Book Title: The Beach Wife
Author: Doug K. Pennington
Kim feels trapped in a loveless marriage to a jealous, wealthy older man. He blames her for crippling him in an auto accident that he himself caused. Kim strives to make the marriage work, despite her husband’s blame, verbal abuse and bitterness. When she meets a wickedly handsome man on the beach, she fights not to want him, not to want a new life and not to fall in love.
But Derek is seductive and irresistible—a former soldier who has recently come to town to start a landscaping business. Kim falls hard for him, and he becomes addicted to her. Although Kim wants a divorce, her husband finds out about their affair, and devises a plot to destroy them both. They must struggle to survive a web of lies, deceit and dangerous passion.
THE BEACH WIFE
by Doug K. Pennington
It was almost seven o’clock when Kim gathered up her towel and packed her beach bag. When she heard a barking dog, she turned sharply toward the sound, seeing a black Labrador galloping through the water, kicking up spray, lunging and seizing the stick between his teeth. He whirled and raced off toward his owner, the sexy man Kim had seen earlier. He had spotted her, and was now striding across the sand toward her.
She stiffened, staring at him somberly, the late sun on his broad naked shoulders, his long hair wet and raked back from his forehead. Afraid he might pick up her vibes, she stood quickly and swung the strap of her beach bag over her shoulder. Tucking her head, she started across the sand toward the path, feeling his eyes on her back. And then he called to her.
“Leaving so soon?”
She stopped and turned, nervous now, pulling a loose strand of hair from her eyes, her mouth twitching as he approached. A late evening breeze stirred across them and then fell back to stillness. Her pulse quickened.
He stopped within ten feet of her. “Did you get that dog yet?”
She shook her head, pretending casualness, taken by his chiseled jaw and day-old shadow of beard. Taken by his tanned handsomeness. “No…”
His dog rushed over to him, tongue swinging, dark eyes focused lustily on the stick the man was holding. The dog nudged the man’s hand with his nose.
Kim looked at the dog and then at the man. “What’s your dog’s name?”
“Colin. That’s an unusual name for a dog.”
“He was named after a buddy of mine in Afghanistan. Colin Bates. He was a Royal Marine from just outside London. He was killed.”
Kim stared, seeing sorrow, seeing speculative appraisal. The impact of him was astonishing. He stood a good 6 inches taller than Kim, who was 5 foot 9 in bare feet. She noticed the scar again and he followed her eyes.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “You were there? Afghanistan?”
Derek shrugged. “Yeah. Three tours.”
Kim let that settle in. She turned her attention back to the dog. “Are you going to throw the stick?” she asked.
The man smiled, cocked his arm and flung the stick far toward the sea.
Their eyes met, his curious and cautious. Hers probing but nervous.
“Do you have time for a walk?” he asked.
“No, I don’t.”
“Meeting someone?” he asked.
“Something else to do?”
“Don’t like dogs?”
“Don’t like me?”
Kim glanced away, forcing a laugh. “No.”
“Do you ever say, yes?”
The tension left her face. She smiled. “Yes.”
“Can I take that ‘yes’ to mean you’ll go for a walk with me? An innocent walk, with a man and his dog? Yes?”
Kim felt a little weak in the knees. The guy had a raw sexuality that was unsettling and thrilling. He seemed to pulse with it. Her cheeks flushed. Did he notice?
“Okay… a short walk,” Kim said.
She dropped her beach bag and towel to the sand and they started off, silent for a time, each besieged with palpable attraction.
Derek was entranced by the sound of her smoky alto voice. It had a breathless intimacy to it, as if she were about to reveal some racy secret.
Derek indicated toward her beach house. “That yours?”
“I live there. It’s my husband’s.”
He looked at her. “So it’s not yours? Not yours and his?”
Her face told him nothing, and Kim didn’t offer more.
Derek was disappointed. He was hoping she wasn’t married. A single woman was a lot less complicated, and there was obviously something going on between her and her husband that was very complicated.
“Are you new around here?” Kim asked, kicking along the warm sand.
“Yeah, not long. I live in a little cottage on the beach, about a mile away.”
“Just here for the summer?” Kim asked.
“I hope not. I came to Scorpio Beach to stay.”
Kim lifted her eyes. “Really?”
He looked at her, surprised again by her taut stomach, tanned body and thin gorgeous neck. She was even sexier close up than from a distance. How many women could he say that about?
Kim watched the orange sun color the water; watched seagulls sail and heard their piercing cries. She felt a little high, as if she’d drunk a glass of wine. It was a feeling she hadn’t had for a very long time: a rising sexual high, a wetness. But there was something about him that set off warning bells, and she sensed danger—danger pooling in her gut. She’d been feeling angry and trapped, and just being with this man brought it all to the surface. She’d made a vow long ago never to be trapped. Her mother had been trapped, lonely and unhappy.
Kim allowed her impulsive mind to wander, estimating things, like what would happen if she picked up this guy and rode him all night? They’d just met, so it wouldn’t mean anything. It would just be a sexual release, an escape—but she could definitely use a release and an escape. But then what? Would it change anything? Would it solve any of her problems?
“What does your husband do?” Derek asked.
“He’s into real estate and other things. Investments… things like that. What do you do?” Kim asked.
“I have a landscaping business. Just started really. I’ve only been in town about five months.”
“That’s why I haven’t seen you before that.” Kim was just making conversation now. She could feel the sense of danger melting into forbidden longing, an impulse to rebel against her life’s restraints and disappointments, against her loneliness and Ben’s rejection of her. Suddenly, she imagined the weight of this guy on top of her—imagined his large hands on her breasts. She wanted to feel wanted again, needed again—even if it was just a sexual want, a sexual adventure. She wanted the thrill of sex and the delightful relaxation of coming back down to earth when it was over, feeling warm and satisfied. God, how she needed some kind of release.
“How’s your business going?” Kim asked.
“Not bad. And what do you do?”
Kim turned away. “I used to dance.”
“Dance? What kind of dance?”
“I danced in shows… shows on Broadway, and other places.”
Derek stopped, looking at her brightly. “Broadway. That sounds like fun. Do you still dance?”
Kim looked back toward the house. “No.”
“It’s a long story.”
“I’ve got time.”
Kim shook her head. “I don’t have time.”
Just looking at Ben’s house frightened and depressed her. It snuffed out the candle of her desire. Of course she wasn’t going to sneak off and screw this guy. Of course not.
“I need to go,” she said.
“Can we meet again?” Derek asked.
Kim swallowed away the knot in her throat. She wanted to meet him again, but it would be dangerous. She was feeling very vulnerable and very angry. And she was feeling agonizingly sexy.
“No,” Kim said, swiftly. “I don’t think that would be a good idea.”
“There’s that ‘no’ again.”
Kim gave him a meaningless grin. “Yes, that is a ‘no.’ A firm no.”
Derek watched her leave and move across the sand, a lovely, breath-taking beauty, with tall legs and broad fragile shoulders, who caused a riot of heat in his loins.
He breathed in his lusty thoughts as his eyes lingered on her.
He had to have this woman—even if only for one night. He was determined to have her. He ran a hand over his raspy beard, thinking. He’d have to be careful, patient and calculating, yes, but he could make it happen. She would finally cave in and he’d have her, because she wanted him. He’d seen it in her troubled blue eyes. For a few heated seconds, he’d seen the burn of desire in them, a warm beckoning, before she’d abruptly slammed the door and turned away.
He watched her climb the path to the house, hoping she’d turn back to give him a final wave. He willed her to wave. His lips moved as he called out at a whisper for her to turn and wave.
Then, just before she drifted out of sight, she paused, glanced over her shoulder and waved.
Derek sighed. He eased down into the warm sand and sat, his body coiled and throbbing. Colin came up with a sloppy tongue and a wagging tail.
“Colin, old boy, that is one helluva sexy woman.”
Doug K. Pennington has co-written many novels with his wife, under the pen name Elyse Douglas. Some of the novels include Wanting Rita, The Summer Diary, The Other Side of Summer and The Christmas Diary.
He has worked as a copywriter, a pianist, playing on cruise ships around the world, and as a manager for several graphics companies.
Doug lives in New York City, with his wife, Elyse, and their cat, Eaton, who loves to take little sips from a good glass of Pinot Noir.