What happens in Mexico doesn’t always stay there! All uptight workaholic Drucilla Robichoux wants is to experience incredible sex, at least once in her life. So she heads off to Mexico for some sun, sand and sin. And she finds the perfect playmate in sexy surf instructor Alex. Her temporary boy toy teaches Dru to ride the waves, all right–right into the most intense climaxes she’s ever had! But all vacation flings must end. When Dru heads home, she buttons up tight again. Might as well keep this delicious fantasy right where it belongs–in her naughty memories. So it sure is a shock when she walks into work Monday morning and find her secret fling is her new boss! And he definitely still interested in catching the big one with Dru.

ISBN-10: 0373795688 ¦ ISBN-13: 9780373795680

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Chapter One

     “Sooo?  How was your date?”

Drucilla Robichoux froze, her spoonful of lemon yogurt halfway to her mouth.  She’d been dreading this question.

Wrinkling her nose, she shot a quick glance around the lab’s lunchroom.  Sunlight, filtered through typical San Francisco fog, dully lit the empty space.  Seeing no escape—and fortunately nobody to overhear—she sighed, licked the tart spoonful of lunch and prepared to confess.

“I think I’d be better off giving up on men,” she admitted to her best friend and fellow scientist, Nikki Hanson.  “This is the sixth failed dating experiment this year.  And it’s only August.”

“I can’t say I’m surprised.  I still can’t believe you went on more than one date with Dr. Uptight,” Nikki said as she polished off her pastrami sandwich.  She meant Bryan Smith-Updike, a physicist from the Lawrence Livermore Lab and Drucilla’s companion the last four Saturday nights.  The first three, they’d attended the theater, the opera and the California Academy of the Sciences.  She’d been bored to death, but not nearly as bored as she’d been during the sex that’d marked their fourth weekend.

“It wasn’t much of a date,” Dru admitted.  “The guy was a gasper.”

“That’s even worse than the wheezer.  What was his name?  Mad-scientist Maxwell?”

“No, he was the counter.  You know, in-two-three.  Out-two-three.  The wheezer was that biochemist I dated last year.” “Maybe gasping is a step up?” Nikki asked, her doubtful wince making her dimples flash.  “But at least Uptight finally dropped drawers, right?”

“Unfortunately,” Drucilla confirmed with a grimace.  She puffed out her cheeks, contemplated the last few bites of yogurt, then shoved it aside and opened her bag of cut vegetables.  And lamented the sad truth.

Her love life was in an unending downward spiral of suckiness.

Drucilla wanted to love sex.  Better yet, she wanted a sex life worth loving.  She was a firm believer in the science of a healthy balance between mind and body.  Her mind was top-notch and she worked to keep her health the same.  Good food, regular exercise.  And sex, dammit.  She’d read plenty of studies that claimed that regular, satisfying sex was important to good health.  And she was missing out.

Maybe self-gratification was healthy enough if she increased her beta-carotene intake?

“So the date didn’t go well?” Nikki nudged, obviously wanting all the dirty details.

Drucilla popped a cherry tomato in her mouth and debated blowing off the question.  Then realizing it couldn’t sound any worse than the wheezer confession-always nice to have a rock bottom—she shrugged.

“Oh sure, it went well for him,” she said after she’d swallowed.  “Peachy, in fact.  Remember how I told you that Bryan’s been frustrated with the calculations he’d been working on?”  Drucilla waited for Nikki’s confused nod before continuing.  “Well he’s had a breakthrough.  Mid, shall we say, thrust, he yelled eureka, rolled over and scrambled for his pants where he apparently always carries a notepad and pen.”

Dru smirked at the shocked, slack-jawed look on Nikki’s face.  “Yep, he was so thrilled to have broken that mathematical code, he didn’t even grumble when I shoved him out the door before he could finish zipping his slacks.”

Mouth still agape, Nikki shook her head in pitying shock.  “How on earth do you find these guys?”

“It’s a gift,” Dru mused.

“I think that’s worse than that Nobel Laureate you went out with who carried a picture of Einstein in his pocket along with his condom.”

“And insisted on both during sex,” Dru agreed, wrinkling her nose at the memory.  “The condom was welcome, but sadly the only one of the three of us to end up with wild sex-hair was ole Al.”

And only to Nikki would Dru confess such a thing.  Years of moving from town to town, her parents usually on the run from creditors, on top of Dru’s own innate shyness, had made it difficult for her to make friends.  Even college, or colleges since she’d attended four, had been spent on the move with Dru having to hold down three jobs to pay for school and living at home to save expenses.

But when she’d had come to work at Trifecta, Nikki, in her usual gregarious way, had taken her under her wing.  Now Nikki was her best friend, and one of the few people she worked with she also saw socially.  The lab, National Physics Trifecta, was a brain trust that specialized in the three branches of physics; astro, nuclear and quantum.  While Dru was all about the astro, Nikki, despite her sweet dimples and luxurious black curls, was nicknamed the ballbreaker of the quantum physics lab.

Not only in a different department than Dru, Nikki was almost a different species.  Optimistic, upbeat and outgoing, with a curvy figure that turned men’s heads, the brunette was Dru’s polar opposite.

Blonde, cool and contained, Dru knew she put off a don’t-touch-me air.  She didn’t mean to, but couldn’t seem to change it.  So she’d had to find a way to make it work for her.  She’d finally figured that if she held her head high, remembered to make at least one friendly comment a day, and kept her personal life out of the gossip limelight, she was fine.  Now everyone at the lab thought she was just reserved, offering respect and a level of deference she knew was rare given her age and non-leadership position.

And to keep that respect, it was vital that she kept any and all details of her miserable love life private.

It helped that the lab had very stringent interpersonal-relationship rules.  Friendships were fine, but dating was taboo.  Not that Dru would ever date anyone she actually had to work with.  She’d seen too many relationships crash and burn.  And somehow, while the guy managed to waltz away with his career intact, the woman always paid a price.

Because nothing, not even her stuttering bashfulness or a lack of partner-generated orgasms, would get in the way of her career security.  She couldn’t afford to let it.  And so far, it was working quite well.

Now to figure out how to make her love life work, too.

After years of lousy dates, she’d finally decided to approach dating as a hypothesis.  She carefully chose men who were her intellectual equal based on the theory that all men had the same basic equipment and drive.  Given that the brain was the largest erogenous zone, she was sure intellectual stimulation was just as vital as clitoral stimulation in achieving sexual satisfaction.

At least, she’d been pretty sure.  It was damned hard to test a hypothesis if all the guys she dated had the sexual skills of a ninth-grade nerd with a National Geographic fetish.

It was enough to make a woman question her hypothesis.  To say nothing of her ability to ever have a decent sex life.

“Okay, so the sex has been a little, well, lousy.  But don’t give up on men,” Nikki said, breaking through Dru’s dismal realizations with forced cheer.  “What about Kyle, that new guy in the lab?  He’s cute, in a horn-rimmed sort of way.”

Dru was shaking her head before Nikki even finished the sentence.

“He’s also a co-worker.  You know how Dr. Shelby feels about fraternization.  Besides, gossip is the number one impediment to success.  If I started dating, or worse, having lousy sex, with the guys here, word would get around.  It’d haunt me.  My private life would be fodder for the water cooler chit-chat.  And any success I have, people would wonder who I slept with to get there.”

Nikki gave her a long look, trying to poke a hole in that excuse.  Finally she shrugged and said, “We don’t have water coolers.”

Dru rolled her eyes.

“Look, why don’t you quit the geeks and go for a hottie?” Nikki suggested, wiping her mouth before opening a bag of corn chips.  Dru’s mouth watered.  Whether it was over the chips or the visual of hottie-sex, she didn’t know.

Ignoring the drool collecting in the corners of her lips, she reminded herself of the five pounds she’d been trying to lose since New Years and said, “Because boredom makes for poor foreplay?”

Which she knew firsthand, since the last three guys she’d dated had almost foreplayed her to sleep.  And god knew she’d be the ultimate snooze-fest to some poor guy who didn’t talk science.  It went back to that shyness thing.  If she was talking business, she was fine.  Social chit-chat?  Zzzz.

“Oh my god, Dru.  What does a guy have to do?  Discuss the theory of relativity while going down on you?  You need to disconnect your brain from your—”

“Okay,” Dru interrupted before Nikki could start naming anatomy.  “I get your point.  But I don’t agree.  I really believe that unless we have common interests, there’s no point in dating—or having sex, albeit lousy sex, with—a guy.”

“There are other things to talk about than science, you know,” Nikki snapped, the frustration creasing her brow echoed in her tone.

She wasn’t about to open the door to another discussion on her social skills.  The last time she’d cracked it open by mentioning that she didn’t know how to dance, Nikki had forced her to spend twelve Saturdays at dance clubs.  Talk about misery squared.

“Look, even if I wanted to research alternate dating pools, when do I have time?” she sidestepped, her tone making it clear she’d rather be staked naked to the astronomy tower during a public meteor shower tour.

“You know I’m already working fifty hours a week.  I help my mom on weekends.  The cosmic string project starts next month and as soon as,” not if, she refused to consider failure, “I get the grant, I’ll be so busy I won’t have time to masturbate, let alone date.”

“A woman always has time to masturbate,” Nikki intoned.

Dru shrugged, waving her carrot stick in surrender before snapping off a bite.

“So…”  Nikki drew the word out as she carefully wiped her fingers on a napkin.

“So…  What?” Dru asked, not liking the glint in her friend’s chocolate-brown eyes.

“So, I have an idea.”

Just like she would if a student was about to pitch a half-baked astrological theory, Dru folded her hands on the table, arched her brow and gave Nikki a patient, you-are-probably-crazy look.

“Take a vacation.”

The knots in Dru’s shoulders unwound.  Well that wasn’t too crazy.

“Someplace totally away from here, completely relaxing and extremely decadent.”

A vision of sand, surf and sun filled her imagination.  Wouldn’t that be glorious?

“Mmm, maybe I’ll book a cruise or something this summer,” she murmured.  An entire week filled with strappy sandals, rich food and sarong covered bikinis while she read by the pool.  Heaven.  “I’ve always wanted to visit Cancun.  Or maybe the Bahamas.”

“No.  Now.  Next week, before your schedule turns crazy with the grant interviews and the guest lecturer and this upcoming project that will bury you in seventy-hour weeks.”

Unspoken was Nikki’s belief that Dru would make excuses and not take a vacation.  But the message was clear in the stubborn set of her jaw.

Before Dru could talk her off the crazy-ledge, Glenn Shelby, Trifecta’s director, bounced into the lunchroom.  The older man was the epitome of enthusiasm, always.  His ‘nothing is impossible’ attitude was supposed to be an inspiration to his teams.  Most of them wanted to spike his morning fruit smoothie with sleeping pills.

Dru’s gaze jumped from his face to the stubborn glee on Nikki’s, then back to their boss, who was offering his usual chipper lunch greeting.

“No,” she mouthed at Nikki, tension wrapping tight over her shoulders.  The road to success was not lined with spur-of-the-moment vacation requests or inconveniences to the boss.

Nikki, of course, ignored her.

“Glenn, Dru needs a vacation.”

“Vacation?  Now?”

Well that had certainly punctured his enthusiastic recitation of the joy of fresh squeezed orange juice.  His words all came out in a gulp.

It was all she could do not to drop her face into her hands.  With an almost silent hiss of protest, Dru glared at Nikki.

“Don’t worry about it, Dr. Shelby.  I know we’re too busy right now.  Nikki knows it too.”

Nikki didn’t even have the grace to give Dru an apologetic look before shoving her of the cliff.

“Glenn, you know Dru is project leader on cosmic string program that kicks off next month.  It’s vital that we make a good showing for Trifecta, isn’t it?”  Nikki didn’t wait for his answer, or act like she saw the glare Dru was trying to melt her with, she just plowed ahead.  “But here’s the thing.  I don’t think she’s had a vacation in, oh, forever.  Weren’t you just saying last week that a rested mind was an alert mind?”

The director shot Dru a measuring look through the bifocals he’d perched on his egg-shaped head.  From the frown that washed over his face, his x-ray vision found her health deteriorating at a rapid pace.

“Yes, yes, good point.  We want everyone in top form next month.  All the departments have major projects launching, but yours is the most vital, Robichoux.  After all, it’s not every year we get such a distinguished guest as A.A. Maddow as a project leader.”

Assistant leader, Dru wanted to protest.  For the first time, she was project leader.  But the road to success wasn’t lined with diva’s either, so she sucked it up and shot Nikki an icy glare instead.  Nikki grinned.

“I highly recommend Los Cabos if you’re looking for a beach setting,” he said, taking his Healthy Choice lunch from the microwave and heading for the door.  “A.A. himself suggested it to me when we agreed to his contract.  He was right, as usual.  It was both relaxing and rejuvenating.  You’ll enjoy it.”

Then he was gone, the door swinging closed with a loud swoosh.

And that was that.  Dru briefly considered chasing him down and voicing her objections over his low-cal chicken l’orange, but knew it was pointless.  After all, A.A. Maddow was the rock star of the science world.  A Wolf Award nominee and brilliant physicist, he was going to be working alongside Drucilla for the next three months.  His input was apparently vital, in Glenn’s mind, in both clarifying her theory and to convince the grant committee that a small lab like Trifecta was worthy of huge sums of money.

The director wouldn’t want to risk anyone on his staff being less than sparkling for the grand appearance.

“I can’t believe you did that,” Dru said, gathering her lunch wrappers in tight, efficient moves.

“You can thank me with a nice souvenir,” Nikki told her as she sauntered back to the table, her teeth flashing white as she grinned.

“Thank you?  I want to beat you with your own corn chip bag,” Dru snapped before she could control herself.  She sucked in a deep breath, then said in her most reasonable tone, “I have responsibilities and commitments, Nikki.  I don’t have time to sip margaritas and hit the beach.”

“That’s not all I want you to hit,” Nikki said with a stern frown.  Dru figured it was the look the woman used to keep her hunky new husband in line.

But Drucilla Antoinette was made of stronger stuff than that.  So she just leaned back in her chair and raised a brow.

“You need a man.”

“Isn’t that where this conversation started?”

“My point exactly.  You need a hot man.  A hunky, yummy, no conversation needed, orgasm at first sight man.”

Dru’s breath caught somewhere between her chest and her throat at that image.

“No, I’m only looking to relax,” she protested.  Not willing to consider something as clichéd as a vacation fling, she got up to cross the room and toss her garbage away.  Like she wanted to get rid of the tempting image Nikki had put in her head.

“What’s more relaxing than a wild, sexual escapade?” her friend asked behind her.

And where better to have a wild sexual escapade than far away from her day-to-day world, on vacation from work and distanced from the rules she surrounded her life with?

Dru stepped over to the sink to wash her hands.  The water rushed over her, cooling flesh that suddenly felt like it was on fire.  She watched the clear liquid flow, her mind filled with images of hot beach sex with a faceless, muscled beach bum.

“I can’t deliberately set out to have a fling,” she murmured.

“Why on earth not?  You need to let go of this thing you have for only doing brainiacs, Dru.  No intelligence litmus test.  Just pure, sexual attraction.  You find a guy who turns you on and have a week’s worth of wild monkey sex.”

“To what purpose?” Dru asked as she dried her hands, considering the ramifications of giving in to the ultimate temptation.  If she did it away from the lab, nobody would see her choice.  Nobody would judge her for picking a young stud whose only purpose was to satisfy her every lusting need.  She wouldn’t be deemed as a sex-crazed idiot who made bad choices in the name of screaming orgasms.  Her breath shuddered.  God, what did a screaming orgasm actually feel like?

Dru saw the smirk on Nikki’s face and clarified, “What’s the purpose, besides sex?”

“Does there have to be another purpose?  For once, go after a guy who turns you on.  Not one you have to convince yourself is sexy.”  Nikki gave her a wicked grin, her dimples flashing as she came over to rinse her lunch dishes.  “Find a guy with the stamina to go all night.  A hunky horn dog who will go crazy worshipping your body.”

The image flashed, hot, erotic and intense.  A faceless young stud, his muscles oiled and gleaming in the moonlight, poised over her body as he acted out her every kinky fantasy.  She swallowed and shifted, glad her lab coat covered her aching nipples.  Panicked, Dru’s eyes scanned the room, even though she knew nobody else was there to overhear.

This was a crazy idea.  Completely insane.

So what did that say about her for even considering it?

As if she sensed Dru was weakening, Nikki laid her hand on her arm and offered a wicked smile.  “Girlfriend, it’s time to find yourself a playmate.”

# # #

     Two weeks later Dru paid the taxi driver and waited while the bellboy loaded her suitcases onto the cart.  She used the time to look around.

Los Cabos, Mexico.  Oceanfront luxury with the charm of old world Mexico.  White sandy beaches, the Sea of Cortez, ocean breezes and beautiful tropical foliage.

Tension she hadn’t even realized she’d hoarded in her shoulders drained away.  Far away from the San Francisco chill, Dru felt freer than she’d ever been.  Here, nobody knew her.  She didn’t have to worry about projecting the right image, about climbing the ladder or about the anchoring weight of family responsibilities that kept her pushing for success.

She was here to take a break.

Dr. Shelby had raved about both the relaxing atmosphere and the beautiful views.

And he’d been right.

When she found herself checking out the bellboy’s ass, Dru rolled her eyes.  That probably wasn’t the kind of view either man had meant.

Forcing her gaze to stay on the guy’s shoulders, broad and muscular as they were, she followed him and her luggage into the hotel to the reservation desk.

Thirty minutes later, she’d changed out of her practical travel clothes of a button up shirt and khaki pants and into an eye-watering bright floral sundress and had defiantly unbraided her long hair.  The practical voice in her head argued that it’d just get tangled on the beach.  She didn’t care.  She figured freedom came with a few tangles.

Dru stepped out the back door of her bungalow and gasped.  There, spread out before her, was the most gorgeous beach she’d ever seen.  Sand, soft and inviting, swept from as far as the eye could see.  Beyond it the ocean, dark blue in the early evening light, beat frothy white waves against the dull gold of the shore.

Just the sight of it filled her with a mellow sort of empowerment.  Maybe it was the watercolor richness of the sky, purples bleeding into orange tinged pink as the sun set behind the water.  Or the wild intensity of the waves, their salty scent and roaring sound inviting her to come closer.

Or maybe it was just the freedom to know she could do whatever she wanted.  And what she wanted was to feel that water on her toes.  Not bothering to go inside for her sandals, Dru skipped lightly down the wooden steps leading from her tiny patio to the still-warm sand.

Reveling in the feel of the tiny grains shifting around her feet, she headed straight for the water.  It wasn’t until she was halfway there that she saw him.

Her heart, and her feet, stopped.

Her mouth went as dry as the sand clinging to her ankles.  She didn’t blink when the soft breeze sent tendrils of her hair into her eyes, just batted it away so it didn’t interfere with her view.

Oh.  My.  God.

He was incredible.  Like some water god, he flew over the waves.  The water glistened on his golden muscles like jewels in the fading light.  Arms outstretched, biceps glinting as he balanced on the deep purple surfboard.  Was he real?  A figment of her lusty imagination?  The manifestation of her every sexual fantasy?  Dru’s breath came in long, labored bursts.  Her eyes watered because she was afraid to blink, fearing he’d disappear.

Her hands itched to touch that bare chest, to run her fingers down the dusting of dark hair that perfectly highlighted his well-muscled chest.  She stared as he got closer to shore, watching him shift his knees to a low crouch as he rode the wave all the way to the beach.

There was something so amazing about surfers.  She’d always imagined them to be fearless.  Able to embrace anything life handed them and ride it to success.

And talk about muscle control.  That was the kind of guy who rock against-a-wall sex and not drop the woman as she melted in orgasmic glory all over him.

Was he real?  Or had her sex-deprived imagination conjured up the perfect man to fulfill her every kinky fantasy?

About thirty feet away, she watched him walk across the sand.  This close, she could see how young he was.  Mid-twenties at the most.  His dripping hair fell in inky black curls around his head, his beautiful face adding to the image of a Greek God come to life.

He stopped at the brightly decorated surf shop bungalow, and she watched him key in a code, then open the door and store his board.  His familiarity made it obvious he wasn’t a guest.  Did he work at the surf shop?  Or at the hotel?

Whatever he did, he was obviously out of her league.  Not that it mattered.  It wasn’t like a sweet young thing like him would have any interest in an almost thirty-year-old scientist with social anxieties and repressed sexual needs.

Needs she’d been perfectly fine ignoring until Nikki had gotten her all riled up over her crazy ideas.  Insane ideas.  Dru had no idea how to flirt, how to attract a man’s attention.  Especially not a man like that.  No matter what Nikki had suggested, Dru wasn’t here for a fling.

Except here he was.  The most incredible man she’d ever seen.  A man who would definitely not stop mid-thrust, but know how to bring a woman to a screaming orgasm, then make her writhe and beg for more.

And then he turned.  Their eyes met.  Dru’s breath lodged somewhere between her aching nipples and her suddenly dry mouth.  His gaze holding her captive from twenty feet away, one corner of his mouth quirked in a charmingly adorable little boy grin.

And he walked toward her.  Frozen in the sand, Drucilla didn’t know if she should pull back her shoulders, stick out her chest and smile beguilingly.  Or turn on her bare heel and run like hell.