Here it is. My second submission for the Writing Challenge at Harlequin.

The second challenge:  Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.  And she wanted a scene with a wet bare chest.  There you have it.  Hope you enjoy!

Timing is everything

by KarLynn Erickson

Crashing waves were music to Sara’s tired ears. It was a far cry and needed break from the noise of the city she was more used to. Honking horns and busy traffic was all part of her life for such a long time, she just got used to it. When she first arrived the virtual silence was deafening. Now she was captivated by the way the waves crawled up the beach and were sucked back into the ocean in a swift motion. The picturesque scene finally beginning to relax her strained and stressed body.

Sara hadn’t ever indulged in a vacation. Her 80 hour weeks at the firm would not allow her to. She wanted to climb the proverbial ladder to advertising executive stardom instead.
So when her assistant Bob came bounding to her office that horrid day with a message from her boss, Jim, with an invitation to visit his office before she left, she assumed her hard work had paid off and he would announce her promotion.

“Ok, tell him I am on my way,” she told her eager messenger. He shot her his signature thumbs-up with a broad smile and was off to his next errand.
Oddly she remembered the rain pelting against the window as it had done that whole week. It had been miserable and would not let up.

She had walked over to the gold framed mirror hanging on her office wall, sucked in a deep breath and simultaneously thunder rumbled and a lightning strike cracked and she told herself to relax. She exhaled and rolled her shoulders back. She carried her 5’9 frame tall and straight, she knew it told most people she was a confident woman. However, Sara could beat herself up over minute mistakes with the best of them. She was a perfectionist after all and when it wasn’t perfect, she felt like falling apart. She had dabbed some color on her lips, slicked back her hair into the neat bun that sat at the back of her head and walked to Jim’s office.

The news of her demise hit her hard. She remembered feeling as though the air had been sucked out of the room and her mouth was so dry. She looked around for some water, but couldn’t find any and Jim had not offered to rescue her from her parchment. His only offer was a severance package and a recommendation.

She couldn’t even speak. She just nodded her head and marched down the hall with her head hanging low. She met no one’s eyes and didn’t look back when she entered her former office. She packed her things with-in the hour and was gone, wiped clean from a position she coveted in a company she treasured.

Now she sucked in a shaky breath as the memory threatened to consumer her. She refused to let it. She forced a smile as the warm water tickled her toes. She didn’t know what she was going to do or even why she was here, but her parents had insisted a vacation was just what she needed to bounce back better than ever.

She smiled at the thought of her parents. They knew her goals were ambitious, but had always been her biggest cheerleaders. She looked up and smiled at the sun that warmed her olive toned complexion. Her body already bronzed by the constant exposure of the last few days.

She scanned the area which had been her solace while she lazily soaked up the rays. Her eyes settled on the surf shop. She hadn’t even noticed it before, which confirmed the trance she had been in. After much internal wrestling she goaded herself into getting up and walking in that direction. Enough sitting around doing nothing, she thought to herself, I need to do something!

“Can I help you?” The words came before the person appeared. Then out of an opening in the straw hut came a shirtless man in Bermuda shorts. His wavy hair, bleached from many hours in the sun, blew across his face.

“Ah, yes I believe so, “Came her weak reply. She drew in a deep breath and then, “I think I might want a surf lesson or two. Can you help me with that?” Her heart skipped a beat as she waited in anticipation for his answer.

The deep voice with a slight rasp sent a quick tickle up her spine.

“I can do that.” He said with the whitest smile she had ever seen. His teeth seemed to glean when he opened his mouth.
“Today?” She let the word drag out trying to slow her speech. She hoped her voice took on a low and lazy tone, but knew better. She was not good at flirting, but something about this man left her feeling excited for the first time in a long time.

He turned and went back inside. Her heart dropped and she hoped she hadn’t over done it.

Several minutes passed when he finally emerged. The breath caught in her throat as she fought hard to compose herself.

Water dripped from every muscle that rippled down his bare chest.

“Can you go out now?” He asked as if the question wasn’t out of the ordinary.

Once again her tongue was so dry it stuck to the inside of her mouth. She opened it, but no words came out. She looked around for something to drink, but for the second time in a short while there was nothing to quench her overwhelming thirst.


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