After a charged encounter on a ferry ride in the Greek isles, two young lovers discover their spark of attraction may have been in the making for years. Will the stars align this time, or will their chances die with the past?
Sparks fly from the start for Jennifer and Matt, but both harbor secrets from their past that could drive them apart before the truth can bring them together.
A 24,000 word novella
What are people are saying about To Kiss You Again?
Five Stars – Annie Walls
I honestly never thought I’d ever want to run into my first crush until now. While different from Brandie’s other works, this one weaves a winsome tale of forgotten yearning, love at first sight, and instant passion. I loved it. Kudos to Ms. Buckwine. She certainly has a knack of making me forget everything around me.
Five Stars – Ellison James
I bought this ebook and became so enthrawled, I neglected everything until I was finished. I just couldn’t put it down. The characters had depth and motivations I could identify with while, at the same time, being complex. I found myself effortlessly falling into the head of each of the characters, often thinking “I could totally see myself thinking/doing that” and the erotic parts seemed completely natural, not contrived or put in with no benefit. Of course, they were still extremely hot. Great story. Highly recommend! I’d give it six stars if I could squeeze another one out of this rating system!
The sting of a paper cut rouses me from my book. I inspect my leg and see dots of blood lining up like well-trained soldiers. Carla swats me again with her island brochure, this time, with the smooth face.
“He’s staring at you again.”
“For that, you have to draw blood?” I pull my knees up, moving my legs beyond her reach, and dab at the blood with my finger. From my prone position on the bench, I tilt my head, just a little, and peer from the corner of my eye. The newspaper decoy doesn’t fool me, even if I can hear him turn the page every few minutes. From the moment Carla and I board the ferry and claim our bench on deck, his stare burns into my consciousness, the weight of his attention affecting every action and every thought. Even my book can’t keep me occupied for longer than it takes to read the same sentence four or five times, its message well beyond my scattered thoughts.
“I can see your underwear,” she says. I bring my knees together. “Now that guy over there can see.”
The back of the bench is grimy from salt and soot, and after I pull myself to a sitting position, my hand is grimy too. A quick look around assures me no one saw my underwear, not even my admirer across the way. Behind his sunglasses, I know he still watches. Not as bold as he, I steal glances when I can. The light breeze tosses his hair across chiseled features. I imagine his eyes are dark, deep pools. I imagine a lot of things about him that may or may not be true. One minute he’s a brooding, silent type – his heart broken one too many times, afraid to trust again, until I change his mind. The next, he’s a light hearted, fun-loving guy – one who takes pleasure where he finds it, and today, he’s found me.
“I’m gonna go get a coffee. You want one?”
“I’ll go with you.” I stand and smooth my dress down my sides. Still, he watches.
“You can’t. Someone has to stay with our stuff.”
In a moment of brazenness, I approach the reader. “Will you watch our bags for a couple of minutes?” His newspaper is American.
“Sure.” His voice is smooth and deep, like velvet, yet reveals a hint of surprise, and … anticipation? The shoulder strap of my dress slips down my arm. When I slide my hand up to right it, the corners of his mouth twitch – probably imperceptible to someone who isn’t watching closely.
Carla pulls at my arm. “Come on.” I follow her across the deck, but the feel of his gaze stays with me until we step into the ship’s main cabin.
“You’re not allowed to hook up on the boat.”
“It’s not a hook-up. It’s a fantasy, and you’re welcome to find your own.” The look on her face tells me she gets the message, but it still bugs her. Her jealousy always astounds me.
We order iced coffees and I ask for a bottle of water. Carla raises her brow. “His was empty.” I smile, and she shakes her head. Back on deck, I hand him the water and offer my thanks. The timbre of his voice gives nothing away. It occurs to me to strike up a conversation, but I choose to keep the fantasy alive and return to my seat.
Our game of peek-a-boo continues until sunset. At one point, he reclines on his bench, using his bag for a pillow, and I fear I’ve lost his attention. Soon, he rolls to his side, and I know he’s watching again. A group of retro-hippies play guitar and sing across the deck, and Carla joins them. I pull my sunglasses from my knapsack and join my watcher in the game.
Though it is hot, he wears jeans and a button-down, blue cotton shirt with the sleeves rolled up. It clings to his body in places. I stare and imagine pulling the fabric away. I blow across his skin to cool him. When I close my eyes, I can hear him suck in his breath, see his nipples pebble under my cooling breeze. I sniff the air to scent him, but the aroma of sunscreen is too strong for my imagination to overcome.
A bead of sweat trails from my brow, into my eye. The piercing sting has me yanking off my shades and dabbing my eye. Salt on my fingers makes it worse, so I lean over and use the hem of my dress to soak up my tears. When I can blink without the burn, I raise back up to find him sitting once more, his arms stretched wide across the back of his bench. One hand holds his sunglasses and he gifts me a bright smile, one backed by the intensity of his gaze. My hunch about his eyes is correct — they are dark, and full of mirth. His full-toothed grin flatters me, but then, once I think about it, I realize I probably flashed my tits, and maybe my crotch too, when I leaned over to tend my eye. This morning’s last minute wardrobe change — my original choice of dress had a built-in bodice — left me braless. The rush of blood to my cheeks is instant. I quickly don my sunglasses again and feign ignorance.
Instinctively, I know I’ve lost the air of mystery and aloofness I so carefully cultivated through the afternoon. In return for his smile, I give him my back and conk out on the bench.
The ship’s dinner bell wakes me. Carla sits at my feet, playing with her phone. My arm is asleep and bears the grooves left by the slats of the bench.
“Hey, sleepy head.”
The opposite bench is empty, but his luggage remains. “Don’t worry. He’ll be back,” she assures me.
“Who?” It sounds stupid, even to me.
“Said he wanted to explore the ship.”
“You talked to him?” How did I sleep through that?
“He asked me to watch his stuff, though we could barely hear each other over your snoring.”
The numbness in my arm is replaced by sharp pricklies. I shake it vigorously. By the time the sun slips under the horizon, he is back and Carla naps. When he smiles, I pretend not to notice. Why? Why am I afraid to act on my urges? The truth scares me. I know the answer. Because the fantasy is safe. In the fantasy, no one disappoints and no one gets hurt. The fantasy can live forever, while the reality can be a devastating blow, from which it might take months, years to recover. My first love left me paralyzed. I was in art school before I risked my heart again, and even then, I held back.
His eyes follow me as I head for the snack-bar inside the ship. “What do you want?” the attendant asks with a thick accent. The question, while expected, rattles me. I want the man who has occupied my vivid imagination all day. The man whose essence calls to me, beckoning me to take a chance. “Miss, what do you want?”
“Dio biras,” I decide.
He slaps the counter with both hands. “Malista. Dio biras.”
Before I exit, I stop and take a deep, calming breath. Though I purchased the extra beer, my raw nerves still threaten mutiny, arguing with my conscience to back out while there is still time – time to escape certain disaster. An audible swallow pushes my doubts away. When I emerge from the cabin, I slip behind him, unnoticed, with a beer in each hand. The ship’s lights are now on, and combined with the purple and orange of the sky, everything looks…peachy. I reach the railing and look over the side to the dark sea passing far below. My pulse is pounding, threatening to drown out the sound of the ferry and the displaced water. What if he doesn’t look for me? Doesn’t miss me? What if I end up standing here, alone, drinking two beers in the fading light?
The hair on the back of my neck rises and I know he’s found me. Beside me, he too leans against the railing. My head is ringing with excitement and fear, but I manage to hand him the extra beer. He takes it and smiles, but it’s not the same, cocky smile from earlier. This smile is shy, and I can see he is also vulnerable, nervous.
I’m glad. I didn’t figure him for a player, and his expression proves he is not. With nothing to hide them, his eyes tell a tale. He is curious about me, and maybe he’s created his own fantasy and also worries the reality won’t be as good. With no words, he taps his bottle to my own and we gaze out, over the sea. I want to look at him again, but I won’t. Not yet. For now, I will get used to my body’s response to his closeness. My pulse still races, but the panic is gone.
For a long time, no words pass between us. It’s like we are getting acquainted in a spatial and spiritual way. How much is real and how much is imagined, I don’t know, but I feel we are connected on an alternate level — maybe physical, too, because my body aches to touch him. As though reading my mind, he inches closer until our elbows meet on the railing. The touch sparks off a chain-reaction of electrical impulses throughout my body, each urging me to act. Touch. More. My brain is flooded by a chemical release. Probably pheromones. I can literally feel the vibes I’m sending out, and when I dare to look at him, he is flushed and staring at me, eyes wide. We both swallow and breathe. I turn to face the looming darkness once again. Beyond my fear, there is comfort. This is where I’m meant to be, with him.
“It’s a beautiful night,” I remark to clear my mind.
“More so than any other.” I feel him smile at me, and now I blush.
“One of a kind.” I can think of nothing better to say.
We begin to talk, but not about ourselves and our lives. He tells me about the stars and constellations. “Greek mythology explains the rising and setting of the stars as Atlas spinning a dome housing the stars. As he turns, the constellations travel across the sky, rising in the east and setting in the west.”
Though I am familiar with mythology, I am enthralled. It occurs to me that the reason for my interest has more to do with watching him speak and less with the explanation, but I listen like a child hearing a bedtime story. One, or both, of us has moved closer because now we are touching from elbow to shoulder.
“Do you see that group of stars over there?” he asks, pointing south. His finger traces an outline against the sky.
He smiles. “Yes, Scorpio. Do you know the story behind it?” His face only inches from mine, he brushes my hair with his finger tips, and tucks it behind my ear. Gooseflesh spreads across my skin.
“I know that the scorpion killed Orion because he claimed he would kill all the animals.” Can he hear the beat of my heart in my voice? I swallow hard and the sound echoes through my head.
“There is another story that says Orion fled to the sea to escape Scorpion, and he swam to the island of Delos to meet his lover, Artemis. But Apollo was angry with Artemis, and challenged her to a duel of hunting skills. The challenge was to shoot an object in the sea that approached the island. Artemis won, but what she shot was her lover, Orion, coming to find her.”
“That is terrible. Greek gods are horrible, vindictive, mean spirited.” I stare into his eyes. “I like your story better.”
“I do too.” I glance at his mouth. Its shape is perfect. As though in slow motion, his tongue peeks out and moistens his delectable lips. I wet my own in response, and all I can think of is what it would feel like to have those lips attached to mine. “Where are you and your friend headed?”
I tell him our destination is the next stop on the Greek island hopper’s route. I can feel the thud of my heart drop clear to my toes when he tells me his trip will take him several islands away. In unison, we turn back to the dark sea and nurse our beers. My head tells me to go back to Carla, get out while I still can. What is the point in continuing this little play? Yes, it’s fun, but is it worth days spent wishing there could have been more? I want to leave, but his touch against my arm is like glue, holding me to the spot.
My lovely stranger drops his bottle to the deck and pulls me into his arms, locking me in a desperate embrace. My own bottle falls from my hand. I push at his shoulders.
“Don’t.” His dark eyes pull at me, even as I try to squirm free. “It’s not worth it.”
“Not worth it?” The stutter of my heart is unmistakable as his lips brush across mine. I am lost. “How can this not be worth it?” He commits to the kiss, his lips gently tugging at mine, his tongue teasing them, pleading for admittance. By the time I allow the contact, I’m a little dizzy. It’s like no kiss I’ve ever known.
My hands move to fist the front of his shirt and pull him close. We stay like that for what could be hours – I don’t know. All I do know is that I’ve found a bit of heaven, and I swear no force in the world could pull me away. Wrapped tightly in his arms, his erection presses against my abdomen. I can’t stop the tickle inside, and my panties grow wet.
He breaks the kiss and pulls me, stumbling, to the end of the deck, a dark corner, just beyond the reach of the light. We resume our passionate hold, our lips lock once again, and my brain loses the capacity for rational thought. His hands cradle the small of my back, but soon travel to stroke and squeeze my ass. When he pulls at my cheeks, I feel my nether lips part and I gasp for air. All I want is for him to throw me down on the deck and fuck me senseless, even if other travelers are watching. Instead, he kisses a path down my neck while his hand rises to cup my breast. Through the fabric of my dress, he grazes my nipple before gently pressing it between his fingers.
The world around us is long gone. My focus is on him and the way his touch sears my soul. The hardness of his cock is digging into my stomach, and I realize the pressure comes from my hands pulling him to me. He pushes the offending material away from my breast, bends his head and laves at my stiffened nipple before pulling it between his lips. I briefly look around to see if anyone notices me moaning and groaning like a porn star from his attentions, but we are alone.
His hand slips under the hem of my dress and travels up my thigh and hip, to the leg band of my panties. One by one, his fingers slide under the elastic until he holds the flesh of my ass in his palm. Still, his mouth sucks at my bud while his fingers work their way across my cheek, following the natural depression leading to my sex. I bite my lip just as a finger glides along my slit and he raises his head to reclaim my mouth. Little bursts of my stuttered breath meet his kiss. My knees feel weak, but his free arm hugs me around the waist to hold me steady. With little effort, he finds the sweet spot between my legs and works it like it’s something he’s done every day of his life. Another finger dips inside my opening, blindly forging a path into my depths.
I grab for his cock in near panic, so consuming is his touch. My fingers trace along either side of his hardened length, and I feel him twitch under my hand. When I unbutton his jeans and release him, it jumps into my grasp, longing to be stroked and pleasured too. I am relieved, now, to know his enjoyment must be close to mine – his fingers exploring me and driving me to indescribable ecstasy.
He is out of breath when he holds me against the railing and lifts me slightly off the ground, one hand wrapped around each of my thighs, my panties pulled to the side as he aims to impale me with his thick spear. I’m so close to coming already from his fingering alone, I know it won’t take much to send me over the edge.
“Oh, baby girl, I wanna fuck you,” he whispers in my ear as he presses his cock into my opening.
The blast of the ship’s horn stops us cold. Two more times it blows, and I look over my shoulder to see the lighted waterfront of the island village. Beyond us, people begin to move – waking from their long-journey’s-trance and gathering their bags. A girl twenty feet away stands and shoulders her backpack with a glance our way. I push at him until he lets me slide to the ground, his cock bouncing in confusion and unrequited passion.
“I have to go,” I say, straightening my dress and reaching behind my back to tug my underwear into place. Stretching to the tip of my toes, I kiss him again. After he stows his erection and zips his pants, he pulls me close.
“Change your plans and come to Rhodes,” he pleads.
I feel a little guilty about my laughter. “I can’t.” My arms push him away. “I have to go, but thank you so much.” I know my face is flushed. “It’s been a lovely trip.”
In the distance, I see Carla looking around and I head in her direction. From behind me, he calls, “Wait! I don’t even know your name.”
I turn and smile, my heart still racing. “I’m kind of sold on ‘baby girl.’ The way you say it is so … hot.” When I turn back toward Carla, I know he stands with his mouth agape. At our bench, I grab my bag and push her toward the stairs. I want to get away before he has a chance to approach me again. By the time he comes to his senses and returns to his spot, we are halfway down the stairs to the gangplank. My heart aches as I lose sight of him. I can see the hurt on his face.
It is late evening when we finally disembark, but the port is bustling with new and departing visitors, men and women hawking ‘rooms’ for the newcomers, and the normal host of people parading the waterfront, out on the town for a Saturday night. I point to a row of waiting taxis.
“Can’t we stay in town for a few hours?” Carla asks. “I want to check out some of those clubs you talk so much about.”
“It’s late, and we have our luggage.” I continue toward the queue. She stands her ground and pouts. “Fine, you stay and find your own way to the house.” I’m in no mood to fight with her. The trip was long and emotionally exhausting. All I want to do is stretch out on the familiar veranda with a drink and fantasize about my beautiful stranger. Fighting off the Greek playboys at the bars is the last thing I need.
By the time I secure the first taxi in line, Carla is waiting behind the car to load her bags into the trunk. We don’t speak on the short ride to the villa, and I wish she had stayed in town – wish for solitude in my homecoming. After I take her to her room, she knows I don’t want to talk.
The bottle of wine I had stowed in my bag opens with ease, and I pour two glasses. I take mine and head off. I don’t care if she follows me or goes to bed. The bars locking the doors to the veranda take a little more muscle than normal, having not moved in over four months, but finally lift away from their encasements and let me outside. It only takes a moment to untie the tarp from the daybed and remove the captain’s chairs. I open one and set it in my usual spot, lift my feet to the marble table, and look out over the moonlit sea. I am home.
The sun is barely over the eastern mountains when I wake. It’s funny how easily I slip into my old routine – don my flimsy robe, start a pot of coffee, and head down the dirt path through the orchard to the beach. I think my morning swim is what I miss most when I’m away. This time of day, the water is so calm and glassy. I drop my robe to the sand and run at the water, my dive propelling me out, into the cove – no suit to slow me down. As my momentum slows and I reach the surface, I turn to glide on my back. At first, I squint against the sun, but then I turn and swim farther out. My heart fills with joy as I swim my laps, stopping occasionally to dive under and look for unsuspecting creatures, sometimes, to do an underwater flip. The salt water burns my eyes and blurs my vision, but swimming with a mask is cumbersome.
On my second dive under, I spy an octopus scurrying under a rock. Natural instinct makes me want to give chase, surprise him in his hideaway and harvest him from the sea, but I don’t want to be bothered with beating and scrubbing him against the rocks to tenderize him. Maybe tomorrow. Now that I know where he lives, his days are numbered. No, today I just want to enjoy my homecoming, even if it includes taking Carla into town.
When my muscles tingle from the exercise, I leave the crisp water behind and rinse away the salt residue under the makeshift shower my father and I built years ago. Hot days have warmed the tank, so I bathe in leisure. I close my eyes and allow my hands to travel over my body, to remember the thrill of the stranger’s touch. It was like a feather, so tenderly did he caress my skin. With one hand, I tweak the nipple he gently sucked, and with the other, I reach for my sex, my clit already throbbing with the memory. I run my finger along my slit, back and forth, until I’m sloppy wet. Remembering how he came at me from behind and knew exactly how and where to touch has me gasping for air. My pussy oozes lubricating juices – they give me heightened sensation and allow me to manipulate my clit just so, and when I finally spear myself, my g-spot too. There is no wall to lean against as my body becomes weak from my approaching climax, so I widen my stance and brace my foot against the short enclosure of the shower. I am so close, but I need more, and I let one hand take over clit duties so the other can add fingers to pound into my flesh. A fog of pleasure closes around my mind. I briefly open my eyes. There, just behind the rock wall, Carla’s head dips out of sight. I am too far gone at this point. I can almost feel his hips thrusting against me as his cock rips through my tender flesh. Even though she watches, the fantasy of my stranger fucking me brings my orgasm crashing down.
After the very satisfying shower, I lie on another stretch of wall to dry in the sun and give Carla time to make her escape. The sun bakes into my skin, and through closed lids, red spots dance across my vision. I think about Carla’s voyeurism. While it seems I should feel embarrassed to be caught red-handed, so to speak, I don’t really care. Somehow, entering my mid twenties has left me less self conscious, less likely to give a rat’s ass about what anyone thinks. Except my stranger. I wonder what he thinks of me – the way I deserted him, left him wanting more, the way I let him fondle my flesh and my fantasy, but wouldn’t give him my name. Will he think of me affectionately in the years to come? Will he be angry and think me a whore? Will he remember me at all, or will the tryst fade away, like a tan come winter?
What if I had stayed on the ferry and followed him to his island? We could have found a secluded spot and made love until the ship’s horn blew again, I am sure. Days we could have spent as carefree lovers, vacationing in the summer sun, dancing the nights away in a fancy club … fucking each other’s brains out every night, until the sun came up and we could no longer walk straight.
But what if he is meeting friends? What then? Or, maybe he is on a working vacation, and I would be left to my own devices for hours on end, too tired from waiting when he finally arrives back at our room to wake for him. Then I start to wonder, what if he came with me, to my home, and there was no Carla? A smile plays on my lips as I imagine us swimming naked and making love anywhere the mood strikes us. He playfully slaps my bare ass as I cook for him, in the nude. Pretty much everything I imagine us doing, we do in the nude.
The sun is beginning to burn my skin, so I rise and fetch my robe from the sand. I look up and down the beach and see empty bottles and trash left behind by intruders. While I call it my private beach, it really isn’t. The cove is small, and when I am home, I can usually scare off unwanted visitors, but when I’m away I can’t keep them out. Later, I will return with a bag and clean up the litter of the trespassers.
On my way back to the house, I stop in the orchard and pick some Valencia oranges for breakfast. My farmer neighbor tends the trees when I am out of the country, and in return, I let him pick and sell the harvest in town. I will stop by his house later and let him know he can begin bringing eggs and milk again.
Carla is in the shower when I return to the villa. She has put a good dent in the coffee, but several cups remain. I pour one and head to my studio. Though it is dark and damp, but the problem is easily remedied when I open the shutters and windows, and the light Mediterranean breeze blows through the room. I unpack the art supplies I purchased on my trip. My pulse is racing. For months, I’ve waited to get back to work. Sketching and doodling through the long stretches of art shows and gallery openings can never sate my hunger to create. It is a necessary evil, but by the time I get home from every journey, I can barely contain my giddiness to get started. However, it will have to wait.
“So can we go into town now?” Carla asks from the door. I nod. We need supplies, and I know she’ll never handle it on her own.
“Yeah. Give me a few minutes to get ready.” After a deep breath and a quick look around my haven, I follow her out the door. “There are fresh oranges in the kitchen if you want some.”