Hoping to put her recent car accident behind her, Jill Perry boarded the Neptune Majesty for a week long Caribbean cruise. Brent Coales was aboard the Neptune Majesty with the sole intention of locating the criminal blackmailing Brent’s famous friend.
In a near fatal collision, the paths of Jill and Brent’s lives cross.
Fearing that he has put Jill in danger, Brent knows that he must protect her. But when their relationship turns to passion, he is conflicted between his loyalty to his friend and family, and his feelings for Jill.
He reached dry sand and set her down on top of the rainbow-colored towel. Jill curled up immediately with her knees tucked under her chin.
“How am I supposed to look at your foot?”
“I didn’t ask you to.” She sounded petulant and seemed to realize it. She extended her leg.
Brent traced the curve of her calf with his hand and tried to lift her foot for inspection, but her defensive posture left him little slack.
“Can you please lie back so I can get a better look?”
Brent couldn’t understand the challenge in her eyes.
After a huffed “Fine”, she reclined against the towel. He lowered his head to inspect the cut on her heel. It wasn't too bad. The saltwater had cleaned it out, and as long as she kept her foot out of the sand until it had time to dry up, she would be fine. He set her leg down on the towel and rolled back on his heels.
“You’ll be okay. Just stay off it−”
His glance scaled her leg and landed on the scar running vertically across her knee. From the raised surface of the score he suspected it was from recent surgery. Prepared to ask her about it, he caught sight of the discolored patch of skin on her stomach.
“Oh God.” He wiped a hand over his face to erase the image.
“I know it’s hideous.” Jill threw her sundress over her knee.
She shuffled on her elbows, hoisting herself up, but Brent placed his palm flat on her abdomen, stilling her.
“Lay back down,” he commanded in a gentle voice.
Beneath his hand, the heat of Jill’s skin tempted him. Her glance fought him but she relinquished and settled back onto her elbows. He brushed his palm aside to expose the bruise, but he would not leave contact with her flesh.
“I did that to you,” he whispered.
Jill glanced down at her stomach. “It really doesn’t hurt that much.”
The contusion was a purple strip scoring her stomach−a stamp of impact from the railing. The sight of it staggered Brent. He had done this to her. An innocent woman, minding her own business and he had slammed the craziness of his life upon her. Not only was there this visible exclamation mark for all of his stupidity, but there was the fact that she was in danger now due to him. Luis knew her face.