I’m restless. Christian has been holed up in the onboard study for over an hour. I have tried reading, watching TV, sunbathing—fully dressed sunbathing—but I can’t relax, and I can’t rid myself of this edgy feeling. After changing into shorts and a T-shirt, I remove the ludicrously expensive bangle and go to find Taylor.
“Mrs. Grey,” he says, startled from his Anthony Burgess novel. He’s sitting in the small salon outside Christian’s study.
“I’d like to go shopping.”
“Yes ma’am.” He stands.
“I’d like to take the Jet Ski.”
His mouth drops open. “Erm.” He frowns, lost for words.
“I don’t want to bother Christian with this.”
He represses a sigh. “Mrs. Grey . . . um . . . I don’t think Mr. Grey would be very comfortable with that, and I’d like to keep my job.”
Oh, for heaven’s sake! I want to roll my eyes at him, but I narrow them instead, sighing heavily and expressing, I think, the right amount of frustrated indignation that I am not mistress of my own destiny. Then again, I don’t want Christian mad at Taylor—or me, for that matter. Striding confidently past him, I knock on the study door and enter.
Christian is on his BlackBerry, leaning against the mahogany desk. He glances up. “Andrea, hold please,” he mutters down the phone, his expression serious. His gaze is politely expectant. Shit. Why do I feel like I’ve entered the principal’s office? This man had me in handcuffs yesterday. I refuse to be intimidated by him, he’s my husband damn it. I square my shoulders and give him a broad smile.
“I’m going shopping. I’ll take security with me.”
“Sure, take one of the twins and Taylor, too,” he says, and I know that whatever’s happening is serious because he doesn’t question me further. I stand staring at him, wondering if I can help.
“Anything else?” he asks. He wants me gone. Crap.
“Can I get you anything?” I ask. He smiles his sweet shy smile.
“No, baby, I’m good,” he says. “The crew will look after me.”
“Okay.” I want to kiss him. Hell, I can—he’s my husband. Strolling purpose-fully forward, I plant a kiss on his lips, surprising him.
“Andrea, I’ll call you back,” he mutters. He puts the BlackBerry down on the desk behind him, pulls me into his embrace, and kisses me passionately. I am breathless when he releases me. His eyes are dark and needy.
“You’re distracting me. I need to sort this, so I can get back to my honeymoon.” He runs an index finger down my face and caresses my chin, tilting my face up.
“Okay. I’m sorry.”
“Please don’t apologize, Mrs. Grey. I love your distractions.” He kisses the corner of my mouth.
“Go spend some money.” He releases me.
“Will do.” I smirk at him as I exit his study. My subconscious shakes her head and purses her lips. You didn’t tell him you were going on the Jet Ski, she chastises me in her singsong voice. I ignore her . . . Harpy.
Taylor is patiently waiting.
“That’s all cleared with high command . . . can we go?” I smile, trying to keep the sarcasm out of my voice. Taylor doesn’t hide his admiring smile.
“Mrs. Grey, after you.”
Taylor patiently talks me through the controls on the Jet Ski and how to ride it. He has a calm, gentle authority about him; he’s a good teacher. We are in the motor launch, bobbing and weaving on the calm waters of the harbor beside the Fair Lady. Gaston looks on, his expression hidden by his shades, and one of the Fair Lady’s crew is at the controls of the motor launch. Jeez—three people with me, just because I want to go shopping. It’s ridiculous.
Zipping up my life jacket, I give Taylor a beaming grin. He holds out his hand to assist me as I climb onto the Jet Ski.
“Fasten the strap of the ignition key around your wrist, Mrs. Grey. If you fall off, the engine will cut out automatically,” he explains.
I nod enthusiastically.
“Press the ignition when you’ve drifted about four feet away from the boat.
We’ll follow you.”
He pushes the Jet Ski away from the launch, and it floats gently into the main harbor. When he gives me the okay sign, I press the ignition button and the engine roars into life.
“Okay, Mrs. Grey, easy does it!” Taylor shouts. I squeeze the accelerator.
The Jet Ski lurches forward then stalls. Crap! How does Christian make it look so easy? I try again, and once again, I stall. Double crap!
“Just steady on the gas, Mrs. Grey,” Taylor calls.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” I mutter under my breath. I try once more, very gently squeezing the lever, and the Jet Ski lurches forward—but this time it keeps going.
Yes! It goes some more. Ha ha! It still keeps going! I want to shout and squeal in excitement, but I resist. I cruise gently away from the yacht into the main harbor.
Behind me, I hear the throaty roar of the motor launch. When I squeeze the gas further, the Jet Ski leaps forward, skating across the water. With the warm breeze in my hair and a fine sea spray on either side of me, I feel free. This rocks! No wonder Christian never lets me drive.
Rather than head for the shore and curtail the fun, I veer around to do a circuit of the stately Fair Lady. Wow—this is so much fun. I ignore Taylor and the crew behind me and speed around the yacht for a second time. As I complete the circuit, I spot Christian on deck. I think he’s gaping at me, though it’s difficult to tell. Bravely, I lift one hand from the handlebars and wave enthusiastically at him.
He looks like he’s made of stone, but finally he raises his hand in the semblance of a stiff wave. I can’t work out his expression, and something tells me I don’t want to, so I head to the marina, speeding across the blue water of the Mediterranean that shimmers in the late afternoon sun.