“What are you doing out here?”
“Staring at the stars.” She shrugged.
Max laughed softly. “No, I mean, here in Grand Cayman.”
“Vacationing like everyone else.” Calista turned away. What little part of her had felt the need to open up to this stranger tightened. Talking with a handsome stranger was one thing, relaying the melancholy that was her life was another.
“I don’t mean to pry,” Max said softly.
Calista’s lips curved slightly as she flicked her gaze at him. “Yes you do.”
Max laughed and tapped his hand to his chest. “You got me. I do.”
A little flip of her belly, and she found herself letting her guard down again. “Forgetting.” Though, she was doing a better job remembering and wallowing than anything else. And she had every right, didn’t she? “Forgetting,” she said again quietly, as if hoping to convince herself to do so.
He nodded but didn’t ask any more, as if he could understand the need to forget. He lay down beside her, stretched his legs out so the waves touched his feet and tucked his hands beneath his head. “Have to admit, this is a nice view.”
And it was. But Calista wasn’t looking at the stars anymore. She was staring down at Max. At his lean, cut body and the chisel of his features, dark reddish-brown hair that resembled the color of an old, lucky penny. He was handsome. Hot. Looking at him, a spark of desire flashed inside her, coursing its way along her limbs, making her breasts feel heavy, achy. God, she hadn’t felt like that in a while. Not even with Randy.
Desire. Need. Yearning.
If she were anyone else, she might have taken the opportunity that was being presented to her. Might have taken the chance and jumped this hot hunk’s bones. But she wasn’t any other person. She was Calista Adams. Jilted bride.
Tearing her gaze away from him, she flopped back onto the sand, her arm over her eyes.
“Can’t see the stars like that,” he murmured.
A smiled snaked over her lips, and she tried to stifle it. But all that kept running through her mind was the way she felt so at peace with Max here, lying beside her in the shallow water, waves lapping at their feet. And how wrong that had to be. Right? She shouldn’t feel like this. Not yet.
She’d not felt at peace since her life was inexplicably torn apart. Not since she’d lost—
“Do you live near the beach?” Max asked.
Calista cleared her throat, thrusting her sadness away. “No,” she whispered.
“Why do you ask?”
“Because of how comfortable you are just lying here. Sand in your hair. Clothes rumpled. As though it’s part of a routine you couldn’t live without.”
A routine she couldn’t live without. Warm water slicked up her legs, a gentle breeze soothed her soul. And this man… He was making her think of things that she’d not yet touched on. What she couldn’t live without. And that was affection, kissing, companionship, love.