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Wrecked Sneak Peek

Aaah! I’m so excited to share my newest series Blazing Islands with you! Wrecked is already one of my favorite stories I’ve ever told. It holds so much; angst, perseverance, strong heroines, panty melting alpha heroes, true friendship, banter, heart warming romance, toe curling hot scenes and a complete new world ready to come alive in our wildest fantasies.

Jack lifted the life raft’s orange canopy flap and peered out over the calm Pacific Ocean. Leaning back over the inflatable tubes, he stretched his sore limbs that had been tussled in the cramped raft for the past thirty hours after the storm. 

Jack took in his five friends huddled together in the canopy while the sun beat down mercilessly on his bare neck. It had taken Jack and Rodrigo months of preparation to get them all six together for a bachelor party getaway for Rodrigo’s twin brother. 

For once, Jack’s irregular shifts as a wildland firefighter weren’t what made it hard to meet up. Everyone was just so fucking busy nowadays. 

He’d been glad that everyone left their responsibilities and stress behind the moment they met at LAX to catch their joint flight to Hawaii. The childhood friends since middle school slipped effortlessly into vacation mode, drinking beers and shooting the shit at an airport bar before takeoff.

The first day on their luxurious rented catamaran had been unforgettable. If it hadn’t been for that damn storm taking them by surprise, and even turning the catamaran turtle, things would have been perfect.

Now they were floating around the ocean in this rotten life raft. He was thankful at least Dominic and Reed knew what to do, as they were experienced sailors. Dominic had inflated the life raft in no time and directed everyone to grab the things they needed to survive.

Jack rubbed his eyebrow, wondering how much longer they needed to endure this humid, smelly raft. Even though it hadn’t even been thirty hours, he already had enough of being cooped up. 

“Sorry,” Jack said to Reed when his knee bumped his.

“No problem.” Reed shifted, making a bit more room on Jack’s side while he bumped into Dominic on his other side, earning a grunt from him.

Jack’s eyes flittered over the water, searching for land or any sign of a ship on the horizon. 

As a wildland firefighter, not much spooked Jack. His hotshot crew would seek out danger, traveling to fires where they would work for at least fourteen days straight.  

Instead of facing danger head on and actively fight the elements of nature, Jack had to sit back and hope for the best since he could do shit to get them out of this predicament. As he watched Dominic’s mood deteriorate with each passing hour, he figured Dominic also felt this weird sense of uselessness. As a former Navy SEAL, taking the lead and fight had also been ingrained in Dominic.

Jack took in the flat surface that surrounded them for miles and miles. The only thing left for them to do was to keep their watermakers up and running, and hopefully catch some fish with the few fishing poles Rodrigo had taken with him on the raft.

“Fuck! Did you hear that?” Reed hung over the yellow inflatable tubes while looking up into the sky.

“What is it?” Jack glanced up at the same blue sky, not finding anything but the harsh sunlight hurting his eyes. Jack couldn’t believe that earlier, he willingly soaked up this squelching heat just to get a nice tan. 

“Shh! Listen!” Reed put a finger against his lips.

Jack shot a look over his shoulder inside the canopy, meeting the stoic gazes of Zane, Gabriel, Rodrigo, and Dominic. Reed, hearing something that turned out to be absolutely nothing, got old rather quickly after the twentieth time this past hour. 

Their lack of response didn’t deter Reed, however. “Guys! I swear I heard—” 

Dominic leaned forward, bumping his shoulder to Rodrigo, who shot him an irritated look from the side.

“You’ve got three seconds to stop this shit before I kick your ass overboard,” Dominic growled.

“Come on, guys. Let’s all cool off for a moment,” Gabriel said as he placed a hand on Dominic’s shoulder. 

“Yeah, let’s cool Dom off. I’ll throw him headfirst into the ocean,” Reed said with a smirk. As a pro football athlete, Reed didn’t mind a little throw down, even if it meant he had to face a former Navy SEAL. 

The groom of their bachelor party getaway, Gabriel, once again tried to keep the peace and said, “That’s enough! It can take days before someone rescues us—weeks even! Surviving a shipwreck in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is stressful enough without you two bickering like five-year-olds!”

“Amen…” his twin, Rodrigo, mumbled under his breath.

“Just shut the fuck up and listen!” Reed shouted as he waved his hands.

Jack strained his ears and listened for thirty seconds to the water lapping against their raft before he heard it: the unmistakable sound of a bird screeching in the distance.

“Well, I’ll be damned…” Dominic said before he lifted his side of the canopy.

“What am I missing here?” Zane asked, arching a brow as his gaze met Jack’s.

“A bird needs land to nest. Hopefully, that bird isn’t one of those seabirds that fly out thousands of miles from shore,” Gabriel said. 

“I couldn’t get a good look. Did you?” Dominic asked Reed.

“No. Looked like a seagull, but I’m not sure…”

“There are no seagulls around Hawaii….” Rodrigo said.

Reed arched a brow. “The storm could have drifted us far enough away from Hawaii—” 

“Nope. It’s a Brown Booby.” Rodrigo pointed at the bird diving into the ocean at a shallow angle.

Jack snorted. “A what?”

“Brown Booby. That’s one of the most common seabirds around here. They nest on the ground and generally forage in near-shore waters.”

Of course Rodrigo knew what bird flew above their heads. The veterinarian knew all kinds of random stuff about most animals. 

Dominic hummed. “Near-shore waters sound good to me…”

Reed chuckled. “You’ve got to be shitting me. The first sign we get that hopefully this all will be over soon is that we see a bird that’s named after a tit?”

“Yes.” Rodrigo said with a boyish grin. 

He sat forward and mimicked holding two heavy breasts in front of his chest. “I bet there’s a coast close to here, scattered with brown boobies.”

Jack joined the laughter of his friends. Finding this bird after a day of drifting at sea definitely lifted the group’s spirit. 

“I don’t care if they’re brown, white, yellow or black. I need to see more of those titties up in the air so we can get the fuck out of here,” Dominic said. 

“Talking about tits…. The first thing I’ll do when I get back is calling this new chick my dad hired. I bet she has some pretty cherry nipples to suck on,” Zane said and licked his lips.

Jack whistled low. “You mean that blonde I saw last week tagging along with your dad at that construction site?”

Zane nodded. “That’s the one. She’s been eyeing me for weeks now.”

Reed arched a brow. “Since when are you so gun-shy?”

“She’s the sixth assistant my dad hired in the past ten months and he’s been busting my balls about not going anywhere near Tonia.”

Jack chuckled. “Your dad is just fed up picking up the pieces whenever his sons shit where they eat.”

Zane and his three brothers worked construction for their dad’s company. Zane once joked that the Miller boys were known for working hard, but that they fucked around even harder. It may not be the most poetic motto to live by, but Jack also swore by this lifestyle after joining Zane’s family.

A horrific car crash instantly orphaned Jack at eighteen. If it hadn’t been for the Millers, he would surely have taken a wrong turn in life. Zane’s dad showed up at Jack’s crappy apartment one night and gave it to him straight. Pat Miller had enough of Jack fucking his life up by hanging out with lowlifes and partying all days of the week. Pat took Jack home with him that very night, even though he already had to take care of four boys on his own.

Jack started working for Miller Construction and eventually got his act together. After working alongside Zane and his brothers for a few years, Jack even made his childhood dream come true in becoming a firefighter. He still helped Pat every once in a while whenever they needed an extra pair of hands. 

Rodrigo snickered. “Tonia? Is she the one with her boobs coming up to her ears?”

Reed rubbed his temples. “Stop talking about titties. I refuse to get hard on this shitty raft surrounded by five dudes.” 

Jack took in his friends as they were shooting the shit, like nothing happened. “I can’t believe after surviving a shipwreck and being adrift at sea for over a day, it still feels like we’re sitting at our table at O’Conner.”

Gabriel nodded. “That’s true friendship, man.”

Jack smiled. “Yeah. It is.”

“Let’s toast to our friendship,” Zane said as he unzipped the backpack stuck in between his legs.

Dominic’s square jaw ticked. “We’re not drinking anything. All the food and drinks are rationed. Who knows how long we’ll be stuck out here?”

Jack agreed with Dominic that it would be stupid to drink anything else than what the watermakers produced or what they had already collected on rainwater. 

Zane pulled out the drinks anyway, but only Reed cheered while the rest groaned.

“I can’t believe out of everything to choose from while the boat was sinking, you grabbed a six-pack,” Jack grumbled. 

Zane shrugged a shoulder while handing out the beers. “I also got some other stuff. Hey, at least I grabbed enough beer for everyone.”

Gabriel shook his head when Zane tried to hand him a beer. “No. Alcohol is a diuretic. It causes your body to remove fluids from your blood through your renal system. You can become dehydrated quickly and in this heat, it would be stupid to drink that unless it’s the very last thing we have.” 

Jack caught Reed and Zane sharing a look that said that even though Gabriel might be right, he also needed to take that stick out of his ass. Soon. 

Reed didn’t give a shit about Gabriel’s warning and opened his beer can with a loud pop, followed by the well-known hissing sound. “If I’m going to die out here, then I’m going down on my own terms. We filled six gallons of water with rainwater in the past twenty-four hours and we’ve got three working watermakers on board. I think we can afford to have this beer.”

Zane pointed up to the sky, and added, “There’s a damn titty bird up in the air, reminding us that there’s land not far from here. Let’s make most of this memorable moment, guys. One beer. To our friendship.”

Rodrigo opened his beer and lifted his can in the air. “Okay, okay. Since this is a bachelor party after all…”

Gabriel held his twin’s eyes for a moment before he sighed and accepted a beer. “All right, since we wouldn’t be in this predicament if it weren’t for me, I would like to say a few words…”

Jack nudged his friend’s shoulder. “It’s not your fuckin’ fault, Gabe.”

Gabriel shot him a watery smile. “I know. We did everything we could to brave that storm. I just wanted to say how fuckin’ proud I am at every single one of us.”

 It had been years since he’d heard Gabriel swear. Ever since Gabriel started dating the daughter of one of the founding partners at his law firm, he’d become a watered-down version of himself. It was something the group had wanted to talk to him about before he would go through with marrying Mary next week.

“May I add something?” Jack asked.

Gabriel nodded, and Jack raised his beer can in the air. “It’s good seeing the old Gabe slowly resurfacing, man. I just hope that when we do get back at our table at O’Conner, this old Gabe will still be around.”

Gabriel got this weird look in his eyes before he cleared his throat. “Eh, yeah. About that… I never got the chance to tell you guys that I called off the wedding…”

Rodrigo jumped up from his seat, jostling everyone in the already unstable raft.

“What? When? Why didn’t you tell me?” Rodrigo asked, the hurt clear in his voice.

Gabriel helped his twin sit down next to him and said, “I’m sorry. I wanted to tell you,” he glanced around the raft and added, “All of you.”

“So basically, we’re stuck on this damn raft for a pointless fuckin’ bachelor party while your stupid-ass wedding with the wicked witch has already been cancelled?” Dominic said, his booming voice traveling over the flat water surrounding them.

Gabriel brought a hand through his dark brown curls. “Shit. I wanted to tell you guys, but then I overheard Rod planning this trip with Jack, and I figured this trip was the only way to get us all six together for the entire weekend.”

Dominic slammed his fist on the inflatable tube next to him. “Fuckin’ hell!”

Jack understood how Dominic figured he could have been home right now instead of being stuck on the Pacific Ocean, but he also felt sorry for his friend, who must have had a reason to call off his wedding.

“What happened, Gabe?”

Gabriel sighed. “I caught her cheating on me with a girl who works at the golf club where our firm has this monthly thing. You all hated Mary’s guts, but I loved her. I’ve put up with her shit for years, but this was the final straw. I called off the wedding and I’ve quit working for her father that same day.”

“Fuck. Weren’t you up for a promotion soon?” Reed asked.

Gabriel nodded. “Yeah. I did everything expected of me to make partner while I slowly turned into an uptight fucker, unhappy as shit.”

“Well, at least something positive has come out of this trip; Gabe finally found his balls back,” Dominic said as he pulled the tab of his beer can and clinked it against Reed and Zane’s beers.

Jack, Gabriel and Rodrigo followed suit. The lukewarm beer slipped into Jack’s throat as he closed his eyes and savored the malty taste. 

Floating in a life raft without knowing where the fuck they were and if they would make it out alive would have been a lot shittier without his five best friends sitting next to him. 

Even in their thirties, after everything they’d been through since that first day in middle school; parents getting divorced, losing family members, deployment overseas, pro-athlete careers, and even surviving a shipwreck; their bond proved unbreakable.

They celebrated they were still alive, albeit far from safe. However, if any group was to survive this ordeal, it would be them.