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Rita Hestand Author
The Amory Series Book 2. A highly sensual romance. When Lacy Malone goes on vacation to prove to the dean of an all girls school she knows how to have a good time. And meets the charismatic Sam McKay. Sam must find his long lost family.When Sam and Lacey decide to put their vacations together, the sparks fly. Can you fall in love in a week?
Book 2 of the Amory series. A sensual romance. When Lacey Malone goes on vacation to prove a point to the Dean of the all girl's school, she doesn't expect to meet the charismatic Sam McKay.
LIkewise, Sam has his own problems, his father died telling him he was not his son. Sam is totally lost and feels he must find his long lost family.
Yet as Sam and Lacey team up for the summer vacation, they get much more than they bargained for. The sparks begin to fly between them as they get to know each other. Sam's determined to show her a good vacation, but can he keep his hands off of her? And the real question is, can you fall in love in a week? Can he seriously let her go once the vacation is over?
“God,” he cried aloud, “Help me…”
Vacation? If this was a vacation, he needed help. He'd ridden for miles up and down the coast, searching…for what? He didn't know. He'd stopped here, only a mere hundred miles from his home in the mountains.
All he knew was that he was hurting and he didn't know how to stop. This long numb void inside him screamed for a release.
Glancing about him subconsciously, Sam McKay leaned against his bike and let out the most mournful sound a soul could unleash, something in between a loud sob and a deep seeded moan. It seemed to echo against the backdrop of a small forest. It was better than crying. He did it again. It was as though the pain inside him flowed away from him, leaving him. He could feel it leaving. Was this what he needed all along, a place to let it all out? To release the hurt that had bound him.
Realizing he was finding some sort of release, he sat on the ground, and looked up into the sky. There was no answer to his prayers. However, something was definitely happening here. The hurt continued, but he did realize that just making that gosh awful sound helped him heal somehow. He did it again.
This time he thought he heard something in the bushes, probably just his imagination. There was nothing but mountains and oceans surrounding him. No one was out here this early of the morning. Here wasn't anywhere in particular, it was somewhere on the Pacific coast, but it had no real definition. He was miles from town, miles from civilization. No one was about.
The crashing sound of the waves distracted him, he closed his eyes and began to let the sound surround him. It was like a mournful operetta. Good thing there wasn't anyone around; if anyone heard him someone might think him crazy. Still, if this worked, why not. He had to do something.
However, he couldn't let go of this release, not yet.
The sound echoed in the air, like the wind, carrying it.
Then he heard the intrusive noise again. He wanted to ignore it, but it bit into his concentration. Unable to ignore it, he decided he'd freeze. If it was an animal, he knew by his lack of regard, that the animal would become uninterested. If it was human, well, maybe he might scare them away too.
He closed his eyes once more, and let out the mournful music of his soul. The sound compared to a loon or a moose before mating. Lonely, hollow, and full of pain, he breathed in the air. It felt clean and the ocean added a salt taste to it. At least his senses were working, as though the sea itself washed his soul, hopefully it would wash the hurt away too.
He did feel better, almost instantly.
Suddenly he heard a loud thump and he could no longer ignore what was obviously coming from the bushes behind him.
He stood in one lithe movement, like a cat, stalking his prey he moved toward the bushes and began to move them apart, so he could investigate.
He certainly hadn't expected a half-naked woman though.
He stepped back, his face a contorted mask. He let the bushes fly and covered his discovery up for a moment. Perhaps he was hallucinating. It was possible, in the state of mind. He moved the bushes apart and he saw her…again.
"Excuse me," a voice squeaked. It reminded him of a cartoon. And old Tom and Jerry cartoon. The whole scene in front of him did. Who was she? What was she doing out here in the middle of nowhere, wearing nothing but a towel?
"What the …" Sam frowned and closed the bushes, trying to assure himself he really saw the lady.
"Em….I'm sorry, but I heard a noise, a very distinct and strange noise, I thought someone was in trouble. Did you hear it?"
"Excuse me, but do you always run around on the beach with nothing but a towel?" Sam exclaimed as he turned toward the sea, and let the bushes fly again. He'd give her some privacy, but he wanted her gone.
"Well, no…but that noise…I thought someone was in trouble. I came to help." She said parting the bushes again and standing up.
"I…think you left something behind, in your hurry to investigate," he pointed towards the woman's clothes down the cliff lying on the sand.
"Oh…oh, then you heard the noise too," she sounded nervous, a little distraught and very embarrassed.
Calling his misery a noise irritated, though. It was a release, and she just happened to be a witness he hadn't wanted.
"Yes," he drawled, waiting to see if she was going to make a mad dash for her clothes. However, the bushes didn't move.
"What was it?" the voice sounded from the bushes.
"It was me…thank you very much, now will you please get dressed. You might be comfortable walking around in the buff, but I'm certainly not." He boomed. "Unless your intention is seduction, I wouldn't advise running around the woods in the raw."
The bushes moved, she muttered something under her breath and scampered down the slope of the hill. Good his rudeness had scared her off.
He turned away. Damn, this was the very first time he had been able to express anything inside him in months and it had to be interrupted by this ….this…nymph.
Where could a person go to be alone, these days?
Still, he had to admit, it was almost funny, a woman, in the raw, running around the beach at what, five-thirty in the am. Maybe she had some scant bikini on under that blue towel of hers that barely covered the essentials. Maybe she was a nudist, maybe he should thank her for putting on the towel.
What were the odds…how many times did that happen. He smiled to himself when he remembered how she had grabbed herself to hide herself from him. Perhaps she wasn't as comfortable as he first thought. Her face had turned an instant bright red. Rather refreshing seeing someone blush over his or her own nudity. Of course a towel covered her, well, except for the mature cleavage, and the well-developed legs.
Perhaps his ill manners had scared her off and he could continue now with his release. Yes, surely she wouldn't interrupt him again.
He sat on the hard ground, crossing his legs and inhaling the salt air, he closed his eyes. He felt his breathing calming him. This was having some positive effects on him and he was elated to have discovered it.
"Are you alright?" the same naked voice asked, much closer, as though she couldn't quite believe what she was hearing.
Letting out his breath, he stilled his nerves once more. "I was…"
The woman again. Now that she had clothes on she bothered him more. Her clothes bothered him. She wore jeans that were a little too big, a baggy shirt that hid anything amusing and a flop hat that did nothing to disguise her fresh skinny dip in the ocean. Any other time Sam would have been amused no end. However, this wasn't the time.
"Oh…I'm sorry. It's just that sound. You said it came from you. I was worried that something was wrong. Do you need help? I've never heard anything quite like that." she walked almost on top of him.
He studied her shoes, nothing interesting there either. He took another breath.
Maybe if he ignored her, she'd get the idea, and go away.
"I've got a bike down there, I can go for help," she insisted.
He shook his head and got to his feet, immediately noticing that the woman was short and round in all the right places, he acknowledged with a slight smile. He hadn't really noticed that when he saw her in the towel. No, he had noticed entirely too much, too quickly, and it irritated him. It was the first time he'd really noticed any woman since he left Barbara hanging on a note that said, 'don't wait for me any longer. That's what irritated him so. He thought he loved Barbara, but when his father was dying in his arms, and announcing he was not his son, women no longer seemed important to him. Finding his roots was important.
"I suggest you get on the bike, and go home, or to another part of the beach, or another part of the state, for all I care."
He wasn't usually rude, especially to a stranger, but the woman seemed determined to ruin everything, this morning, his first morning of vacation.
The woman turned red, as though he'd embarrassed her again. She stood more erect, her shoulders back, her head high, her breast pouting against the material. "I'm extremely sorry. I guess I misunderstood. Well, yes….good morning….then."
Sam exhaled again, "Good morning."
"Umm….I…I just wanted you to know, I don't go around naked on beaches all the time. I thought the beach was deserted. Just like you did, I'm sure. I've never skinny dipped in my life…I wanted to feel the experience, that's all."
He didn't want or need her explanation. He wasn't offering one for himself, so why did she feel she had to tell him anything.
Realizing he was being a bit beastly, he nodded, and then headed for his bike, "Yes ma'am."
"You don't believe me?" she shrieked with indignation and followed him.
Now he turned all his attention on her. Looking at her, she wasn't that bad, plain and yet, distracting in some way. An odd way. It bothered him that she distracted him so. "Does it really matter whether I believe you or not? We are strangers, we've never met before, and we'll never see each other again. Why should you care whether I believe you or not? You are free to go naked in the world, if that's what you want…" He was leaning over her, looking straight into her beautiful blue eyes, eyes that were round and full of life, eyes that held no pain. He envied her.
Good, he intimidated her.
Raising her head a notch she sniffed back a retort. "I wanted you to know because it's the truth. And I don't want anyone saying it isn't. I'm on vacation and thought this was a private beach. I'm a school teacher and this is my very first vacation."
"Well, congrats. Have a wonderful time…" He gestured grandly.
He mounted his bike.
She came closer, "Has anyone ever told you, you're very rude."
"Yes ma'am, they have." He answered, then started the bike and took off before she could utter another word.
As he left though, he did glance back at her in his mirror. She was standing there as though shocked that he had left.
If he were noticing he might see that in that get up, she was pathetically cute. Not at all like Barbara who was model material, of course, but cute, in an odd way. Her hair was a long mass of browns and reds and gold, her eyes clear and blue, her skin was brown as though she sun bathed often. Nevertheless, of course, in his despair, he wouldn't be noticing anything about a woman who insisted on intruding into his life.
Even though the momentary echo of his voice left him feeling a bit relieved, he continued to nurse the hurt inside him, like a sore that wouldn't quite heal. Somehow, the hurt was hurting less now. For the first time in two years, he really wasn't feeling sorry for himself. It was as though that brief few moments of sound had been some sort of escape for him, an ointment to a festering sore.
His hotel room was spacious and neat, and he couldn't wait to get back to it. At least that's what he thought. Yet, there was nothing there for him, four walls with no one to talk to. He fought that feeling. That feeling of a twosome that he longed for again assailed him, but this time he squashed it. He certainly didn't need another woman. He needed to find out who he was, what he was. Rude, the lady had called him rude, he smiled to himself, and maybe she had been right.
He was hungry now and he'd have some breakfast, and then check out the local recreation facilities.
Manny, his half-brother had told him he could try some parasailing, sail boating or scuba diving. They all appealed to him, but he sadly wished he had a familiar woman with him. Women did have a way of keeping his mind off of things he didn't want to face.
He mentally scolded himself. He had to start putting Barbara where she belonged, and not in his future. He'd dated her forever it seemed and she was right too, it was going nowhere fast. If he'd cared for her as he thought he had, he wouldn't have left her so high and dry. No, he never really loved Barbara; she was the woman his father picked out for him. The woman he should marry. Only he wasn't in love with her and he finally realized how ordered his life had been.
Showering and changing he drifted down to the restaurant. It was slow right now; he presumed a lot of guest was still sleeping. Only a few waitresses, bus boys, and one or two guests decorated the restaurant.
There it was again, that lonely gut feeling he had every time he walked into a restaurant. He was alone. Being alone wouldn’t bother him except now that he knew he wasn't a McKay, and that he had no real family, it suddenly did bother him. He wasn't sure who he was and he needed that root. Maybe he was losing it, as old as he was what did it really matter? But it did! His father had left him the details in a letter. He was the bastard child of some man named John Douglas III, a rich entrepreneur. He had a half-sister here and he needed to meet her. He needed to know where his real roots lay, who he was. How could he ever have a meaningful relationship with a woman if he didn’t' know who he was? He shrugged away all this information for later. Not now. After nearly thirty years of being a McKay to find that he wasn't left him a misfit. This vacation was to explore his real roots, if he dare.
His brother Manny McKay told him it wasn't important, they'd always be brothers. However, Sam felt adrift and until he could come to terms with his roots, he couldn't go on. Some people needed roots, he needed them.
The waitress had a time trying to figure out where to put him, the effigy slammed home. He shook his head with disgust. So, he was alone. He'd get used to it, somehow. Eating alone was no fun though.
He wished his father had never confessed such a thing . He'd miss his brother Manny, but he'd keep in touch. They could be friends. When the waitress chose a table directly beside a woman in a beautiful white sundress, Sam grimaced. Did everyone have to be so obvious in pairing him up with another?
Her skin was brown from the sun; her dress accentuated her full bust. Her legs were muscled and well formed. Then he cleared his throat and scolded himself. Women were taboo, from now on. On top of everything else, he didn't need a woman. Not now at least.
The woman did not look at him. Her hat covered her face so he couldn't get a look. Just as well, he wasn't interested in looking. Was he? Good grief, running into the naked goddess on the beach had stirred him, his mind wandering from its purpose. Not so, his body had reacted to every inch of her.
He wasn't amused at the waitress choices of seating. What was he supposed to do invite the lady over to his table? Is that what everyone in the restaurant seemed to be thinking? Everyone staring at them as though eating alone was a sin?
He folded the newspaper in two and ordered black coffee. He needed some coffee, he had to admit. Without it, he tended to be a grump.
The woman in the beautiful dress didn't look his way. He was glad.
How many women wore hats these days?
Scanning the menu, he ordered a huge breakfast of hot cakes and eggs with bacon and settled back in his chair to admire the ocean view.
Sipping his coffee he mused over the morning happening. He had been a real bear to that poor schoolteacher. She meant no real harm, he guessed. She couldn't possibly know how he had been feeling. Even she wouldn't have intruded had she known. However, what was a woman her age doing, skinny-dipping in the ocean at five thirty in the morning? Her age, he mused, the woman had to be close to his own age. She must have been twenty-five or twenty-six. She didn't have that teenage figure, like Barbara. No, she had full breast, and round hips and, he cleared his throat and his mind. What in the world was he doing, thinking about breast and hips this early in the morning? Had he lost his mind entirely? He told himself he was on a mission, to find the real him, to face his birth father and half sister and be done with it. Identity!
Nevertheless, the first time he'd even thought about another woman since his father died told him he was healing. Men and women belonged together; even he couldn't argue that point.
"Nice weather we're having, eh?" a gentleman from the table in front of him said.
Sam smiled at the old gentleman, "Yes, it's beautiful here."
It seemed obvious that the older gentleman was a little uneasy eating alone too, although the lady in the sundress was paying no attention whatsoever. He guessed it didn't bother her.
"You're not from around here?" the man asked, wiping his chin and sipping his coffee thoughtfully.
"Actually I've lived in northern California for twenty years." Men were easy to talk to, perhaps because there was no threat there. Women on the other hand were a threat, to what he didn't know. He only knew they were. Coffee, he needed coffee.
"I'm from Texas. I find the weather here so enjoyable. And the trees are magnificent."
"I can appreciate the trees myself, sir, one of the reasons I live in northern California." Sam explained, testing his coffee the waitress finally brought him, glad for the easy conversation.
"What business are you in?"
"I'm a forest ranger, actually," Sam said proudly. Strange that he was so proud of his job, when being an accountant never solicited that kind of reaction from him. The satisfaction stunned him.
"Really, you must know the area well then."
"To some degree, but I've been working in the Northern California area for a couple of years now."
"Well, I'm retired myself. I was in the sheet metal business for thirty some odd years. My wife died last year and I thought I'd see some country, before I join her."
He was making a joke, but Sam had trouble finding the humor in it. Death was no laughing matter. He missed his father, and today was the first time he acknowledged it.
Sam immediately related to the old gentleman. The conversation flowed easily between them. "I'm sorry for your loss."
The old gentleman smiled wanly, "Eh... thank you, but I'm coping rather well. There were a lot of things I couldn't do when she was with me, thought I'd catch up a little."
"Oh, like what?" Sam asked, keeping the conversation flowing.
"Deep sea fishing for one. Never been you see Ellen couldn't swim and hated the water." Sam nodded and sighed.
"I'm sorry. Well, I've heard there is some great fishing around about." Sam smiled again.
"I hope so, I've already rented a boat," The man nodded. "My brother–in-law's idea. He says we'll have a blast. I hope so. I'm ready."
"Well, good luck then," Sam nodded as the gentleman finished his coffee and left. He was about to dig into his pancakes that the waitress brought when a familiar voice stopped him mid-air.
"At least you're not rude to everyone you meet," the lady's voice rose with an air of snobbery.
"The lady on the beach, again." Sam turned his head to find the woman watching him with indignation. He couldn't stop himself from gazing from her head to her painted toes in her white sandals. Her wide straw hat had hidden her face from him or he might have recognized her.
"It is rather odd we being in the same place, twice in one day, wouldn't you say?"
She rose and started to leave.
Feeling guilty as charged, Sam got up, and left his breakfast to catch her going out the door, "Wait... I'd like to apologize."
"Absolutely no need, of course, I think I got your message, finally…"
"Please," he said and pulled her by the arm onto the patio, closing the door behind them. "I'd like to explain."
She looked shocked, "Why bother?"
"Because like you, I don't want to leave a bad impression on someone I don't know. For the life of me, I don't know why I was so rude to you. That's not my nature, but this morning, well…it was important. I was very pre-occupied."
She pulled her arm from his fingers and twisted about to look at him. "I certainly got that impression."
He got a look at her too, built like a beautiful Greek sculpture, with generous pouting breast, and hips that made her skirt naturally flare. Not like the average models of the day, but sculpted. Her breast puckered against her dress, making them more pronounced. In the sundress strained naturally at the bust line, barely able to hold all of her, and he couldn't help but notice. He wondered why he couldn't take his eyes from her. Wondered why his breath seemed to catch when she drew breath.
Again he scolded himself silently for noticing. What did he ever see in this woman?
"So…go on, what was so important about that mournful wail you kept making?"
"Is that what it sounded like, a…wail?"
"Yes, that's what it sounded like, like someone hurting, that's why I ran to see what was wrong. I thought—.never mind, what I thought. I was obviously wrong."
Sam smiled for the first time that day, "You were absolutely right. It was a mournful wail. And... I apologize, but it was—a release for me."
"A release," the woman's eyes widened, as though he intrigued her. "What kind of release?"
"Suffice it to say, you were right, I was hurting, on the inside, and it seemed at the moment, such a wonderful way to release it." Sam explained. "I can't explain it."
Obviously confused, she grimaced, "I'm sorry I interrupted you, but honestly, I only wanted to help."
"I can see that now, and I do apologize for being so rude. I just thought I was alone, and I wasn't."
She stared at him wide-eyed and open mouthed for a moment, and then slowly her expression changed, "So did I."
Her mouth hinted a smile.
"Can you forgive me, then?"
"Of course, and I truly am sorry I interrupted you." She said, her voice returning to a sweet lilt.
"Good," Sam said and was about to return to his breakfast when her words stopped him.
"So who hurt you so badly?"
Sam turned around but his smile faded. "Are you always this forward?"
She frowned instantly. "Forward? I merely asked a question. Despite my own intentions for the morning, we happen to have shared a moment on the beach and I was merely curious as to what could make a man feel so deeply."
Sam considered her for a moment. He couldn't focus on his hurt, not with this brown haired, blued eyed seductress staring at him as if he was a Tuna out of water. Had he been thinking rationally he would have understood that she found him a bit odd, but he hadn't thought rationally since his vacation had started. His thoughts jumbled and the hurt magnified. Now he stared into innocent eyes that clamored for a sense of reason he didn't have.
He decided that the only thing that would shut her up was shock so he struck with it. "The death of my life as I know it."
He walked away without another word.