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The Tycoon's Stowaway

By:Stefanie London

The Tycoon's Stowaway
Stefanie London

       PROLOGUE


HOT. LOUD. CRUSHING.

The dance floor at the Weeping Reef resort bar was the perfect way to  shake off the work day, and for Chantal Turner it was the perfect place  to practise her moves. She swung her hips to the pulsating beat of the  music, her hands raking through her hair and pushing damp strands from  her forehead. A drop of perspiration ran in a rivulet down her back but  she wouldn't stop. At midnight, the night was still in its infancy, and  she would dance until her feet gave out.

She was enjoying a brief interlude away from her life plan in order to  soak up the rays while earning a little money in the glorious  Whitsundays. But the second she was done she'd be back on the mainland,  working her butt off to secure a place at a contemporary dance company.  She smiled to herself. The life in front of her was bright and brimming  with opportunity.

Tonight the majority of her crew hadn't come out. Since Chantal's  boyfriend wasn't much of a dancer he stood at the bar, sipping a drink  and chatting to another resort employee. No matter-the music's beat  flowing through her body was the only companion she needed. Her black  dress clung to damp skin. The holiday crowd had peaked for the season,  which meant the dance floor was even more densely packed than usual.

'Pretty girls shouldn't have to dance on their own.'

A low, masculine voice rumbled close to her ear and the scent of ocean  spray and coconut surfboard wax hit her nostrils, sending a shot of heat  down to her belly.

She would know that smell anywhere. A hand rested lightly on her hip,  but she didn't cease the gentle rolling of her pelvis until the beat  slowed down.

'Don't waste your pick-up lines on me, Brodie.' She turned and stepped  out of his grip. 'There are plenty of other ladies in holiday mode who  would appreciate your cheesy come-ons.'

'Cheesy?' He pressed a hand against his well-muscled chest. 'You're a harsh woman, Chantal.'

The tanned expanse of his shoulders stretched out from under a  loose-fitting black tank top, a tattoo peeking out at the neckline.  Another tattoo of an anchor stretched down his inner forearm. He stared  at her, shaggy sun-bleached hair falling around his lady-killer face and  light green eyes.

He's off-limits, Chantal. Super off-limits. Don't touch him …  don't even think about it.

Brodie Mitchell stepped forward to avoid the flailing arms of another  dancer, who'd apparently indulged in a few too many of the resort's  signature cocktails. He bumped his hip against hers, and their arms  brushed as Chantal continued to dance. She wasn't going to let Brodie  and his amazing body prevent her from having a good time.

The song changed and she thrust her hands into the air, swinging her  hips again, bumping Brodie gently. His fingertips gripped her hips like a  magnet had forced them together. Every touch caused awareness to surge  through her veins.

'You can't dance like that and expect me not to join in.'

His breath was hot against her ear. Her whole body tingled as the  effects of the cocktails she'd downed before hitting the dance floor  descended. The alcohol warmed her, giving her limbs a languid fluidity.  Head spinning, she tried to step out of his grip, but stumbled when  another dancer knocked into her. She landed hard up against Brodie, her  hands flat against his rock-hard chest. He smelled good. So. Damn. Good.

Against her better judgment she ran her palms up and down his chest,  swinging her hips and rolling her head back. The music flowed through  her, its heavy bass thundering in her chest. She probably shouldn't have  had so many Blue Hawaiians-all that rum and blue curaçao had made her  head fuzzy.

'I can dance however I like,' she said, tilting her chin up at him defiantly. 'Mr Cheese.'

'You're going to pay for that.' He grinned, snaking his arm around her  waist and drawing her even closer. 'There's a difference between  charming and cheesy, you know.'

'You think you're charming?' she teased, ignoring the building tension  that caused her centre to throb mercilessly. It was the alcohol-it  always made her horny. It was absolutely nothing to do with Brodie.

'I do happen to think I'm charming.'

His lips brushed against her ear, and each bump of his thighs sent shivers down her spine.

'I've had it confirmed on a number of occasions too.'

'How many women have confirmed it?' She bit back a grin, curious as to  the number of notches on his bedpost. Brodie had a bit of a reputation  and, as much as she hated to admit it, Chantal could see why.

It wasn't just that he had a gorgeous face and a body that looked as if  it belonged in a men's underwear commercial. Hot guys were a dime a  dozen at the resort. Brodie had something extra: a cheeky sense of  humour coupled with the innate ability to make people feel comfortable  around him. He had people eating out of the palm of his hand.                       
       
           



       

'I don't kiss and tell.'

'Come on-I'll even let you round up to the nearest hundred.' She pulled  back to look him in the eye while she traced a cross over her heart with  one finger.

He grabbed her wrist and pulled her hand behind his back, forcing her  face close to his. 'I'm not as bad as you think, Little Miss Perfect.'

'I doubt that very much.'

The music switched to a slow, dirty grind and Brodie nudged his thigh  between hers. A gasp escaped her lips as her body fused to his. She  should stop now. This was so wrong. But it felt better than anything  else could have right at that moment. Better than chocolate martinis and  Sunday sleep-ins …  even better than dancing on a stage. A hum of  pleasure reverberated in her throat.

'I bet you're even worse.'

'Ha!' His hand came up to cup the side of her jaw. 'You want to know for sure, don't you?'

Her body cried out in agreement, her breath hitching as his face hovered  close to hers. The sweet smell of rum on his lips mingled with earthy  maleness, hitting her with a force powerful enough to make her knees  buckle.

Realisation slammed into her, her jaw dropping as she jerked backwards.  His eyes reflected the same shock. Reality dawned on them both. This was  more than a little harmless teasing-in fact it didn't feel harmless at  all.

How could she possibly have fallen for Brodie? He was a slacker-an idle  charmer who talked his way through life instead of working hard to get  what he wanted. He was her opposite-a guy so totally wrong for her it  was almost comical. Yet the feel of his hands on her face, the bump of  his pelvis against hers, and the whisper of his breath at her cheek was  the most intoxicating thing she'd ever experienced.

Oh, no! This is not happening …  This is not happening.

'You feel it, don't you?' Worry streaked across his face and his hands  released her as quickly as if he'd touched a boiling pot. 'Don't lie to  me, Chantal.'

'I-'

Her response was cut short when something flashed at the corner of her eye. Scott.

'What the hell is going on?' he roared. His cheeks were flushed scarlet, his mouth set into a grim line.

'It's nothing, man.' Brodie held up his hands in surrender and stepped back.

He was bigger than Scott, but he wasn't a fighter. The guilt in his eyes  mirrored that in Chantal's heart. How could she have done this? How  could she have fallen for her boyfriend's best friend?

'Didn't look like nothing to me. You had your hands all over her!'

'It's nothing, Scott,' Chantal said, grabbing his arm. But he shook her off. 'We were just dancing.'

'Ha!' The laugh was a sharp stab of a sound-a laugh without a hint of  humour. 'Tell me you don't feel anything for Brodie. Because it sure as  hell didn't look like a platonic dance between friends.'

She tried to find the words to explain how she felt, but she couldn't.  She closed her eyes and pressed her palm to her forehead. She opened  them in time to see Scott's fist flying at Brodie's face.

'No!'





CHAPTER ONE


REJECTION WAS HARD ENOUGH for the average person, and for a dancer it  was constant. The half-hearted 'Thanks, but no thanks' after an  unsuccessful audition? Yep, she'd had those. Bad write-up from the arts  section of a local paper? Inevitable. An unenthusiastic audience?  Unpleasant, but there'd be at least one in every dancer's career.

Chantal Turner had been told it got easier, but it didn't feel easy now  to keep her chin in the air and her lips from trembling. Standing in the  middle of the stage, with spotlights glaring down at her, she shifted  from one bare foot to the other. The faded velvet of the theatre seats  looked like a sea of red in front of her, while the stage lights caused  spots to dance in her vision.

The stage was her favourite place in the whole world, but today it felt like a visual representation of her failure.

'I'm afraid your style is not quite what we're looking for,' the director said, toying with his phone. 'It's very … '

He looked at his partner and they both shook their heads.

'Traditional,' he offered with a gentle smile. 'We're looking for dancers with a more modern, gritty style for this show.'

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