Twisted Games (Twisted 2) - Page 45


We spent four glorious,perfect days in Costa Rica.

I woke up late, went to bed late, and spent my days eating, sunbathing, and reading a romance novel I’d picked up at the airport. Bucket list number two.

On our third day, Rhys drove us two hours to Monteverde for zip lining. He said the company was the best in the area and he’d zip-lined with them several times himself.

Still, his face was taut with tension as I prepared to go down the longest zip line. We’d only done the shorter cables until now, and they were fun, but I was ready for more.

The one I was about to get on stretched high above the cloud forest, so long I couldn’t see the other end of it. A mixture of excitement and nerves twisted in my stomach.

“Check her again,” Rhys said after our guide gave me the thumbs up.

No one bothered arguing. Rhys made the guide triple-check my harness before I went down every line, and arguing was futile.

“If you get stuck, don’t panic,” Rhys said after the guide okayed me—again. “We’ll come get you.”

“By ‘we’ll,’ he means me,” the guide joked. “But yes, we will come get you. Don’t worry, miss.”

“I hadn’t thought about getting stuck until now, so thank you for that,” I said wryly.

Rhys’s stern expression didn’t budge, but all thoughts of his grumpiness disappeared when I got into position. The guide gave me a push, and I finally raced down the line. The wind whipped through my hair, and I couldn’t hold back a huge grin.

Ziplining looked scary from the ground, but once I was in the air? It was exhilarating.

I closed my eyes, savoring the wind and the feeling of being away from it all. No worries, no responsibilities, just me and nature.

When I made it to the next treetop platform, I was still riding high from the zip line, and I couldn’t resist teasing Rhys again when he landed shortly after me.

“See? I’m fine,” I said. “You didn’t have to pick up pieces of me from the ground.”

He did not look amused at all, but I didn’t care.

Bucket list number three, check.

For all his overprotectiveness, Rhys was more relaxed down here. Not fully relaxed, mind you, but he’d ditched his all-black outfits for shorts and—gasp—white T-shirts, and he agreed to most of the activities I wanted to do with minimal complaint, including parasailing and an ATV tour.

The one thing he refused to do, however, was get in the pool with me, and on our last night, I made a last-ditch effort to change his mind.

“I’ve never heard of a Navy SEAL who doesn’t swim.” I stepped onto the terrace, where Rhys was drawing in his sketchbook. He hadn’t shown me any of his sketches yet, and I hadn’t asked. Art was deeply personal, and I didn’t want to force him to show me anything if he didn’t want to. “Come on. It’s our last day, and you haven’t taken advantage of this once.” I swept my arm at the gleaming pool.

“It’s a pool, princess.” Rhys didn’t look up from his book. “I’ve been in pools before.”

“Prove it.”

No answer.

“Fine. I guess I’ll swim by myself. Again.” I shrugged off my cover-up and let the filmy white material cascade to the floor before I walked past Rhys toward the water.

I may have walked more slowly than normal and added an extra sway to my hips.

I may also have worn my skimpiest, most scandalous bikini. I did, after all, have one more bucket list item to check off.

I’d been drunk when I’d told Rhys about my bucket list, but I was sober now, and I still wanted him to help me fulfill item number four.

I was attracted to him; he was attracted to me. That much was obvious after what happened in my room post-Borgia. He wasn’t going to be my bodyguard much longer, and no one would know unless we told them.

One wild, passionate hookup with my sexy bodyguard before I took on the duty of a lifetime. Was that too much to ask?

I waded into the pool and bit back a smile when I felt the heat of Rhys’s gaze on my skin, but I didn’t turn around until I’d reached the far edge of the water. By the time I looked at him, Rhys’s head was bent over his sketchbook again, but his shoulders held a tension that hadn’t been there before.

“Are you sure you don’t want to join me?” I cajoled. “The water feels amazing.”

“I’m good,” he said curtly.

I sighed and let it go…for now.

While he sketched, I swam laps around the pool, reveling in the water against my skin and the sunshine on my back.

When I finally came up for a break, it was near sunset, and the warmth of golden hour cast a hazy, dreamlike glow over the surroundings.

“Last chance, Mr. Larsen.” I slicked my hair back and blinked the water out of my eyes. “Swim now or forever hold your peace.”

It was cheesy, but it made Rhys’s lips curve before they flattened into a stern line again. “You gonna stop bugging me if I say no?”

I grinned. “Probably not.”

My heart jumped when he closed his book, set it on the table, and stood.

I hadn’t expected him to give in.

Rhys walked to the pool, pulling his shirt over his head as he did so, and I lost the ability to breathe.

Broad shoulders, perfectly sculpted muscles, abs one could grate cheese on. Absolute masculine perfection.

My core pulsed as my eyes ate him up. Tattoos swirled across his chest, both biceps, and one side of his ribcage, and a deep V cut arrowed toward what—based on what I’d felt when he’d bent me over my dresser—was a very impressive package.

Rhys entered the water and swam toward me, his big, powerful body slicing through the liquid blue as gracefully as a dolphin.

“There. I’m in the pool.” He came up beside me, a lock of damp dark hair falling over his eye, and I resisted the urge to push it out of his face. “Happy?”

“Yes. You should go shirtless more often.”

Tags: Ana huang Twisted Romance
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