Beneath the Surface
Following her dream of diving in one of the famous cenotes of the Yucatan, Ella Archer discovers an unknown world under the cover of the jungle. When she becomes lost in a cenote and faces the prospect of running out of oxygen despite all her training, Ella manages to follow a man out of the tunnels and into the jungle.
Leith Ansley is sexy, edgy, and wants nothing to do with the outside world. In fact, the outside world thinks the accomplished diver died deep within the sinkholes as he was exploring the cenotes. Ella wants nothing more than to make this man her own, but can she leave behind her family, her life, to join him in the jungle or can she convince him to follow her anywhere?
Ella focused her flashlight well up the tunnel. It was then she noticed she no longer heard the chatter of her companions on her radio.
"Armand?" she sent out into the darkness, feeling a sudden onset of claustrophobia.
"Vanessa? Can you hear me?" No response.
Ella floated for a moment. She knew she should turn and follow the cable back to the cavern. Just a little further, she thought. Armand's up there anyway. You're not going anywhere he hasn't been already, she told herself.
She steadied her breathing and pressed on, making sure she was still tethered to the retractable line by giving it a gentle tug. Huh. It seemed loose. She pulled in the other direction to where she should have been attached to the original cavern. Nothing. It gave in her hand. She pulled desperately until she held a frayed end of cable in her hands.
How the hell did this happen, she wondered, fighting the blossoming panic in her stomach. These things don't just break. She swam forward, thinking she'd run into Armand who was ahead of her in the tunnel. Checking her wrist, she was relieved to find she still had more than enough air left. They'd only been in the tunnels for an hour.
She started. There it was again. That foot. She pushed forward quickly, forgetting her sidekick and opting for the faster and more instinctive up and down motion. The foot was decidedly male and very quickly she began to make out strong legs kicking in front of her. Wait! she wanted to call out. Who was this guy?
Within moments, she saw the grey light of the sun carving down through the silt. Had she made it back to the cavern? Oh, thank God. How in the bloody hell had she got herself so turned around?
Ella surfaced. She pulled her breathing apparatus from her mouth and lifted her mask up and over her helmet.
"Hello?" she called. "Rico? Where is everyone?"
A commotion on to her right demanded her attention. She gasped. A man was crawling from the shallows of this sinkhole to a ledge, which fronted a hole between the rocks. It was obvious from the sunlight filtering through that the hole led outside, to the surface. It didn't immediately occur to Ella that this wasn't the cavern she'd first descended into, or that her diving buddies were nowhere to be found.
The man was abnormally muscular, as if he spent his days swimming. He was deeply tanned and very tall. Ella guessed she would only measure up to his breastbone but from where she stood, chest deep in water, she could only admire his graceful form as he hauled himself from the water onto a ledge of rock. The glistening drops of water, sluiced over his taut, dark skin. Oh ... and down over his behind, a tight one at that. Intricate, black designs swirled around his bicep in the sexiest tattoo she ever seen. Her gaze traced the outlines as she moved slowly toward him.
Hearing a faint voice inside her head, that didn't sound at all like her, Ella edged closer. He's yours. Take him. Claim him, Ella.