A prickly chill ran down her arms, drawing her skin taunt, even though the air in the room was thick and warm on the February night. A crack of lightning beyond the window cut the darkness and she could see she was alone.
Nina slipped out of bed. Max? A razor of lightning cut the darkness from beyond he windows and she could see his side of the bed was empty. His pillow was cool beneath her hand.
Making her way to the bedroom doors, Nina stepped out onto the deck, the roar of the ocean and howl of a cold wind creating a night symphony.
Another shot of lightning slinked across the black silk night in response to a boom of thunder, and exposed Max’s tall lean form standing on the beach.
“Max!” But he couldn’t hear her for the wind and waves.
Nina dashed down the steps, pressing into the swirling gusts, her toes sinking into the cold, sandy path. Her pajama’s snapped against her legs and her hair spun about her head.
“Max.” She leaned into him when she arrived on the shore. Without a word he gathered her in his arms.
“Storm’s finally coming. It’s been teasing us off shore for days. Hear those waves,” he said, kissing her ear. “Liquid thunder. You cold?”
“I’m fine.” With you. “Is this what you do on your honeymoon? Sneak away from your bride to watch storms.”
“I couldn’t sleep… kept hearing the sounds… Hey —” Max raised her chin with a light touch of his hand. “You’re trembling. I thought you weren’t cold.”
“A little, but it’s more from my nightmare.” Nina burrowed into him wishing she understood Max’s love for storms. He’d never leave Whirlaway Island and it’s beauty. Sun and storms, surf and sand.
“On the second night of our honeymoon? Tell me…” Max encircled her with his arms and held her against his beating heart.
That was the island Nina loved and never wanted to leave. The small pump of chest over his heart that perfectly cradled her cheek. “It was really weird… scary. I was kidnapped with Claire. And oh, Dan Sanders, who was married before with a daughter and both died, was falling for Libby.”
Max’s hearty laugh trumpeted through the scream in the wind. “Dan? Fireman Dan Sanders who claims marriage is the equivalent of prison? That sounds more like his nightmare.”
“It all felt so real. When I woke up, and you were gone, my heart…” Nina tiptoes up to kiss her husband of forty-eight hours, holding onto him as the storm intensified. “Don’t ever leave me.”
“You’re stuck with me for life, babe.” Max took her sweet lipped peck deeper with a passion trace of his hand through her hair. “So,” he said, pressing his forehead into hers. “You were kidnapped?”
“Yeah, you saved me and Claire from some evil man named Rafe and a rouge FBI agent. Blaine somebody.”
“Rafe? My clerk? He’s nearly a hundred and one. And Blaine Calloway? He’s the most decorated man on the force.”
“Well, he kidnapped me after our wedding and took me to Mexico. And oh,” Nina turned her back to Max’s chest, and burrowed her toes into the hard, wet shore. “There was the sweetest little Mexican girl. She was in danger and we wanted to save her because she saved us.” She exhaled a sad sob.
“Babe, it was a dream.”
“It seemed so real. But there were good part. Lauralee met her first love, Lucas, a retired FBI agent turned pastor.”
Max’s chest laugh echoed through her. “That’s be an act of God for an agent to become a pastor. Even bigger for Dan to fall for Libby.”
“There were two little girls, one of them Libby’s nieces…”
“Maybe it’s your next book.” Max nuzzled her neck and lead her back up the sandy path to their beach cottage, a gift from Aunt Lauralee when they married.
“Maybe….” Now her thoughts were churning. She’d released her first book six months ago and it hit the NY Times the fourth week.
Max paused at the deck steps. “If you’d have never quit your job to write novels, and take up your aunt’s offer to hole up on this beach, I’d have never met you.”
“It feels kind of divine doesn’t it.”
He kissed her as the storm dropped closer and release the first drops of rain. “I love you, Nina Broderick.”
“I love you too, Max Broderick.”
“So, Dan and Libby?” He said, locking the French doors behind them.
“I was thinking the same thing…” Nina grinned. The tough FBI agent was a bigger romantic than she’d ever be.
Before going up the steps, she paused for on last glimpse of the electric clouds hovering over the furious, churning sea. That’s was her life before Jesus. Before Max.
In the morning, the storm would’ve run it’s course and the sun would own the sky, making the world blue and gold again.
But the dark power of her dream lingered in the shallow valleys of her mind. So terrifying… The image of the girl would always be in her mind.
“Max,” she said, facing him. “If someone tried to kidnap me, would you chase him all the way to Mexico to save me?”
He returned down the steps and smoothed her tangled hair away from face. “You have to ask?”
“It was wild and dangerous… people getting shot… I thought they killed my sister.”
“Claire? Hmm. Maybe that’s – ”
“Stop,” she swatted at him. “Listen to you. Claire is…she’s…” Nina could see Max’s arched brow in the flash of light. “Okay, she’s a loose cannon but she has a heart of gold.”
“And we’ll always make sure she’s safe.”
“Thank you.” Nina followed Max up the steps to their room and crawled into bed as the clock flashed 3:16. She wished she could do more to make the little Mexican girl safe.
Max crawled in next to her, his warm body burning away the last chill of her dream.
“Call your agent in the morning. Tell him you have a great new story.” Sleep weighted his words. Rain smacked against the window.
Nina sank deeper into Max’s arms. Maybe she would… Take a research trip down to Mexico. See what turned up.
She’d call Libby in the morning, too. Invite her to dinner. Get Max to call Dan. Maybe, just maybe, they’d hit it off. The spinster teacher and the machismo fireman. Nina smiled. Oh, this would be fun.
And oh, call Aunt Lauralee and ask her about a man named Lucas.
Max’s soft breathing brushed her arm and Nina rolled on to her side. His arms tightened about her waist.
“Max, there was something else in the dream.”
“I was pregnant.”
Max snuggled in closer. “Then let’s get to work on that right away.”
Outside, the storm delivered it’s best blows. But they couldn’t reach her, safest and loved. Her heart knew Max was the one the moment they met at a beach party.
No, she wasn’t kidnapped, alone and frightened in Mexico. She was right where she belonged – home on Whirlaway Island and in the arms of her one true love.
Win a SouthernBelleView
This week on the porch, we’re giving away one of our fabulous Book-n-Bling packages, featuring an autographed book and a bling any Belle would find truly delightful! Today’s Question of the day for Book-n-Bling contest entry: Name an exciting book you read as a child that really made your heart pound and your mind ask, “What will happen next?”
Optionally, leave an email address on your comment or add your Facebook handle, to help us find you, but the winner will be announced here on SBV!
To enter the Book-n-Bling Contest, leave a comment on this blog post (or any of our blog posts this week) answering the question of the day.
Book-n-Bling winner will be announced here on BelleView on October 30th!
Rachel Hauck writes the books she loves to read. Fun, character driven with lots of romance and tension. Check out her web site at www.rachelhauck.com.