More Than a Fling Ch. 01by__Lisa__©
Meg let out a relieved sigh as she kicked off her sandals and leaned on the balcony railing of her second floor hotel room. She tucked her russet-coloured curls behind her ear and gazed at the tropical gardens below. Butterflies hovered over lush plants and the breeze carried with it distant laughter from the swimming pool.
Her skin gleamed with moisture and her long hair clung to the back of her neck. She absently trailed her fingers over her shoulder, wincing at the tenderness there. After only two days in Bali , the harsh rays had already given her a rose-tinted glow. She shuddered to think what damage might've been done if she hadn't kept up her endless applications of sunscreen.
She'd spent her first day taking a leisurely swim, followed by an afternoon nap that had somehow slipped into early evening.
Most of her second day had been filled haggling with street vendors for souvenirs to take home to family and friends. Now, all she wanted to do was peel off her singlet and skirt and stand under the shower until her skin cooled. Maybe follow that up with a quiet dinner and a few glasses of wine at one of the local restaurants.
Meg used her toe to scratch the back of her knee and closed her eyes, soothed by the sound of waves crashing against sand. If she stood on her tiptoes and craned her neck just a bit, she could see Kuta beach from her balcony. She intended to spend some time there tomorrow, doing as little as possible.
Relaxation had been her sole focus during the planning of her holiday. The past two years had been spent putting all her energy into setting up what had turned out to be a surprisingly successful florist and gift shop. After convincing her younger sister, Jane, to jump on board recently and help with the general running of the business, the time had finally come to take a much needed two week break.
Meg's grey eyes flickered open as a whistled tune disturbed her thoughts. She leaned over the railing, searching the grounds below for the source of the sound.
She caught sight of a man strolling along a paved walkway beneath the canopy of trees, his white shirt hanging open and his hands dipped casually in the pockets of his navy shorts.
Mesmerised by the view, Meg watched him emerge from the dappled shade into the sunlight. The breeze ruffled his black hair and a dusting of stubble covered his jaw. She swallowed hard as her gaze wandered over his bare chest and the flat plane of his belly. His skin was tanned the colour of honey and looked good enough to lick.
Oh, God. She raised her eyes and let out a laughing breath, trying to shake off the lustful haze surrounding her. She'd obviously been deprived of sex for far too long.
Drawn by the allure of his dark looks, Meg's attention drifted back to the man. A slight smile crossed her lips as she contemplated his presence. Something about him appealed to her, something other than the obvious. She caught her lower lip between her teeth and watched him a while longer, deciding it was the relaxed vibe surrounding him. He looked so at ease with himself it almost made her envious.
He lifted his eyes and shot her a glance, taking her completely by surprise. His gaze clashed with hers, lingering for a while before taking a slow tour over her. Meg's heartbeat quickened when his jaunty tune slipped into one long, low whistle of appreciation.
Her breath hitched and a shiver ran between her shoulder blades. Her fingers tightened around the railing as a sudden urge came over her to smooth her hair and thrust her breasts out, just to give him something to really look at. Where had that come from?
A grin appeared on his face and a warm chuckle floated up to greet her. Before she could respond, he disappeared beneath the balcony and the moment ended.
Meg blew out a slow breath and closed her eyes. She pressed her palms to her cheeks, surprised by the heat of her skin. How could she react this way to a man she'd only just set eyes on?
She debated whether to make even more of a fool of herself by yanking open the door to the hallway to check if he was staying on the same floor as her. But she'd come here for relaxation, not romance. Holiday flings weren't her style.
Quashing a feeling of disappointment she couldn't quite explain, Meg pulled her shoulders back and tried her best to force him from her mind.
Better to indulge in the wine instead. Much safer.
* * * * * * * * *
Refreshed from her shower, wearing a black halter top and a pair of little black shorts, Meg soaked up the sights and sounds of Melasti Street as she strolled toward Roma Amor, a restaurant recommended to her by the hotel receptionist.
She'd hooked a pair of silver hoops through her ears and piled her curls high on her head, allowing the breeze to swirl around her bare neck and shoulders. Her sandals slapped against her heels as she took her time walking the crowded street, pausing now and then to avoid another pedestrian or a stray dog.
The pungent smell of incense clung to the air and a lazy drumbeat pulsed from the speakers of a music shop. An elderly Balinese man crouched in an alcove with a tiny grey monkey perched on his knee. The man sent Meg a toothless grin that creased his leathery face. She couldn't help but smile back.
She'd never spent a holiday alone before and found herself enjoying the freedom and solitude even more than she'd expected. There was something relaxing about doing whatever she wanted without having to consult someone else over every activity.
Meg turned onto Benesari Street and smiled when she spotted Roma Amor on the opposite side of the road. Before she could think better of it, she clutched her handbag at her side and darted out into the stream of traffic. Exhaust fumes hovered in the thick heat, overwhelming her senses as she squeezed between a taxi and a hoard of motor scooters. She held her breath and focused on the curb, her heart thundering with relief when she managed to reach the other side alive.
Meg tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear and took a moment to catch her breath before stepping inside the restaurant.
Chilled air greeted her in the darkened surrounds, creating a trail of goose bumps over her skin. She clicked her tongue against her teeth and quickly scanned the layout, wondering whether to satisfy her appetite for food or have a drink at the bar first.
A lounge section filled one side, adjoined by a restaurant area where a few tourists were already enjoying dinner. The bar took up the length of one wall, backlit by a pink glow that highlighted the collection of bottles displayed there. A middle-aged couple occupied one end of the counter, while a man sat alone at the other end, just out of reach of the subtle lighting.
Curious, Meg found her gaze drawn to the man. His hair was almost as dark as the short-sleeved shirt moulded across his back. He lounged on the stool with his long legs spread wide and his elbows resting on the bar. She watched him tilt the glass in his hand and swallow its contents in one gulp. As he signalled to the bartender for another, something about the relaxed gesture struck her as familiar.
She stared a little longer, the gears turning in her mind while her attention lingered on the legs stretched out beneath his khaki shorts. Then it hit her. She could still hear his whistled tune; feel the heat of his knowing look as it caressed her from head to toe.
As much as she'd tried to ignore the feelings he'd stirred in her, thoughts of him had occupied far too much of her time while she'd showered and changed for dinner.
A quick tremor rushed through her. Meg placed a palm against her belly and took a bracing breath.
He shot her a glance over his shoulder, as if he could again sense her presence. Meg's limbs tensed with awareness and her fingers twitched at her sides. He raised his dark brows in challenge, his eyes glinting with amusement in the dim light.
She caught sight of a waiter approaching and knew the time had come to make up her mind. Should she ignore the pull of attraction, or succumb to it and see where it took her?
Her palms were damp. Meg smoothed them over her shorts and sent the waiter a quick smile of apology. She decided to make the most of the moment and be brave, walking toward the bar on legs that weren't quite stable.
The man reached over and pulled out a seat for her as she approached. His eyes remained fixed on hers, the contact thrilling her more than she cared to admit.
Meg noticed his shirt was buttoned this time, which made her thankful. There was only so much longing a woman could bear. She stopped beside him and swallowed her nerves, willing her heart to stop hammering.
He gave her a smile that stole her breath. "Are you stalking me?"
His voice was smooth and deep, stirring the butterflies in her belly. Meg choked on a laugh and took the seat beside him, dropping her handbag at her feet. "You'd probably like that."
A corner of his mouth hitched. "You're probably right. Can I buy you a drink?"
She sent him a cautious glance, hoping her reply didn't come across as too presumptuous. "Only if you'll let me get the next round."
"Sounds good to me. What would you like?"
She requested a white wine and when her chardonnay arrived, it occurred to her that she should probably introduce herself. "My name's Meg, by the way."
"Hi, Meg, I'm Jack."
She took a long sip of her drink and settled in to get to know him better.
It took only half an hour of small talk for her to relax and feel at ease in his presence. The words flowed easily between them, creating a cosy atmosphere. She learned he was thirty-two, had a background in horticulture and worked as a landscape designer. They shared their first impressions of Bali and skimmed over other topics, safe conversation that allowed her nerves to settle.
While she listened to him talk, it surprised Meg just how much he appealed to her; the warmth of his gaze, the heat from his thigh as it rested alongside hers. He gave her his complete attention, making her feel an irresistible urge to reach out and touch him. It took a concerted effort to keep her hands in her lap.
When the conversation finally faltered, she sank into the comfortable silence with him for a while.
"So..." Jack said, sending her a sideways glance. "I'm guessing you're in Bali alone?"
Meg nodded. "I sort of ran away."
His brows pulled together. "From?"
She drank from her glass, enjoying the cool slide of liquid down her throat. "I was in danger of becoming a workaholic, so I decided to get away for a while. What about you?"
The ice clinked in his glass as he took a drink. "My brother and his wife were married here ten years ago. I was invited along when they came back last week to renew their vows."
"Really?" Meg smiled and smoothed her hair from her forehead. "That's so sweet. Are they still here?"
He chuckled at her response. "No, they left yesterday with the other guests. I take it you're a bit of a romantic."
Meg took another sip of wine and sighed. "I am."
"How do you feel about holiday romances?"
She picked up on the hint of mischief in his expression and fidgeted with her hoop earring, trying to ignore the spark of interest it ignited inside her. "No, I'm more of a relationship kind of girl."
"Shame." His eyes lit with humour. "We could've had some fun."
"We still could, you know. It's possible to have fun just being friends with a woman."
"Ah, not for me. I've tried, but sex always gets in the way."
Meg watched the Adam's apple bob in his throat as he took a long drink. A languid heat seeped through her that had nothing to do with the temperature in the room. She'd foregone wearing a bra and her nipples brushed against the loose fabric of her halter top. She shifted in her seat, uncomfortably aware of his effect on her.
One night stands had never been a temptation for her in the past; the idea of sleeping with someone she'd just met seemed so impersonal, uncomfortable. Now, though, with Jack's gaze travelling over her, Meg had to wonder whether she'd been wrong to deny herself the experience.
"Are you involved in a relationship at the moment?" she asked, finishing the last of her wine.
"No, I'm not." He set his empty glass down on the bar and turned his body to face her. "Are you planning on propositioning me?"
"Hmm." Meg suppressed a shiver when his hair-coarsened skin slid against her thigh. Her eyes lingered on his strong jaw, the dark stubble there. She wanted to nuzzle the spot just below his ear where the pulse beat in his neck. The thought made her feel ridiculous and she let out a laugh. "I think I need to stop drinking."
His eyes glimmered with amusement as he held up two fingers to the bartender. "I don't think you've had enough."
"You would say that." Still smiling, Meg turned toward him as a feeling of lightness trickled through her. She wasn't sure whether it was her third drink or his presence causing the reaction.
The crowd in the bar had steadily grown since her arrival, but she'd barely noticed the extra noise above the constant thudding of her heart.
Her knees became locked between his. Her brow furrowed as she watched him, trying to figure out this strange connection they shared. She'd never felt such a pull toward any other man in the past. The chemistry all but bubbled between them.
"You know, it'd be easier if you just kissed me." Jack's eyes sparkled as he teased her. "It'll help break some of the tension."
She shook her head and swallowed a laugh, her body warming to the invitation in his tone. "I prefer taking things slow."
When their drinks arrived, Jack thanked the bartender and turned his attention back to her. "So...kiss me slow."
The desire to do just that overwhelmed her. Meg closed her eyes and inhaled through her nose, imagining her mouth pressed to his. The idea appealed to her more than she'd guessed it could. She let out the breath she'd been holding and opened her eyes. "What if I did kiss you?" she asked. "Would you try to take over? Hurry things along?"
The smile that touched his lips was far too appealing. "I wouldn't dream of it."
Meg fought against a smile of her own and narrowed her eyes at him as she swiped her glass from the bar. She took a fortifying swallow of wine and placed it back on the counter. What the hell, she thought, wasn't this what holidays were for? The freedom to be who she wanted to be around people she'd never met?
With a quick glance around the room, Meg rose from her stool and stood before him. "I can't believe I'm doing this," she said. "You've taken all the romance out of it now and turned it into a challenge." The flat of her belly rubbed against his shirt as she stepped into the space between his legs. Her palms slid over his shoulders, fingers flexing into the muscles there. "Are you ready?" she asked, watching him.
"Always." Jack's hands curved over her hips and drew her closer. His eyes were warm as they gazed into hers. "Do your best. I promise not to judge."
She bit her lip to contain a grin. "I've reached the stage now where I have to kiss you just to shut you up."
Jack's eyes drifted closed and his shoulders shuddered as he laughed. His subtle cologne smelled warm on his skin. Meg swept her hands over his jaw, feeling the crackle of stubble beneath her fingertips. She had a hard time concentrating on the task now her hands were on him. It would be difficult holding back once they got started.
"Do you want some pointers?" he asked, peeking at her from one half-opened eye.
"I think I can manage." Meg used her thumb to gently close his lid, then pressed her lips there, kissing the place where sensitive skin met thick dark lashes. Her fingers delved into the hair at his temples, cradling his head as she leaned closer. "You have the most wonderful mouth," she said, giving him a warm, intimate peck beside his lips.
Her mouth brushed his with just the slightest touch, sending a tremor through both of them. She let her breasts settle against his chest and felt his hand tighten reflexively at her hip.
It gave her a heady sense of power having him sit passively by while she took her time exploring him. She drew his lower lip between hers, suckling gently on his flesh while her thumbs stroked his cheeks. His palm warmed her back, sweeping over her spine in slow circles.
Meg relished the closeness of him, the strength of his shifting muscles beneath her fingertips. She sighed and pressed her mouth fully to his, craving the connection. She closed her eyes and wound her arms around his neck. Her hands dangled over his shoulders as she abandoned all thoughts of control and fell into the kiss.
Jack's lips were warm and sensually moulded. His mouth moved so lazily, so thoroughly beneath hers, his touch both relaxed and aroused her simultaneously. His hands caressed her from hips to shoulder blades, holding her close. He touched his tongue briefly to hers, a quick flicker that made her whimper deep in her throat.
Jack sank his hand into the hair at her nape, firm but gentle, encouraging a rush of desire inside her. She pressed her body closer, straining against him as his other hand crept over her hip. He held her to him, so close she could feel his burgeoning erection.
They'd already crossed a line she hadn't wanted to cross, but she couldn't help herself, couldn't hold back. Her fingers twined in his hair, tightening unconsciously in the thick strands. He growled and squeezed her rear. His heart pounded against her chest, giving her comfort knowing the encounter affected him just as strongly as it did her.
Jack tore his mouth from hers, pressing soft, damp kisses from her cheek to her temple. He nipped at her earlobe and touched his tongue to the pulse point in her throat.
Meg lifted her chin as his lips nibbled a trail along her jaw. "This is getting out of hand," she said breathlessly. "I knew it would."
"Come back to my room," he whispered against her ear. "I want to take my time with you."
"I..." Meg bit her lip as a riot of erotic visions clouded her mind, making it impossible to think. His thumb brushed her nipple while he waited for her answer, not helping matters at all.
Her body craved his touch and he'd only given her a preview of what lay in store for her. What else could he make her feel if she took a chance with him?
Meg wasn't sure how she'd handle the awkwardness once the moment ended, but at this point, with the heat of his gaze warming her skin, she didn't really care.
She drew a deep breath and decided to allow the sensual side of her personality to take over. Emotions she could deal with later once her mind had cleared and his hands no longer distracted her.
She looked him in the eye and gave his mouth a loud, smacking kiss. "Okay."
* * * * * * * * *
Meg gasped as Jack pressed her firmly against the closed door to his hotel room. Her gaze flitted over his shoulder, checking the tiled hallway for other guests. She hadn't had a chance to catch her breath after the short trip back from the restaurant. He'd pulled her along beside him, his warm hand clasping hers as they'd hurried through the crowded streets.
Now, as his mouth travelled over her collarbone and he fumbled with the key in the lock behind her, she found herself breathless for other reasons. "I thought you wanted to take your time," she said. Her breasts flattened under the weight of his chest and his erection nudged her belly.
"Not anymore," he said, nibbling her earlobe. "Hard and fast...then slow and deep."
Meg closed her eyes and drew a shaky breath. Her hands grabbed fistfuls of his shirt and she leaned her head against the door. Jack's mouth moved over her throat, leaving a trail of kisses that had her body straining against him. Her lips parted and a heavy sigh slid free.