watched her from where I switched locations, standing beneath a cluster of short palm trees, keeping an eye on her as she played in the water. Her hot-pink bikini doesn’t cover much and her hair is up in a sloppy bun, showing off her neck and shoulders. Her breasts strain against the tiny triangle top and I won’t even go on about her ass again, because I’m starting to sound like I’m obsessed.

Which I am.

Before I could blink, the waves pulled her under and she didn’t pop back up quick enough for my satisfaction. Breaking into a run, I headed straight for the ocean and dove in, catching sight of her bright bikini in seconds. She struggled and fought against the water, as did I, and when I finally caught up with her, she was almost above water. I just helped her along the rest of the way.

This was the last thing I wanted to do. Rescue my subject. Make myself obvious. I didn’t want an encounter with her yet. It was too soon in the game and I couldn’t reveal myself.

But I couldn’t let her die on my watch, either.

Everything wore her down, though. Taking on too much water, the lack of oxygen, the cut on her hand. And now she’s sagging against me, unconscious. I lay her out on the sand carefully, the panicked hotel employee helping me before he grabs the radio clipped on the waistband of his shorts and calls in her location and injury.

“Do you know her? Is she with you?” he asks as his gaze meets mine over Lily’s body.

I slowly shake my head. “I don’t know who she is,” I lie easily. “But she was at that cabana right over there a few minutes ago.” I gesture toward the spot.

The guy looks over his shoulder at the cabana before turning back to face me. “Looks like her stuff is in there.”

“Good. Maybe she has ID, too.” I tilt my head to the side as I take her limp hand in mine and examine the cut across her palm. It’s deep. Might need stitches. I streak my thumb across her fingers, careful not to touch her injury. “Or you could look up the name of the guest who rented the cabana.”

“Yeah. Right. Good idea,” the dumbass employee says as he blows out a harsh breath and stares out at the ocean. He looks like he doesn’t even want to deal with her, let alone touch her.

So I do. I gently press my hand against the center of her chest, where I feel her steadily beating heart. My fingers brush the side of her breast and everything within me tightens. Her skin is chilled but soft, and so incredibly smooth. Her eyes are closed, long lashes resting against her skin like dark fans, and her full lips are parted as she breathes slow and steady. “Well, at least she’s breathing,” I say sarcastically as I reluctantly lift my hand away from her chest.

“Help is on the way.” The guy sends me a sheepish look. “I’ve only worked here for a month. This is the first medical issue I’ve had to deal with. I’m not real good with this kind of thing.”

No shit. “You got paramedics coming?”

“Yeah.” He nods.

I glance down at Lily, my other hand still beneath her shoulder, propping her up. Slowly I extract my hand from under her body and gently lower her to the ground, studying her as she lies there on the warm sand, still as stone. She’s fucking beautiful. Her breasts are full even though she’s lying down and her legs are long. She smells amazing, even with the lingering scent of salt water clinging to her, and I’m filled with the sudden urge to touch her again. Press my lips against her skin.

I give myself a firm shake. What the hell is wrong with me?

“She’s in good hands then,” I say as I leap to my feet. I need to get the hell out of here. The hotel kid stares up at me, his mouth hanging open and his eyes wide. “I gotta go.”

“You can’t just leave her here with me,” he starts, but I cut him off with a look.

“Isn’t this your job? Besides, I don’t know who she is,” I remind him. “I’m just a good citizen who happened to rescue a total stranger.”

“You probably saved her life,” he points out. “She might want to thank you when she comes to.”

I shrug. I need to be as good as gone when she comes to. She catches a glimpse of me and there will be questions. Questions I don’t want to answer. And I’ve blown it enough today, ogling her like I did. “If she asks, tell her I’m glad she’s okay.”

“But I don’t know if she really is okay. That gash on her hand is pretty bad.”

And this kid who’s supposedly on duty for the safety of hotel guests is also pretty bad. It’s just a cut on her hand. Not like she’s going to die. “It’s not a life-or-death situation.” I almost say the word asshole but restrain myself. I don’t need to piss this kid off. “She’ll be fine. A couple of stitches and she’s good to go.”

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