“Just your kayaking partner, and he’s below.” He nods to where Selena just disappeared. “I’m José, by the way.” He holds his hand out, and I take it. I look up into his dark brown eyes as his handsome face smiles down at me. I wait, hoping for some kind of attraction, and I sigh. Still nothing. Not even a freaking spark. I’m hopeless.
Feminine laughter fills my ears, and I turn to see Selena coming back up the stairs with a giant smile on her face. Then my body freezes when I see who she’s laughing with. It’s Kenton. He has an equally bright smile on his face, until his eyes come to mine. Then that hardness he seems to get when he looks at me forms, and it washes that smile away. Selena continues to talk to him in Spanish, so I can’t understand a word. I’m not sure I’d get any of what they’re saying right now even if I knew Spanish. I’m too busy feeling things. Anger, jealousy, and a touch of excitement. I squash that last one fast and go back to anger.
What happened to staying out of each other’s way? It’s clear Kenton has no plans to do that. Being at his hotel might have been a coincidence, but this I can't chalk up to just running into one another.
“Let her go,” I hear him snap. I look down and realize José’s and my hands are still clasped in our introductory handshake. He drops my hand like I’m on fire, taking a few steps back in the process. I glare at Kenton. I have four brothers, and I sure as heck don’t need a fifth. Or maybe Kenton just doesn't share well.
Women can fall over him, but it isn’t okay the other way around? Kenton’s not the settling-down type or even the trying-to-settle-down-type. I’d done my shameless Google search and found nothing about other women, leading me to believe he hops from one bed to another before anyone even knew what happened.
“We’re ready,” Selena says in English, this time placing her hand on Kenton’s bare bicep. Just like José, he doesn't have a shirt on. But unlike José, I can’t look away from his chest. He’s built like a tank. His abs aren't defined. He’s just solid and hard. Everywhere. Like he could wrestle a shark if we come across one. And he’d most likely win.
Kenton says something to Selena, this time in Spanish, and she drops her hand from him. She goes over to the boat’s controls and starts talking to José. She’s speaks to him in Spanish, and I can’t understand either of them.
Looking over, I just stare at Kenton. “Can’t you put a shirt on or something?” I blurt out. The words are out of my mouth before I can think, and I wish I could grab them back. He doesn't need a shirt, but I can’t freaking look away.
“No,” he says lazily, the hardness on his face dropping away, and a smile forms.
How does he do that? Two can play that game.
“I guess you’re right,” I say as I pull off my own shirt, tossing it on one the benches as the boat starts to pull away from the dock.
Kenton glances over to José, who’s next to Selena at the boat's controls. I’m pretty sure they’re brother and sister when I look at them next to each other.
“Put it back on,” he growls, making his way over to me.
I just ignore him.
“Are we really kayaking partners?”
“Yes,” he says flatly, picking up my discarded shirt and handing it to me. I take it and put it in my bag with a smirk.
“Can’t I go with José?”
Kenton growls again, interrupting me. The sounds he’s making make me think he’s maybe part canine or something.
“You can go with your girlfriend,” I dig at him, nodding over to Selena. Damn it. I did it again. Said something I didn't want to.
“Jealous?” He raises his dark eyebrows like he can’t believe it.
“You should know what it looks like,” I snap back.
His hand comes to my chin, making me tilt my head up more to look at him. His touch is soft, and I hate how I melt into him. “You have no reason to be jealous, whereas I have every right.”
With that, he drops his hand from my chin, grabs my bag, and pulls my shirt back out. I’m still in a fog from his touch when I realize he’s pulling it down over my head.
I’m paddling around the island away from the boat and trying not to think about Madeline in a bikini. The sight had me nearly popping a tent in front of her, but I channeled my anger at the situation instead of reacting to all of her skin being exposed. Christ. This is going to be harder than I thought. Pun intended.
Madeline is in the front seat of the sea kayak and holding onto her oar. I told her to let me steer through the rougher water until we got into the lagoon of the island.
We rode on the boat for about an hour until we came to the private oasis. It’s a small island positioned with the lagoon against the current, so it has calm, crystal-blue waters. It’s warmer here, too, so that we can snorkel and then have lunch on the beach.
“We’re getting pretty far from the boat,” Madeline says, looking back over her shoulder. “I can’t even see it anymore.”
“I’m sure they’re just riding around or coasting until we’re finished. They’ll be back to pick us up.”
She raises her palm to her forehead to block the sun out of her face, and looks around some more.
“Is that what you said to them when we were getting off the boat? I don’t speak Spanish.”
“Something like that,” I mumble. Then I speak up, steering the conversation elsewhere. “I brought my backpack with some snacks, and there’s a cooler on the kayak that’s been stocked for lunch. We’ve got plenty of time to explore.”