Deadly Paradise River of Fear Sins of Her Father

Kathleen Mix

Thrilling Stories of Romance and Suspense

Beyond Paradise

Beyond Paradise

Even the deepest love needs an air supply...

Dive shop manager Marina Hernandez is carrying a heavy load as she tries to save the family business. On one shoulder rides a bucket of red ink. On the other, her father’s age-old cultural belief that women belong in the kitchen. Now that a cutthroat competitor has pushed her to the brink of bankruptcy, any chance she'll ever win her father’s respect is fading fast. The last thing she can afford right now is the complication of a tempting man.

After years of building his practice, pediatrician Brett Sutherland has changed his focus. He seeks a more well-rounded life, including a woman who'll devote herself to caring for a family. Workaholics need not apply. Then he signs up for scuba lessons, and Marina's luminous eyes and spirited personality turn his neat, logical plan upside down.

Brett's dazzling looks heat her blood, and his compassionate nature makes her yearn to build her own life - but not if it means letting the business collapse. A little harmless flirtation couldn't hurt, though. Yet with every kiss, she's stretched thinner between the promise of Brett's love and her father's expectations. Until a critical decision pushes them both to the breaking point... 


    Ay caramba. Why now? "I'm sorry, we're closed."
    Marina huffed out her breath, hating the idea of sending away a customer. But she had no choice. She was already running late.
     The man ignored her warning and let the door swing shut behind him. "I'm here to sign up for tonight's introductory SCUBA session. Has it started yet?"
     She glanced at the clock: two minutes after seven. "No. And it can't start until I get to the pool area. I'm the instructor."
     Worried someone else would come in and delay her schedule more, Marina rushed to the front door and slid the deadbolt across. When she turned back toward the man, her gaze met a pair of mesmerizing blue eyes.
     He flashed a smile. "Does the fact that you're locking me in mean I can stay?"
     Without any time to stare at his gorgeous eyes, she blinked and considered his question. To remain in business, she needed every student she could get. "Yes, you can stay."
     "Great. What do I need to do?"
     She scanned his chestnut brown hair, the laugh lines at the corners of his eyes and the thick eyelashes that were too perfect to belong to any man. She had no idea what he needed to do, other than sweep her into his arms and whisk her away to the Caribbean.
     "Ah...a liability waver, you need to sign a liability waver."
     After a long silence, his expression turned puzzled. "May I have one, please?"
     He slipped a well-manicured hand inside his suit jacket and removed a gold-trimmed pen from his pocket. Meanwhile, she stole another look at his face.
     Earth to Marina, the logical half of her brain yelled. Escúcheme. Listen to me. A liability waver, get one!
     Her cheeks heated. She rushed behind the checkout counter and grabbed a registration packet. She wondered why he made her feel short of breath like she'd just finished swimming a marathon and why she wanted to stare at him as if she'd never seen a man before. But her brain failed to supply a reason.
     Get your mind back on business, she scolded herself. There's no time in the schedule for you to act like a giddy teenager. You have people waiting to start a class.
     She turned back toward him, and her mouth went slightly dry. She drew in a huge breath, straightened her shoulders, placed the registration packet on the counter and removed the top form.
     "Please read and sign this liability waiver, then you can participate in the introductory session. If you decide to continue with lessons, you can fill out the rest of the registration packet later. Right now, I'm short on time, and I'd like to get started."
     He bent his head over the paper, was silent for half a minute, then scrawled a signature.
     She squinted at the bold, but completely illegible, signature at the bottom of the page and searched for letters in the dips and spikes. Unable to decipher the hieroglyphics, she asked, "Would you print your name under your signature please?"
     His printing was slightly more legible. Marina watched him spell out Brett before she glanced up. The overhead lights reflected off his hair, and her fingers tingled with the desire to find out if the strands felt as silky as they looked. She interlocked her fingers behind her back to keep them under control.
     "Thank you, Brett. Did you bring a swimsuit?"
     He held up a blue gym bag. "Right here."
     "Good." She pointed toward a doorway at the far corner of the showroom. "The locker rooms are through there. If you'll change, then go out to the pool area and join the others, we'll begin."
     He nodded and strode away.
     For a few seconds, Marina watched, imagining him undressing and wondering what it would feel like to help him remove his shirt. If he looked so fabulous fully clothed, he'd probably look phenomenal in a swimsuit.
     She blinked. Then mortified at her unprofessional thoughts, she knocked her fist twice against her forehead to make her brain behave and hurried out to the pool.

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