Below Deck

Page 50

I had every intention of spilling my guts to Declan yesterday after I spoke with my father, but he was busy working and I didn’t want to bother him by turning myself into that distraction he didn’t need. I tried to tell him again last night after everyone went to bed, but he distracted me by putting on a movie for us in the main salon. Curled up on the couch in front of him under a blanket, with his body pressed up against my back, I stopped paying attention to the movie when his hand slid down into the front of my shorts. After two orgasms and then falling asleep in Declan’s arms before the movie ended, I forgot all about talking to him when he woke me up and walked me to my room.

Today, we woke up to find out the captain dropped anchor in the middle of the night due to another round of bad weather he was trying to avoid, and since we were on our way home to St. Thomas, we found ourselves back off the coast of St. John. Allyson and Arianna sent word with one of the stewardesses at breakfast this morning that they both had headaches and wouldn’t be coming out of their rooms all day, and my father, now that he had his head back on straight, found himself overwhelmed with emails and phones calls for work. Brooke wanted to do some shopping since we didn’t have time when we were here earlier in the trip, and sweet-talked Captain Michael into letting Ben go with her. After they left, Declan found me on the sundeck and told me had a surprise planned for me today.

I’ve had this damn blindfold on since we got on the jetty and came over to the island, and Declan has refused to let me take it off. I know we got into a vehicle that drove us a few minutes away from the dock, and since we got out he’s been steering me in a ton of different directions, but he’s remaining tight-lipped about where we’re going.

“Can I just have a hint?” I beg.

I feel Declan’s lips on the bare skin of my shoulder and he kisses the spot before moving his mouth by my ear.

“Seriously. You’re worse than a two-year-old. I take it you don’t like surprises.”

Just like always, the low rumble of his voice and the feel of his breath against my ear makes me shiver. And having a blindfold over my eyes, being able to hear him and smell him, but not see him, makes me want to ask him to take me back to the ship so we can do other things with the blindfold that require less clothing.

“I love surprises. Especially when I know what they are,” I tell him.

I’m immediately rewarded with another laugh from him, and right when I start to tell him about my blindfold idea, he grips onto my hips tighter and forces me to stop walking.

“Okay, you can stop complaining now and take off the blindfold.”

Yanking the fabric up from my eyes and over my head, I blink a few times to get used to finally being able to see again and stare out at what I see in front of me in confusion.

“Um, this looks…fun,” I state, hoping he doesn’t get offended that I have no idea what I’m looking at.

We’re standing on a dock, looking at the ocean in front of us, but a large rectangular area of the water, half the size of a football field, has been fenced off. The fencing connects to the dock and there’s a small building over to the left, right in the middle of one side of the fence. A man suddenly walks out of the building onto the dock and lifts his hand in a wave to Declan.

“Life jackets are behind you,” he shouts to us. “Go on in the water, they’ll be out in a few minutes.”

Declan waves back, turning away from me and grabbing a life jacket off of an entire rack of them behind us and hands it to me.

“So, we’re going swimming in someone’s weird, fenced-in ocean pool?” I ask as I shrug into my jacket, clipping the buckles across my chest as Declan does the same with his own life jacket.

“Something like that,” he replies with a smile, grabbing my hand and pulling me to the ladder leading down into the water.

After a few minutes of treading water, Declan puts his fingers to his mouth and lets out a loud whistle. I slice my arms through the water and turn my body away from him when I hear a noise come from the building. A gate opens up down below the front of it, and my eyes widen and I let out a gasp when three dolphins come flying out from under the building and zoom through the water towards us.

“We’re swimming with dolphins?!” I squeal, unable to keep my excitement contained. “Oh, my God. WE’RE SWIMMING WITH DOLPHINS!”

The three beautiful creatures swim right in between us before circling around and moving away. I can’t wipe the smile off of my face as Declan swims up behind me. He wraps one arm around my waist and holds me to him, grabbing my hand and holding it palm down, right underneath the water.

“Your two requests for this trip were to drive a jet ski and swim with dolphins. I couldn’t exactly let you accomplish only one of those,” he tells me as I watch one of the dolphins break away from the others and head back towards us. “Just keep your hand like this and she’ll swim right under it so you can touch her.”

I can feel tears stinging my eyes and I blink them away rapidly as the beautiful creature glides through the water right towards me.

“Brooke and I called every dolphin excursion place on every island and they were all booked. How did you do this?” I ask.

“I told you, I have connections working in this business. The owner owed me a favor. Here she comes. Don’t be afraid,” he tells me softly, pushing my hand deeper under the water.

The dolphin swims right up to us and under my hand, slowing herself down as my palm slides over her sleek, smooth, rubbery skin as she goes.

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