Adam has had his heart ripped out before. But there’s nothing he and Lindsay haven’t been able to overcome. Nothing that could tear them apart… until now.
After nine years of being back on the competition circuit, Adam is at the top of his game in the surf world. But troubles at home have forced him to consider retiring earlier than expected.
With the possibility of a final competition in his future, the pressure is on Adam to perform; to leave on a high note. Long hours practicing at the beach and weeks away from his family at exotic locations only causes more turmoil between him and Lindsay. Until finally, the stress reaches a boiling point and someone gets burned.
I approach slowly, not wanting to anger it, then I position my shoe in just the right spot before I bring it down fast on top of the cockroach. A sickening crunch tells me I destroyed him, but Lindsay still cowers on the bed, her back against the headboard and knees hugged tightly to her chest. I slowly remove my size-thirteen sneaker from the wall where the three-inch-long flying cockroach was perched.
It twitches slightly and Lindsay lets out a shrill scream. “I hate this resort!”
The 80-percent-dead roach falls to the floor on its back and makes a halfhearted effort to turn itself over.
Lindsay continues to scream. “Don’t just stare at it. Put it out of its misery! It’s suffering!”
I shake my head. “Sorry, little guy. But you have to die or I’ll never have sex tonight. It’s survival of the fittest.”
I swat the roach one last time, then I scoop it up with some toilet paper and flush it away. After I wash off the bottom of my shoe, I come out of the bathroom ready to consummate our unofficial second honeymoon. But Lindsay is curled up on her side, hugging herself.
“Come on, baby. It was just one monster-sized flying roach.” I sit on the edge of the bed and push her golden-blonde hair out of her face. “We’re on the edge of a tropical island. There’s probably critters in all the hotel rooms in this area. I’ll bet they even serve the roaches as a delicacy at the Four Seasons.”
“You’re literally making me sick with fear.”
The bungalow on the beach in Tahiti is one of the shittiest rooms we’ve stayed in since I began surfing competitively again nine years ago. Nine years. I can’t believe I was afraid my dad would tell me twenty-three was too old to start competing again after a two-year hiatus. Well, I’m thirty-two now and at the top of my game. So why the fuck am I staying in a shitty room like this?
It’s all my fault.
The resort sold me a package, which included a bungalow on the sand and a couples’ massage in their “five-diamond” spa. I’m not allowed to get a massage from anyone other than Edie, my sports physician. But I thought Lindsay would appreciate it. And I was afraid if I didn’t book the package right away, Lindsay would change her mind about coming with me.
She’s only four months pregnant with our third, but she’s already mega stressed about this child. Our youngest, Mila, is just out of diapers. But now that our oldest, Kaia, is entering fourth grade soon, we decided to put her in a private school in Wilmington. We weren’t happy with the two private tutors we’d hired for her, and Lindsay doesn’t feel confident that her English degree is sufficient to homeschool the kids herself. This means we had to sell the house in Carolina Beach and move to Wilmington. It also means that from now on, I’ll be traveling to events all over the world alone.
This event in Teahupoʻo, Tahiti, is officially the last one Lindsay will be attending with me. Which is why we decided to leave my trainer at home and come here alone. We left the kids with Lindsay’s mom, Lillian, for nine days while we enjoy our moldy bungalow “just steps from the beach.” This is our fifth day here and tomorrow I have to be at the beach at six in the morning for the first heat in the quarterfinal, and I always perform better when I’ve had sex the night before.
I’m going to have to seduce her.
I tuck a lock of Lindsay’s hair behind her ear and she shudders. She always gets goose bumps when I touch her ears. I trace my fingers lightly down her jawline until I reach her chin.
I gently grab her chin between my thumb and forefinger and turn her head so she’s facing me. “I’m sorry this resort sucks.” I lean down and plant a soft kiss on her lips, then I pull away just far enough so our noses are still touching and she can feel my breath on her lips. “But I think I know how I can make it up to you.”
She lets out a soft puff of laughter. “This isn’t going to work, Adam. The moment passed. I just want to go to sleep. Actually, I just want this trip to be over. If you really want to make it up to me, you can fast-forward through the next three days.”
This is the longest Lindsay has ever been away from the girls. We were supposed to take an eight-day honeymoon after we got married, but Lindsay’s constant worrying about Kaia caused us to cut the trip to three days. Lindsay frets over the kids feeling our absence, especially mine. Since Kaia’s biological father died when she was just a couple of months old, Lindsay believes it’s important for the girls not to feel as if I’m a temporary presence in their lives.
I’ve been away from the kids for as long as twenty-three days at a time. Sometimes events are scheduled so close together, it makes more sense to travel straight from one location to the next instead of making a pit stop at home in between. Those are the events Lindsay refuses to attend. It’s hard enough to travel with two children. But when you add Mila, it’s just too hard to be away from home that long.
That’s a joke Lindsay would appreciate, me referring to myself as a child. You have to have a childlike sense of adventure when you get paid to surf. When people who don’t recognize me ask what I do for a living, I always tell them I get paid to play in the ocean. Of course, it’s getting more difficult to find people who don’t recognize me.
I stand from the mattress and round the bed to go to the other side. “Okay, let’s go to sleep.”
I slide in under the covers, but I don’t bother to turn off the bedside lamp. I scoot in closer to Lindsay so I can spoon her, then I brush her hair away from her neck and curl my arm around her waist.
Sliding my hand just under the waistband of her panties, I hold my hand over her abdomen. “I can’t wait to meet this little guy.”
“You don’t even know if it’s a boy,” she replies, laying her hand over my hand and threading her fingers through mine.
I nuzzle my face into the curve of her neck. “Don’t argue with me, or I’ll force you to go without sex tonight.”
I lay a tender kiss on the soft skin behind her ear and her fingers tighten around my hand. “I really wanted this to be a romantic getaway for us.”
I run the tip of my nose along the outer curve of her ear and she sighs. “We can pretend that we’re stranded on a deserted island and I built this shitty bungalow myself with my bulging muscles.” She chuckles and I squeeze her tighter. I love the sound of her laughter. “Hey, remember when you were watching me build this bungalow? You were lying on the beach… naked. Because we lost all our clothes when our plane went down in the ocean. You should take off these panties. They’re making it difficult to recall this memory.”
I slide my hand farther down and she sucks in a sharp breath when my finger glides over her clit. I slip my finger inside her and I’m not surprised to find she’s soaking wet. She’s always horny when she’s pregnant. All it takes is a dirty word or a come-hither expression to get her slick.
I feel around inside her a little, searching for her G-spot and I know I’ve found it when her whole body twitches. She lifts her hips a little so she can push down her panties, but I keep my finger locked inside her. Once her panties are gone, she reaches down and pulls my hand out from between her legs.
“What are you doing?”
She turns around to face me, then she begins pushing my boxers down. “I can’t let you lose tomorrow or this awful trip won’t be worth it. Lie back.”
She shoves my shoulders and I turn onto my back as I kick my boxers off. She straddles one of my thighs and the wetness of her pussy on my skin makes me even harder. I smile as she rubs herself on me a little before she leans forward and takes my dick into her mouth.
Her mouth is warm and her lips form a firm O-ring around my cock as she bobs up and down for a few minutes. She pulls me out of her mouth and smiles as she gently slides her tongue up and down along the slit at the tip. Then she uses the tip of her tongue to stimulate the sensitive ridge under the head.
She sits up and smiles as she mounts me slowly, so I can feel every ridge inside her. “I think I remember now,” she says, leaning forward so she can kiss my neck. “Your hard, naked body was dripping sweat as you were building the walls of the bungalow.”
“And you were lying on the beach, touching yourself as you watched me hammering the studs… and flexing my rippling muscles.”
“Mm-hmm,” she murmurs with a slight chuckle as she slides her hand between us to reach her clit.
I grab her hips and thrust into her as she moves up and down my cock. “And then I decided to take a break from building so I could help out with the housework.”
She laughs and sits up straight so she can touch herself while I thrust my hips beneath her. “What kind of housework?”
I smile as I grab her breasts, rolling her nipples and massaging her flesh. “I cooked you a romantic dinner of plantains and coconut and I cleaned the machete.”
“Oh, God,” she moans, throwing her head back as she continues to caress her clit.
I chuckle as I reach up, take her face in my hands, and roughly pull her forward so I can kiss her deeply. I bite her top lip and she whimpers. Flipping her onto her back, I suck on her neck as I move slowly in and out of her.
I bring my lips right next to her ear and whisper, “Then I made a bed of grass for you to lie down on while I impregnated you with my super sperm.” She laughs, but she quickly stops when I trace the tip of my tongue along the inner shell of her ear. “Don’t laugh. It’s a delicate procedure. Do you want me to show you how it’s done?”
I slip my cock out of her and slide down so I can take her firm nipple into my mouth. She moans as I suck on her flesh, her hips bucking against my chest. I slide farther down and trace a circle around her navel with my tongue, then I lay a soft kiss on her abdomen.
“The first step involves multiple orgasms. Are you ready?”
“Yes,” she whispers breathlessly.
She got a Brazilian wax for our trip and I smile as I spread her flesh and lick a straight line from her entrance to her clit. She whimpers as I suck gently on her glistening jewel. She gasps as I slide two fingers inside her pussy and massage her G-spot while swirling my tongue around her clit.
I look up at her to see her reaction, but her back is arched so deeply, all I can see are the soft peaks of her breasts. I stop moving my fingers for a moment, focusing just on her hard nub until her body begins to tremble. Then I pull my mouth away and just massage her G-spot. When she begins to squirm, I remove my fingers from inside her and lightly flick her clit with the tip of my tongue. The orgasm is so intense, I’m pretty sure she’s awakened all the animals on the island with her screaming.
I move up to slide my cock back inside her, when I see something on her side. I lean my head to the left to get a better look and realize it’s a fucking tick.
“Don’t move,” I warn her.
Her chest is heaving as she tries to catch her breath. “Why?”
“You have a tick on your side.”
She kicks me as she flails about and jumps out of the bed. She twists her neck this way and that, trying to get a look at it, but she can’t view it from any angle.
“Calm down and don’t try to take it out yourself. I’ll get it out.”
“Are you fucking kidding me? This better be a joke!” she shrieks as she races to the bathroom to look in the mirror. “Oh, my God! I have a tick! Get it out! Hurry!”
“Calm down, baby. I have to call the concierge to see if they can get us a lighter.”
“A lighter! You’re going to burn me? What is this, the fucking Dark Ages? Do not even think about burning me. I want to go to the hospital.”
I pick up the phone on the desk and dial the concierge. “Yes, my wife just discovered a tick on her body,” I begin as I attempt to make my erection go away. “Are you aware that there are ticks and cockroaches in these bungalows?”
“Good evening, sir. Would you like us to send you a tick removal kit?”
Less than an hour later, Edie arrives with her medical bag and the tick removal kit she picked up at the front desk for us. She removes the tick for Lindsay and cleans the wound, then she hands her a box of azithromycin antibiotic. She drops the tick into a zipped plastic bag so she can have it tested for Lyme disease when we get back to the States. When Edie’s gone, Lindsay heads straight to the closet and pulls out our empty blue suitcase.
“What are you doing?”
She heaves the suitcase onto the bed and I grab the handle to pull it away from her. “Come on. Don’t get ticked off.” I wince a little at the dirty look she shoots me. “Let’s just go to sleep and we’ll change hotel rooms after the quarterfinal tomorrow, whether or not I advance.”
“No, you’re not the one who’s possibly been infected with Lyme disease. You can stay and I’ll go.”
I curl my arm around her waist and take her breast in my hand as I pull her away from the bed. “I don’t know why you’re complaining. Lyme disease goes so well with coconut fever.” I squeeze her breast and she stomps on my foot. “Fuck!”
“I’ll give you coconut fever.” I immediately cover my nuts as she rounds on me, but she just shakes her head and goes straight to the bathroom. “I’m going to take a shower. And I’m not going to your event tomorrow. I’m going to spend the day changing my itinerary. I’m leaving Tahiti tomorrow night. And I’m not taking any of my clothes back with me.”
I follow her into the bathroom and watch as she angrily rips off her clothing and turns on the shower. “You can’t leave tomorrow night. The sponsor dinner is the following night. Anyone who places in the quarterfinal has to be there. How’s it going to look if I brought my wife instead of my trainer and she doesn’t even show up to the dinner with me?”
“I’m not staying here two more nights. You can stay and I’ll leave. And your daughters can wonder where you are while you’re getting drunk with the sponsors.”
She steps inside the shower, so I raise my voice to be heard over the water. “That’s not fair. I don’t want to leave them any more than they want me gone.”
“Then don’t leave them. Retire. It’s not as if we need the money.”
This is not the first time Lindsay and I have discussed my retirement. We talked about it a lot this year while we were trying to get pregnant and while enrolling Kaia in her new school. But I always got the feeling that Lindsay wanted me to do what would make me happiest. Right now, I’m getting a strong feeling she wants me to put my happiness aside for the kids’ sake.
It’s not an unreasonable demand to make. But the thought of quitting the tours fills me with a deep hopelessness, something I haven’t felt since before we got back together nine years ago.
I peel off my clothes and step into the shower with her. I take the tiny shampoo bottle out of her hand and place it back on the shelf. Then I take her face in my hands and kiss her tenderly. Within seconds, she begins to cry.
“I just want you to be there for them.”
“I know.” I kiss her forehead and let out a deep sigh. “I’ll do it. I’ll retire.”