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Protecting Paige by Maggie Carpenter – Extended Preview

As the plane hit, Paige clutched Cole for dear life, and as it skimmed and bounced across the water she was convinced it would break apart. Her mind raced. She’d be able to rescue Cole, but Jack? She didn’t know about Jack. He was bigger and certainly heavier… then suddenly the violent jostling stopped. They were still, and though the engine was still running it was making a puttering sound, not the noisy vibrating rumbling she’d heard throughout their flight.

“We made it, I can’t believe it, we made it,” she muttered, gingerly raising her head.

“Thank God,” Cole sighed, smoothing the hair from her face. “Are you all right?”

“Freaked out, but yeah. What about you?”

“Fine. Can I leave you for a second to check on Jack?”

“Yeah, sure, please, definitely,” she stammered. “See if he’s in one piece.”

Extricating himself from her limbs, Cole moved forward and found his friend looking decidedly shaky and taking long deep breaths.

“You okay?”

“There’s no tag on my toe, so that’s a good thing.”

“That’s always a good thing,” Cole smiled. “Seemed like a close call there for a minute.”

“Wasn’t the easiest flight I’ve ever had. Honestly, I’ve never dealt with that before. Let me catch my breath and then I’ll beach Betsy. The water’s calm and it’s the easiest thing to do.”

“It was a helluva landing. Thank you.”

“I don’t know about that, but I’m sure glad we made it. Go ahead and get back in your seat. This will only take a few minutes.”

“Is he okay?” Paige asked as Cole returned.

“Seems to be. He’s going to take us into the beach.”

“I wish I could stop shaking.”

“You will.”

“I wonder how long that cloud thing will be there.”

“I have no idea.”

“It’s like some great monster waiting to gobble up whatever crosses its path.”

“I think that’s exactly what it is,” Cole grimaced. “Paige?”

“Yes, Cole?”

“There’s something I have to do and it can’t wait.”

“Then you should…”

But his fingers were suddenly in her hair, and she felt her heart skip as he gently tugged back her head and locked her eyes.

“I’ve been wanting to do this since you walked into the reception room yesterday and I’m not putting it off another second.”

Her eyes closed as his lips dropped onto hers, and as he glided them across her mouth in a gentle but passionate kiss, her arms encircled his neck and she let out a muffled moan. Her heart thumped and the butterflies in her stomach fluttered in a delicious dance, and as she fervently returned his kiss she prayed his hands would slip from her hair and roam across her body.

“Paige,” he whispered as he pulled back. “God, I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you too, so much. I meant what I said. I’m so sorry.”

“I’m an idiot for not tracking you down and finding out why you didn’t want to talk to me,” he grunted, “but it won’t happen again, I can promise you that.”

“I won’t let you. If I walk into your office and find Jasmine there, I’ll stomp right in and throw her out.”

“I’d like to see that,” he chuckled, then lowering his voice, he murmured, “What we had was so much more than just a week of fun in the sun. It meant something to me, and now I know it meant something to you as well, and Paige, just for the record, I am going to spank you.”

She swallowed hard as the erotic heat burned through her body, but a jolt broke the spell. The plane had come to an abrupt halt, and turning around they watched Jack slowly clamber from his seat.

“If you look behind you, there’s a large wicker hamper,” Jack said, still somewhat breathless. “It’s a gourmet picnic for a couple I was supposed to take to a private beach after I dropped you off. May as well bring it out. I’m not sure how long we’ll be here.”

“Because of that cloud thing? You mean there’s no way to leave if it’s still there?” Paige asked.

“Even if I go around the other side of the island, there’s no telling it won’t move or cause me more trouble. I’d rather wait and see if a wind comes up to shift it or it dissipates. Besides, the radio’s not working and I’m not flying without one.”

“Does it have a name? The cloud I mean?”

“Not that I’ve heard of, and like I said, I haven’t seen one for years. That’s the closest call I’ve ever had, and I sure as heck don’t wanna do it again. I did try sending out a distress signal the minute I saw it but I don’t know if I was heard, and even if it was, the way the instruments were acting up there’s no telling what kind of location information went out.”

“That is so bizarre. Cole,” Paige said, feeling a chill shudder through her body. “You should make a movie about this.”

“Not a bad idea, though the Bermuda Triangle’s been done to death. Maybe I can come up with some kind of twist.”

Jack continued climbing from the plane, and as he disappeared through the door, Paige looped her arm through Cole’s and rested her head on his shoulder.

“Maybe it’s a Cupid cloud.”

“A Cupid cloud?”

“It was sent by Cupid so we’d get scared and say what we really felt.”

“I like it. Yeah, let’s go with that, and let’s grab that hamper and get out of this tin can. I need to stretch my legs.”

“I’m sure,” she twinkled, and in spite of their harrowing ordeal, she moved her hand to his crotch.

“What do you think you’re doing, young lady?”

“Maybe it’s because we almost dove into the sea or because it’s been forever since we were together, but I can’t help it. My gosh, that must be awfully uncomfortable,” she purred, squeezing his stiffening member.

“If you’re not careful, you’ll be the one awfully uncomfortable.”

A flock of flutters exploded to life, and she closed her eyes, relishing the erotic charge.

“Yes, Paige, it’s going to happen,” he whispered, seeing her reaction. “You’ll be over my knee the first chance I get.”

“You make me feel so weak.”

“I’m glad, but I suspect you’re also feeling that way because we just dodged a plane-eating cloud and plummeted several thousand feet.”

“Maybe that as well, but mostly it’s you.”

“And I haven’t even started yet,” he murmured, then slipping from his seat he moved behind them to retrieve the large hamper. “At least we won’t starve to death. This thing’s heavy.”

“Can you manage it?”

“I’ll drag it near the door, then lift it. Why don’t you get out first?”

Moving to the open door, she stared down at the clear water, grateful she was wearing a dress and she’d left her legs bare.

“Cole, before you come out could you check and see if there are any towels in here? I might want to find a private spot and skinny dip.”

“With an offer like that, I’ll search until I find something!”

She couldn’t help but giggle, and shooting him a look, she pulled off her strappy sandals, dropped into the knee-deep water, and wading the few feet to the beach, she spotted Jack sitting under the shade of a palm tree. He was their hero, and the plane was now was facing into the ocean with the back of the pontoons nestled in the sand. Turning around she stared back at the odd cloud formation. It had changed from a towering cloud into a dark fog bank.

“It looks so different,” she remarked as Cole joined her, carrying the generously sized hamper with a towel sitting on the top. “It doesn’t even resemble a cloud.”

“Maybe it’s starting to evaporate, or whatever it does before it disappears.”

They marched across the soft warm sand to join Jack, and placing the hamper next to him, Cole stretched his arms above his head as Paige sat down.

“Are you doing okay?” she asked. “Is there anything you need?”

“Thanks, no. I’ll get some water from the hamper in a minute.”

“How can we ever thank you. You were amazing.”

“There were a few minutes there I thought for sure we’d get sucked in. Damn thing’s turned into a fog bank now. If there are any boats around they’ll be done for.”

“And no one has any idea what it is or why it forms?”

“Nope.”

“And we’re stuck here until it’s gone?”

“As long as it’s out there I’m not going back up.”

“It’s getting late,” Cole remarked. “If we’re going to be here overnight I think I’ll bring out our suitcases.”

“There are blankets under the seats,” Jack offered.

“Does it get cold?”

“No, not this time of year, but you’ll want the blankets. The sand gets all over you if you sleep on it, and you should cover yourself from the bugs.”

“I’d like to go exploring before the sun goes down,” Paige said, gazing up at Cole. “Can you be quick?”

“I’ll be quicker if you help me.”

“Oh, right, of course,” she said, getting to her feet.

“Um, one thing, put everything underneath some dense plants, including the hamper, maybe over there where it’s thickest,” Jack said, gesturing to the far side of the small beach near some rocks. “We get unexpected rains here. You don’t want everything to get soaked.”

“Ah, good thinking,” Cole replied. “Thanks for the tip.”

“Don’t worry about me,” Jack said with a wave of his hand. “Take advantage of the daylight that’s left. I’m going to take a doze. Feel free to pick up whatever you can use from the plane.”

“We don’t want to abandon you,” Paige said, feeling bad about leaving him there alone.

“Believe me, I have no problem being by myself, besides, I have Robinson Crusoe to keep me company.”

“Robinson Crusoe?”

“I come to this island all the time and that’s what I call that log over there,” he chuckled. “See it, over by the rocks?”

Cole and Paige stared at the large log lying on the sand. There was nothing unique about it, but apparently it meant something to Jack.

“You should get the blankets from the plane and climb over those rocks to the beach on the other side. Take advantage of this. It’s one of those opportunities that only come along once in a lifetime. Stay there overnight.”

“Thanks, Jack. We’ll think about it,” Cole said as he reached down and picked up the towel.

“Nope, don’t think about it. Carpe diem! Seize the day, or in this case, the night!”

“I think he wants to get rid of us,” Paige giggled, “but it does sound wonderful.”

“Then we’ll do it,” Cole agreed, smiling down at her.

Unloading their suitcases, they carried them across to the dense vegetation, and while Cole went to fetch the hamper he’d left next to Jack, Paige returned to the plane to collect the blankets and to see if there was anything else they might need. She discovered two flashlights, both on loops of cord. One was large and waterproof, the other compact but powerful. She decided to take both. The sun was low in the sky. It would be a comfort to have them when night fell. Climbing from the plane, she saw Cole was still by the foliage, and glancing across at Jack, she saw his body slightly slumped. He seemed to be asleep against the palm tree.

“I found some flashlights,” she announced as she approached.

“More than one?”

“Yep, and Jack looks dead-to-the-world.”

“So I see. After that ordeal, it’s just what he needs,” Cole said solemnly, then wrapping his fingers around Paige’s free hand, he leaned down and softly kissed her.

“Yummy,” she sighed, looking up at him. “Can I have more, please?”

“Absolutely.”

Before leaving their suitcases, Paige quickly changed into a fresh sundress and switched out her sandals for a pair of comfortable walking shoes, and as they began to climb over the rocks she was glad they were stranded. If they’d made it to Sandman Cove they’d be busy readying themselves for a cocktail party, not spending the night together on an exotic island. The frightening flight had thrown them together and she was sure it was fate. Moments later, as they rounded the point, they found themselves staring at a beach like the one they’d just left, but smaller, and the vegetation was like a horseshoe around the sand.

“Cole, this is gorgeous. It’s like a cozy island nest.”

“The perfect place to watch the sunset and spend the night,” he said softly.

“Would you think I was crazy if I said I’m glad this happened?”

To her surprise, Cole laughed out loud.

“What’s so funny?”

“I was just thinking that exact same thing.”

“Really?”

“Of course. I’d much rather be here with you than mingling with a bunch of people drinking cocktails and trying to be interesting.”

“You don’t have to try to be interesting. You’re the most interesting person I’ve ever met.”

“Um, excuse the lack of humility, but I was talking about them.”

“Ooh, sorry,” she giggled. “Duh!”

“We need to find the right spot and lay out a blanket.”

“I think that is an excellent suggestion,” she said, lowering her voice and moving her body closer to his. “The two of us here together… how much more perfect could it be?”

Cole knew if he touched between her legs he’d find her slippery wet, and the thought sent fresh energy to his cock. Holding her hand, he led her into the center of the half-moon beach, then laying out the blanket, he took the flashlights from her hands and wrapped her into his arms. Sinking into his chest, she felt his hardness against her belly, and closing her eyes, she remembered how glorious their week together had been. From his first touch, he had taken her breath away, and every minute had been a slice of heaven.

“This is a moment,” he murmured. “Jack was right. This is one of those once in a lifetime things.”

“I know,” she purred. “It’s like something out of a romance novel.”

“Or one of those old classic films with Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart.”

“Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.”

“You love the golden oldies too?”

“Why are you surprised?” she asked, shifting in his hold and staring up at him.

“You just seem so… trendy.”

“Me? Trendy? No, not me, I’m about as old-fashioned as a grandmother’s rocking chair.”

“I’m really happy to hear that, because I’m a caveman, and I want to take you by the hair and drag you into my cave right this minute.”

“Will an empty beach do?”

“Even better,” he said huskily, and pressing his mouth against hers, he devoured her lips as he pulled her down to the blanket.

As Cole slipped her dress over her head, Paige rolled into him and urgently grabbed at the buttons of his shirt, but grasping her wrists he pushed her onto her back and pinned them on either side of her head.

“We’ve got all night,” he softly murmured, “and I’m going to make the most of every minute. Don’t move.”

Rising to his feet, he leisurely stripped, then returning to lie at her side, he slid her panties down her legs and popped the front fastener of her bra. As it sprang free he slid it down her arms and tossed it aside, then kneeling over her, he gazed at her in wonder; the huge setting sun was cloaking her skin in a golden glow.

“You’re even more lovely than I remember,” he crooned, then straddling her body, he sent his grasp back to her wrists, lowered his lips, and began kissing her neck.

“That makes me crazy,” she bleated. “I love it. I love it so much.”

“I know,” he purred, traveling his lips across her shoulders toward her breasts. “I remember the things that make you crazy. I’ve relived them many times.”

She moaned in response, and as he drew in her nipples, sucking hungrily, she raised her chest to meet his mouth.

“Remember what I said?” he murmured, lifting his head and locking her eyes.

“Ooh, don’t stop.”

“Does that mean you don’t remember?”

“I can’t stand it,” she complained. “Remember what?”

“My promise to spank you. I promised when we were together before, and I promised you a few minutes ago. I think it’s time I kept that promise.”

“You’re going to do it now?” she gasped. “Right now?”

“Seems as good a time as any,” he said with a wicked grin, and releasing her wrists, he quickly flipped her onto her stomach and yanked up her hips.

“Oh, my gosh! What are you doing?”

“You do have an incredibly spankable ass.”

“I can’t believe this! Why do I feel so—”

“So what?” he asked, smoothing his hand over her backside. “So embarrassed?”

“Yes, and, ooh, I feel so weird.”

“That’s natural, but I’ll bet…” he said, his voice trailing off as he slipped his fingers between her legs, “uh-huh, you’re soaked, and in a few minutes you’re going to be even more soaked. Now keep still, and don’t shout out like that again.”

“I didn’t mean to, I was just shocked.”

“I know you’ve been craving this.”

“How could I be craving something I’ve never had?”

“Now you’re just being coy. I think I’ll add a few extra slaps for that.”

“Okay, I have,” she said quickly, “but it’s weird and I don’t know why.”

“There is no why. It’s just how God made you, and I’m the other side of that coin. Are you ready?”

“I guess.”

“Nope, I need more than that.”

“Good grief.”

“Are you ready?”

“Yes, I’m ready.”

Though her voice had been filled with trepidation, he’d also heard excitement, and raising his hand, he brought it down with several quick slaps, not hard, but carrying a sting that would not disappoint her.

“Ow!”

“I said no shouting.”

“Sorry.”

“Here, bury your head in this,” he suggested, reaching for her dress and handing to her.

“You mean I’ll need to?”

“You might. I won’t spank you too hard, but it’s still going to hurt.”

“Ooh.”

“Unless you’d rather I stop. Do you want me to stop, Paige?”

“Uh, no… no, I don’t.”

“Right then, roll up your dress and bury your head.”

Though he didn’t think her yelps or the sound of his smacking hand would carry around to the rocky point to Jack’s ears, having her muffle her squeals in her dress added some extra spice to the moment, and waiting until she was settled, he began to land his slaps in an easy rhythm as he traveled his flattened palm across her cheeks. When she began to squirm, he moved his slaps lower, and after adding a few good swats to her sit spot, eliciting a series of mewling cries, he paused and ran his hand over her warm pink skin.

“How are you feeling?”

“Please, will you touch me?” she begged, turning her head to look at him over her shoulder.

“That was not the answer to my question,” he said firmly, delivering a solid smack to the center of her bottom. “How are you feeling?”

“Ow, did you have to do that?”

“And again,” he declared, landing another hard slap.

“Oww.”

“How are you feeling?”

“My ass is stinging, how do you think I feel?”

“I can’t believe you just said that,” he muttered, shaking his head and grinning at her nerve. “Anything else?”

“Yes. I feel…”

“Go on, everything. Tell me everything.”

“Cole, I love it. I mean, I don’t but I do. I really do, I just don’t know why.”

“We don’t always need to know why we like something, now close your eyes and feel my hand rub away the burn. That was your introduction.”

As he began to caress her hot backside he heard a long sigh. She was sinking into the unfamiliar erotic charge the spanking had sent pulsing through her body, and moving his fingers into her drenched slit he let out a sigh of his own. He wanted to slide his cock inside her perfect pussy, he wanted to kiss every part of her, he wanted to feel her naked skin against his, he wanted to utterly devour her, then suddenly, to his shock, she abruptly shifted her body around, placed her lips around his swollen manhood and began to slither her mouth up and down his shaft. Closing his eyes, he flashed back to their week together and how she had loved sucking him, and as the scintillating sensations flooded his loins, it was almost as if the year hadn’t passed and they were still living that magical week, but his thoughts were abruptly interrupted. Her fingers were tickling his testicles, and she was swirling her tongue around his tip, shooting him forward into his climax.

“You need to stop. If you don’t… ooh, Paige, no,” he growled, grabbing her hair and making her pause.

“Don’t you like it?” she mewled, lifting her puzzled eyes to meet his.

“Oh, yes, I do, I love it too much, that’s the problem,” he murmured, and gently moving on her onto her back he leaned over her. “I want you so badly, but I don’t have any condoms.”

“Bummer.”

He paused, staring down at her.

“Do you always make sure your lovers use them?” he asked, studying her sparkling eyes.

“Every time. I’m on the pill, but yeah, I always insist, but I haven’t…”

She paused, then bit her lower lip.

“What were you going to say?” he pressed. “You haven’t…?”

“I haven’t been with anyone since you,” she whispered. “I couldn’t. I mean, I’d go out with someone, but at the end of the night I just couldn’t uh… do anything…”

“Paige…”

“So I haven’t used any because I haven’t needed to, but before then I did, always, just like we did.”

“I always use them too.”

He lowered his lips back to her breasts, gently tonguing, listening to her soft moans, then took his mouth to her ear.

“If you’re on birth control, and I’m always safe…”

“Oh, thank God, yes, please, yes,” she whimpered. “Take me, right now, I can’t stand it.”

He didn’t need a second invitation, and positioning himself he thrust forward, letting out a deep groan of pleasure. Not only was he inside the woman who had been haunting him for a year, his cock was naked. It had been so long since he’d had sex sans a condom he’d forgotten how amazingly delicious it was, and as he pummeled her with slow, powerful strokes, he knew he’d be hard-pressed to prolong their coupling.

“Cole, you feel incredible,” she muttered, parroting his thoughts. “I swear I think I’m going to come any minute.”

“I know, I feel it too.”

“Fuck me, fuck me hard. Please, I’m already so close. Please, Cole.”

Her urgent begging sent him forward, and rising up, he clutched her waist, pulled her into his pelvis, and propelling himself forward, he pumped her with abandon. Only moments later he saw her fingers close into fists as her body grew taut, and she let out a series of joyous cries. It sent him tumbling into his orgasm, and as he exploded inside her, his loud grunts became the bass to her soprano. Their mutual climaxes seemed to last forever, and when they finally collapsed they stayed locked together, their limbs entwined, and drifted into a post-orgasmic doze. It had been an arduous day, culminating in a terrifying flight, and both utterly exhausted, their nap transformed into sleep.

Sometime later when Paige opened her eyes, she was surprised to find herself staring up at a thousand stars and an almost full moon. Still wrapped up in Cole’s arms, she lay quiet for several minutes, relishing the magical moment, then feeling the need to stretch her limbs, she slowly began to move.

“Oh, man, I guess we fell asleep,” he mumbled, then gazing up at the night sky, he added, “Wow. Look at that.”

“Isn’t it amazing?”

“Amazing,” he repeated, yawning and hugging her tightly.

“We should have brought some wine with us.”

“Hmm, or at least some water. That wasn’t very smart. We could go back and get something. Do you want to?”

“I think I do, as long as the rocks are still easy to get across,” she said softly, then breaking from his hold, she sat up and studied the water. “You know what I’d like to do first?”

“Unfortunately I do,” Cole said with a frown. “You want to take a swim.”

“Why does it bother you so much?”

“You can’t see what’s in the water in the dark. There could be anything out there. There isn’t a lot that scares me, but that does.”

“Cole, I’ve done a ton of swimming at night. I’ll be fine. I did it last time we were together.”

“I know, and I didn’t like it then either.”

“You should come with me. It’s really a nothing thing. What if we took the flashlight? Will that help?”

“Somewhat, but I still don’t want us stay out very long.”

“Okay. In and out. Come on, let’s go,” she said eagerly, rising to her feet.

Picking up the large, waterproof flashlight, Cole stood up, but as they walked toward the water’s edge the almost full moon offered enough light he didn’t bother switching it on. Small waves were lapping on the shore, and as he stared at the moon’s reflection on the gentle sea he thought it resembled a magnificent oil painting.

“It really is gorgeous,” he breathed, pausing to take in the sight.

“Does that mean you’re feeling better about going in?”

“Sorry, no, and I’m only doing it because I’ll be more worried if I don’t. Even with the flashlight I still don’t think it’s a good idea.”

“Thanks for humoring me. I promise, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about.”

“You’ll never convince me,” he said nervously as they waded forward. “This will never feel safe. How can you not be worried?”

“I’m never worried in the water,” she said happily. “It’s like my second home.”

They waded in up to their thighs, and handing her the flashlight, he stood nervously by as she turned it on and duck-dived beneath the surface. Though he could see the beam and it was reassuring, as she began to swim away his fear kicked up. Trying to convince himself Paige was right and there was nothing to worry about, he started to move forward, but the water was getting deeper and he didn’t like being there one bit. It didn’t help that the seconds were ticking by and she wasn’t surfacing.

“Dammit, come up!” he muttered under his breath. “I know you can hold your breath forever but this is making me nuts.”

He could see her continuing to swim away, and he was about dive under himself and go after her when she finally popped her head above the water.

“Paige. You’re too far out.”

“Don’t worry. I’m coming back right now!”

Though she had placed the flashlight around her neck and immediately began swimming toward him, her voice had sounded intense and his worry grew.

“What is it?” he asked anxiously as she approached.

“You won’t believe it,” she said breathlessly. “Let’s get into shore.”

“Is it bad?”

“No, no, quick, we need to get back.”

Though she was in a hurry she was smiling broadly, transforming his concern to curiosity, and reaching the sand, she strode quickly across to the blanket.

“What is it?” he demanded as they dropped down.

“You won’t believe it,” she replied, still panting and looking at him wide-eyed. “Look what I just found.”

Staring at her closed fist, he watched with eager curiosity as she uncurled her fingers.

“Noooo!”

“Yes! That’s what took me so long. I saw it glinting and I had to swim over to see what it was. Aren’t you glad I did?”

But Cole was speechless. He was staring down at a very old, very large gold coin.

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