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Since she was already wet, she dove under the warm water and dug at the object to free it. It took three trips under before she was able to get a good grip on the tip with her hands. She gave it several hard tugs in an attempt to free it from the tightly packed sand. It refused to move. She was about to give up, but something in the back of her mind told her to try again. This time, after she finally cleared the surface, Viola couldn't believe her eyes.
Its ornate golden metal stopper had been the offending part to hurt her toe. But it was only a fraction of the bottle's beauty, which was covered in jewels. Viola ran her thumb over the sapphire gems that had somehow been secured to the bottle. The glass seemed to melt around them, impossibly binding them to the smoky dark blue glass embossed with gold strips. Its color prevented her from seeing if there was anything inside. It must be worth a small fortune and here she found it completely on a fluke.
Maybe there's a note. She'd always wanted to find a message in a bottle. It was one of her many silly childhood fantasies. The top didn't want to come off, no matter how hard she yanked and tugged at it. She'd have to wait until she could get it back to her room to see.
With her eyes locked on the bottle, she slowly made her way back to shore. Sand clung to the smooth glass and she had to rinse it in the water and rub away the quickly drying salt from the smooth surface. It was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen. She was so taken with her discovery she didn't notice that someone was standing behind her. Until he snapped the elastic strap of her bikini top.
"What the hell!"
Viola spun onher heels, ready to unleash hell on the unwelcome juvenile delinquent. Her mouth dropped open when she came face-to-face with the most amazingly handsome man she'd ever laid eyes on.
"Good day," he said and bowed deeply from the waist. "My name is Jerod. And what is the name of the goddess who awoke me from my slumber?"
The sound of his voice sent shivers of pleasure down her spine. Despite the warmth of the sun and water, goosebumps rose on her skin.
Her brain felt like mush. He called me a goddess? He must be drunk on the rum punch. It was pretty good stuff after all. She gave her head a shake and tried to place his accent. Mediterranean? Italian? Not Spanish though. She really needed to become more worldly, especially if there were men like him out there.
His eyes were crystal blue, so light she'd almost swear he wore contact lenses. His hair was pitch black, as was his goatee. He wore no shirt, but instead had a midnight blue satin vest that did little to hide the perfect six pack and firm pecs. He stood with his hands on his hips, drawing her attention to the mysteries below his golden belt. His pants were made of the same material, which hugged his thighs nicely. He stood barefoot as the water lapped at his toes.
Perfect and very yummy.
"Do I meet your approval?"
She snapped her eyes back to his face and prayed she wasn't drooling. Shit, I'm acting like Bill. Viola felt her face heat and she wanted to crawl under a large beach towel and hide. Face-to-face conversations weren't her strong suit. That's why she loved working in a call center--she was braver when faceless.
Beth's words began to ring in her ears--get laid. Viola straightened, looked this snacktastic man in the eyes and smiled.
"I'm sorry, that was rude of me. You surprised me. What did you say your name was?"
He looked amused, like someone who was initiating a new member into a secret club. Viola found her gaze constantly slipping over his body, checking out every inch of his half-naked body. When he chuckled, her brain finally kicked past her libido and she held out her hand.
"I'm Viola. It's very nice to meet you, Jerod."
Instead of taking her hand, he nodded his head, keeping his eyes locked on hers the entire time. The urge to squirm under the intensity of his gaze was strong. Instead she buried her toes into the sand and kept staring back. Think sexy.
Viola licked her lips and looked up at him with what she prayed was a smoldering glance. Of course, she felt a blush heat her cheeks but she did her best to ignore it.
"So, what can I do you for?" She tried to sound mysterious, and even lowered her voice a little as she spoke.
If she was doing a good job, Jerod wasn't letting on. His amused half smile still played on his lips as he shook his head.
"The question is what can I do for you? You woke me from my slumber and freed me from my bottle. I am a genie and I'm here to grant you three wishes."
She blinked. Then she closed her eyes and groaned. "Oh crap. Is this part of a resort special event? I'm not going to have to dress up in a costume and go to some special dinner tonight, am I? I really just wanted to keep a low profile this vacation."
To his credit, Jerod didn't break character. He kept his smile glued in place and continued.
"I assure you this is no trick. I am a genie."
How the hell did the resort find out she was from Way To Go? Someone from the office must have called up and planned this. Probably Beth. Her sexy act forgotten, Viola reached out and rubbed the hem of Jerod's costume between her fingers.
"Well, you look like a genie. That costume is pretty slick. I'll have to make sure I tell my customers about the interactive quality of the vacation packages. How long were you up there waiting?"
Viola held a hand up to her eyes and scanned the sand dunes behind him. The poor guy must have been out there all day. She should have brought some of the rum punch. They could probably both use the drink.
"It's been one hundred and forty-nine years since my last master found my prison. As a reward, I have it in my power to grant you any three wishes you desire." His voice lowered on the last as he took a small step forward.
Viola had read about it countless times, but it wasn't until that very moment she truly understood the concept of swooning.
"Anything?" Her voice came out as an awestruck whisper. God I'm lame.
Jerod's smile spread from his lips to the rest of his face. This was clearly a man who was very comfortable with his sexuality and didn't mind wielding his power on the female half of the population. Maybe Beth was right about the getting laid part.