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Top 5 Romantic Places to Get Lost In1. Big Island or Kauai (Hawaiian Islands)
3. Western Montana
4. Aitutaki Atoll in the Cook Islands
5. Australian coast
A half hour later we are suited up, dorked out in snorkels and fins.
I take her hand. “You ready?”
“How cold is the water again?”
“Warmer than the Arctic.”
“That’s not a glowing recommendation.” She squeezes my hand. “Okay, let’s do this, before I change my mind.”
“One, two, three.” She leaps with me and we plunge off the pier. The water is frigid, creating the perfect habitat for the hundreds of marine species surrounding us. The pier’s not deep, only five or six meters, ideal conditions to get up close and personal with the trevally, blue devils, zebra fish, rays, and there—I tap Talia on the shoulder and point.
A weedy sea dragon swims toward us, flitting through the kelp to keep camouflaged. The long orange-red body resembles a seahorse except for the leaflike appendages and short spikes lining its back.
We tread together, paddling only when necessary to maintain our position against the current. Here, in this strange world, time slows, life is diluted to the rhythm of tide and waves. I reach out and take Talia’s hand, wishing for an irrational second to sprout gills and swim with her down to the ocean’s deep, indigo places. Find a mermaid kingdom and hide from the world forever. The sea dragon studies us for a long moment before darting into the shadows.
Talia flicks the snorkel from her mouth. “Oh my God.” Her eyes are almost as wide as her smile. “That was incredible. Mystical almost.”
“Magic.” I stroke closer to her, closing our distance, unable to resist her happy glow. Talia’s hair plasters to her cheeks; she’s enchanting, a sea witch who’s cast a spell on me. Her back hits one of the pilings, and we’re beneath the pier, shielded from the tourists promenading overhead, with dragons lurking beneath our fins. I kiss her hard, openmouthed, and don’t hold back the groan when her tongue flicks over mine, still a little shy.
I drop my hands below her arms to brace her, keep her well above the low sets gently rolling by to crash onshore. She wiggles closer and I silently curse our wet suits keeping us from true skin-to-skin contact. Talia’s bikini is skimpy and black, exactly how I like a girl’s suit. I’d love to pull the string in the back, watch as the top slowly slides off. Since the three-inch neoprene renders that fantasy impossible, I use my mouth to cover every inch of her exposed neck, her high cheekbones, her brow, each of the six freckles dappling the tip of her nose.
“Am I your girlfriend?” Talia sounds offhand, but her eyes tell me she’s dead serious.
“Girlfriend?” The word sends a jolt down my spine. “Well…you’re a girl and a friend.”
“So, no, then?” Her smile vanishes. “I mean, are we seeing each other, seeing other people?”
“Do you want to see other people?”
And if so, who? Tell me so I can beat the shit out of them if they look at you sideways.
“Do you?” Her downturned lips twitch in the corner. She struggles to smile, and to watch that effort makes me feel helpless. I don’t want to expose myself, but fuck if I’ll hurt her.
“Since I’ve seen you, Talia”—I pause, clearing my throat—“it’s been pretty fucking impossible to see anyone else.”
Excerpt from UPSIDE DOWN ©2014 by Lia Riley. All rights reserved.
Genre: New Adult
Length: 246 pages
Publisher: Forever (August 5, 2014)
Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to Australia. Everything is going to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes.
Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He's never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . of if they were meant to live a world apart.
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