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Authors: Beverly Preston

Tags: #Contemporary, #General, #Romance, #Fiction, #C429, #Extratorrents, #Kat

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BOOK: No More Wasted Time
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“Yes, yes, welcome,” he said reaching for her gear. As Tess
lifted her sunglasses he said, “Mrs. Blue Eyes…is that you? It is you! You look
beautiful this morning. I have not seen you in such a long time.” Mr. Rene
wrapped his brawny arms around her, giving her a big Tahitian welcome.

“It has been too long.” Tess agreed, smiling at the nickname
he’d given her years ago. Mr. Rene had always been infatuated with her striking
azure blue eyes, teasing that if he were not a married man he would steal her
away from Richard and make her his woman.

“Mrs. Blue Eyes, are you catching the other ferry to the
main island?” He asked in confusion, glancing at the gear she loaded on his
boat.

“No I’m on tour with you this morning. Sharks!”

“I don’t think so, Mrs. Blue Eyes. I have a tour with
someone else today. Let me check my papers,” he muttered, reaching behind the
steering wheel. “I have a different name on my ticket. You’re not here under a
different name, are you? Where is the Mr. Blue Eyes?”

“No, my name is the same.” She knew he was politely asking if
she’d gotten a divorce. “I’m by myself this trip.”

Completely baffled, he cocked his head to the side with a
frown.

“I lost my husband last year.”

Mr. Rene gasped. “Oh no! I’m sorry for you. Oh! I am so
sorry.” Compassion filled his voice as he pulled her into his chest, patting
her on the back.

Her voice climbed an octane higher, hoping there wasn’t a
problem. “Whose name is on the ticket?”

Releasing her from his brawny arms, he thumbed through his
paperwork. “Let me see… a Mr. Clemmins.”

“What? You’ve got to be kidding me! That woman didn’t even
want to get in the water,” she sneered. “Mr. Rene, there must be a mistake. I
booked this tour before Mr. Clemmins checked into the resort.”

This cannot be happening
.

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Blue Eyes. I didn’t realize it was you who
had booked the tour this morning.”

Her hands trembled. “What do you mean, you didn’t realize it
was me?”

“You know, I don’t make much money for my family. My oldest
son goes to college now in France. The man offered more than double my normal
rate. How could I refuse?”

Tess growled. “You gave him my tour? He out-bid me!”
Starting to pace, she whipped around to see Tom Clemmins moseying down the dock
wearing a haughty smile.

“Mr. Rene, this is important to me. I’m trying to say
goodbye to my husband. You don’t understand.”

“Good morning.” Tom said cheerfully, stepping onto the boat.

“Maybe for you.” Tess shot back.

Tom flinched, exhaling out a small laugh over her reaction,
bringing Tess’ irritation from a simmer to a full-blown boil.

Mr. Rene gripped Tom Clemmins hand. “
Ia Orana
.
Welcome. I am Mr. Rene. You must be Mr. Clemmins? Do you have any gear? Or if
not Mr. Rene has all of the gear you will need. Mask, flippers, I have every
size.”

“Perfect. The woman at the front desk said you’d have
everything. I have my trunks and sun screen, so yep, I’m ready.”

“Mr. Rene!” Tess threw her hands in the air, clearly
gesturing,
What the hell?

Tom Clemmins stared at Tess in disbelief. “Is something
wrong? Is there a problem with the boat?” he asked.

“No, no problem with my boat, it runs-” Mr. Rene insisted.

“Yes, something is wrong. I booked this boat yesterday for a
private tour. Do you remember seeing me at check-in?” She attempted to make an
effort to sound civil, but in reality, snarled at him.

Tom Clemmins lowered his sunglasses, exposing his dark brown
eyes. “The blue dress, right?”

Tess’ mouth dropped open at his admission. “You booked this
tour after me. Or more like you stole it out from underneath me!” She fumed
with a blistering glare.

His lips curled back into a grin. “Well, I can guarantee you
that I didn’t steal your tour. They must have double booked our reservation.”

“Double booking? You mean double payment?” Growing more
annoyed by the second, Tess’ eyes narrowed, uninterested in his smooth talk and
brilliant white smile. Standing her ground, she placed her hands on her hips
and lifted her chin. “Look, I’m sure you’re used to getting your way, but not
today. I am not getting off this boat. I
need
this tour.”

“I didn’t ask you to get off the boat. I’m sure we can work
something out. It’s only the two of us and there seems to be plenty of room. I
don’t mind if we go together. And for the record, I don’t always get my way.”

“There’s plenty of room, of course, of course,” Mr. Rene
agreed.

“I
really
need a private tour, Mr. Rene. If I don’t
go today then it’ll be another week. I can’t wait!” She pleaded with her eyes.

Mr. Rene would never hurt her feelings intentionally and had
no previous knowledge of her plans. How could she blame him? He could probably
use the extra money, but she needed to say goodbye right now. Tess didn’t want
to wait another moment, fearing she might change her mind about letting Richard
go. Tess had planned this moment perfectly and Mr. Fucking Hollywood was ruining
it for her.

Realizing she wasn’t going to get her way, Tess shuddered,
fighting back tears of anger and disappointment. “You said the two of us. Are
you coming alone?” No way in hell could she be stuck on a boat for five hours
with his girlfriend. The whining would push her over the edge.

“Yes, I’m by myself,” Tom replied.

She glared at him with as much bitterness as she could
muster. “What did you have to do? Send her to the main island so she could go
shopping?”

Mr. Rene stepped in, placing his hand on her rigid shoulder.
“Look, Mrs. Blue Eyes, it’s just the two of you. You’re almost by yourself. You
love this tour. It’s your favorite. I’ll take you to a lovely
motu
for
lunch.”

“Fine.” Tess conceded. She’d never been so disappointed in
her life.

Mr. Rene sighed in relief. “See, I knew this would work. Is
everyone ready? Okay then, let’s go.”

 As they pulled away from the dock, the serenade began
again. Tess sulked in her own thoughts, incensed with Tom Clemmins for
intruding on her snorkeling tour. Her dreams of a ‘perfect goodbye’ were
wrecked.

I can’t believe he out bid me. Unbelievable! At least he
didn’t make me get off the boat
.

 

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

 

Tess watched as Tom Clemmins sat blissfully at the back of
the boat, soaking up the sunshine, taking in the amazing colors of the lagoon,
while she was unraveling at the seams. She fidgeted in her seat. If she had any
chance of getting through the day, she couldn’t be angry when saying goodbye to
Richard. And she sure as hell didn’t want to sound like Tom Clemmins’ whiny
date back at check-in.

Grasping a hold of her frayed emotions, Tess glanced toward
the young man steering the boat. “Who’s your new skipper?”

“This is my youngest son, Riatia,” Mr. Rene said ruefully.

She acknowledged with a nod.

God. I think I just had a meltdown. The man probably paid
double so he could have the day to himself
. Embarrassed about their
confrontation, Tess closed her eyes, took a deep breath and headed to the back
of the boat.

As she approached, he spoke first in a low comforting tone,
holding his hand out hesitantly. “I’m sorry about the….mix up. Maybe we should
start over. I don’t want you to be mad at me all day, I’m Tom.”

Schmoozer!
Tess reached for his hand. “Tom Clemmins,
right?” she stated matter-of-factly, unimpressed by his celebrity. “I’m Tess,
Tess Mathews. I recognized you at check-in yesterday. I’m sorry for being rude
back at the dock. I’m just frustrated. I needed some time alone, no offense.”

“I know how you feel. I’ve been working too much. I needed
to get away, far away. This place is beautiful. The color of the water is so
many shades of blue. I’ve never seen anything like it."

“Have you ever been to Bora Bora before?”

“Nope, first time. First time snorkeling, too.”

“Well, you picked the perfect place. The snorkeling here is
superb. The coral gardens are filled with the most exotic fish.” She rambled
on. “The reef sharks are my favorite. They’ll be amazing today. They get so
close you can almost touch them.”

“From the boat?” he asked with a puzzled look.

Tess chuckled, apparently someone at check-in failed to tell
Mr. Clemmins everything about the tour. “No…you can almost touch them…in the
water.”

“You actually get in the water with sharks?” he asked
apprehensively, color quickly fading from his cheeks. “I thought we watched
them feed the sharks from the boat.”

“No. You truly do get in the water with them.” Tess grinned
mischievously, unsure if she wanted to tell him that the black-tip reef sharks
were harmless. She wanted to watch him sweat a bit longer. “The sharks are
fairly tame. They hardly ever attack people.” She figured he deserved this for
taking her tour.

His eyebrows creased. “I’m not sure if I want to get in the
water with sharks. You’re kidding me, right? Do you seriously get in the water
with sharks?”

“Most of them are only five or six feet long. There’s
nothing to worry about. You won’t be the one feeding them. That’s Riatia’s
job.” She enjoyed the nice shade of avocado coloring his cheeks.

“Oh, I don’t think so. I’ll just wait on the boat. I think
I’ll pass.”

She couldn’t take it any longer, fearing if he turned any
greener, he’d puke. “I’m only teasing you. There’s never been a shark attack
here. The black tip reef sharks are actually very docile.” Tess tried not to
laugh aloud.

“What? That's not even funny. You're just kidding me about
the sharks?” Color returned to his cheeks. “So…you really don’t get in the
water with them?”

“Oh yes it was funny. And yes,
we
are really going to
get in the water with the sharks. They don’t attack.” She found herself
slightly charmed by the playfulness between them. He still looked fearful, and
she didn’t want him to be afraid. “Seriously, you’re going to love it.”

“How many times have you done this?” he asked as if she were
crazy.

“Maybe a dozen, it’s one of my favorite things to do here.”

 The boat slowed and Riatia tied a rope onto a metal poll
sticking out of the coral with a florescent orange flag waving from its top.
Peering over the side of the boat into the crystal clear lagoon, they could see
vibrant coral, schools of fish and even the ripples in the sand. Mr. Rene gave
Tom proper instructions; stay next to him, keep your arms at your side, no
flippers on with the sharks in the water and enjoy the show.

Speedo?
Tess snickered noticing Tom didn’t have his
swim trunks on. “You brought trunks didn’t you?”

“I did, but I figured there’d be a place to change.” He
smirked.

“I’ll turn around or if you’d prefer to wait until I get off
the boat…”

“No, no, you can just turn around.” His lips curled up on
one side into a gorgeous heart-stopping smile.

Tess slid out of her tank top and cutoffs, waiting curiously
to see what he’d look like in his trunks.

“Ready!” he said. Tom nervously peering over the edge of the
boat, observing several black tips slicing through the water’s surface.

Riatia swam twenty yards out, calling in the sharks with
dead fish.  

Tess checked Tom out nonchalantly while pulling her hair
back into a ponytail. He had great arms with the perfect amount of muscle. His
black trunks hung low on his waist, exposing a chiseled six-pack.
Well at
least I’ll have a nice view for the day. Tess Mathews that was a little shallow
.
Her heartbeat drummed loudly in her ears. Jesus, get it together.
It’s not
as if you haven’t seen attractive men before
. She merely hadn’t taken
notice of one in twenty-five years.

Mr. Rene handed “Mr. Tom” a mask and snorkel.

Tess fine-tuned her mask, resting it on her forehead. She
watched him wipe the sweat from his hands to adjust his mask. She placed her
hand on his forearm. “I promise. You’ll love it.”

He huffed out an uncomfortable chuckle. Following her lead,
they turned their backs to the lagoon and plunged backward into the warm
lagoon.

A camera hung from Tess’ wrist on a rubber band. “Did you
bring an underwater camera?”

“No, I didn’t even think about it,” he shrugged with
disappointment.

“Do you want me to take some pictures of you with the
sharks?”

He glanced at her oddly as they bobbed in the water. “I
don’t really want pictures. Thanks anyway.”

“How come? You may never get to do this again. Believe me.
Your friends are going to want to see these pictures.” She didn’t understand.
Surely, Tom Clemmins loved getting his picture taken; he fronted dozens of
magazine covers.

“I don’t think so.” Tom raised one eyebrow skeptically,
glancing at the camera.

“Seriously? I promise, I’ll email them to you.” Tess
realized by the suspicious look on his face, it wasn’t that he didn’t think she
wouldn’t send them; Tom didn’t want the world to see them. “Are you afraid I’m
going to sell them or something?” Tess asked with her mouth wide open, insulted
that Tom didn’t trust her.

He gazed through the water under his chin observing a dozen
sharks starting to come in. Riatia floated in front of them feeding the sharks
right out of his hand. “My vacations are private to me. It’s happened a dozen
times before. I’m sure you’ve seen some of the photos in the rag magazines.”

“Come on, I would never do anything like that, I promise!
Look, I’ll even give you the camera when we’re done. You can send me the
pictures. You have to have memories of this.”

He hesitated for a few more seconds.

“You can trust me.”

“Deal. But if I get eaten by a shark, you can sell the
pictures,” he joked, lowering his mask into the water and began watching the
show.

BOOK: No More Wasted Time
6.5Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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