A Brothers of Element Series

For all those caught in the wake of hurricane/ tropical storm Irene, my prayers are with you and your families.

“Dagger’s Bite”

Tsunamis and earthquakes don’t just happen.

“Remember, you gave me your word, no swimming with the killer whale tonight,” Jack
reminded her. “We’ll go out tomorrow night, I promise.” His words tickled down
her face as he spoke against her temple. “The E.R. is swamped this time of year
Drew. Vacationers and saltwater.” He shook his head. “…a bad mix. So please no
killer whales tonight.”

Drew was the worst liar, but this promise she could make. She wasn’t looking for Bandit
tonight, she needed T-Bone, needed to vent. She had the dream–again. 

Besides she and Jack both knew dating with their schedules would be difficult…a Dr. and
a marine biologist. She’d need to have an accident just to get him alone for more than three minutes. At least then she’d be on a bed. If the hospital weren’t just up the street, this visit would be a text message. Absently she picked at the V-neck of his scrubs, smiling up at him. 

“Don’t worry about it…there’s other fish in the sea,” she joked. Biting her lip she
could’ve kicked herself. Why did she say that that? “Jack, I didn’t mean…”

“That’s not funny Drew,” he told her, backing them up to the deck railing. “I’m dating
Dr. Do-little.” Drew gave in to the pull and leaned into the loving caress, of his lean body. The faint scent of laundry detergent told her he’d thrown on fresh scrubs. He was still on duty. A clean masculine scent rose from his warm skin as his muscled arms closed over her back, pulling her tight to his chest. 

“I know I gave you a scare last time, but you have to believe me. If I felt unsafe, I would not have swum with Bandit.” She watched his beautiful soft brown eyes and knew their relationship wouldn’t survive another scare.  

“Drew, I see enough tragedy coming through Triage at the hospital; don’t have me working on you one night because Bandit or T-Bone used you for a volleyball or worse, they developed a taste for chocolate.” Jack complained and rubbed absently across
her back. She moaned low in her throat. He had the best hands. He stopped rubbing and peered down into her face. “You dove deep again today, didn’t you?”  

“…Sort of my job,” she said defending her actions. Cupping a hand over his hard jaw, she
stroked his five o clock shadow. “Jim’s always with me, so please, relax,” she added. Slipping her arms around his neck, she laid her face over his thudding heart and looked out over the gentle surf lapping at the footprints in the sand. It erased one day to prepare for the next. “I never go alone anymore.” The tension she felt in his body ran deep. His worry was for more than her stiff spine. He wasn’t telling her something.  

His shoulders dropped with a heavy sigh. “See T-Bone while you were down there?”
His tone was gently hostile, laced with accusation.  

She blew out the breath lodged in her throat and asked calmly, “What are you saying
Jack?”  

“I’m concerned that–”  

“I didn’t see him today.” Was he jealous of a shark? T-Bone had been with her for ten
years, he was like a pet. She never had a dog or cat. And she didn’t want to be frustrated with Jack. He was just concerned. Wouldn’t be Jack if he weren’t.  

“Has your spine been hurting all day?” he asked, his brow furrowed with deep grooves.  

“Off and on a little,” she admitted, and rose up on tip toe, kissed his chin. “Stop frowning. I took my medicine.”  

Jack picked her up and set her on the deck railing, catching her off guard. He slipped a hand over the nape of her neck and his mouth found hers. She leaned into the rough kiss—edged with frustration and fear–absorbing his body heat through the thin cotton of her tank top. The overwhelming worry in his embrace saddened her. Pushing away from his chest, she saw in his eyes the pain she’d felt in his kiss.  

She couldn’t keep hurting him this way. She needed more time to find out what was
going on, on the ocean floor. She could at least ease his fear for tonight. “Sweetie, I swear, I will not get in the ocean tonight,” she said, and hoped to calm his fear.  

“I wanna believe that, but I know you Drew.” He patted her hip, unlaced her hands, and
then stepped off the deck. “I can’t compete with a shark,” tipping his chin out toward the ocean. “You were waiting for T-Bone to push the volleyball back to shore when I pulled up tonight.” She had no response as he brushed sand off his scrubs, and moved down the driveway to his truck. She had been waiting. When he turned and their eyes met, she  new in that split second she’d lost him. “Friday, wait for me,” he said. “I’ll walk down to Jim’s party with you.”  

“Jack…wait.” She ran down the few stairs to the beach, a hand pressed to her back. And slid to a stop, toes planted deep in the sand, when he held up a hand. The hot pink glow of South Carolina’s sunset darkened his southern boy tan. It slipped behind her beach house, casting long shadows down the driveway, a fitting semblance with the shadow of doubt hovering over their relationship.  

“Maybe you were right Drew; you’re not ready to date. We’ve been friends for eight years, I won’t screw with that.” Closing the few steps between them, he moved behind her. Warm air hit her spine as he scrunched up her cotton tank top. “Hold this up.” She did without question. A warm press of lips touched the top of her spine. She pressed a hand to her lips, listening to his voice. “Martin was a great man and I realize continuing your father’s marine research is a huge part of your life. That’s not the problem here.” His long fingers slipped over her ribcage as he pressed another kiss to the center of her spine, making her breath catch before he said, “Malcolm’s death still haunts you.”  

A whimper left her chest and rode the warm air when his grip held firm on her hips. She
felt the moist heat of his mouth as he sucked the skin over the base of her spine.  

“I’ve wanted to taste you for years. Bury Malcolm, and then we’ll try again.” Drew
swallowed the lump blocking her throat as he smoothed her top down and then kissed the slope of her throat before walking past her down the seashell covered driveway.  

“It’s not just–Malcolm’s death,” she said. She let out a heavy sigh. “Jack everything
lately has been whacked out. Something is not right in the ocean.” She inched closer to him. “Jack, wait.”  

Leaning against the side of the house, she closed a hand over the latch on the side
door. Her breath came in stilted pauses, like scared little kids on a diving board, one at a time.  

“Jack, you’re a…a wonderful man, please…just be patient with me.” Taking a cleansing
breath, her heart beat gentled and her words lined up closer together. ”You know my father thought the sea floor showed signs of shifting,” she said. “These dives, and working with the animals, they’re important. You’ve seen the tsunamis and earthquakes popping up around the world. They’re coming from the ocean floor. I’m getting closer to the truth.” She squeezed back the tear threatening to fall.  

“The truth is, you think one of the animals killed Malcolm,” Jack said, almost whispered.
“I understand you need closure, so I’ll wait.” He blew her a kiss. “As your friend.” The low dings of the car door opening couldn’t drown out the metal door closing on their romantic relationship. “Goodnight sweetie. Lock up…I’ll always be your Jack.”

He slipped behind the wheel of his truck. Sand crunched beneath his tires as the tan SUV, crept down her street and out onto North Causeway. The tail lights slipped around the soft pine trees coated in sea-salt spray. Jack had been right, she needed closure. Unless sharks learned to speak, she would never find that closure.  

Thirty minutes later, fresh from the shower, she rubbed her puffy eyes. She’d cried
the entire shower, reminded of all her loses through the last ten years. Losing her parents, guardian Karen fiancé Malcolm and now her boyfriend. At least the boyfriend was still alive, correction former boyfriend. 

She feathered a hand through her short waves, stretched her arms up over her head,
and did a few downward dog poses to ease her spine. Well, no point in prolonging the inevitable.  

Flipping off the table lamp beside her bed, she pushed the window open and slipped
between the cool sheets. Closed her eyes…and waited.  

Who would the ocean send to visit her tonight? Maybe she’d do better with the blue-man
from the ocean. He preferred her wet. Had Jack known about the man from the sea? She bunched the pillow beneath her head, and then turned on her side. Great, now even she thought her ocean man was real.  

Dagger’ Bite will be available on Smashword in October 2011.  

Author Mary George w/a Cora Blu for Paranormal fantasy. Also w/a Olivia Lavyn for
Contemporary Romance.  

Thank you and remember-“The living is sweeter…when you dive deeper”