One week, that’s all she could afford. One week in sunny Cancun, Mexico, and it would be worth every damn penny. Brynne needed this badly. She hadn’t been on vacation like this in years, not since she was in her early twenties. This trip was long overdue, to say the least. The flight wasn’t going to be long, thank god. It was just under three hours from Dallas. Her mother, June, was staying back at the house to babysit Brynne’s almost four-year-old son, Adam, for Brynne to have this rare time to herself. It had been a rough couple of years, between getting a divorce from her Asshole of an ex-husband, Derek, and trying to get her life in order, now that she was on her own. It took some steady encouragement from her mother, but finally, she had agreed that some time to herself might help her regain some of the old, Brynne. The Brynne she was before her life was up-ended by someone who claimed to be her Prince Charming but was actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Sitting in an aisle seat, Brynne glanced around at the other passengers. They were mostly young couples and college-aged kids, probably on a mission to have some fun and let loose. Brynne, on the other hand, wasn’t interested in getting hammered during this trip. What she truly desired was to sleep in, on a king-sized bed, without a child’s foot kicking her in the head and waking her up at six in the morning for cereal and cartoons. What she wanted was to sit under an umbrella on the beach, with a book in her hand, and not worry about anyone other than herself. Something she hadn’t had the luxury of doing since Adam was born. She loved every second of being a mother, but she knew she had been neglecting herself for too long.
Brynne was just happy that she had the foresight to go to the salon the day before for a full-body wax, a fresh haircut, and a dye job. Her tired, brown hair spent most of its time pulled up in a messy knot on the top of her head. It had taken a toll. Now it was freshly dark chocolate brown, hiding the new grey hairs that had begun to pop up around her hairline lately. She even sprung for a manicure and pedicure. She couldn’t remember the last time she had pampered herself that way. However, Brynne was still a little nervous about her new bathing suits. She knew she wasn’t as firm as she once was, but she wasn’t too soft either, thank goodness. She tried her best to stay active with Adam, and eat healthily, something she wouldn’t be too concerned with doing while on vacation.
“Would you like something to drink?” The flight attendant asked, pulling Brynne from her thoughts.
She thought about it for a moment, “Actually, I would love a Corona,” Brynne told her, because why not?
The flight attendant smiled at her and pulled a can of Corona out for Brynne, popped the tab, and handed it to her along with a small bag of pretzels. Brynne handed her a five-dollar bill and took a long sip.
After landing at the Cancun Airport, Brynne grabbed her small, red suitcase from baggage check and headed outside to find the shuttle to her all-inclusive resort. After spotting it, she made her way towards the bus, eager to begin the rest and relaxation that awaited her until she tripped on the curb. Just as Brynne thought she was going to faceplant, a pair of arms caught her.
“Whoa, careful there,” a deep voice said to her. When she looked up to thank her savior, her face went beet red in embarrassment. Helping her to steady herself was the most beautiful man that Brynne had ever seen in real life. He looked like a model, with his chiseled jawline, which was darkened with scruff. His white, collared shirt was unbuttoned at the top, and Brynne couldn’t help but notice the visible muscles.
“Thank you. I got it, I think,” Brynne murmured, trying not to stare at the tall, dark, and handsome stranger. His deep, penetrating gaze was fixed on her with concern.
“That would have been a shitty way to begin your vacation,” he said, with a smirk playing on his full lips.
“Yeah, it would have been my luck too,” she sighed, reaching for her bag that was now lying on its side on the concrete.
“Here, let me get that,” the sexy stranger offered, grabbing her bag, “are you on this bus here?”
“Yeah, the Hyatt Zilara,” Brynne replied with a polite smile. The resort was a bit of a splurge, but if she could only have one week here, she wanted a little bit of luxury, and she didn’t want to stay at a cheaper resort full of drunk, college kids.
“Well, what do you know? So am I,” he replied as he handed Brynne her bag along with his to the bus driver, who shoved it underneath with the rest of the bags.
A small shiver of excitement raced down Brynne’s spine at the thought of this man being at the same resort as her. But just as quickly as she felt it, Brynne banished it. She was not here to meet a man, and besides, this guy most likely had a girlfriend just as beautiful as he was, somewhere, and just because he had a pretty face didn’t mean he was a good guy. She learned that the hard way.
“Okay, thank you again,” she said to him before turning and hurrying up the steps into the bus and not daring to look back.
The bus arrived at the hotel, and Brynne was lucky enough to be near the front of the long line to check in. Her room was an ocean view on the third floor. Taking her key card, she made her way there. When she opened the door, she was pleasantly surprised. Her room was a good size, and the large bed looked extremely enticing, but the best part was the view. She tossed her bag on the suitcase stand and opened the patio door to have a better look. She had a full panoramic view of the ocean and the entire pool area below her. Yes, this was definitely worth every penny.
After a refreshing shower and wardrobe change from her trusty yoga pants to a breezy white sundress, Brynne decided to head down to get something to eat. Uncertain of what she wanted, she settled on the buffet.
“For one,” she told the host, who smiled at her before leading her to a nice little table on the patio with a nice view. The sky was already darkening, and the oncoming sunset turned the sky a beautiful mix of pink, orange, and purple.
When she had told her friends that she was planning on coming here by herself, they thought she was crazy. Brynne knew it could be risky, but she figured that as long as she stayed on the resort and didn’t go out drinking with random people, she’d be just fine. Brynne wasn’t much of a partier anymore. Maybe she had been back in her early days, but those days were long gone. She had different priorities now, so she couldn’t lose her head. The purpose of this trip was to relax, and waking up with a hangover every day was not a part of the plan, to say the least.
“Hey, it’s my damsel in distress,” A voice sounded from nearby.
Brynne turned to see Mr. Ruggedly Handsome from earlier, smiling down at her.
“Do you mind?” he asked, gesturing to the seat across from her.
“Um…” she started, but he was already taking the seat across from her, “okay.”
“I didn’t get to introduce myself properly earlier,” he said, reaching out a hand across the table to shake hers, “Hi, the name is Andrew, what’s yours?”
Brynne took his hand and gave it a small shake, “Brynne,” she replied.
“Brynne? Nice to meet you. So Brynne, do you mind if I join you for dinner?”
“Really?” Brynne raised an eyebrow at Andrew, curious as to why he’d want to do that.
“Sure. It looks like we’re both by ourselves, and it’d be nice to have a little company. Unless, of course, you don’t want any, then I can leave you be.”
Brynne thought about it for a minute. Things could be worse than having a gorgeous man who wanted to sit with her. It was just dinner.
“Sure, I guess that would be okay.”
“Thanks. The buffet is a little daunting, and I’m not sure where to begin. Any suggestions?”
Brynne, couldn’t help but smile at him. He seemed like a nice guy so far, but don’t they all?
“I think I’m going to start with the salad bar, then work my way around from that roasted pig over there,” she told him, pointing to the carving table across the room.
“Seems like a plan. Care to lead the way?” he offered, rising to his feet. Brynne stood and started towards the salad bar, feeling a little self-conscious, knowing Andrew was right behind her. She was glad at that moment that she had put a little effort into her appearance before coming down. Just because she wasn’t planning on meeting anyone didn’t mean she couldn’t look nice.
Brynne grabbed a plate and started placing various types of salad on her plate, and Andrew was doing the same. As hard as she tried, she couldn’t stop stealing glances at him. He was still wearing the same white shirt he was in earlier, but he now had on a pair of jeans instead of khaki shorts. She wondered why he was here by himself. Was he by himself? Why did this gorgeous specimen want to hang out with her when his options would surely be limitless? Probably because it was the first night. Once he saw what would be out there for him, Brynne was sure this would be the last she would see of Andrew.
Once her plate was full, she made her way back to the table, and Andrew was not far behind her. Soon, a waitress appeared and took their drink orders—a glass of white wine for Brynne and a Corona with lime for Andrew.
“So, Brynne, what brings you here to Cancun?” Andrew asked her, taking a bite of pasta salad.
“Just a little R and R,” she replied with a shrug, “how about you?”
“The same. Doctor prescribed relaxation,” he replied with an eye roll.
“Yep, believe it or not.”
“Why would a doctor tell you to go to Cancun?”
“Well, he didn’t tell me to come here specifically. I decided that part out for myself. I was just a little burnt out from work, so he told me I needed to take it easy for a while because it wasn’t good for my blood pressure. I’m only thirty-two. I shouldn’t have to worry about that shit yet, right?”
Wow, he was thirty-two? Brynne thought for sure he was much younger, but as Brynne studied Andrew a little, she began to notice the fine lines in the corners of his eyes and the very light smattering of grey hair above his ears.
“You’re practically a teenager,” Brynne teased with a giggle, “what do you do for work that had you so stressed out?”
Andrew stared back at Brynne and drew a breath before answering.
“I work in uh, security,” he said.
Somehow, Brynne felt that he was holding back, but she decided not to press him on it. Instead, she just nodded and took a sip of the wine she just noticed was there. Andrew reached for his beer and took a sip, his eyes not leaving Brynne’s face. She felt like she was being studied, and it was making her nervous.
“So, how about you, Brynne? What do you do?” He then asked her.
“It’s nothing too exciting. I’m a secretary at a law firm. Just your run-of-the-mill paper pusher. It pays the bills,” she replied, trying not to sound ungrateful. A job was a job, and she was glad to have it. She’d happily be a paper pusher as long as it was steady work and fed her son and kept a roof over their heads. She made decent money, not a lot, but enough to keep the bills paid and leave a little extra for things like this trip she was on. Andrew nodded along and smiled at her.
“Sometimes, I think I’d kill for a desk job,” he said.
“Sometimes I think I could do with a little more excitement,” Brynne said before realizing that he could misinterpret this, but Andrew just nodded again and worked on his plate.
After dinner was finished, Andrew invited Brynne to join him for another drink at the poolside bar. Realizing she didn’t want to go back to her room quite yet, she agreed. As they walked through the resort towards the bar, Brynne noticed that Andrew was quite close to her. She could feel the heat that radiated off of him as his arm regularly brushed up against hers. Every time his arm made contact with her skin, it sent a warm feeling through her body.
“So, Andrew, why didn’t your girlfriend come with you?” She asked, knowing that this was an obvious attempt to check his relationship status. Even if nothing were to happen, Brynne knew she wouldn’t feel comfortable if she knew he was attached.
“No girlfriend,” he replied, the amusement clear in his tone, “I’m a one-man show.”
“Oh…” Brynne murmured, feeling relieved, but she knew she shouldn’t even care. Nothing was going to happen with Andrew.
“How about you? Boyfriend, or husband, back home waiting for you?”
“No to both,” she answered, deciding to leave out the part that there was one little man back home waiting for her.
As they approached the bar, Andrew placed his hand on the small of Brynne’s back, causing her to flinch slightly, and it didn’t go unnoticed.
Andrew pulled his hand away. “Sorry,” he murmured, appearing apologetic.
“It’s okay,” she replied, feeling like an ass. His hand actually had felt nice for the second it had been there. It had been a while since a man had touched her. Of course, now, she knew Andrew would most likely keep his hands off if he were a gentleman. But was that what she wanted? Yes, of course, it was, wasn’t it?
After a few drinks, Brynne knew she should go back to her room for the night, but the more time she talked to Andrew, the more her resolve was dissolving. He was funny, polite and the conversation flowed between them smoothly. It was nice to talk about anything other than playdates and everything else she and the other moms she sometimes hung out with usually talked about. Brynne wondered again why someone like Andrew seemed interested in her. At first, she didn’t think it was possible, but as the night wore on, she realized that he might be, and the feeling was mutual. Why couldn’t she enjoy the company of this man while she was here? What would be the harm? She was a thirty-one-year-old divorcee who hadn’t had sex in just over two years. And that was with her ex-husband, at the butt end of their relationship. Needless to say, it hadn’t rocked her world or anything. Derek was a selfish man, and all he did was take, take, take, and no give. Brynne wondered idly what type of lover Andrew was. Something about him made her think that she would enjoy finding out.