Read an Excerpt
Christy Baker was having a great dream. She knew it was a dream because when, honestly, would a hot marine step into an esthetician's room and start giving her a facial? Especially since he wasn't wearing any clothes.
Yowza! Ever since she'd hit puberty while living on a military base, she'd had fantasies about soldiers. Didn't matter what branch of the military so long as they were half-naked and ripped. And as she got older, the "half part of naked disappeared.
Hence the awesome dream right now of a naked marine gently slathering sea-something onto her face. She was lying on a heated, cushioned table while he slowly stroked therapeutic mud onto her face and her toes curled in delight. Then she let out a purr of appreciation. It was a dream, right? She could purr if she wanted to. He looked down at her, his blue eyes sparkling with humor.
"So you like this stuff, huh?"
"Come over this way." She reached for his bulging bicep and tugged him down by the side of the table.
He complied, and oh, yes, ripped abs, sculpted torso, and a cute dimple in his left cheek. Sadly, she couldn't see the lower half of his body, but she was sure it was equally impressive.
"Much better," she said.
"You know this is a full-body treatment, right?" he said, flashing that dimple again.
"Of course it is," she said. Because this was an awesome dream.
"Then just close your eyes and relax. Let me do all the work."
"I leave myself in your capable hands," she crooned as she closed her eyes and gave herself up to the experience. Except, of course, it wasn't nearly as much fun without the view, so she opened them a moment later.
He was by the sink, his back to her and his buttocks in full display. Was that a tattoo of a swallow on his hip? It didn't matter. The tat just made him all the more mouthwatering.
He was mixing the mud, and she caught a flash of his large hands in and out of stuff that looked like rich, dark chocolate. Soon those hands and that stuff would be all over her body. Best. Dream. Ever.
He must have known she was watching, because he looked over his shoulder at her and flashed her a wink. "This will take just a second. The best stuff comes when you're fully ready."
She was ready. Any more ready and this dream would have a premature ending. Better to focus on something else. Like his narrow waist. The ripples in his back as he worked. "Listen to those kids," she said. "Don't they sound like they're having fun?"
What? Where had that question come from? And yeah, there were kids laughing and cheering in the background. Probably a playground nearby. But what did that have to do with her full-body treatment?
He tilted his head, obviously listening for something. A frown appeared between his brows, and his eyes grew distant. Worse, he stopped kneading the dark chocolate mixture and she felt she was losing her grip on him.
"Stop thinking so hard!" she cried to bring him back to her. "We were doing something here." She hated it when her dreams spun off in the wrong direction.
He blinked and focused on her. He had turned to face her again, but she still didn't get a look at his body. Not the full frontal, but that was okay. He was carrying the bowl of the chocolate mixture over to her side and his eyes no longer had that distant, slightly lost look. Right now he was zeroing in on her. Well, her breasts actually, which were abruptly uncovered for his viewing.
Any other time she might have felt self-conscious. She had nice breasts. Round, full, large. She tended toward the plump side of life anyway. So if this were real life, she'd be covering up the pounds and praying that he wasn't repulsed.
But this was the best dream ever because when he looked at her, his eyes gleamed. He liked what he saw. He wanted what he saw. And whatever bit of self-consciousness that lived in this dream faded away from the delight in his eyes.
"So, I'm supposed to spread this all over?" he asked.
She nodded. "That's what happens in full-body treatments. It's to purify and soften the skin. And since I have skin everywhere "
"I better make sure to cover every inch."
She continued playing along. "It's important that I get my money's worth. This is a topend spa."
"Is that what this is?" he asked, as he looked around curiously.
"I'm sure you wouldn't work anywhere but in the best places."
He let loose an outright burst of laughter. "Actually, I work in the worst pits on the planet."
She waved his statement away. "That's your day job. This is your night job." She steadfastly ignored the bright sunlight and the sound of kids' laughter outside. "Right now, you're here with me in a luxury spa and I'm waiting for my treatment."
He smiled at her and wasn't that a megawatt doozy? It wasn't that his teeth gleamed or anything. It was just a warm, fun smile like you might get from the guy next door. Especially if the guy who lived next door was hot and naked and intent on touching every part of your body.
"Do I start at your face and work down? Or go straight for the gold?"
"Your choice. I'm easy." She could be easy in a dream, right? So the double entrendre was exactly what she meant.
He scooped out some of the mixture and squished it between his hands. His eyes never left hers as he worked, and as much as she wanted to watch the play of muscles on his chest, she couldn't force herself to look away from his beautiful blue eyes.
And then he was finally, blessedly, done with mixing and got down to the stroking. He started on her neck, putting on the chocolate with long strokes that went from her chin down to the tops of her breasts. Wow, that felt good. Like heat and sweetness being rubbed gently into her body. How she could taste the sweetness of him, she didn't know, but that was the beauty of dreams.
She released a low, throaty purr. He smiled and that dimple flashed at her.
"I love that sound," he said.
"I love what you're doing to make me make that sound."
Oh, why couldn't she be suddenly witty for just once? Fortunately, her marine esthetician didn't seem to mind. Instead, he leaned forward and kissed her eyes closed, first the left, then the right.
The scent of him was perfect! Her eyelids stayed shut to appreciate the deliciousness of it.
And then his hands found her breasts.
He shaped her, he stroked her, he thumbed across her nipples while her purr dropped to a huskier octave. Okay, so she loved it when a guy spent a long time on her breasts. She loved it even better when he began licking her nipples, sucking them to a point, and sometimes a little nip here and there would send her to the moon.
He did it all. Before she knew itbefore she wanted itshe was grabbing his massive shoulders and coming with a cry!
Which woke her right up. Damn! That was one dream she would have loved to stay with for a while. For a long while.
She rubbed her eyes and stretched, hearing herself purr for real. The ripples were still going, though they were fading too quickly. Still that had been a great dream. Hawaii must be having a beneficial effect on her psyche.
She lay in bed, just appreciating the luxury of the new environment. It wasn't that she was living in a resort or anything. Traveling Officer Quarters, or TOQ, at Pearl Harbor Navel Station were not high living by any standards. But it was a different location than her Cincinnati apartment, and a different job than a kindergarten teacher in an Ohio public school. She was a summer tutor for kids stationed at the naval base. For Christy, that meant a paid summer in Hawaii. Who wouldn't want that?
It's not that she didn't enjoy her regular life in Ohio, but she'd gotten the feeling lately that she was stuck in a rut. She hung out with the same people every day, ate the same food, did the same things. Every day. Her friends and colleagues all knew about her and her very military family, knew that she suffered from chronic joint pain, and knew that she struggled every day to walk and move like a normal person. She never tried anything new because everyone tried to stop her. They were afraid she'd hurt herself. So she gave in and never challenged herself or anyone else. Until the day she heard about the opening at Pearl Harbor. A place far from Ohio where no one knew her at all.
Despite the objections from her family, she'd applied and gotten the job. For this summer only, she was a summer tutor in Hawaii. She taught English in a classroom on base from ten to noon Monday through Friday, plus she had private sessions with about a dozen kids. It was a great job and one she was well qualified to do. Better yet, no one knew her here. No one knew that her joints might swell up and make her walk like the Tin Man who'd been out in the rain all day. She was just Miss Baker, summer tutor and English teacher. Perfect and blessedly anonymous. She could do whatever she wanted, be whomever she wanted, and experiment however she chose.
After this summer, she'd reevaluate. Did she want her old life back in Ohio? Or was it time for a bigger, better, more sweeping change? So, simple steps. A little exploration in Hawaii where no one could baby her. And no one would stop her. If it worked out, then maybe she'd make a bigger change after the summer.
She got out of bed slowly, smiling because life was just that good this morning. It helped that her joints didn't hurt so much. She didn't know if it was because of the change in climate or her dream, but either way was good with her. Chronic joint pain was something she'd lived with her entire life. Sometimes it was just her knees and hips that ached. Sometimes it was her whole body. Drugs helpedsome. Rest helpedsome. Mostly, it just was. Some days were fine, some days were painful, and some were just agony. She never knew what to expect. So this morning's dream plus a lack of pain made everything in Hawaii feel rosy and new.
Her calendar flashed her a morning motto of: embrace the unexpected gift. She thought that was especially appropriate today. Then it was a shower and a sundress. Her first tutoring appointment wasn't until nine, so she had a little bit of time.
Her hair was still wrapped in a towel when she walked barefoot into the kitchenette. The Traveling Officer's Quarters (TOQ) was built like a low-budget motel. Her room had a bed, a desk, a television and a bathroom. Plus one other thing: a connecting door that led to a kitchenette that was shared with whoever held the room next door. It was a galley kitchen, barely big enough for two people standing sideways. But she had a box of Froot Loops and a coffeemaker in there, and she went right to work on her breakfast of champions.
She had a spoonful of cereal halfway to her mouth when her kitchen-mate walked in. She'd been told when she moved in that she'd be sharing with someone, and she hadn't given it much thought. She'd had roommates before. No biggie.
That is, until she looked up. Milk dribbled from her spoon to her bowl as her half-naked marine esthetician stumbled toward the coffee.