DEJA VU mystery/romantic suspense by Samantha Gentry
Alexandra Caldwell shivered, hunching her shoulders against the stiff ocean breeze as the boat pulled up to the dock at Skull Island. Even the name left her uneasy…Skull Island. It sounded like a sinister place inhabited by pirates, thugs, and other undesirables.
She glanced up at the angry storm clouds darkening the sky to the point where it seemed more like evening than eleven o’clock in the morning. Another tremor of apprehension washed through her body. Ever since she was a little girl, thunder and lightning had frightened her. But as much as she wanted to blame the approaching storm for her uneasiness, it wasn’t solely responsible.
She forced her attention to the tall man standing dockside as he grabbed the line thrown to him and secured the vessel. He extended his hand to help her out of the boat. The instant they made physical contact, a potent arc of energy raced through her body followed by a moment of panic. The hair on her arms stood on end. Her mouth went dry and her throat tried to close.
The vision exploded in her mind. Mud…a wall of mud sliding down an embankment toward her. A fleeting glance of an out-of-focus face that turned into a human skull. Then a skeleton. And a second skeleton. She jerked her hand from his grasp while trying to force a calm to her momentary panic.
She didn’t know how to control her psychic abilities and didn’t always understand what the strange images, feelings, and dreams meant. However, she did know when they tried to tell her something important and this was definitely one of those times.
The man cocked his head to one side. A slight frown wrinkled across his brow as he stared at her with a quizzical expression. “Is something wrong? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
She quickly recovered her composure, at least outwardly, and extended a businesslike smile. “No, nothing is wrong. Just a little spark of static electricity, I guess. It must have something to do with…” she glanced up at the threatening sky as a shiver of anxiety swept through her. “…uh, this approaching storm.”
She returned her attention to the man, her demeanor all business. “I’m Alexandra Caldwell. Mr. Talbot is expecting me.”
“I’m Gable Talbot.”
“You’re Gable Talbot?” She couldn’t hide her surprise. This man whose touch had sparked a disturbing sequence of frightening images was not at all what she had anticipated the owner of Skull Island would look like.
Consciously he knew he needed to back off. Intellectually he knew he didn’t dare start something that might side track him from his all-important primary agenda. But he didn’t seem to be able to stop himself from twining his fingers in her hair. He heard her quick intake of breath and saw a combination of confusion and what he hoped was desire dart through her eyes. The silky tendrils fluttered across his skin, accompanied by a tightening in his chest. His gaze dropped to her slightly parted lips, a mouth that beckoned to him. One that needed to be kissed thoroughly and often.
Gable’s grasp on his will power had been tenuous at best. In an incendiary flash, the final traces of self-control totally deserted him. He brushed his lips against hers, not knowing what to expect from her in return. There was a moment’s hesitation on her part, something more akin to surprise than uncertainty. Then he felt her soft touch on the back of his hand as it rested on her cheek. She didn’t pull away from him. It was all the encouragement he needed.
He pulled Lexi into his embrace as he lowered his mouth to hers again. It started out as a gentle kiss, one having as much of a surprisingly emotional feel to it as it did a hard rush of physical desire. Her arms wound around his neck and her mouth responded. She tasted of sweetness and passion, an enticing combination. And he wanted more.
But years of planning and preparing could not be set aside. He had initiated his carefully worked out scheme. There would be no turning back until he had achieved his goal. Nothing…and no one…would deter him.
He threaded his fingers in her hair again. As much as he needed to get on with his own business, he was not ready to stop the delicious kiss. He came within a breath of exploring the recesses of her mouth with his tongue, of tasting the tantalizing essence of the woman who had continually intruded into his thoughts from the moment the boat delivered her to his island.
He held her tighter, caressing her shoulders and running his hand down her back. Knowing he needed to step away and put some physical distance between them pulled at him equally as strong as the knowledge that he couldn’t relinquish his hold on her.
Lexi was the one to break off the kiss, but she did not step away. The spell she cast over him had not been broken. He quickly captured her mouth again, but held the kiss for only a couple of seconds before relinquishing his hold on her. Even though he took a step backward, he couldn’t bring himself to eliminate all physical contact. He continued to clasp her hand, slowly lacing their fingers together.