Author:Amanda Dick

Callum swam towards her, his stroke long and powerful, strong shoulders propelling his arms through the water. He stopped near her, treading water, blinking as he wiped the water from his face. He shook his short dark hair like a dog, roughing it up with his hand.


“Don’t tell me you’re tired already,” she smiled. “Are you hung over or something?”


“Pacing myself,” he winked.


Over his shoulder, Jack slowly made his way towards them. He was obviously still recovering from his injuries, but his stroke was smooth and even, if a little short. She loved watching him swim, sleek and rhythmic. His body seemed longer in the water, his feet kicking up a trail of white water behind him, elongating him. He dove under a lane marker and gracefully popped up on the other side.


A few moments later, he pulled up beside Callum, blinking to clear the water from his eyes. His hair looked jet black when it was wet and he roughed it up exactly like Callum had done, so that it formed spikes all over his head. She had to fight the urge to reach out and run her hand over the glossy locks, smoothing them down again.


“I haven’t swum laps for years and I still managed more than you,” he said, pushing Callum good-naturedly. “And I’m carrying an injury.”


“Hardy-har, funny boy. I forgot about that damn competitive streak you have.”


“That’s a good one, coming from you,” Jack grinned. “Hung over again?”


Callum flipped him the bird and headed towards the steps, pausing for a moment to splash Jack in the face, nodding satisfactorily as he did so.


Jack wiped the water from his face with a smile. “Real mature, dude.”


Callum reached down to squeeze Ally’s shoulder as he passed. “And on that note, I’m outta here. I’ll see you guys tomorrow night.”


Ally’s insides turned to jelly. Tomorrow night Callum would be showing Jack how to perform the range-of-motion exercises. Even though she had agreed to Jack learning the ropes, she still had echoes of apprehension settling in her stomach like butterflies. As if reading her mind, Callum winked at her as he exited the pool, heading towards the bench that held his towel.


“If you’re worried about tomorrow, don’t be.”


The exquisite tenderness in Jack’s expression made her heart sing. He leaned forward and took her ankles in his hands. She watched him run his hands up her calves, trying to mentally substitute the image for the sensation that went along with it. He moved in closer, his hands sliding over her knees and up the outside of her thighs, finally taking her by the waist and pulling her off the step and down into the pool with him.


Breathless, she draped her arms around his neck. The warm water washed over them as he moved them in lazy circles. She was almost afraid to breathe in case she broke whatever spell had been cast over them, the pool fading into the background.


Then his lips were on hers, waking her from the trance. Closing her eyes, she let herself go. His warm, wet lips pressed gently against hers, his tongue easing them apart to gain access to her mouth. Chlorine tickled her taste buds as his arms encircled her waist, pulling her even closer. Time stopped as her body began to respond.


Slowly, he pulled away and she opened her eyes reluctantly, not wanting to let go of the moment. He smiled at her, the kind of smile that said he wanted her – all of her. She was captivated by it.


“Can you feel that? Can you feel how much I’ve missed you?” he whispered huskily, nuzzling her neck.


Alarm bells began to ring, loud and clear. She couldn’t feel anything but his chest pressed tight to hers, his arms wrapped around her.


She shook her head. His smile disappeared and he began to run his fingertips over her back, sending shivers through her.


“Then let me tell you,” he said, barely missing a beat. “I’ve missed being this close to you, holding you like this. You’re so beautiful.” He leaned in to kiss her again, softly this time, and mercifully brief as she struggled to keep a thought in her head. “I love how silky your skin feels when it’s wet.”


He ran his hands over her shoulders and she literally felt herself melting beneath his touch. She was afraid to move in case it should make him stop. He smiled again and she tried to smile back but the alarm bells in her head began ringing once more. She tried to wish them away but they stubbornly remained. She could feel the fantasy draining away, disappearing down the plug hole, leaving her with a reality that petrified her.


Jack began to move backwards and the water swished around them until they were at the side of the pool and she was reaching blindly for the edge.


“What’s the matter?” he asked, still holding her.


Panic overwhelmed her, robbing her of the words. All she could do was stare at him pitifully.


“What is it?” he soothed, worry settling into the creases around his eyes. “Did I come on too strong? I’m sorry – I didn’t mean to scare you.”


She reached deep down inside and reminded herself that she was stronger than this.