Oliver London has no problem standing stark-ass naked in front of a group of strangers.

As a figure model, it’s afforded the nearly starving artist the time and means he needs to paint.

Stori Ryder runs one of Manhattan’s most popular speakeasies, Whiskey River.

She’s focused on her career and intent on securing a stable future after an unstable past.

Fourteen years ago, the high school sweethearts parted on a sour note.

When best friends invite them on a fabulous French Riviera wedding cruise, Oliver and Stori remember what it was that drew them together all those years ago.

Excerpt

OLIVER

The rest of the night was spent lost in her face, or maybe more adrift in the stormy blue of her eyes. I was in familiar territory. It took me back to high school and the effect she’d had. I tried to look away from the details, like the faint freckles across her straight-edged nose, the bow of her kissable lips. But there was no ignoring the colors that make her, the mahogany hair, the ivory skin, the natural blush of her cheeks. In my imagination I’ve already mixed the paint.

I remember how it felt to have my arm around the curve of her waist and how her ass looked in those velvety pants girls used to wear. That’s as far as I got back then, just looking and a little over the bra fumbling. She blocked every attempt I made. But it was enough to kick off my masturbatory fantasies for years, when even porn came in a distant second to my innocent memories of the girl.

It was work to concentrate on the night’s conversations, to ignore her gifts and their effect. I did a lousy job of it. Because everything about Stori has been enhanced with time. I could have spent days just listening to her laugh. There’s nothing lukewarm about the woman. It wasn’t my imagination that my set-in-steel life plan shivered with just the sight of her.

Leslie Pike

Leslie Pike

lives in Orange County, California, with her husband Don, and their Pom-Poo, Mr. Big. Before writing her first novel, Leslie worked as a screenwriter on episodic television. She’s traveled the world with her Stuntman/Stunt Coordinator/Second Unit Director husband. They’ve been on movie sets from Africa to Israel, from New York to Los Angeles. Some of Leslie’s favorite things include calligraphy, long walks with her friends and afternoons at the movies.