“Son of bitch,” Chase shouted.
Jewell and the light disappeared.
Damnit, he didn’t want to go into the water with her below him. He snatched another light from his belt, strapped it around his head, and dropped. The water sucked him under and he used his hands to paddle, slowing until his feet struck something hard. He shoved off, careening above the water. “Jewell!”
He twisted, shining the light over the ripples of the water. Where the fuck did she go?
A loud gasp came from behind him. He whipped around to see her dip under the surface. Adrenaline pumping, he ducked under the water, grasped her waist, and pulled her to a nearby pillar that rose two feet above the water. “Climb up,” he commanded and pushed on her butt.
On her hands and knees, she coughed and sputtered until water spilled out of her mouth and nose. He joined her as she fell on her hunches, and wiped her face. With a dazed expression, she gazed out into the darkness.
He scanned the water and waited for something to chase after her. When nothing did, he settled beside her. “You all right?”
Her eyes widened and she shivered. “I think so. I don’t know what happened.”
The shirt and shorts she put on earlier stuck to her like a glove. With the cool air in the ape cave, she’d be sick soon if he didn’t find a way out.
He ran his hand over his hair. While the tornado and subsequent plunge to the hidden cave was an inconvenience, it gave him the opportunity to search for the missing heroin without Curly and Mo suspecting him.
Now, to get Jewell warm, keep the truth about why he was on the island from her, and prevent involving her in his assignment while maintaining his distance.
Her back arched as she squeezed the water out of her hair.
He groaned. How in the shit was he supposed to work with Audrey-Grace in the same cave with him without touching?
“Aren’t you cold?” she asked.
Even with dim lighting, when her baby blues gazed up at him, his shaft stiffened. “I’m good.” Which was a total lie, but she didn’t know the difference. His training readied him for isolated situations like this. What it didn’t teach him was how to make his dick listen. Damn, what was wrong with him? They could have died and all he could think about was her soft skin, the desire to feel her against his. “What made you fall?”
Her head tilted and she stared at the water. “The thing I stood on moved and I lost my footing,” she said through chattering teeth.
He shifted closer, slid an arm around her shoulder, and pulled her into his body. “We need to get you warm.”
Her head glided against his chest. The movement sent goose bumps over his heated skin.
“Why aren’t you freezing?” she asked. “You’re just as soaked as me?”
He couldn’t answer. At this moment, guys with guns could storm after him and he wouldn’t be able to move. The woman had him in a fix. No wonder his buddies didn’t get involved while on assignment. Not staying in a place for any length of time it’d never been an issue for him. He scrubbed his head. Known her since this morning and the need to make love to her, not a quickie, struck him hard. “I’m warm-blooded.”
Her arms tightened around him. “What is this place?”
He rested his chin on the top of her head. “It’s what I call an ape cave. I’m not sure if this particular lava tube has a name.”
“If it’s not named,” she paused, “that means no one will know we’re here.”
“There’s a good chance they won’t.”
“Ape Cave like in Mount St. Helens?”
It shocked him that she conversed easily in this situation. Most people rambled. “Yep.”
She eased off him, snatched the light from his head, and shined it over her arms and legs before resting the glow on his chest. Abrasions covered his skin. She touched the area near each scrape.
The heat from her fingers fucking killed him. “We need to move.” Up top, he would have kissed her, but these events had changed everything. Now, he needed to get serious, keep her safe, and no more clowning around about taking pictures. The two guys on the beach, he suspected of being the leaders of the latest heroin ring whose laced drugs killed at least ten teens in Hawaii.
Jax had been on to their trail for over a year, but it wasn’t until recently they had enough evidence. The night of the bust, the boat disappeared. Facts deemed it sunk. His mission was to find the drugs while being a photojournalist, an undercover identity that had been easy in the states until that damn tennis player and his false accusations.
He gazed at Jewell. Jax was another reason he needed to stay away from her. His partner’s protective attitude in the bar was either a damn good act or the man had fallen for her.
“Why? Where will we go?” She passed back his light. “Why do you have this stuff? How are you carrying them?”
“I never leave home without them.” He turned down his belt. On the inside were lines of pockets. “And in here.”
As she ran her fingers along the swollen belt stuffed with a thin piece of rope, knives, and miscellaneous items, her hand brushing his stomach. The gentle touch sent waves of excitement through him.
She stilled and looked up at him, hesitated a second before leaning toward him.
Cool, damp lips seared his. No strength in the world could combat the sparks spiraling through his body. He cupped each side of her head, held her sweet face to his, and kissed her the way he’d craved since first spotting her on the beach. His lips caressed hers, slid over the tender tissue until she whined and parted her lips.
He needed more and tucked an arm behind her neck and back, pulled her closer, and kissed her hot and hard. Tongues mingled, lips united. Heaven. The woman was an absolute goddess.
He eased away a fraction. “This is insane.”
Her breathing was erratic, matching his. “It is.” She didn’t pull away. Her eyes darted between his.
Damn, he wanted to taste more of her. Before he gave anymore thought to why this was a bad idea, he pulled her into his lap. She shifted, straddled him, and slid closer until their bodies melted together. Her warm flesh heated his body and it tightened. The chattering ceased and the coolness that exuded from her body disappeared. He’d give his right nut to show her how much he wanted her.
Not yet. Not like this.
He grabbed her shoulders and pried her off him. “Not now,” he said on an exhale.
“You’ve got something better to do?” she grinned.
“Yes, find a way out.” The hidden meaning behind her words stung. He slid her off his lap and stood. When had he become a sap? Who cared if she wanted an easy lay to fill her time? He rammed his fingers through his hair and tugged at their roots until needles pricked his scalp.