Camilla hugged her best friend, Adela, and whispered in her ear, “Stay safe, Adi.”
“You too. I hope you’ll find them,” Adela said with a cracked voice.
Camilla and her four best friends graduated last week and wanted to have a memorable farewell trip before Camilla and Raven would leave Hawaii and move to LA.
A supposedly fun weekend getaway turned into a horrid nightmare when a storm took them by surprise and their catamaran sunk to the bottom of the ocean.
Camilla had never seen such all-consuming, angry waves before in her life. And that says a lot since she’d grown up in Hawaii.
After swimming hundreds of yards from the shipwreck, Camilla had washed up on the north side of the island with Adela, while Raven, Liv and Hailey were still nowhere to be found the morning after the storm.
Even though they’d survived the storm together, Camilla was about to leave Adela behind and search for their three missing friends with Dominic, a former Navy SEAL.
Dominic washed up last night with his five friends in a cramped, smelly life raft after being adrift at sea for two days. The guys had instantly offered to help search their missing friends, and since Camilla and Adela had already searched a day without finding a single trace, they’d accepted their help.
“We need to go,” Dominic said.
She rolled her eyes at his bossy tone of voice. There were only two outcomes to this crazy sexual attraction between them: they would either rip each other’s clothes off; or bite each other’s heads off the second they would be alone in the jungle.
Her skin prickled in anticipation as her body already knew that Dominic was trouble. The right kind of trouble, though. They’d flirted last night, but nothing happened between them thus far.
Dominic stood for all the bad boys she’d been losing herself to in the past year whenever she’d tried to forget. Being fully consumed—body and mind, helped her escape reality of losing her twin sister, Emma.
And Dominic, the almost seven-foot alpha male with the piercing gray eyes and bulging muscles, would, without a doubt, love to do exactly that.
Adela nodded over Camilla’s shoulder. “Okay. Watch over her.”
“I promise,” Dominic solemnly said.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, Adi. Keep close to Jack and you’ll be fine,” Camilla said, convinced that the wildlife firefighter would look out for her friend.
It still baffled Camilla how as the most gorgeous girl on campus; Adela still didn’t realize what effect she had on men. Jack clearly stood next to her with his tongue hanging out of his mouth, and Adela just duck her head like she couldn’t believe he showed any interest in her.
She loved her introverted friend and hoped that Adela would find some kind of happiness to make her sad eyes as happy again as they’d been when they met on their first day in college.
Adela’s mother and Camilla’s twin had still been alive. Losing a loved one had been something they bonded over and had deepened their friendship. No matter how different they grieved and dealt with things, they always had each other’s backs.
“I know. I just hate that we’re going to be apart. You’ve been my rock in all of this,” Adela said.
Camilla brushed a stray brown hair from Adela’s face. “And you’re mine. These past couple of days have been a bit much, eh? No matter what happens… when I get back, we’ll go look for that magical place on the island for Emma and your mom.”
It had been Adela’s idea to find a spot where they could honor their sister and mother. Adela swallowed back a sob just like Camilla did.
“I’d like that,” Adela said before she glanced over at Dominic eyeing his state-of-the-art watch. “Now go before he leaves without you.”
Unlike her virgin friend, Camilla knew exactly how to work a man. Dominic wouldn’t leave without her. She felt Dominic’s piercing stare touching her body as he stood in silence, taking in her yellow sundress clinging to her breasts and hips.
Camilla didn’t have a shy bone in her body and in the past year, she’d often used her body to stop her mind from overthinking.
If she would let her thoughts run free, then she would think about her father with whom she’d parted on bad terms because he wanted her to stay with him in Hawaii instead of moving in with her mother in LA.
Her father had accused her of being just like her mother; burning all bridges the moment things get tough. Maybe she did.
Feeling adrift between the overwhelming emotions of losing her sister, and keeping afloat by partying and hooking up with random guys to distract her long enough to push the pain away, hadn’t helped her either.
She still felt raw inside. Like she walked around with an open wound and she wanted to scream and fight off everyone who dared to come near her.
Instead of acting like a bitch and biting everyone’s head off because none of them actually knew how losing a twin felt like losing a part of yourself; she opted to cope with things in her own way.
And going by the hungry look on Dominic’s face, he could definitely do the trick tonight.
Camilla grinned. “Oh, he would never.”
“Damn straight,” Dominic said through gritted teeth.
Camilla turned around and gave Dominic her best seductive look that had most boys follow her around like a lost puppy. Not Dominic, however. He nudged his unbothered head like she needed to follow him like some kind of obedient dog instead.
She snorted. This was going to be a long day for them both if he thought he could boss her around like that.
Camilla gave Adela one last glance before she followed Dominic and entered the jungle. She had to admit that letting someone else lead for a change felt surprisingly nice.
Dominic had made a trident out of several sharpened sticks and slashed the enormous leaves in their way. She followed him closely as the thick tropical vegetation clung to her, leaving angry red marks all over her arms and legs.
“We’ll not stop for a break anytime soon. I hope you’re ready.”
It hadn’t even been five minutes, and he already annoyed her. What kind of prissy girl did he think she was? As a proud Hapa; half native Hawaiian, half Californian, she would show him she was born ready to trek through this jungle.
If he didn’t start taking her serious in the next ten minutes, he would find out that her father and his five brothers—who all practiced Lua—had taught her a thing or two.
All she needed was two strikes of the ancient Hawaiian martial art to take this man down a few pegs. And she would do it with a creepy smile on her face—just like her sister always accused her of.
Camilla blew a few dark brown strands out of her face. If Emma were here, she would have rolled her eyes at Dominic for being so damn bossy. They would have hung back a little and giggle after sharing one glance.
“Did you hear me?”
Camilla blinked. “What?”
“I said that we need to get out of the jungle before nightfall. If you’re tired, give me a holler and I’ll carry you.”
She held still and waited on Dominic to notice that she’d stopped walking behind him. It took a sec before he finally turned around with the biggest scowl she’d ever seen on a human before. And that was quite the accomplishment since her unko Kai had a face like a slapped ass.
“Don’t tell me you need a break already?” he said with a sigh.
She stalked closer, enjoying how this beast of a man—who clearly still worked out even as a former SEAL, swallowed his dry throat in anticipation of her next move. His gray eyes widened when she let her fingers slide over his shoulder, down to the sleeve of his black T-shirt.
She knew her voice sounded breathy when she said, “I know I don’t have these impressive guns,” she wrapped her fingers around his muscular biceps, her fingers obviously not being able to touch.
“But we women have something that surpass any man…”
Dominic rasped his thumb through his stubble on his jaw of steel as his gaze lingered on her tits before resurfacing on her face again.
“What’s that?” he asked with a raised brow.
She passed him with a grin on her face, before she said over her shoulder, “Stamina.”