Valerie stood in the middle of Russ Harper’s cabin, clutching her small purple beaded bag. Now what?
His cabin, far roomier than the one she shared with Jessica, contained more amenities-a compact refrigerator and a microwave took up one small corner space.
You never needed to leave this room if you chose not to. Russ Harper probably always went first class. Valerie wondered what he did for a living that allowed these luxuries-not that it mattered a whole lot. She was content to stay in the present-a present where she could indulge in such fantasies.
In all probability they would not see each other again after the cruise. Like ocean tides, shipboard romances came and went. Once back in the states, her fantasies would burst like floating crowns of soap bubbles, reminding her that her ordinary life held no room for the exotic.
Or, she thought, repressing a giggle, the erotic.
She sat on the bed, which seemed to fill the room, and ventured a look his way.
Russ held a bottle of expensive champagne. He winked at her. Soon the sound of a popping cork broke the silence.
As Russ Harper moved about, the flexing of well-developed muscles was obvious even through the expensive fitted shirt.
"I like the dress," Russ remarked as he effortlessly removed the cork. "Deep purple is your color." He handed her a slender crystal flute he had just filled with the bubbling wine.
Her eyes never left his as she took a tentative sip. A tiny indiscernible voice warned her to leave. She still had time to save herself.
"I’m not sure I should’ve come," she found the courage to admit.
"There’s no reason to be nervous," he said, moving closer. With one finger he gently stroked her bottom lip. "We don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. We can talk…get to know each other better. I do like this purple dress," he softly repeated, his eyes gently raking over her form. "This is definitely your color. Whenever I think about this night, I will always remember you in this dress. It may haunt my dreams.”