Lies, Sacrifices, and Alibis

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Chapter 21

Hearing someone so close behind me, I turned around, ready to give him an earful for eavesdropping. I wasn’t sure how long he stood there, or what he heard. Then again, I couldn’t remember if I said anything incriminating either. However, my breath caught in my throat when I got a look at him. He was all that and a bag of chips and soda, with a candy bar on the side, hot! “Excuse me?”

Tania whistled from behind me and I could just imagine the big-eyed expression on her face. “Hot damn. Bingo.”

I wanted to slap her.

“Hi. I’m Corey,” he said, as he moved around my chair. Even his voice was sexy.

Standing in front of me, he thankfully blocked the sun and I got a really good look at him. He wore rainbow colored swimming trunks, tied in the front. His tight body was bronze from his face, all the way down to the tops of his feet. He had washboard abs, and bright, blue eyes, brown hair, a trimmed goatee, and he looked a lot like Mike. He brought his hand down, holding it out in front of him.

Tania was right; we had a winner.

From the beginning, especially after talking to Mike, I didn’t really think I was going to go along with her stupid plan. It sounded like more trouble than it was worth. However, now that he was right in front of me, there was a battle going on inside my head; desperation versus guilt and you don’t want to know who was winning.

I brought my hand up, clasping his for a friendly shake. “It’s nice to meet ya.” I poured on the Southern charm. “I’m…” I had to pause for a slight second, remembering who I was supposed to be. “Alicia.”

He not only shook my hand but also massaged it with his own. “I love your accent.” He smiled, flashing me a mouthful of perfectly, white teeth. If it was at all possible, it made him even more handsome than before. “That’s a pretty name that fits such a beautiful woman.”

I laughed at his corniness. “Oh, now that’s original!”

He shrugged, smiling. “I know, but I couldn’t help it.” He pointed at the sand. “Mind if I sit with you?”

Tania grinned, hopping up as if suddenly her chair was on fire. “Sure, she doesn’t mind! I’m gonna go for a swim so you can take my seat. I’ll see ya later. Have fun!” Subtlety was never her strong point.

She ran off towards the water and I wasn’t surprised to see a flock of men, running off with her. Surprisingly, I noticed Brandon, our steward on the flight, among them. Either he was a part-time investigator, or they exchanged numbers while I slept. My bet was on the latter, but her insistence on getting out here by a certain time was more understandable; she made a date with Brandon.

Taking a seat in the chair, he chuckled. It was probably due to her being overly anxious to leave us alone. “Well, if you insist.” Once he was settled in, he glanced up at me. “Please don’t take this wrong. However, I had to come over. You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. It would be a horrible shame if I let you leave without introducing myself.”

Okay, so the man was gorgeous with good taste, but it didn’t stop the blush that crept over my cheeks. I wasn’t accustomed to men telling me I was attractive. Mike wasn’t in the habit of lavishing me with compliments either, so it was new and I kinda liked it. “Thanks.”

“Why haven’t I seen you around here before? I would’ve definitely noticed you.”

I didn’t know if I was just relieved that I found someone, or if it was just the stars lining up perfectly, but I instantly felt comfortable with him. It was like we were best friends, getting to know each other again. I found it odd. Then again, he did look a lot like Mike, so that made it easier, but I would’ve thought that would’ve made it harder. There were so many questions and wonderment, but it all boiled down to one thing; her crazy ass plan just might work after all.

“I’ve been hidin’ out.”

“Well, I’m glad you came out of hiding.”

“I heard there was a nice suntan callin’ my name. Who can say no to such a temptin’ offer?”

“So then… you’re not from around here?”

I picked up my Alabama Slammer, easy on the slammer, taking a sip, watching him from the safety of my long eyelashes. I tried to figure out how to tell him anything about me while keeping the real reason secret. Hell, I never expected to find the right guy so I didn’t think this far into it. There were men on the beach that could’ve worked, but I found myself being too picky. This guy was perfect. There was no reason he wouldn’t work. Hell, if Mike had a brother, this very well could have been him!

It seemed Tania was right about everyone having a twin. I wondered if I’d see myself on this beach too. However, the real horror was seeing another Tania. Hell, the world barely survived with one of her; two would destroy it.

I winked at him. “Nope. I’m from far, far, far away.”

“Ah. So, you’re visiting our planet then?”

I laughed at his comical reply. Granted, movies from outer space do start a lot like that.

In a galaxy, far, far, far away.

“If ya knew my neighbors, you’d think so. Ya wouldn’t believe me if I told ya how I got here.”

“If I had to guess…” he looked me over, trailing his eyes up and down my body. Again, I blushed. “You must come from Venus.”

Furrowing my brows in confusion, I squinted against the glare of the sun, looking over at him. “Why Venus?”

“Because that’s where all the beautiful women come from. Men are from Mars and women are from Venus.”

“Damn! Ya figured me out! Here I thought I hid it so well too. Our Venusian queen is gonna be so upset with me.”

He laughed softly, before looking at me with a smoldering glance. “Can I ask you something?”

I tried controlling myself. He was too good to be true and I wanted to get started with my plan of action right then and there. I always thought that Mike was hot, even ten years later and no man could top him. This man topped him in a big way. “Sure.”

“I have nothing to do today. Would you mind if I hung out with you?”

I felt my heart quicken. Confusion and loyalty joined the battle in my head and I took a drink, so I had a moment to think. I never understood people who cheated. If it’s not working out, then leave the marriage. However, here I contemplated doing that very thing. Then again, just hanging out with the man wasn’t cheating. It was still in the innocent department.

Pulling the straw away, I smiled. “I’d like that.”

“Great! Then tonight, you can have dinner with me; it’ll be my treat.”

I know what you’re thinking. It couldn’t be that easy. Trust me. I thought the same thing. I thought for sure it was God’s way of telling me that he understood. Deep down, I knew he would never be okay with my plan, but maybe he understood why I had to do it. After all, there were extenuating circumstances to this. Then again, sometimes even the worst action can have the best reason. That could be why hell is paved with good intentions, but still…

“Now, how can I pass up such a sweet, free invitation? I’d love to.”

“Good! Now that we’ve got that out of the way.” He leaned over, resting his forearms on the top of his knees, looking at me. “Where do you really live?”

Uh-oh. As much as all of this was one complete lie, I didn’t want to add to it by lying to this guy. Hell, I had told so many lies just to get to that point. I felt bad enough that I was about to use this man as a sperm bank, without adding a multitude of lies to the mix. I pondered over that as I took another sip from my drink. What was I going to say?

Turning, I cleared my throat, looking at him once more. I took my time, trailing my eyes over his body as he did me a few minutes earlier. Maybe I channeled Tania at that point, I don’t know, but it definitely wasn’t me. Damn! He was so hot!

“I’m only gonna be here for a week then I have to go back to my normal life. While I’m here, I’m on a fantasy vacation.”

He arched a brow, obviously taking an interest. “Oh yeah? I’ve always wanted to have a fantasy vacation.”

“Is that your way of askin’ if ya can join me?”

He appeared to give that some thought. I could almost see the wheels turning. It didn’t take long before he smiled, nodding at me. “Yes. I’ll have to mess with my schedule, but that sounds like a great idea. Any business I need to conduct, I know there’s a business center at the Ritz, so I should be solid.”

It had to be a dream. I just had the perfect man, walk up to me on a gorgeous beach, agreeing to spend my entire fantasy vacation with me. Finding this man wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. I didn’t have to seek him out; he found me. It was definitely a divine intervention making sure I got my baby. I just knew it. I hoped it was the right divine intervention. Desperation made me believe there was an angel with pure white wings in my corner.

I smiled. We both knew there was going to be sex involved. Hell, he was oozing with sex appeal, and we had this amazing chemistry between the two of us that could only get better. However, I wanted him to understand where I was coming from. There couldn’t be anything other than this vacation between us… ever. I was a married woman. Even though I wasn’t going to tell him that part, I knew it.

“I’d love to spend it with ya an’ I can tell we’re gonna have a lotta fun.” I threw out that innocent sexual innuendo. After all, I had to sweeten the pot before telling him the bottom line to this. “As long as ya realize, there are no strings attached. I can be yours for the week, but once that’s over; you’ll never see me again.”

His brows furrowed, and he turned, looking at the ocean. “I see.”

I couldn’t tell what he was thinking. Seeing his expression, which went from happiness to something I couldn’t read since I didn’t know him. I felt my heart sink. Uh-oh. Maybe that was too much information. I didn’t want to lay it all out on the table like that, but at the same time, I didn’t want him to think we were starting some love affair, even though I really wanted to!

I sounded more like Tania; kinda slutty. This whole thing was more Tania than me but when you’re pushed into the corner, you do what you have to do. Mike had pushed me so far into the corner I had become part of the wall! No matter how much I tried, there was just something about Corey that didn’t allow me to lie. I didn’t understand it. I chalked it up to guilt about this whole situation. I could beat around the bush and offer him a solution, but at least it wasn’t a lie.

“Is that a deal breaker?”

He turned, watching me for a moment before looking up at the sky. It was obvious by his facial expression that he considered my indecent proposal. Without saying it, he knew what I wanted. Only thing was, I couldn’t tell if he did too. Sighing, he looked down at the sand before slowly shaking his head.

He was turning me down! I had found the perfect man and lost him that quickly! I was so devastated I thought I would cry right there on the spot. How would that look? Then he would be happy he didn’t hook up with Ms. Drama Queen. He looked as if he was trying to find the best way to break it to me.

I swallowed hard, not sure what to say. I started feeling awkward, like everyone on the beach stared at me, knowing what I just tried to do. I could hear them laughing and I felt my face turn hot. I wanted to sink into a hole and die!

“That’s something…” he sighed again, before turning to me with a huge grin. “I can definitely live with; no commitments, no promises, and no strings.” He nodded. “Got it.”

Whoa! It was like standing in a dark room and suddenly the light came on, bathing you in brightness. I didn’t realize that I held my breath for so long until he agreed and I exhaled. Looking around, I realized that it was just my imagination because no one was watching me; they were all too busy with Tania and her slutty sisters. I wondered if he saw the look on my face, though. It was a dead giveaway to my feelings.

I laughed nervously. I was relieved. It felt as if the world had just been flicked off my shoulder. I wasn’t sure if it was because of happiness that he agreed, or being nervous because I knew what it meant.

“Good! So…” I swallowed hard, looking at him. I could feel the blush attacking my cheeks again. “What would ya like to do until dinner?”

“I don’t know. What do you want to do? This is your fantasy vacation that I’m crashing.”

“True, but this is your town. What’s there to do around here?”

He paused, thinking over the options. “Hmm, there’s the amusement park. We could go swimming. We could go fishing on my boat. I could teach you how to surf. There are just endless possibilities.”

I nodded as he rattled through the list, though he would never get me in the ocean. “We could do all that, or go get comfy in my hotel suite where it’s not hot. Which would ya prefer?” I had selfish reasons for not wanting to be out in the sun; there was so much more we could do in the hotel bed.

He turned, looking at me as a slow smile spread across his face. Standing, he stretched his arms out to the side, bringing one down, offering to help me stand. “Let’s check out your hotel room for starters.”

He helped me gather up my things, though I left the chairs for Tania. Once we had everything, I downed the rest of my slammer, and we headed back across the beach. My stomach was in a million knots, or there were bats flying around in there. It couldn’t be butterflies; they were graceful enough not to slam into my stomach lining. I knew what I needed to do, and this man was hot enough for that, but could I really do it?

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