Finding Evan

By: Lisa Swallow

Prologue





AUGUST



NESS



I wrap my arms around Evan’s naked chest and burrow my face into the ridges of his muscles. He smells of coconut sunscreen and seawater, and his skin is cool as the evening breeze takes away the day’s warmth. In response, Evan trails his fingers across my shoulders and hooks a thumb beneath the strap of my bikini top.

“You’re getting quite a tan,” he says, indicating the white line, and then placing his lips gently on my shoulder.

I shiver despite the warmth of the evening and the igniting heat of his kiss. The fabric isn’t much of a barrier between my skin and his. Being semi-naked around each other all the time should be natural by now, after two months in a hot European summer, but the flare-ups from our bodies meeting never changes.

Shifting around on the white sand, I lie back against Evan as he rests against the cooler we've dug into the sand. The picnic finished, we settle to watch the sun set over the Mediterranean for the last time, drinking local wine from plastic cups. The calm water lapping the shore nearby is the only sound around us. Peace and serenity – like so much of our life recently.

“I wish we could stay forever,” whispers Evan, “just me and you.”

I rub my head against his shoulder. “Real life has to catch up.”

“Yeah, unfortunately.”

All this time, living and breathing each other, time passed so quickly. Evan’s laid-back nature tempered my occasionally uptight reactions, and we met in the middle. We’ve learned to talk about the past and the future. A safe place to explore who we are underneath, without any intrusion from the real world. Over the last couple of days, a nagging fear about what happens when we return to our old lives has crept in. And I’ve pushed the doubt away, refusing to spoil this Ness and Evan.

“I’m going to miss this,” he says, stroking my arm with his fingertips.

I wriggle against the ticklish feeling. “This?”

“You. Practically naked half the time. I don’t have to fantasize about you with no clothes on when we’re here.” Evan’s hands shift to my waist and he pulls me closer. I take his arms and wrap them around me, running my hands along his toned arms before turning my head and kissing the curve of muscle on his bicep.

“I think I’d get some odd looks walking around Leeds in a bikini.”

Evan nudges his nose into the hollow of my neck. “Don’t talk about Leeds.”

Pulling away, I turn around and climb onto his lap, straddling him. I smooth Evan’s brown fringe from his eyes. His hair has grown and touches his ears again, softening his features – or maybe that’s from the freedom of the last few weeks. Evan tans easily, and I can't help finding the golden tint to his taut muscles even sexier.

Evan’s brown eyes shine as he gives me the smile that irritated me so much when we first knew each other. It irritated me because that smile was part of what made him difficult to resist – and the Evan I met at the beginning needed to be resisted.

“Don’t try that with me,” I say, pulling a stern face.

“What?”

“That ‘come to bed’ smile you use on all the girls.”

Evan’s too-sexy smile becomes a grin. “Only on you. And I’m not trying to get you into bed.”

“No?”

“No.” He reaches behind me and pulls on the string of my bikini.

I grab his hand. “Evan!”

“Come on, it’s getting dark. There’s no one around.” Evan lowers his voice and moves his face closer, placing the softest of kisses on my lips and leaving the suggestion of what could follow when he pulls away again.

The evening darkens rapidly as the sun sets behind the horizon. We’ve come here every day this week, walking along the beach in the evenings, and rarely see anyone else. Evan nips my shoulder, and then kisses my collarbone, following up with a trail of kisses to the top of my breasts. Without saying anything else, Evan pushes the flimsy material out of the way and cups my breast with his hand. Circling my nipple with his thumb, he gazes up at me, an eyebrow raised in challenge.

Heat floods to my face, and a gasp I try to stop escapes my mouth. Apparently, this is all Evan needs, because he places both hands on my waist and pulls me towards him, replacing his thumb with his mouth. I grasp Evan’s hair and hold his face against me; the intensity of his mouth fills my body with desire and pushes logic from my mind.