Mai Tais on the Beach

Laurel Jansen is on the trip of a lifetime in the Caribbean. Sparks fly whens she meets bartender Morgan Chase. He offers to teach her how to make mai tais and a lot more.

SpicyShorts are compact tales that can be read in a brief amount of time with no cliffhanger endings or multiple parts.

Excerpt

“Good lord, Laurel. Couldn’t you have worn your hair down just once? It’s always in that bun.” Sarah shook her head. “We’re in the Caribbean, you know.”

Laurel quirked a brow at her exuberant roommate and best friend. “Yeah, I know. I saved for three years. You don’t need to tell me I’m on the trip of a lifetime.”

“Then act like it.” She turned her dark-brown eyes on a group of young men playing volleyball on the beach, less than one hundred feet from their perch at the outdoor bar. “Turquoise water as far as the eye can see, pristine white beaches, and fine young men in Speedos.” She waved at one of the men when he flexed for her. “That is a fine piece of sexual chocolate,” she whispered out the side of her mouth. “I think I’ll see what it would take to melt him down and lick him all up.”

Laurel giggled and ended up choking on her mouthful of 150-proof Caribbean rum and eggnog. “Careful, Sarah. He might be jailbait.”

Her friend sniffed. “I’m only thirty-one, honey, and the laws down here are different.”

“Okay.” She smiled at her friend, wondering where this side of Sarah came from. During their four-year friendship, she’d come to believe Sarah was as levelheaded and practical as she was herself.

Sarah stood up from her barstool and dropped a five on the counter. “You’ll be okay?”

Laurel shrugged. “I’m twenty-seven and not likely to fall into mischief.”

“God forbid,” Sarah said mockingly, but there was a hint of teasing in her eyes. “Wish me luck. It’s been too long since I got laid.”

“Good luck.” She watched Sarah walk away, admiring the cut of her red bikini. With Sarah’s dark skin and ebony hair, the bikini did nothing but accentuate the positive. If she tried wearing it—assuming she could muster the nerve to wear two triangles and a string as swimwear—it would wash out her already pale complexion and ashen-blonde hair.

“Not into the kiddie set, huh?”

Laurel’s head whipped around to meet the eyes of the man speaking to her. His tanned skin was dark brown, matching his dark eyes and brown hair. He wore a short Hawaiian shirt, unbuttoned to the navel, and thrown over a pair of sapphire-blue Speedo briefs. “Uh, no,” she managed to force out.

He grinned at her, and his straight, white teeth were a heavenly contrast to his dark skin. “I admire a woman who’s looking for a real man.”

She cleared her throat and dropped her green eyes from his sensual gaze. She fanned herself discreetly with her hand, wondering if it had suddenly heated up, or if it was just the sexual intensity in his gaze that had sweat streaming down the back of her light-blue one-piece.

“Can I get you one?”

She blinked. “Excuse me?”

His gaze slowly moved to the nearly empty eggnog on a napkin in front of her. “Another Caribbean eggnog, miss?”

Hot color swept up her cheeks at the misunderstanding. Her eyes narrowed on the tilt of his lips, making her wonder if it hadn’t been a deliberate innuendo. She was inclined to think it was, and she enjoyed it. It had been too long since a man flirted with her. “No, thanks. I’m not much of a drinker.”

“Are you finished with that?”

She nodded, and he lifted the glass. He deliberately brushed his hand against hers, and she gasped at the contact. It had been more than three years since she’d had a lover, and she tried to assure herself any man would elicit the same reaction. Still, her stomach clenched when he rubbed the side of her hand with his pinkie.

“I’m Morgan,” he said abruptly, as he whisked the glass out of sight.

She licked her lips. “Laurel Jansen.”

“Well, Laurel, you look like you’re in desperate need of a palm reading.”

Her brow furrowed. “Pardon?”

He picked up her hand. “I dabble, you see.”

She resisted the urge to tug away her hand, compelled to do so more from her reaction to his touch than from a sense of impropriety at him stroking her palm so intimately with his index finger. “I don’t believe in that kind of thing.”

“Hmm.” He leaned over her hand, carefully studying it. He traced lines across her palm, and made a thoughtful sound. “Interesting.”

“What is?”

“I see you’re dying to learn how to make a Mai Tai.”

She giggled. “Oh, really?”

“Absolutely.” He flashed her another charming grin. “Would I lie to you?”

She studied him thoughtfully. “I’ll reserve judgment.”

He affected a wounded look. “I’m cut to the core, Laurel.” He waved a hand. “However, being the magnanimous gentleman I am, I’ll overlook your slight and still teach you how to make a Mai Tai.”

She eyed the bar, noticing how packed it was. As soon as someone left, another person took their seat. Already, a fifty-something man, evidently trying to pretend he was still young, was perched on Sarah’s stool, avidly listening to their conversation. “I don’t think your boss would like you doing that, with all these customers.”

He nodded, looking morose. “That’s why I’ll wait here at closing time, which is one a.m. You’ll come back, and I’ll introduce you to the world of bartending.”

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