Book 1 in the Passion in Paradise series Serena Graham is looking forward to the vacation of a lifetime-a week at Paradise Resort, a Caribbean hideaway where she'll be able to indulge her every sexual fantasy with complete abandon and total anonymity. For the next week, she's Sexy Siren Serena and she'll do whatever she wants-with whomever she wants. Michael Donovan planned a week at Paradise Resort to research his next erotic crime novel, as well as indulge in some hot sex with his fashion model girlfriend. But when he finds his now ex-girlfriend has other plans, he's resigned to research without recreation. That is, until Serena shows up at his door claiming he's occupying her room! After a little negotiating, Michael and Serena become roommates, and Serena boldly asks Michael to be her lover for the week. How can he pass up the opportunity to mix a little pleasure with business? But despite their vow to keep their relationship strictly physical, they find much more than passion in paradise.
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Ellora’s Cave Publishing Inc.
September 03, 2003
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Excerpt from Paradise Awakening by Jaci Burton
Michael Donovan finished unpacking and headed straight to the wet bar in the suite's living room. He poured whiskey into the tumbler and downed it in one swallow.
Ahh, the sweet burn. Maybe he'd just drink himself into oblivion tonight.
He knew better than to have relationships with women. He just wasn't any damn good at them. Ginny was just the latest example of his failure to even remotely understand the feminine mind. He'd be much better off to steer clear of anyone bearing estrogen for the week he was at this resort.
He'd started to pour another glass of whiskey when the doorknob rattled and a sound like someone fiddling with the lock caught his attention.
Great. Housekeeping. They could bring more whiskey. He threw open the door, ready to tell the maid to keep the liquor cabinet stocked.
The woman standing there was no maid. He didn't know if she was part of the amenities of Paradise Resort or not, but she sure beat the hell out of a gift basket. No gift basket had ever made his cock twitch.
Her generous mouth hung open in surprise. He waited for her to speak.
Nothing. Not that it was a problem. He'd be perfectly happy to while away a few minutes staring at the curly blond hair piled on top of her head, those cute wire rimmed glasses that couldn't hide her sea green eyes, and watch her lick her lips with a tongue that already had his mind whirling in thoughts of sex and sweat.
Sex. Too bad Ginny had backed out at the last minute. Fucking fashion models! So skinny her hip bones stabbed him when they fucked. So he'd just spend time doing research on his next book. Too bad he wouldn't have the live, female version of research to help him on his way. Not a girlfriend, not a woman he actually had to pay attention to. Just a fucking partner. No strings attached.
Like the one standing in front of him. Beautiful face and expressive eyes, but she wasn't really his type. Too bookish and her clothes fit too loose. And she was possibly mute.
"Can I help you?" he finally asked.
"I . . . uh, I. . ." She shuffled back and forth, her arms laden with what looked like a huge backpack. Dressed in linen pants and a loose blouse, she surely couldn't be hotel staff. He tilted his head sideways, trying to imagine what kind of body she hid under those clothes.
"Are you lost?" he asked.
"I don't think so. This is room ten, right?"
Michael scanned the door. "That's what it says."
"Then, um, I think there's been some mix-up."
"Because this is my room."
He laughed. "No, this is my room."
"I have a key," she said, holding out the white plastic thing that hotels nowadays insisted on using. He missed regular keys.
"I can see that. But this is still my room."
She blew a stray curl off her face. "Could I put this stuff down for a minute? These bags are heavy."
"Sure." He grabbed for the bag and almost dropped it to the ground. "Jesus, what do you have in this thing? Rocks?"
"No," she said, rolling her shoulders now that the weight had been lifted from them. "They're my books."
Paradise Resort offered every erotic amenity, and the woman brought books? Interesting. Then again, he'd brought his laptop, but that was because this was more or less a research trip for his next book - he wasn't here to indulge in the sexual amenities the resort provided.
Correction - he had planned to indulge in sex with Ginny, before she conveniently remembered that she had a shoot booked in Bali this week. More likely she was bored having him as her boy-toy-du-jour and had already found another stud to satisfy her. Fine with him. He was getting a bit bored with her anyway.
"Come on in," he said, "and we'll get this figured out."
She peered in, before gingerly stepping a few inches inside the door. He stifled a laugh at her timidity. She sure didn't fit the mold of what he was led to believe were the usual type of guests here. Bold, adventurous, forward - those were the types of people he expected to see this week. This one looked like a librarian. A librarian with a sexy mouth.
"Thanks. I don't know what's happened, but I'm sure the resort can figure it out." She was nervous, her eyes darting every which way.
"Relax. I'll call downstairs and have the manager find you another room. Take a look around if you want."
She nodded and headed toward the balcony overlooking the water. The ocean breeze whipped at her hair, blond tresses flying every which way.
Holy shit! She had some body hidden under those clothes. He almost dropped the phone when the wind pressed her blouse against generous, full breasts. Straining nipples appeared ready to poke through the silky blouse. Hips made for a man's hands swelled against her pants.
Fuck. It had been too damn long since he'd been with a woman. Damn Ginny and her globe trotting trips. Ah, hell, it was over between them anyway. The sex had been fun, but the girl was the biggest airhead. And once he got out of bed, it would be nice to have an intelligent conversation with a woman.
He'd yet to find one who could satisfy both his sexual and intellectual appetites. That hadn't happened since he'd been with Mari. He thought he'd found everything with her. What he'd ended up with was a one way ticket to misery and divorce. Never again. Women were for fucking and fun. Not forever.
The woman on his balcony had double Ds written all over her. And not just her breasts - she was desirable, which made her dangerous to him.
He quickly dialed the manager, hoping to get "Double D" out of his suite as quickly as possible.
Serena Graham stared at the man on the phone, her heart racing. She'd almost dropped her bundles when he'd opened the door. First, he'd scared her to death because she hadn't expected anyone to be in her room. And second, he was an Adonis. Dark hair fell in unruly waves against the back of his neck like that movie star she drooled over all the time. He even had the same intense blue eyes, the kind that pierce right through you as if they can see inside your thoughts. Hopefully this man didn't have a mind connection to her--she'd die if he knew how she admired him.
Too bad she wasn't gutsy enough to ask him to help her.
"Bad news," he said after he hung up the phone.
She turned and watched him walk towards her. "Bad news?"
"They double booked this room. And the hotel is full for the week."
This could not be happening to her. She'd scrimped and saved part of her salary for over a year, bound and determined to grab some sexual excitement for once in her life. She'd read up on all the hedonistic resorts, and Paradise was the best. Unfortunately, it was also the only resort on this small island. She wasn't even sure she could get a flight back to the mainland today. What was she supposed to do? Sleep at the little airstrip until the next plane arrived?
"I see." Despair filled her. She sank into one of the cushioned chairs and buried her head in her hands. "Give me a minute and I'll get out of your way."
He studied her and seemed to be considering something. Probably how quickly he could get her out of his room.
She wasn't a sex siren. She wasn't the type of girl men fell over themselves to get close to. This whole trip was going to be a disaster. What had she been thinking? That she'd suddenly transform the minute she stepped onto the island?
Professor Serena Graham from a small Midwestern college was way out of her league with movie-star-man. Changing her clothes and putting on a front of sexual experience wasn't going to fly. Her inexperience would quickly trip her up.
What a mess. Maybe she should just give up and grab the next plane home.
"You don't have to leave, you know."
She raised her head, not sure she'd heard him right. "Excuse me?"
"I have an idea."
"Are you meeting someone here at the resort?"
"Me?" Her eyes widened. "No. I came alone."
"Then you can stay here with me."
He was joking, right? She looked at him, all of him, from his wide shoulders and slim waist to the muscular thighs straining against his shorts. He was way more man than she knew how to handle.
But wait. Isn't that what she wanted? Someone to touch her in a way she'd never been touched before? Someone to throw her down and fuck her the way she'd been dying to be fucked? She wanted adventure, fantasy and hot, unbridled sex. Why not with this guy?
No, stupid idea. Very stupid. "Oh, I couldn't."
"Why not? This suite has two bedrooms. I won't get in your way if you don't get in mine. Think of us as roommates."
Roommates. A thought sailed through her mind, but she quickly brushed it away. Having anonymous sex was one thing. Having it with someone she'd be sharing a room with for a week was another matter entirely. Then again, at least she'd have a place to stay. And most of the "activities" occurred in the specialized rooms, not in the resort's bedrooms. At least that's what the brochure had said.
"If you're sure you don't mind?"
His gaze seemed to penetrate her clothes, making her feel like she was sitting there naked instead of completely covered.
"I don't mind at all."
Deep and husky, his voice stabbed at her middle, heat and liquid desire pooling together and making her squirm. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea.
Then again, maybe it was. "Thanks. I'll do it."
"Michael," he said holding out his hand.
She stood. "Serena." His warm hand sent little electric shocks through her. Funny, that had never happened before when she'd shaken any guy's hand. Her body trembled, her pussy tingled and flared to life as if to scream out, "This one! Choose this one!" He was dangerous and sexy and made her feel dangerous and sexy, too.
He'd be the kind of man who'd take whatever he wanted from a woman. Fire her up and make her burn for him. Make her scream his name when she reached the pinnacle, then beg him for more.
C'mon Serena. This isn't a movie. The good looking guy isn't going to pick you out of a crowd and make your dreams come true. And he sure as hell isn't going to make you come until you scream.
The only way she was going to get some hot and heavy action was to do it herself, just like always. It wasn't like she was inexperienced in these matters. She just didn't get the right guys. She got the losers. The ones who couldn't find their way to her pussy without a road map, and once there hadn't a clue what to do with it.
Okay, time to think logically and intellectually about this. She'd wanted some hot, unbridled passion, and right now the hottest guy she'd ever met had just become her roommate for the week.
"Are you here alone?" she asked.
He nodded, then frowned. "Why?
"Why would you come here by yourself?" She had thought her being alone would make her a minority.
"I could ask you the same question," he said, folding well-muscled arms across his broad chest.
She licked her lips, her gaze riveted to the dark hairs peeking above the top of his shirt. Her nipples tightened and she silently thanked the fashion gods for loose tops. Although the wardrobe she'd brought with her would put her, so to speak, front and center, with nothing to hide. She hoped she could handle it. No, she had to handle it.
"I didn't want any entanglements this week," she lied, hoping she'd sound worldly and sophisticated. Definitely not how she felt. It was the clothes. Once she changed clothes, her personality would follow suit.
He nodded. "I understand. Want to play around a little, do ya?"
She had no idea what she really wanted. But she'd never tell him that. "Yes, that's it."
"Well, take the bedroom down the hall to the left. I'll call the hotel manager and let her know you'll be staying with me."
"I'll pay for half the cost, of course," she said, gathering up her backpack.
He stepped towards her and took the pack from her hands, following her down the hall. "Not necessary. I've got it covered. I'll have your luggage brought up here. Then you can unpack and make yourself at home."
She turned and placed her hand on his chest. It was like touching fire. He burned her instantly and she almost pulled away. Almost. But he felt good, dammit. She didn't want to pull away. She wanted more. "I want to pay for my share of the room. It's only fair." Then, noticing how his eyes lingered where her hand rested, she quickly pulled it away. Okay, so she wasn't as brave as she'd like to think she was.
"Up to you. I'll go make that call."
She nodded and closed the door behind him. The room was lovely, with tropical flowers embroidered on the bedspread. The white furnishings reminded her of a paradise bungalow. Then again, that's what this place touted itself as - paradise. Depending on the type of paradise one searched for, of course.
After her luggage arrived, she unpacked her things, feeling a giddy excitement at the games she'd play over the next week. Hot, sexy games. With a lot of different guys. No, maybe just one. She wasn't promiscuous, just horny. At tonight's introductory cocktail party she'd scout out the merchandise and choose one that got her juices flowing. Which right now could be any guy with a penis.
Would all the men be as hot looking as Michael? Probably not. And why was he here alone? Did he expect to find a woman to play with? Maybe she should make the offer before the party tonight. After all, he certainly fit her criteria. Tall, bronzed like a Greek god, incredibly good looking. And she was certain he could satisfy her, judging by the way her panties moistened just thinking about him.
She imagined the two of them together--what they'd do. What would Michael be like as a sex partner? Would he be willing to indulge her fantasies? Or would he expect her to lie still while he fucked her?
No. That's what she'd experienced before. Plain, no frills, vanilla sex. Nothing in it for her but a few moments of anticipatory excitement before the man came and she didn't. That's what she found in Kansas. Not at Paradise Resort. Satisfaction guaranteed, they'd told her. And she was planning on ending the week-long stay extremely satisfied.
Maybe she would start with Michael. Why not? If she was going to transform herself into a brave, wanton sex siren, what better place to start than with a man who'd already gotten her hot without even touching her?
* * * * *
Michael felt better after a shower. It had been a long damn day, and he hadn't gotten a lick of work in yet. Not that his editor would hound him. He always made his deadlines. Besides, all he had left was finishing up edits for his latest erotic crime novel, and he'd shoot that to the editor within a week. She'd be happy as a woman at a shoe store. He'd have plenty of time to research his new book, which was why he was at Paradise Resort in the first place.
Oh sure, he thought he might get some serious fuck time in with Ginny while here, but that wasn't going to happen. And he sure as hell wasn't going to pick up one of the desperate-for-sex bunnies that populated places like this. He didn't have time for entanglements with women he didn't know. God help him should one glom onto him during this stay. Shooting mental warnings for his cock to behave itself, he picked up the resort brochure and scanned the events listing, shaking his head.
Sadomasochism Palace, Voyeurism Venture, every single one of the events screamed sex and multiple orgasms. The place didn't lie--they catered to all kinds of sexual enjoyments, from the plain to the perverse. No matter what you craved, Paradise Resort would satisfy.
"Find anything you like?"
Michael turned to the sound of Serena's voice. The pamphlet slipped from his hands and fluttered to the floor. Christ! She swayed into the room like a princess who knew every man's eyes were on her. Curvy hips, lush breasts, the whole package slammed him right between the legs. His balls tightened and he broke out into a sweat like an adolescent popping his first girlfriend's bra open. Was he drooling? He wiped his lip, unable to tear his eyes away from her.
Where had the dowdy woman in loose clothes gone? The one wearing glasses, whom he'd thought was somewhat plain?
She was gone. Kidnapped. Replaced by a goddess in a tight fitting, strapless, bright orange flowered...Kleenex!
"Uh, wow." Couldn't he manage even a third grade level vocabulary? He bit back a groan as she slinked toward him, the dress so tight it outlined every curve of the body she'd tried to hide earlier. Hidden no longer, her full breasts nearly spilled over the top of the dress. And legs! Jesus, the woman had legs. Long, tanned, slender--the kind of legs he loved. The kind with a little muscle and shape to them, the kind a man wanted wrapped around him while he drove into her wet, willing pussy.
Thankfully he had a shirt on. His cock, the one he'd told to behave earlier, wasn't listening. Rock hard and ready, it was desperately twitching in Serena's direction. No doubt trying to signal her for immediate mouth-to-cock assistance.
She smiled at him. "So, you're saying, or maybe not saying, that my new look is acceptable?"
Did she have to purr when she spoke? He kind of liked that stumbling stammering she'd done earlier. It was safe, at least. This, this just wasn't fucking fair.
"You look, uh, fine. Nice. Real nice."
She pursed her lips, drawing his attention to her mouth. Instinct told him to reach between his legs and massage the burgeoning ache. He fought desperately to ignore that urge. Damn, she tempted him with that mouth. Those full, painted lips. The kind a man wanted wrapped around his aching heat, sucking and pulling a screaming, gut-wrenching orgasm out of him.
"Thanks. You dropped this."
She crossed in front of him and bent down to retrieve the brochure. Christ, what an ass! Firm and round and perfectly shaped. Not flat, but nice and round and firm, just the way he liked it. Abso-fucking-lutely perfect. He laid his head in the palms of his hands, wishing he could take back the offer to share the suite with her. This week was going to be hell. A living, nightmarish, ball-crushing hell.
"Oh, the brochure!" she exclaimed, tracing the events listing with a long, manicured nail. She slipped onto the cushioned sofa, her bare thigh sliding against his naked leg. He resisted the urge to scoot away from her. "See anything in here you like?"
Where was his tongue? He couldn't form a word to save his life. "I'm, uh, not participating this week."
"What do you mean?" she asked, her pert, upturned nose crinkling with her frown.
"I'm here to research a book I'm working on. This isn't a pleasure trip for me."
"Oh." She cast her luscious lashes downward, and had the gall to look disappointed. "That's too bad."
She looked at him, those sea green eyes of hers pleading innocently. Innocent his ass.
"I was going to ask you a favor."
"What kind of favor?"
"About this week." She half turned, her breasts pushing up against the top of the dress. Damn, they were luscious. He bet his shaft would slide easily between the two full mounds, fucking them until he came all over that beautiful face.
Down cock, down. "What about this week?"
"Well, I came here for some action, Michael. And I was thinking, since we'll be sharing a room and all, that you and I could participate together in the, uh, events."
She swallowed. "You know how. The way the brochure described."
"Well, I'm not really sure what you're getting at."
"C'mon, Michael," she said, her voice low and throaty and sexy as hell. "Don't make me spell it out for you."
So she was still a little shy. Definitely not what he expected at this resort. "If you want something from me, you're gonna have to spell it out, Serena. Tell me exactly what you want."
A brief glimpse of that unsure woman who'd all but stumbled into his room today surfaced, but she disguised it brilliantly with a quick lick of her hot, pink tongue over her lips.
"I'd like you to be my partner this week, Michael. I'd like us to choose events to participate in together. Events where we'd touch, kiss, explore each other's bodies. I want to suck you and feel your tongue on me. I want to feel that hot cock of yours deep inside me, pumping away until we both come."
Well, that sure as hell spelled it out for him.