George: R u still afloat? Who’s tickling yr olive?!
Levi hadn’t been lonely on the boat before. He’d relished the freedom of having no one making demands on his time. He’d lapped up the warmth of the sun, enjoyed the gentle call of banter between the crew. They’d given him the space he’d needed to think and to rest. He’d not realised how much he’d needed to rest.
Then she’d stepped aboard.
Yes, there’d been that passionate, lusty drive. The thrill and satisfaction of spectacular sex over and over and over again. But that wasn’t what he was missing now. Well, not all that he was missing.
Was it only about fulfilling that teen dream for her? Playing out the “crush” or burning out the lust? Hadn’t she felt anything more?
Because he had. So much more, so quickly. And as soon as he’d discovered her desire to see Delos, he’d plotted to get her there. He’d wanted to be alongside her when she saw the ancient sites real and up close that first time.
He’d put himself out for her. But she’d left him the second it was over. Once again she’d left him.
Levi was used to people coming and going in his life and he should be used to her saying no to him.
Hell, it hadn’t even been to protect anyone else’s feelings this time. There was no Tess for her to be mindful of. This rejection now was because she’d had all she wanted from him—a few days of ‘fun’. And then she’d run again.
He mulled it for sleepless hour after sleepless hour. Reliving those last few minutes before she’d decided to flee. Finally he realised what he’d said—about their destination being his call next. Was that it? Just that one stupid comment had freaked her?
It was what she hadn’t wanted that was the problem—she hadn’t wanted to lose herself in him. To fall for him. To be held back by him. Did she really think he’d do that?
How could she think he would—or that he’d let her do that? He’d never tried to hold her back, the opposite in fact.
But still she doubted.
Somehow he was going to have to prove he wouldn’t clip her wings. But how did he do that? The unwanted answer came to him too easily.
He’d have to let her go.
He stared up at the midnight blue sky, still unable to sleep even though he knew what he had to do.
Finally—sometime just before dawn on the eleventh day after she left him—he accepted the truth. He’d let her go. He’d stepped back. He’d done what she’d said she needed. But now he was going for what he needed.
That was to hunt her down. Because this wasn’t just lust or a crush for him. What they shared had so much damn potential, he could never throw it away. Or let her.
Not without a fight.