It Started in Paradise

By: Nicki Night

CHAPTER 1

“I saw you looking at him,” Jewel Chandler teased her older sister, sipped her cocktail and then lay back on her lounge chair.

Chloe Chandler choked back a laugh. “I wasn’t looking at anyone.” Turning her head in the other direction, she shielded her eyes from the glaring sun. She’d seen him all right. All six feet four inches of his muscular frame draped in skin so rich and smooth, it could have been dripping from a fondue pot.

“Humph! Whatever you say, Sissy.” Jewel waved her off. “There’s never been anything wrong with looking. It’s the touching that gets people in trouble! But who am I to tell you to play by anybody’s rules?”

“Exactly. Now hush!” Chloe laughed. As the oldest, she’d always been careful to set a good example. Not that it helped at all. All three of her younger siblings were rebels in their own rights.

Donovan Rivers jumped into the hotel’s Olympic-size pool, sliced through the water as smoothly as a knife cutting ice cream and popped up on the opposite side. The water cascading down his taut back made Chloe hiss.

Jewel sat up, lifted her wide-brimmed hat meant to block the sun and tilted her sunglasses downward. “You’re a liar if you tell me you didn’t see that gorgeousness rise from that water like a Greek god.” Jewel sat back and chuckled.

Chloe couldn’t help but laugh with her. “No one wants Donovan.”

“And there’s another lie.”

“Jewel!”

Jewel twisted her lips at Chloe. “Plenty of women want him. I happen to know a few of them rather well and so do you. Humph! A woman would be crazy not to want a man like him or his brother.”

“You know our mother would have an emotional breakdown if one of us were to mess around with one of those Rivers boys.” Chloe lay back on her lounger, closed her eyes and crossed her feet.

“And that is just what makes it so much fun. Forbidden fruit is always the sweetest!” Jewel snickered.

Chloe sat up. “What?”

She laughed full out this time.

Chloe’s eyes widened and her mouth fell open. “Have you messed around with one of those Rivers men?” Chloe wouldn’t put it past her sister.

“Sure did, and it was good and so much fun!”

“And you never told me?” Still seated, Chloe parked her hands on her hips.

“Nope!” Jewel pursed her lips.

Offended, Chloe gasped. There were never any secrets among the sisters. “When?”

“Last summer, and I never said anything because you would have told me not to do it.” Jewel swung her legs over the deck chair and faced Chloe. “I wanted to do it. I did it and I liked it—a lot!” She squealed. “It only lasted a few delicious weeks but then we moved on. It was more like…” Jewel thought for a moment “…an extended fling, but it certainly was fun while it lasted.”

Chloe squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head. “I can’t believe you! Was it Donovan?”

“No. It was Dayton.” Jewel closed her eyes and moaned as if she’d eaten a decadent bite of dessert.

Chloe giggled, despite feeling snubbed. The talk about the forbidden rendezvous made her giddy. Her sisters lived much riskier lives than she ever had. One day she’d take a page from their book. “I still can’t believe you hid that juicy little tidbit from me.” Chloe tossed her towel at Jewel. She blocked it.

“I’m sorry.” Jewel pouted. “Do you forgive me?”

“Of course I do, but don’t ever leave me out of the loop again.”

“Good. I won’t. I promise,” Jewel said before standing. “You need to get yourself a piece of forbidden action someday, too. You won’t believe how delightful it can be.” Jewel slid her arms through her sheer white cover-up. “Perhaps Donovan could be the perfect candidate.”

“Oh no!” Chloe wagged her finger. “I don’t think so.”

Jewel flashed a sly smile. “Don’t worry. I wouldn’t tell anyone.”

Chloe rolled her eyes toward the sky. “I’m not indulging in this foolishness.” She stood too, grabbed her cell phone and the magazine she’d intended to read at the poolside but never opened. “Let’s go get ready for our dinner meeting.”

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