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Captured by Mr. Wild: Chapter 18

Daisy

    me?” Deep green eyes search mine as large, firm hands reach up and cup my face.

As I bite my lip, my gaze drops to Blake’s mouth and I lift a finger, running it absentmindedly along his full lower lip.

“You make me forget.” My finger keeps tracing his lip until he leans forward, pressing a kiss to my forehead.

“I wish you didn’t have things you feel you need to forget.” His lips rest against my skin as he keeps me close.

Leaning into him, I squeeze my eyes shut. I could stay here forever, listening to the water rain down over us. Being held in his arms. Just being in the moment. Blake is a vacation from my actual life. The one I left back in England.

My eyes burn and I pull away, grabbing a bottle of shower gel as I turn my back to him so he can’t see my face.

“Will you help make sure I get all the mud off?” I glance back over my shoulder at him.

“Any excuse to get my hands over your hot little body.” He winks as he takes the bottle from me and squeezes some gel into his hand. Then I feel the sweetest relief as tension leaves my shoulders.

“Hey, I hope you aren’t thinking about stealing my job,” I groan in pleasure as his capable hands work out the knots in my neck.

He chuckles as he moves his hands around the front and massages foamy bubbles over my breasts. I push them into his hands as he rolls my nipples between his thumb and finger.

“I’m never going to want to leave this shower.” I sigh as he slides his hands down over my hips.

“That’s fine by me.”

His breath tickles my ear before he spins me to face him and brings his mouth down over mine. I lose myself in the warmth of his kiss. It’s gentle and tender. But there’s no doubt about who’s in control as his tongue slides inside my mouth and I moan in response. He wraps his arms around me lazily, pulling me closer, as though me being here is the most natural thing in the world to him.

As if I belong.

“Do you think the storm’s stopped?”

I break the kiss and tilt my head, listening. All I can hear is the pounding of my heart in my ears. I swallow down the queasiness threatening to rise from my stomach from thinking about going home. I don’t want to think about it now. Not when I’m here with Blake, and everything feels so good. So real, and so right.

“Sounds like it. You want to make our own storm again?” He grins and drops his mouth to my neck, tracing kisses down to my shoulder.

The feel of his lips against my skin sends warmth radiating through my chest.

“Blake Anderson. Don’t you need to rest?” I giggle as he presses his hard length against my side.

“With you? Never.” He laughs and then begins his assault on my neck again.

I tilt my head back and close my eyes, letting the water wash away the dirt.

And letting Blake’s mouth wash away my memories again.

For now.


“Hey, guys. You’re looking very… energized.” Kayla’s eyes drop to Blake’s arm wrapped around me; his hand tucked into the back pocket of my denim shorts.

“Amazing what a good storm does for the body and senses, isn’t it, babe?” He grins at me, then takes his arm back and heads off toward the kitchen to seek out Travis, Betsy following him.

Babe? Kayla mouths at me, her eyebrows shooting up.

I glance behind her up the hallway to make sure Blake is out of earshot.

“Yeah.” I shrug, biting my lip.

“Oh, no! No, no, no!” Her eyes go wide. “You do not get to say nothing! What the hell’s been going on? You two look like you’ve been banging each other’s brains out!” she whisper-shouts at me and I grab her arm and pull her into their downstairs study.

“Shh. I don’t want Blake to think I’m talking about him.”

Kayla folds her arms and fixes me with an unimpressed smirk.

“This is Blake we’re talking about. He’ll love knowing you’re talking about him!” She shakes her head in disbelief. “So last week wasn’t a one-off, then?”

I bite my lip and drop my eyes to the floor.

Kayla groans. “Just how many times have you two boned?”

“Three, wait… no, four,” I admit, realising the shower counts as two. It’s the reason we were late to Kayla and Travis’ when they texted to invite us both to dinner at their house tonight. Two separate texts, one to each of our phones, that came through as Blake was fucking me in the shower for the second time. It was comical, really. Kayla texting me, Travis texting Blake. I’m sure they suspected we were together, but neither said a word. Not until now, anyway.

“This is a thing, then? The two of you?” Kayla watches me closely, waiting for an answer.

“I don’t know. I don’t…” I blow out a breath as my shoulders drop. “I don’t know what it is, Kayla.”

“Well, looks pretty cozy to me. Blake’s hand can’t even use his own pocket.”

I look her in the eye, biting my cheek. “His own pocket?”

Her eyes light up as we look at each other. She’s the first one to crack. Her shoulders shake as she puts her hand over her mouth and laughs.

I can’t help joining in either and burst into laughter. “From all of that, you took his hand in my pocket as being the biggest factor?”

She shakes her head, trying to stop her laugh.

“It is!” She points at me, fixing her eyes on my face. “It’s all familiar and cozy. It’s couple shit. Anyone can fuck, Dee. But that hand in your pocket? He may as well have been asking you to move in!”

My laugh dies in my throat, and I stare at her, dumbfounded.

“What? That’s not what it is. It’s nothing like that. Blake and I… we are just friends. It’s…”

I hope the words will come to me. The right words to explain to Kayla that what I and Blake are doing is just… well, it’s helping each other. It’s a distraction for me, and it’s nothing for him.

Just sex.

She looks at me and sighs. “What happened to you, Dee?” Concern is suddenly etched over her face as she pulls her brows together, a line forming between them.

“What do you mean?” I shift from foot to foot, wondering if it suddenly got hotter in here, or if it’s just me.

“When did you stop seeing what’s going on? When did you stop noticing?” She stares at me, waiting for an answer.

Her words sting like salt on a wound.

“That’s not what I’m doing.”

Kayla raises an eyebrow.

“It isn’t! There’s nothing between us! Nothing!”

“Trav wants to know what you want to drink,” a deep voice cuts in.

My eyes whip around to the doorway. Blake’s leaning against the frame, his arms crossed, biceps bulging in his black t-shirt. I swallow down the lump in my throat as my eyes meet his.

“I’ll give him a hand.” Kayla’s eyes catch mine before she brushes past Blake and disappears, leaving me feeling like a deer caught in headlights.

“I um—” I glance away at a photograph on the desk. It’s of Kayla and Travis spraying a bottle of champagne in the street outside the veterinary clinic. It must be the day they started the business. My chest tightens. Another life event of theirs I missed.

“You, what?”

Blake has moved while I was staring at the photo and is standing so close to me, I can smell his woody sea salt scent. I close my eyes briefly as the aroma calms me.

“I was just talking with Kayla.” I open my eyes into the intense green stare he’s fixed on me. He says nothing, just watches me as I wriggle like a worm on a hook. “I was telling her about—”

He lifts his hand and grasps the back of my neck, drawing me toward him as he presses his lips down to mine and kisses me so deeply, I’m panting when he pulls back. My lips tingle and all I can do is stare up at him as his eyes search mine, his hand still holding me in place behind my neck.

“Try listening to your body and not your head.” His words are gentle. Whispered. But the fire in his eyes tells me he heard every word. “Come on, they’re waiting for us.”

He grabs my hand, leading me to the kitchen before I can say anything. Before I can tell him I’m sorry. Before I can explain that it wasn’t meant to sound harsh, but that I know what this is. It’s not serious between us. I’ll be leaving soon, and he’ll find someone better. Someone who deserves him. He leads me away before I can say any of those things, though.

So, I don’t say them.

Instead, I thread my fingers through his and even put my other hand on top of our entwined ones.

Instead, I keep my hand in his underneath the table throughout dinner with our friends, only taking it back when I really must. Returning it as soon as I can and slipping it back into his familiar grip.

Instead, I do that.


Two hours, and a load of homemade tacos later, the four of us are still sitting around the dinner table, laughing, as we bring up old stories.

“Hey, Dee. Do you remember the summer when we went cliff diving, and you lost your bikini top? You didn’t even realize to start with.” Kayla laughs before taking a sip of her homemade margarita.

“I do.” Blake grins beside me, which earns him a playful slap from me.

“You do not! You didn’t jump until after me.”

“Why do you think I threw myself off the cliff behind you so fast?” His green eyes light up as I turn to him, my mouth open. He places two fingers on my chin and closes it. “You had nice tits back then, but they’re fucking outstanding now.” He winks as I slap him across his chest again. A deep chuckle rumbles from his chest as I laugh in shock.

I catch Kayla looking at us both, a smug smile on her face as she arches an eyebrow.

“Trav? Help me take the plates.”

He’s busy fussing Betsy, who’s sat next to the table.

“Trav. Now.” Kayla knocks on the back of his chair with her hip when she stands, and I watch as he rises and picks up some plates.

“Let me help you. You guys did all the cooking.”

“Sit!” Kayla barks out, her eyes darting to Blake and then back to me as she smiles sweetly. “I mean, please sit. You two look comfortable, and you’re our guests.”

“You’ve never called me a guest before,” Blake pipes up, chuckling as Kayla narrows her eyes at him and sticks her tongue out.

“Shut it, dork face. Unless you want to be on clean up duty.”

He throws his hands up in the air. “I didn’t say anything. Did you hear anything, Betsy?” Betsy turns and looks at him when he says her name. “Nah, Betsy didn’t hear anything either. And she’s got super canine hearing.”

“Whatever.” Kayla rolls her eyes as Travis laughs and follows her across the open room to the kitchen area on the other side.

I lean back in my chair. I’ve missed this so much. Hanging out with these guys and just laughing together. My mum and dad sent me to a school away from where we lived. I had to get two buses every morning, but they were adamant I go to one as far away from the area we lived as possible. As a result, although I had friends, I never saw them much at weekends or after school. And then every holiday, I came over here to stay with my aunt. I used to wonder how Mum and Dad afforded all the plane tickets, but one day I overheard Dad on the phone with my aunt and realized she had been paying for them all along.

Coming here was my sanctuary. Blake, Kayla, and Travis were my best friends. They were who I told my secrets to, who I had my first illegal drink with, who I stayed up late watching movies with and eating popcorn. They took my life from gray to full-blown technicolour. The ten years not seeing them after my aunt passed were hard. The last few years, even harder.

“You look worried. You still wondering where that bikini top went?” Blake’s warm gaze rests on my face as I snap out of my trip down memory lane.

“What? Oh!” I laugh. “Wherever it went, they can keep it.”

“Yeah. Wouldn’t fit now, anyway.” Blake’s eyes drop to my breasts in my low-cut vest.

“Pervert.” I laugh, secretly glowing inside.

“Absolutely.” He grins, wrapping an arm around me. “You make me want to be extremely pervy.” He sinks his mouth into the crook of my neck and sucks, eliciting a small gasp from me. “In fact, why don’t I take you home now and show you?”

“I think that’s a great idea!” Kayla shouts from the kitchen. “All this sexual energy flying around has got me in the mood to be alone with my husband.” She laughs as Travis’ eyes widen and he grins at her.

“Yep, thanks for coming! Let yourselves out!” He raises a hand and waves at us as he grabs Kayla and kisses her.

I watch them with a giggle as Blake’s arm tightens around my shoulder and he kisses my temple.

Despite their joking, it’s still another forty minutes before we leave as we just keep chatting about something, which then starts off a whole new story and another round of laughter. I can’t remember the last time I had such a great night.

“You good?” Blake smiles at me as we climb into his truck and he starts the engine.

“Yeah.” I beam at him as I wrap an arm around Betsy, who’s sat between us, and rub my nose against her silky ear.

“Give her too much love and you’ll turn my dog soft.” His eyes crinkle at the corners as he watches her lean into me.

“Don’t give me that, Blake Anderson. I know you love Betsy more than yourself… if that’s possible.” I giggle as he throws his mouth open in mock outrage.

“You hear that, Betsy? Someone wants to walk home!”

I laugh as I watch a grin spread over his face.

“Someone would really like to not walk home, please.” I reach a hand over and squeeze his thigh, giving him my best big baby doll eyes as he looks over at me.

He sucks a breath in through his teeth and looks back out the windscreen as he drives. Then the warmth of his hand covers mine as he laces his fingers through my own.

“Does your daddy make a habit of driving one-handed?” I whisper to Betsy, who looks at me and sniffs my cheek, her nose tickling my skin.

“No. He does not.” Blake keeps his eyes on the road, the corners of his mouth twitching.

“I bet he does,” I say to Betsy. “I bet he’s held a million girls’ hands in this truck.”

“No. He has not.” Blake’s eyes are still on the road, amusement growing in them.

“A thousand, then?” I whisper.

“No.” Blake keeps staring straight ahead.

“A few hundred?”

Blake’s shaking his head as I look up, smiling to himself.

“Maybe just his girlfriend Cindy’s, then?”

Blake’s fingers tense between mine and his smile’s gone when I sneak a glance at him.

“She was never my girlfriend.”

“Oh.”

I feel my shoulders fall as he confirms what Kayla implied. I don’t know why I even started with these stupid questions. I don’t want to know what Blake did before I got here. I don’t want to know what he might plan to do when I leave, either.

I don’t want to think about any of that, so instead I turn and stare out of my window.

Blake clears his throat.

“We were a mistake. I should never have crossed that line. I knew she liked me. But I didn’t feel the same. She wanted things I didn’t. I told her from the beginning that I wasn’t looking for that.”

“What’s that?” I ask, despite knowing I should stop this conversation right now.

“Living together. Marriage. You know.”

I don’t.

Since Mick, my relationship expectations start and end with someone who doesn’t cover up the fact they’re an evil fucker with a black heart. Something I only found out about him when it was already too late.

I sigh as Blake’s thumb strokes over my knuckles.

“You going to stay with us again tonight?”

I look over at him. It’s hard to see his eyes now in the darkened truck. We’ve left the main streets and are heading up the road toward the lake. The lights of the town are behind us.

I chew my lip as I think about going to bed alone in my aunt’s almost empty house, waking up drenched in sweat from another nightmare. All of that will always be waiting for me. Why can’t I have one more night of blissful sleep?

“Okay,” I whisper. “I’d like that.”


Blake drops me at work the next morning. We didn’t have sex again last night. Instead, he put the waves noise app on and just held me in his arms. I don’t know if it was mentioning Cindy that did it, but he didn’t even try anything or make any sexual jokes.

So unlike Blake.

Maybe he’s had enough. Maybe my staying another night was the cherry on the cake. I mean, he said it himself; he doesn’t want to do the living together thing. It’s why he and Cindy ended things before they even started. Maybe I outstayed my welcome? But then he was the one who invited me. And the way he wrapped me in his arms, and I awoke with my head on his chest and his lips pressed to my hair? That’s not what you do when you wish someone wasn’t there, is it?

I smile to myself as I fold and tidy some towels behind the spa reception desk. Even if it’s over and he wants to just be friends again, I don’t regret a single moment. Being with Blake is the lightest I’ve felt in years.

“Someone looks like they enjoyed their days off?”

“Oh, hi, Maria.”

I grin as I see her approach from the main door and walk over to the desk. She’s wearing a fitted red dress with a white blazer over the top, and her long, sleek hair is shining as it falls over her shoulders. I’ve no idea how she looks so put together all the time. She’s one of those people who probably wakes up looking stylish.

“Come on, then.” She tilts her head to one side. “What’s got you smiling so much?”

I shake my head and drop my eyes back to the stack of towels, straightening them again. “Nothing. I just had dinner with friends last night. It felt good to laugh.”

When she doesn’t say anything, I peek over at her and she’s looking at me with narrowed eyes, a small smile on her red lips.

“I’m not buying it, Dee.” She taps a red nail against her lips as she studies me. “There’s something different about you. You seem brighter, more relaxed.”

“I had a good night’s sleep.” I smile as I think about how well I slept wrapped up in Blake. Not a nightmare in sight.

“Mmm, okay.” Maria arches a perfect brow, and I can’t help but laugh.

“Honestly, that’s all it is. Some decent sleep… finally.” My shoulders relax as I sigh and stack the white towels neatly on the shelves.

“Well, I’m glad one of us is sleeping.” She groans as she taps her nails on the counter. I look at her furrowed brow and the way her lips are twisting into a frown.

“Is everything okay? You look worried?” I don’t think I’ve ever seen Maria look anything less than one hundred percent cool and collected before.

“Yes, it’s just…” She huffs out a breath as she looks around the reception area. It’s empty. All the clients are currently in their treatments with the other therapists, and no more are due for at least half an hour. “We may have a slight problem with our supplier.”

“Oh?”

She taps her fingers on the counter again, her jaw tense as she gazes around.

“They’ve run out of our signature blend. Said they can’t source any more banana flower. There was a problem with some fruit flies, and the entire supply was destroyed. It’s going to be at least a month before they can recover and get some products for us. They didn’t even tell me until this week’s order never arrived and I called to chase it.”

“That’s awful.”

The spa has its own signature blend, which it uses in most of its products. It gives them all their own unique, identifiable fragrance. Not many places make products with the same scent. We get orders for it from all over the country, from people who have either been guests at the hotel, or who have just heard of the spa.

“Yes, it’s certainly causing some hiccups.” Maria looks at me and sighs. “The meeting with Griffin Parker is only two days away, and I was supposed to be giving him twenty complimentary gift packs to take back to his management team to showcase the spa and its products. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

I gnaw on my lip. Maria has been so excited about this opportunity in New York, and the possibility of expanding the salon. She’s been so kind to me to give me a job when I needed one. I wish I could help. I wish…

“Why don’t we make our own?”

Her eyes widen as she stares at me. “What do you mean?”

“I make my own soaps and hand balms. I mean, they’re not the spa ones, but we could make a similar scent. I’m sure we can mix up something ourselves.” I clap my hands together as another idea hits me. “Or better still, you could make a new signature scent.”

Maria purses her lips in thought as she listens to me.

“Think about it. The New York spa could have its own scent, exclusive to there. Different to the Hope Cove one. Ours is tropical and beachy and… well, Californian. New York could have something heavier. Something sexy and more edgy.”

Maria’s eyes light up as she reaches over and grabs both of my hands.

“Dee! You’re a genius!” She pulls her cell phone out of her pocket and starts tapping into it. “Okay. I can make a new signature blend, and I have enough carrier oils to do a massage one,” she murmurs to herself as she makes notes on her phone.

I watch with a grin on my face at how animated she is. She told me she started making her own perfumes when she was just a little girl. She’d mix flower petals and herbs together and bottle them up for her grandma’s birthday. I think her skills have come a long way since then, but it’s clear by the excitement on her face that this is what she loves. Creating something new and beautiful for others to enjoy.

“Dee, if I can get the scent mix to you by tomorrow, do you think you could make twenty hand balms and twenty soaps using it?”

“Sorry, what?” I look at her, focusing back on our conversation.

“I know it’s a huge ask, but I’ll pay you for the materials, and your time, of course. There’s just no way I can mix up all the products by myself in time and have them all ready.” Her large brown eyes look at me hopefully.

“Absolutely!” I nod with enthusiasm, my mind already wondering how the hell I’m going to make forty products in time for the day after tomorrow. I need to get the ingredients, mix everything, and hope it comes out well. Cool it. Set it. My mind is already racing with the possibilities of all the things that could go wrong and ruin the entire batch.

“Oh, thank you, Dee! Thank you!” Maria comes around the desk and pulls me into a hug. “I can’t believe I got so lucky to have you come and be a part of the team.”

I hug her back as warmth spreads in my chest. I love it here. The other therapists are lovely, and Maria is an incredible boss. I’m the lucky one to be working here. And to hear her say I’m one of the team… I swallow the lump in my throat as a smile spreads over my face.

“It’s no problem. I’m happy to help.”

“Dee, you’re amazing!” Maria beams at me as she pulls back. “Okay. I need to go get started on blending. I’m going to make something that smells so good that Mr. Parker is going to drool!”

I laugh and shake my head as she hurries to the door.

“I’ll drop the blend around to your house first thing in the morning, okay?”

“Sure.” I grin, waving to her.

When the door falls shut, my grin freezes.

Shit.

Seriously, how the hell am I going to do this? I rub my hand over my mouth as I dart my eyes around and think. I can’t let Maria down, but doing this on my own is going to be almost impossible. I pull my cell out of my bag and fire off a text.

Me: Hey, Kayla. I could do with a hand doing something for work. Are you free tomorrow?

I chew my lips as I wait for her to respond.

Kayla: I wish I could say yes, but Trav has surgery booked at the clinic and I’m assisting. I can’t get out of it. I can help in the evening if that’ll work?

I let out a groan and rock back and forth on my heels as I respond.

Me: Thanks, but it needs to be in the day.

Kayla: Why don’t you ask Blake? If you think you can stop having sex long enough to get something done, then I’m sure he’ll be free?!

I snort at her words before reading them again. I could ask Blake. He was helpful last time, and he’s got an idea of what to do already. I look down at her text again. Plus, after last night and his distinct lack of anything remotely sexual toward me, I think I can safely say we won’t be a distraction to each other. As fun as it was, it looks like that ship might have sailed now. Me and my stupid big mouth asking him about Cindy, and all that.

Even though I know it was only a short-term thing, I guess I was hoping it wouldn’t be this short term.

I take a deep breath and bring Blake’s number up on my phone, biting my lip as it rings.

“Hey, babe,” his deep voice answers, and I scold myself mentally as my stomach flutters with butterflies.

“Hey yourself,” I murmur, hating that just the sound of his voice has such an effect on me.

“What’s up?” His voice is warm, and I can hear him mutter something to Betsy as he waits for my answer. I smile at the thought of the two of them together.

“Are you busy tomorrow?”

“Yep,” he answers without missing a beat.

“Oh.” My shoulders drop. “Okay, well… sorry to have interrupted whatever it is you’re doing. I better get back to work—”

“Babe.” He chuckles. “I’m busy tomorrow with whatever it is you’re about to suggest.”

“What?” My cheeks heat as he laughs again.

“You’re calling me asking what I’m doing tomorrow, so I’m assuming you’re about to suggest something? Whatever it is, yes. I’ll see you, then.”

“Okay, then.” I tuck my hair behind my ear as I smile.

“Okay, then.” Blake mirrors my words.

“Thanks, Blake.”

“Anytime, babe.” I hear the smile in his voice as he hangs up.

I doubt it’s as big as the one I can feel spreading over my face right now.


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