“What a glorious day!” Shasa swirled around in the ocean twirling with joy until she was dizzy with pleasure.
Sunlight rippled across the softly shushing waves as she lifted her face to the invigorating warmth of the midday sun. Her Maman was going to be very displeased but she didn’t care. While everyone else hid from the heat, she reveled in the glory of the day.
Most people who came to Port Royal haunted the night.
Wenching, drinking, gambling were the pursuits of the residents, both temporary and permanent. But Shasa loved the daytime and the cleansing rejuvenation of the ocean.
Seagulls squawked, swooping and diving at her basket abandoned in the sand, her lunch still wrapped in cloth. The silky salt water slid over her body as she crawled through the waves and enjoyed the cool caress against her skin.
Her simple cotton shift clung to her body like a lover. Or what she thought a lover would feel like. Maman was trying to keep her innocent but in a depraved and amoral place as Port Royal, her loss of innocence was just a matter of time. Not that she was complaining.
She’d already picked out the man who would divest her of her maidenhead. If only she could convince him. She shifted onto her back, lazily waving her arms through the ocean, trailing her fingers through the clear turquoise water, and imagined trailing her fingers through his beautiful, thick dark hair.
Shasa closed her eyes and daydreamed, letting the images play out in her mind.
He would take her in his strong, trustworthy arms and hold her gently. His kiss would be tender, reverent, nothing like the rough and aggressive carnal acts that the privateers and the bankers visited upon the floozies. She would gaze into his eyes, the same warm brown as her mother’s best rum, and grow intoxicated by his adoration.
Her heartbeat accelerated, booming in her chest as she imagined how it would be.
“What are you doing out here all alone?”
She shrieked and jackknifed away from the gruff voice before she registered that it was him. “Zach?”
Her heart thundered in her chest as she tread water and stared into his serious eyes. Her legs churned through the gently lapping waves.
Her thick braid lay heavy on her shoulder, leading down to her breasts, barely covered by the surging and ebbing water.
“It’s not safe for you,” he growled, the deep rumble of his voice seductively teased her ear.
“I-I’m fine.” She wanted to roll her eyes at her brief stutter. That was not mature or sophisticated. He would never kiss her at this rate. “Besides, you’re here.”
“What if I were someone with nefarious purpose?”
She glanced away from the hypnotic thrill of his dark rum gaze after committing his features to her memory. His fringe of black lashes were spiked from the water, and his thick black hair slicked away from the striking bones of his face, except for one errant hank that fell onto his forehead.
“But you do not have a nefarious purpose.”
He’d clearly doffed his shirt before coming into the ocean after her. Droplets of sea water shimmered like tiny points of light across the smooth expanse of his chest. She found herself enthralled with the play of illumination on his bare skin.
It was most improper for him to be without a shirt and yet she couldn’t bring herself to protest. She licked her lips searching for moisture somewhere to erase the sudden dryness plaguing her mouth.
“You’d be surprised,” he whispered. Zach cupped her cheek with hard, callused fingers. Every place his hand touched her face burned with an odd fire. The sensation was unfamiliar yet pleasant.
He tread closer, his legs tangling with hers.
The hot brand of his other palm against the cool shift at her waist shocked her. But her heart beat in a steady sure rhythm as she understood her dream was finally, finally going to come true.
She moved closer to the heat of his body, the waves pushing them together as if by an unseen hand. A strong swell lobbed her into the hard wall of his chest. The inferno from his body, and oh, the fire in his gaze compelled her, drawing her closer yet.
This was improper.
Very improper. And she was thrilled when his soft breath feathered over her lips. Everything faded into the background, the gulls searching for their lunch, the soft shush of the ocean breaking upon the sand, the gust of warm wind cooling her heated desire.
Slowly, oh so slowly, so as to give her time to pull away he lowered his mouth toward hers.
Her world narrowed to the intense, primal hunger in his gaze, as if he were tortured by some invisible force.
She held her breath, everything zeroed in on Zach. Her heart beat a rapid tattoo against her ribs while anticipation buzzed through her.
At the first brush of his mouth, her lips tingled. The contact was so barely there that she thought perhaps she’d imagined that tentative graze of flesh against flesh. Then, he closed his lips purposefully over her bottom lip, and tugged gently before pulling away.
The pressure ever so slightly more.
No coercion, no demands, just a sweet subtle caress that had her leaning into the hard embrace of his arms.
Then he broke away.
She lifted her lids slowly, the wonder of her first kiss dazzling her. Awe spread through her, lighting her body with the incandescence of the sweet moment.
Her first kiss.
The perfection of her first intimate embrace: in the ocean, her favorite spot in the entire world, with the sweet, gentle man of her dreams. She couldn’t wait for him to do it again. Finally, finally.
What could possibly go wrong?
Archangel Zach Synopsis:
For three hundred years, Zach has suffered under the crushing guilt over his part in the death of his one true love. Since then he’s hidden himself away, dispensing his forgiveness far from the human realm and the threat of more heartbreak...until the day that he is conscripted into war against the angels’ most dangerous enemy…the Grigori.
Every night, Shasa Jefferson dreams the same scene—a far off island, a gorgeous, magical man, and sizzling passion that curls her toes. But getting lost in dreams is no way to live a life…until the day Shasa’s mystery man appears on her doorstep spouting terms she doesn’t understand and forcing her to confront her deepest fears.
Zach is amazed to find the soul of his true love in Shasa, but how long can their rekindled passion survive with the shadow of the Grigori and Zach’s own past transgressions threatening to tear them apart?
Archangel Zach is the third installment in The Seven series, featuring hot Archangels and their human loves. The Seven Archangels, Guardians to Earth, have lost touch with the human realm, dwelling in the Third Sphere and watching over the earth from afar...until their mortal enemies escape from banishment determined to wreak destruction on Earth and the Angelic Realm. Suddenly, the Archangels must team up with the humans and all hell breaks loose.
USA Today Bestselling Author Lisa Hughey has been writing romance since the fourth grade, which was also about the time she began her love affair with spies. Harriet and Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys later gave way to James Bond and Lara Croft and Jason Bourne. Exploring the complex nature of a profession that requires subterfuge and lies fascinates her. She loves combining her two passions into fiction. As evidenced by her Black Cipher Files series.
Recently she's been immersed in the Stone Family novellas, stories about a blended family of brothers and a sister who have a lot more in common than they realize. But of course she couldn't just write about family and romance. There are complex plots, bad guys, and suspense too.
Taking a break from romantic suspense, Lisa entered the paranormal world of the Angelic Realm. The Seven deals with forbidden relationships between humans and Archangels. At its heart, Rafe is a novel about the dynamic of family relationships. As this series evolves, the core story continues to be about love triumphing in the face of opposition and heartache. (The really hot Archangels don't hurt.)
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