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.
He took her beyond the forbidding door with its OFFICERS ONLY sign, and they quietly made their way down the carpeted hallway. They passed closed doors on each side, and Jenny had a fleeting glimpse of name plates, each with Norwegian names and a rank beneath. There was no sound except the faint, gentle swish of the turbines from far below in the bowels of the ship.
He stopped outside a door with a strip identifying MOEN, K. --CHIEF OFFICER SENIOR. He took a key from his pocket, unlocked the door, opened it, then stepped back for her to enter.
Inside, she glanced around to see that he had a suite. The main room was furnished with a sofa, chair, and coffee table. There was a TV set and a VCR on a shelf opposite. Down a short hallway, she could see a desk and bookshelves along one wall and what looked like a wet bar on the other side with shelves above it. A closed curtain barred further view into sleeping quarters.
The tension between them was almost smothering. Every time he looked at her, she felt a tremor within. Her palms felt moist, sweaty. Never, ever, had a man affected her this way.
He went to a wet bar and took out a bottle of Moselle. "Is this all right?"
"Yes, it's fine." She sat down on the sofa and watched as he opened the wine and filled two glasses.
He sat down beside her, and she took a sip of the cold wine. Relishing a sudden mellow wave in her belly, she quickly took another.
He had set the bottle down on the coffee table and moved to refill her glass. "This is much nicer than being in one of the lounges at this hour. They're all so crowded and noisy."
"You have a nice cabin. Much larger than mine."
"Well, I live here, you know, and I do find it rather cramped at times. Fortunately, I'm not in here much. Just to sleep and take a shower."
She said she understood. He asked how she liked her cabin. Small talk. Meaningless. Meant only to mask the awareness that had every nerve in both their bodies silently screaming.
Jenny wondered whether it was happening too fast, if she should just finish her wine, leave, sleep on her emotions, and decide whether she really wanted to get involved before she went too far.
But that was not what she wanted to do. She did want to get involved...and already was.
They continued making idle chatter, sensual tension building, and somewhere along the way they were in each other's arms, kissing till they were breathless...kisses that tasted like warm, sweet wine.
Finally, when they were in a fever pitch, Kirk lifted her in his arms and carried her through the curtained partition and into the bedroom. A lamp on the table bathed the bed in a mellow light.
He laid her down, devouring her with his eyes. He had never wanted a woman more, yet, despite physical desire, he knew, somehow, that there was more to what he was feeling. Jenny Denton possessed a mystical, magical quality that had never been present in any of his past relationships. He knew he had to have her, but also knew he wanted more than a meeting of the flesh. He wanted a melding of the mind, a meeting of heart and spirit.
But those wondrous experiences would have to come later.
For the moment, the pleasures of the flesh had to be savored.
To be continued...
To read the other chapters, use the links on the top of the column on the right.