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“So, you’re really not going to radio for help?”

Lawson glanced over his shoulder just long enough to catch her outraged expression then went back to the task of planning the repair. He ran a quick mental inventory of what he had in his tool case. He could fix the wheel, but from the look of the angry clouds it would definitely not be until morning. He slowly rose to his feet and faced her.

“No, Merilee, I’m not going to radio for help. This is hardly an emergency.”

“N-not an emergency,” she sputtered, marching toward him. “We’re on a goddamn deserted island surrounded by…” She spun in a circle. “Water!”

“Hence the term ‘island’.” He looked up at the threatening weather moving closer by the second. He let out a long sigh. “Merilee, go over to the customs building at the end of the runway. With any luck, it’s unlocked. Wait for me there while I radio in and let them know we’ve landed safely on Walker’s Cay and will be departing tomorrow, weather permitting.”

“Are you serious?”

“Terribly.” He raised his eyebrows and jerked his head toward the small white building behind her. “Go on, before the sky falls in. I’ll be there in a minute.”

She growled in outrage and stormed toward the old customs office. He tried not to laugh as one shoe’s heel got stuck in a hole in the pavement and she strung together a melody of curses unlike anything he’d ever heard from a woman. She took off both shoes and continued on. He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw her yank open the customs office door and disappear inside.

After radioing in and setting a tentative departure time for the morning, Lawson grabbed his flight case and locked the door. He surveyed the position of the plane and was suddenly glad he’d run off the runway into the grassy area. He’d be able to tie her down there. He placed his case on the ground and leaned into the cargo hold. He withdrew two wooden stakes, rope, and his emergency kit and blankets. Once he’d cussed through the process of driving the stakes into the ground, he looped rope through the holds on the wings and securely tied the Cessna. Yanking on the rope, he was satisfied it would hold during strong winds.

Now his patience—that was another thing altogether. He doubted it would hold well at all once he joined Merilee. She’d gone from scared lamb to outraged lion in a split second. This should be fun.

Peering through the broken glass in the window, Merilee could see him trudging up the runway. Her momentary panic had subsided and given way to anger once she’d discovered what he was about. Not radioing for help? Was he insane?

She thought of his behavior for the last two hours. Insanity. Yes, that must be it. And this…this…hut he had her waiting in? This was a customs office? She harrumphed. This place had to be the equivalent of the sticks for the Bahamas. She’d seen closets bigger than this. Office indeed.

When Lawson was close enough to see her, she drew back and leaned her hip against the counter, attempting to affect a look of put out yet in control. The minute the door opened and she saw him, she had an immediate girly rush of being saved from sure peril and nearly threw her arms around him. She twined her fingers together instead. So much for not being a simpering female.

He placed his things on the counter next to her and gave her a concerned look. “You okay?”

Was she okay? Seriously? She was stuck with an idiot who was living out some manly survival fantasy at her expense. Daddy never would have let something like this happen. No old, bold pilots her ass. She put her hand on her hip.

“If you were concerned about my well-being you would have called for help. But no. Here we are like castaways from Gilligan’s Island. Did you make yourself one of those fancy coconut phones for us to try to save ourselves with? Should we go spell out ‘help’ with palm tree fronds across the runway? Oh I know…” She poked him in his chest. “Find some bamboo and make ourselves a rickety raft to push into shark-infested waters.”

Grabbing her fingers in his fist, he leveled his gaze on hers. “We’re hardly castaways, Merilee. I’ll fly us out of here in the morning.”

She yanked her hand from his grasp. “But this island is abandoned. Has been for years. You said so yourself. What are we supposed to do, stay in this tiny shack with the holes in the roof until tomorrow?”

He shook his head and an amused smirk set up camp on his face. “It ain’t exactly the Ritz, doll, but I think even someone such as yourself will be able to pull through somehow.”

“What do you mean, someone such as myself? Do you think I’m overreacting to this…this adventure you’ve thrust upon us? Why for all that’s good and holy can’t you just call in for some goddamn help? Are you such a—”

Her head snapped back from the force of being pulled against him and before she could resist, the brute’s mouth was on hers.

She braced her palms against his chest and tried her hardest to get some space between them, but the more she struggled the more demanding his kiss and the tighter his grip became. And when his tongue swiped the seam of her lips, she gave up fighting completely and surrendered to Lawson.

He was angry. She could feel it in his kiss. But that only made it hotter, heady. His tongue stabbed into her mouth, daring her to pull away, to refuse him entrance. But she wouldn’t. Some part of her had always wondered what he would feel like. Taste like.

And now she knew. He tasted like sin. Forbidden and foolish and impossible to deny.