Ryan was surprised to find the small resort set back so far, it was quite private and he liked that a lot, the quieter the better. He knew the place was made up of only six cottages as Nan had told him, he just hoped it wasn’t the kind of place where the other guests felt the need to act as though everyone were one big happy family. He hated that horse shit. He was glad his cottage was right on the sand and only a stone’s throw to the warm waters of the Gulf, in case that turned out to be the situation.
Ryan turned off the truck’s loud diesel engine that had no doubt announced his arrival and stepped down out of the king cab to stretch. His neck cracked and his knees ached from sitting so long and it felt damn good to stand.
He grabbed his oversized duffle from the truck bed and approached the quaint little house before him. It looked to be freshly painted. It was pale yellow with white shutters and colorful flowers that poured from window boxes in abundance. More flowers in great big planters flanked either side of the white painted screen door and he thought of his sister Paige, who would already have taken fifty shots of the place with her Nikon. He’d have to e-mail a shot from his i-Phone and tease her that he was going into photography now too. The place screamed of a woman’s touch and Ryan was surprised not to see a little cat curled up on the porch as he stepped up onto it. Not that he was complaining, it kind of reminded him of Newport; it felt like home.
Ryan opened the screen door and entered a small reception room; the light sounds of a steel drum band played and immediately set him in vacation mode. He grinned, happy to be there.
The reception desk held a welcoming bouquet of yellow roses and their heady scent filled the air. The small room also held a couple of white wicker rocking chairs and a glass table between them with copies of the Beach News on top. It was the local paper his cousin Nicki had written for last summer. Another small fresh flower arrangement sat beside the stack of papers. Yup, definitely feminine around here, he surmised.
Ryan looked for a bell to ring on the counter when it was clear he was alone, but he didn’t find one. He picked up a business card instead and saw the proprietor’s name was Sam Peterson which surprised him. He’d expected a woman from the looks of the place, but now the image of an old man came to mind, perhaps with a wife who’d done the decorating.
Ryan debated calling the number on the business card. He was early and he didn’t want to disturb anyone, but he sure could use a shower and a bed. He decided to explore the grounds a bit and figured maybe he’d run into Sam, the proprietor, outside. He wondered briefly if Sam was a friend of Nan’s from the golf course or something. His grandmother had never mentioned how she’d heard about the cottages.
Leaving his bag by the front desk, Ryan went back out the way he’d come in, then followed brightly colored, hand painted signs, to a wood planked path thickly canopied by tall mature palms. The tropical feel was at once relaxing and welcome as he walked around to the back of the small house. He spotted a couple of little white cottages off to his right through the treed canopy and continued on the path until he saw another small, painted wooden sign that read ‘pool’ with an arrow pointing straight ahead. As tired as he was, Ryan, could appreciate his surroundings and loved the Caribbean style music that carried over to the outside, it was relaxing. He finally stepped off the wooden path and onto the bleached, concrete pool deck and he looked around. Between the comfortable looking furniture, the surrounding landscape, and the bright blue, sunny sky above, the place was amazing.
The whole pool area was framed by tall swaying palms and red flowering bushes with dense green leaves. Heavy potted palms and island flowers were interspersed around the deck too, adding to the tropical feel. Thick cushioned lounge chairs surrounded the large pool as well as tables and chairs for eating, and wide red market umbrellas provided shade over them. A large Jacuzzi sat raised above the pool and spilled down into it; the sight and sound effect of the raining water was both soothing and inviting. Maybe if he was lucky he’d get some alone time in it, Ryan thought.
A movement under the waterfall of the Jacuzzi caught Ryan’s eye and he saw someone was swimming in the pool. It was a woman, a hot woman if the barely there bikini and long, taut, tanned limbs were any indication. He quickly scanned the area for the husband - there was always a husband, or a boyfriend in a case like this, but surprisingly the place was empty, hmmm. Ryan turned back to the pool and watched the women’s arms cut through the water. She was toned; every bit of her was that he could see. He could appreciate that, he knew what kind of hard work it took. He stepped a little closer with interest and waited until she’d finished her lap.
Sam relished the cool water flowing over her limbs and hated to end her laps, but she really needed to get out and shower and be ready for her guest. She knew just what sun dress she would wear to give her a professional, yet casual island look. She wanted to make a good first impression as the proprietor.
Her feet hit the low end as she ended her lap and she climbed up the three wide steps that led out of the pool, slicking the water back from her long hair as she went, and squeezing the excess at her nape. She imagined for the hundredth time walking straight ahead to the little white beach hut, sitting down at a stool there, and ordering a frozen drink; she even imagined the little structure having a thatched roof. The empty building cried out to her and she mentally told herself to be patient, she was working on it. Sam turned from her musings to head back to the main house and stopped short with a gasp. She stood frozen in place, water dripping from her body and stared at the most intimidating man she’d ever laid eyes on. Her fanciful mind conjured up images of a romance novel hero come to life, perhaps a special-ops guy, maybe even a Navy Seal. He was the kind of man that sent electrical currents flowing through the veins of a woman’s body just by looking at him. Holy cow!
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