Note to readers: CruiseMates' Singles Editor and New York Times best-selling author Patricia Hagan has written a romance novel called OCEAN OF DREAMS. As a new feature on CruiseMates, we will be publishing installments for our readers every Tuesday and Thursday. For previous chapters, use the links on the top of the column on the right.
Kirk wanted to kiss her. Never had he wanted to feel a woman in his arms more than at this moment. And it was times like this he hated adhering to the code of being an officer and a gentleman. Maybe the blood of his Viking ancestors was boiling, because he wanted to lift and carry her to his cabin below and make passionate love to her all night long.
He decided to make quick conversation to get his mind on something else. "Be thinking how I can help you, and I'll call tomorrow after we leave Bergen. We can set a time to meet."
"I'd like that," she said, not wanting the moment to end. All around people were having fun, and she wanted to be like them, not relegate herself to isolation and misery. No matter that she was still not quite over the breakup with Bryan. That was then. This was now. And this gorgeous, blond-haired, blue-eyed hunk with the sexy accent was making her absolutely dizzy.
Kirk's eyes were locked with hers. Conversation, he knew, was not going to replace a cold shower. He needed to get away from her fast. "I'll call you tomorrow afternoon," he repeated.
Jenny was still reluctant for him to leave. "Are you going ashore tomorrow?"
He nodded, devouring her with his gaze. "It's my home port. I get to see my family and do a few things around the house."
She felt a painful jolt and could not help blurting, "So, you're married?"
"No," he laughed, grateful for the chance to ease the tension that hung over them like an invisible shroud. "I own a house there. My mother lives in it. I also have other relatives in Bergen." He snapped his fingers. "I just remembered. There's a lecture on Norwegian folklore in the Viking Queen ballroom tomorrow evening, right after we sail. I think you might enjoy it. Would you like to meet me there?"
"I'd love to," she said without hesitation.
"Then I'll see you around five-thirty."
"Great. I'll look forward to it." She turned to the elevator rather than the stairs, even though her cabin was only two decks up. She did not trust her suddenly trembling legs to carry her with any grace, especially with him staring after her.
Then, just as the elevator doors opened, Kirk impulsively stepped in with her. "I'll ride with you to your deck."
The elevator began to move. They continued to look at each other, helplessly drawn. Suddenly, Kirk pushed the STOP button, bringing them to a jolting halt. From somewhere in the distance came the sound of the emergency bell ringing, but neither Kirk nor Jenny heard, for they were listening only to their bodies, their hearts. With one quick movement, he pulled her against him, bringing his lips crashing down on hers. Jenny stood on tiptoe, straining closer to answer his kiss.
Finally, he released her to stare down in feverish challenge. "I have a bottle of wine in my cabin."
Tremulously, she whispered, "I have champagne on ice in mine."
"Officers aren't allowed in passenger cabins." He trailed a fingertip gently, lovingly, down her cheek.
She trembled at his touch. "Why not?"
His smile was absolutely wicked. "They might scream that they are being ravished."
"And what's to prevent a woman from screaming that in your cabin?" she countered saucily.
He winked. "The consensus is that she goes of her own free will. She takes her chances the officer might make a pass."
"Aren't you making one now?"
"No." He kissed the tip of her nose, slipped his arm around her waist to pull her close, and claimed her mouth again before assuring that she'd know it when he did. "So, do you care to take a chance?" he challenged.
Jenny drew from his embrace, put her hands on her hips, tilted her head to one side, and, in her best Bette Davis imitation cracked, "I say, fasten your seat belts. It's gonna be a bumpy ride!"
He touched another button, sending the elevator into motion once more...and reaching for her at the same time.ued...
To read the other chapters, use the links on the top of the column on the right.