bflyzone



The Big (but not that big) Sleep

I took your advice, my friends, and took a nice long break from editing (and living in general). It was 107 degrees out here in flyover country and I have been working my little booty off for the last several weeks, so I took this wonderful me time to do some hibernating.

Oh yes, slept all the way till 4 in the afternoon, and it was amazing! But then, I wanted to set myself up right for my next 10 hour editing session so I took all those scenes from all those different books I’ve been writing, wrote them to my satisfaction, and now I am ready to go back to editing my latest novel The Fall.

I admit, I am somewhat behind on the editing process with this book due to my long painful tooth experience. I was supposed to be finished with all my editing by the end of June, but it looks like I may have to bump that date back a little. Though, I do have the next thee days to kick some editing ass. We’ll just have to see how that goes.

With that said, I feel like I’m far enough along in the process that I can share a little from the story without stressing people out too much. I’m just about finished!

The Fall is a romance novel about a girl who falls off a cruise ship off the coast of Belize and is rescued by a handsome recluse who just happened be sailing nearby. He falls madly in love with the girl and conspires to keep her with him on his island home. (I’ll work in the description. Here’s chapter 1)

 

Chapter one

 

It was pure luck Brady saw her fall. The rogue wave that hit was just strong enough to rock the massive cruise ship sending it bobbing one way and then the other like a toy in a bathtub. The ship listed onto its side for a mere second, knocking the girl off the deck seven verandas and into the Sea. Then the ship righted itself violently and charged forward as if nothing had happened. From the deck of his rust riddled fishing boat, Brady clearly saw the falling body. He dropped his binoculars, his brain slowly registering what he’d just witnessed.

Brady’s vessel gurgled toward the place where he thought the sea had swallowed her. Dusk was settling on the horizon, and the sky had turned a strange shade of salmon and marmalade. The midnight blue waves looked black and ominous to him as he stared down into their depths. His stomach fell and he wondered if he’d actually seen what he’d seen. It wasn’t implausible to question; girls didn’t simply fall off of cruise ships.

The thought occurred to him to turn the boat around and head back to the island. Pretending that nothing had happened would be the easiest thing. He didn’t have time for distractions, and he was probably wrong. Something might have fallen off the ship, but it was probably not human, therefore, not his business.

Then he spotted a piece of fabric sinking under the water, silvery white with tiny pink roses. Without another thought, Brady jumped into the water. His fingers clasped the piece of silvery fabric and pulled it toward him. To his amazement, there was a body still attached to it. He surfaced, took a deep breath and dove back into a sea of flowing red hair.

His arms linked around her stomach just under her breasts. He cradled her close to him, gasping for air as he reached the surface again. He pulled her up out of the chilled water, laying her out flat on the deck of his boat. She wasn’t breathing.

He put his lips to hers and pushed air into her lungs. For several long moments, he breathed for her feeling her chest expand with every breath. She had to survive. She just had to, he thought. Fate had brought him to this place so that he could rescue her, and he would be damned if he let her life slip through his fingers.

“Breathe,” he whispered taking a breath. “Breathe, damn it,” he gasped giving her another lungful of lifesaving oxygen. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, she heaved in a rugged breath and coughed up the water that threatened to drown her lungs.

Brady wrapped his arms around her and pulled her upright as she shivered back to life. Her chin rested on his shoulder, and he could feel her slow, warm breaths on his neck. He laughed to himself, as he rocked her in the darkness.  

The girl was conscious, but barely. He thanked God he’d gotten to her in time. One more second and he’d have left. He’d have turned his boat around and gone back to his solitary life waiting for him back on the island, and she…she would have been dead, cold fish meat. Instead she was alive and breathing, safe in his arms. Brady gently positioned her on the deck, but when he tried to raise himself up to stand, her arms laced around his neck. Brady’s eyes widened. He tried again to dislodge himself from her, moderately panicked this time, but she would not release, so he remained there on deck with her.

Brady took a deep breath, and took in every detail of her face. Never had his eyes seen such beauty. She was perfect. He watched her fluttering eyelashes as she drifted in and out of consciousness. He wondered what color her eyes were going to be when she opened them. He imagined they were green, or perhaps blue, blue as the ocean that had swallowed her up, and eventually returned her to the surface and his waiting arms.

His eyes moved back to her lips. Air was still entering and escaping them, and it was such a lovely sight. Her lips were rosy pink. They were sweet like wine and salty like the sea when he tasted them. He promised himself next time their lips touched it would be slow, warm, and wonderful. When he kissed her again, it would be beautiful and it would be deliberate.

The girl’s arms clung to him as if clinging to life itself. She was safe now, but he didn’t mind taking advantage of her subconscious need to hold onto him. She was heaven, and heaven was safely locked in his arms never to escape him again. He had no intention of letting her go, not while she needed him as she did.

The girl’s body quaked around him. Her skin was cold. Brady frowned at the realization. This girl was not yet out of danger, and he had to help her.

“All right, enchantress, I have to get you to safety,” he whispered cradling her in his arms and carrying her down into the belly of the barnacle incrusted fishing vessel.

The cabin was small, musty, and smelled of dead fish. His feet splashed as he moved around. There was only one bunk inside. He knocked some junk off the thin mattress then carefully laid her upon it. Her arms still tangled behind his head, he thought he might have felt her run her fingers once through his hair.

He let the end of his nose touch her skin. He could feel the warmth of her sweet smelling breaths; it was like breathing ecstasy. His hands touched her shoulders and worked their way back to her hands behind his head. He took them and carefully pealed them away from the back of his neck and laid them atop her stomach.

“There you go, love,” he whispered. She scrunched her eyelids and made a sound that was half a cry and half a moan. “Help is on the way.”

He let his fingers run across the softness of her forehead. He tried to remember the last time he’d touched or even seen a woman. It had been much much too long and he was finding it difficult to tear himself away from this one. He knew he had to help her, and he had to let her go so he could help her.

He waded through the cold, thick water on the floor of the cabin and into another room where the mess of his radio occupied a rusty metal table. It had been slammed against the wall when the first wave hit his own boat. The only thing left intact on the thing was the speaker. The rest of the radio was in fifty different pieces that had hit the wall again and again when the sudden barrage of waves hit.

He took the top off the radio, put on a thick glove, and flipped a switch on the inside. He stood back, half expecting it to explode, but it didn’t. Now he could hear the whir of radio traffic.

“Super bowl!” he said to himself. He picked up the talking piece and raddled off some radio numbers until he heard the gurgled response.

“This is the Yacht. I’m a small fishing boat just off your stern. When that wave hit, you lost a passenger. I have her here.”

There was another inaudible response. “Mayday Mayday,” the thought he heard him say, but he couldn’t really tell.

Brady heard a sizzling sound. The radio made a low-pitched wooooo then shut off completely.

“Damn.” He moved some things around inside the radio box with his glove then tried again. This time the radio made a fast high-pitched wee then popped. He launched himself backward as the thing burst into flames.

“Shit!” He dove across the room and grabbed the fire extinguisher, which had luckily been floating by, knocking out the flames but killing the radio with them. He ran out of the smoke filled room and back on deck. Fortunately the smoke cleared quickly, and he moved back down the stairs to gaze at the girl who remained unconscious, undisturbed in the single bunk.

“I guess I’ll just have to take you back to land myself,” he laughed to himself. He pulled off his glove and tossed it against the wall. It made no noise as it sunk into the black water.

The girl was still sleeping and still breathing, but she was shivering. He rushed to her and took a blanket from the cabinet beside the bed, but held it as he beheld her. Her dress was in tatters, nearly ripped from her body as she hit the water. From 100 feet up, he supposed, it was like hitting concrete. She was probably cold and broken under that sliver of fabric, and a blanket would do no good with wet material plastered to her body. It was a cool night and he couldn’t help but think of hypothermia.

“Just do it,” he said to himself. You’re saving her life.”

He tried to picture the best way to proceed. A mere tug would do and the silver fabric with tiny red roses would be gone. God she was beautiful. He couldn’t help but admire her, though there was no ill will in his intent. His only wish was to help her, but her body was right there in front of him, so close and so alive. He tried his best not to look at her as the fabric slid into his hands and off her shivering white body, but it was impossible. He could see the flat of her stomach, the curve of her breasts, and many thousand tiny freckles across her skin. The sight made his breath catch in his throat.

He covered her up quickly with the one rough blanket he had been clutching, tucking it securely around her. He hated for her delicate skin to touch such ragged covers. She deserved to be enveloped in silk not some cheep imitation plaid that had come with the boat.

Satisfied with her comfort for the moment, Brady sat down in a chair across from her dared not close his eyes. How nice it was to have a woman in his bed, but it would be much nicer, he knew, if he were in bed with her, his skin pressed against hers, warming her with own body heat. That would certainly stop her shivers. His cheeks became warm, and he stood. No, he thought, he would not burden her with his wild lust. He would take her back to land and that would be all. He would probably never see her again, but then he couldn’t promise he’d never think of her again.

He tried to start the boat, but the engines were in the same shape as his radio, beaten to a pulp and covered in oil and fish guts. He turned the key and the boat made a depressing wa wa wa sound. He laid his forehead on the wheel and said, “Baby, don’t do this to me now.” He tried again; wa wa waaaa gurgle. The boat lurched forward and he babied her for as long as he could, for the better part of an hour. Then the engines soured again and gurgled into silence.

“Come on, sweetheart, just a little bit farther,” he pleaded choking the engines. He knew it was a lost cause, but sweetheart made a sound that sounded like huh uh, then popped. Billowing steam rose from the engine room. The engines died a steamy death, but coasted safely into a long wooden pier.

Brady wiped the sweat off his brow. He had kept the boat alive just long enough to get back to the island. Home.

He entered the cabin after he roped the boat to a tall wooden plank. The girl lay still just as she had before. As he touched her skin, he realized her temperature had risen significantly, though she was still very cold. At least now she felt alive. He smiled. He’d done well. She was alive, and her fiery hair had dried into perfect ringlets.

Brady wanted so much to feel her arms around him again. It had been such a long time since he’d touched a woman. He wanted to hold her and never let her go. He was a  hero and he longed to be embraced. He’d not done anything worthy of an embrace in years, and he felt strangely satisfied.  

He dared to touch her again. The first time he’d touched her wrought feeling in him he’d never had imagined he’d feel again, and now touching her was all he could think about. His fingers came so close to the peachy skin of her cheek. Just a touch, he thought, one touch would be enough, but he recoiled as she stirred. She whimpered and tears pooled at the corners of her eyes. Brady backed away. Then he hurried back on deck.

Topside, Brady paced. He ran his hands through his dark hair and over his bearded face. She was going to wake up. She was real and alive and she was not going to stay asleep forever. She was a person, not a fantasy. She was his responsibility now. He knew he had to face her, but he couldn’t make himself move. Damn, why couldn’t she just stay unconscious?

“Hello?” He nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard her call. He could feel the fear wrapped up in her voice. “Is anybody out there?”

His heart twisted into knots when he heard her voice. He hadn’t expected her to sound so sweet. He hadn’t expected her to be a siren. He opened his mouth to answer, but nothing came out. He wrung his hands together. He knew he had to go inside no matter how nervous she made him. Then he wished desperately she would go back to sleep.

“Hello?” she tried again, desperate this time

He poked his head in the door and said, “Hola.”

She pulled the covers over her shoulders and stared back at him with wide eyes. He stood in the doorway, frozen.

“What happened to me?” she asked, her voice shuddering.

“I rescued you,” was all he could manage.

She gasped as he approached her. His steps were light and unsure.

“Do you remember what happened to you?” he asked.

“No,” she whispered.

“Are you in pain?”

“I’m sore,” she said, never taking her eyes off him, pressing herself back against the wall as he neared.

“I won’t hurt you,” he whispered lifting his palms to her, but he could tell his words were of little comfort. She seemed to relax more as he took a step back. “I would imagine you will probably be sore for a number of days.” He tilted his head and examined her face, looking into her large eyes.

“Blue,” he said to himself.

“What?” she asked with shock in her voice.

“Nothing,” he replied keeping his gaze on her. He was almost afraid to close his eyes. If he blinked she might vanish.

She looked down at herself realizing suddenly that she was naked. She almost fell from the bunk pulling the itchy blanket over her bared flesh “Where are my clothes?” she asked alarmed.

He had been dreading this question. He could feel the heat returning to his cheeks. “They…fell apart.”

“Oh,” she replied more confused than ever. Her glossy pink bottom lip hung open.

“You see, the wave hit the ship,” he endeavored to explain. “And I was… I was sailing not too far away, and um… You fell off the ship, and I pulled you out of the water.” He was mumbling. He hated how he mumbled when his nerves were shot. Everyone always knew.

“What?”

“You were lucky I happened to be looking that way, and it was a long fall. The ship didn’t even realize she lost you.”

“I can’t…I don’t…”

“But you see, my boat, she was hit too,” his voice began to clear as he gained confidence. “Communication is down. I couldn’t reach them. I couldn’t start the engines to go after them.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You fell off the ship,” he said more slowly this time. “I rescued you.”

“I fell off the ship?”

“Yes.”

“Where am I now?”

“You’re on my boat. You’re safe now.”

“Oh, God, I don’t understand.” She leaned back and covered her eyes with her hands.

“Don’t worry. I can fix her,” he said quickly, trying to stop her tears from coming but failing miserably. “It may take me a day or maybe three, but can do it. I’ll get you home. Until then, I got us to the island. We should be safe here until help arrives.”

“The island?” She whimpered a little. Then large tears fell from her eyes

“Don’t worry,” he repeated. “I’m just so happy you’re alive,” he whispered. He smiled. His eyes were suddenly wide with delight.

“Who are you?” she asked adjusting the blanket around her neck.

“You can call me Brady,” he replied, taking another nervous step back. He watched as tears fell from her eyes making her aqua iris’s shimmer. She was completely at his mercy and they both knew it.

He could see the thoughts on her face clearly, and he knew that she was trying to decide if she should trust this rugged and dirty soul who just saved her life. He watched her eyes as the rose back to his. Brady saw that she didn’t have much of a choice but to trust.

“I’m Karina,” she whispered, painfully lifting her hand to him. Brady moved in close again taking her hand in his. He held it for a long moment. Her hands were so soft he never wanted to let her go.

“Do you think you can walk, Karina?” he asked gently. “I’d like to get you off of this boat if I can.”

“I think I can.”

“I can carry you…”

“No,” she cut him off.

“Let me help you.” He offered her his arm. She hesitated, but allowed him to help her to her feet.

#

Karina was so quiet as he lifted her onto the moonlit dock. Brady couldn’t decide if she was going into shock from the fall or completely terrified of him. He thought it was probably both. She held the blanket tightly about her, but there was little point in it; he’d already seen all of her. He hated that she was so wary of him. It made him feel like a criminal, but then again, he hadn’t stolen her. She was delivered into his care. It was his duty to protect her now.

When she was finally steady on her feet, she refused to even let him near her. He could understand why she would be wary. He wouldn’t trust a man who looked like him. He was a mess. Since he decided to leave the civilized world for the island, he’d grown out his beard and his hair and he bathed in the ocean. He was rough now and a rogue. She recoiled as he tried take her hand to steady her.

His little island home was not far from shore. She was already exhausted as she moved slowly across the moonlit beach with Brady only two steps behind her. Brady attempted again to help her as she stumbled in the sand, but she shifted away from his grasp. He tried not to take offence, but his feelings were more than just a little hurt.

“It’s just beyond those trees, Karina.” He loved saying her name, just the sound of it, Ka-ri-na, excited his tongue.  Her name was exotic like the island, like the sea, and like her.

They came past a grove of palm fronds just off of the moon lit beach and on the other side was a small island home rising high off the sand on a tall set of stilts. It came complete with its mock thatched roof and wicker and bamboo siding. The swooping bamboo porch wrapped around the house. The home was a beautiful sight to Brady’s eyes. He wondered if she were even aware of it due to her lack of response. She was still stunned from the fall; she had to be.

As they neared the place, Brady wondered if her shaky legs could survive the fifteen steps to the top. He stood behind her holding his hands out as she climbed. He would catch her if she fell. He was certain he’d never let her fall again.

The Living room, kitchen and bedroom were woven into one luxurious square separated with bamboo room dividers, but this was no regular studio bachelor pad. This place was built for luxury with its teak floors shining to perfection as the inset lighting came on all around them. The living area sunk into the floor where a large semicircular couch sat in its semicircular slot with a huge leather ottoman in the center. The couch was overstuffed and perfectly comfortable. Everything about this house was clean, tidy, rich. It was definitely not what she’d imagined when she looked at Brady, but she wasn’t sure what she imagined. She wasn’t sure of anything.

“You can take the bed,” he offered standing behind her. His voice startled her. She hadn’t realized he was so close behind her. She stared down at the unfamiliar bed as he milled around behind her straightening things and picking up stray pieces of clothing he’d hoped she hadn’t noticed. The bed was a tall and plush slay bed built out of bamboo and wrought iron. It was lined with many king sized pillows and a few regular sized ones for actual sleeping. The comforter was a tan microfiber with neat little palm trees lining the sides.

She hesitated, but she realized she was much too exhausted and traumatized to resist the one comfort he offered. Karina lowered herself gingerly onto the bed without even bothering to pull the covers away and fell asleep without a word. Brady’s heart raced as he watched sleep claim her. She looked so peaceful; all he could do was stare as she rolled around wrapping herself in his blankets, burying herself in his pillows.

 He rounded the bed and went into his closet. It was a long, deep closet filled with lots of clean clothes and immaculately organized. Karina was fast asleep by then, so he figured she wouldn’t mind if he changed. He was covered in seawater, oil, and an unidentified fish smell. He would have to burn these clothes

He removed his shirt and his pants then his underwear. The grime soaked all the way through to his skin, and he could hear sand as it trickled to the bamboo flooring. There was a mirror in his closet and he could see her in it as she slept. For just a second he thought her saw her eyes open, and staring up at him, but by the time he turned to apologize, her eyes were closed again.

He smiled to himself and quickly grabbed his fresh clothes. God she was lovely. He knew he was going to have to give her back to the world sometime, perhaps after he fixed the engine on his boat, but God knows how long that could take him. It could take a while, he thought as he walked across the room to the bathroom door. It could definitely take a while.

He took an extra blanket from the closet after he emerged from the bathroom fifteen minutes later and lay down on the wicker couch that sat adjacent to the bed. He propped a pillow behind his head on the far side of the couch so he could gaze at her. From that vantage he had the perfect view of her. He watched her shift around until she landed back into a comfortable position. Her face squinted in pain then softened. Her slightly pink face seemed to glow in the darkness. Her blankets hung loosely around her, and slipped down her chest, slipping farther with every breath she took.

 His eyes widened. He watched, praying for the blanket to move down just a little bit more. Then it did. Then she was exposed. His body grew hot and he had to wipe the sweat from his brow as the peeks of her breasts rose above the blankets. He tried to roll over onto his stomach, tried not to look, but there was something hard in his way.

“Damn it!” He gathered his pillow and blanket and ran out the front door.

#

Karina woke to the sun’s warm rays jutting through the closed wicker slatted window and onto her exposed skin. She quickly pulled her blanket up over her, but then she realized she was alone in the house, but then, she didn’t recognize this house. Where was she? What happened to her? She sat up with care.

Her body was still tender from the fall. She took a moment to take in her surroundings. She realized she had no clue where she was or how she got here. The past twelve hours were nothing but a painful blur. She could hear the ocean swirling and roaring as it lapped the beach. She could smell saltwater. Birds were serenading all around her. The room she was in was exotic. Braided wicker and rich hard woods surrounded her and she could smell the authenticity of the wood in the air. The room was filled with rustic, yet tasteful furniture. There was a full gourmet kitchen on the other side of the room, the stainless steel appliances glistening in the morning sun along with the crystal stemware in the glass encased cabinets. She could see into the bathroom just the right side of the bed that housed a tub the size of a small pool.

Then she remembered her rescuer, the filthy man with the long beard. She hadn’t gotten a good look at him because of the darkness, but where was he now? He couldn’t have just left her there, could he? He looked rough, and dangerous. He could be a murderer. He could be anyone. She had to get out of here, and soon. She shivered. What was she supposed to do? She was naked.

One problem at a time, she thought.

Her thoughts were not as clear as she liked them to be. She pulled a sheet around her and forced her aching body to stand, but she was so dizzy, so confused, and so weak she collapsed back on the bed and rested before she attempted to stand again.

 Once she was on her feet again, she stumbled around the bedroom and landed in the kitchen. She held herself up on the marble counter top to rest. The kitchen was complete with pots, pans, real china, cook top gas range with six burners, and two large sinks with two smaller sinks at the back. He might be a fisherman, but he certainly was living well.

She stumbled out onto the porch and into the sunlight. The swooping porch had expensive wicker furniture all around the house, a love seat and two chase lounges with a glass coffee table in the middle. An exotic red bloom sat inside a crystal vase in the center of the coffee table.

The air was thick and hot as she made her way down the fifteen steps to the sandy front of the house. Intricate deck work led her away from the house. The wooden slats were sanded and sealed, easy on her feet as she moved forward. There were several mangrove bushes ahead of her and a few tall palm trees in front blocking her view of what was ahead of her, but as she passed into the clearing, she found herself on the whitest beach she’d ever seen with an electric blue ocean ahead of her. She gasped as she walked across the hot powdered sand until her feet found the cool surf. The perfect blue sky stretched out forever along with a never ending ocean. She looked to the left and there was nothing but beach and sky and water, to the right was the same except for that little fishing boat and the dock. She shivered. This was heaven. She was sure of it.

The ocean was hypnotizing. The salty waves tingled as they spilled over her ankles. She couldn’t believe she was actually here, but where was here? At the moment she didn’t care. She didn’t even want to move. The island was seducing her. She could feel it. Then she heard its voice.

#

 

Brady watched from the boat as she left the house. He was so relieved to see her out of bed. Her hair shimmered like amber in the morning sun. She looked like a Grecian goddess wrapped in one of his bed sheets, and he wanted to worship her. He wanted to run to her and throw his arms around her. There were so many things he wanted to do with her.

 He moved in behind her, slowly not to scare her. He’d been so quiet as he followed her down the beach. She hadn’t even realized he was there. He wanted to speak to her, but what could he possibly say? He hadn’t said a thing, but he already felt stupid. Confidence, he thought. He needed confidence.

 “Hello,” he said softly. That was the only thing Brady could think to say, and he waited anxiously for her response. She turned to him slowly. She was nervous to see her rescuer again. She had no idea who he was or what his intentions were, but when she saw him, her eyes widened and her mouth fell open.

He was not the same man that rescued her, he couldn’t be. His dark hair had been trimmed and was combed back now, but it was still long enough to be teased by the sea breezes. His beard had been trimmed down close to his skin and was now very neat. His skin was scrubbed. All that muck she had seen earlier was gone leaving perfectly glowing tan skin. He wore khaki shorts and a loose white button down shirt that was not buttoned down at all but flowing freely in the wind. She had an excellent view of his muscular torso and, she couldn’t help but blush. Whoever he was, he cleaned up well.

“Karina, are you all right?” he asked carefully.

It took a moment to process his words. “Yes, I think so.”

He smiled and lowered his head shyly. They both watched as his foot carved nervous circles in the sand. Then he raised his eyes back to hers catching her as she stared at him. He was happy to stare back.

“Are you hungry, Karina?”

“Starving,” she replied breathless.

“Come with me.” He reached his hand out to her. She hesitated. Then he smiled showing all his pearly teeth. Once she saw the light in his eyes she knew she could trust him and gave him her hand.

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  1. * bflyzone says:

    Did I already show chapter 1? I’m not sure if I did it or just thought about doing it. If I did, here it is again.

    | Reply Posted 5 years ago


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