Have you ever had an embarrassing moment when you wish the ground would just swallow you up? Enjoy this PG excerpt from Out of the Ordinary, where this happens to my heroine.
“Undress, and go out of this door to the patio. The hot tub is all ready for you,” Vesta instructed.
Star did as she’d been told and, not finding a robe, pulled a thick fluffy towel from a basket and quickly wrapped it around her. She walked through the doorway to an area that closely resembled the main courtyard, though it was smaller and there were no guards in sight. Plants grew everywhere, lush and green with a profusion of bright colours. The trickle of a fountain was the only sound, and Star’s shoulders dropped a notch. Whatever these pixies were, they certainly had an eye for creating a relaxing atmosphere. Today might actually be an enjoyable experience. Nearing the hot tub, she saw Adam coming from another doorway, also wrapped in a towel.
Star caught her breath. The man had a superb body. Long, muscular legs, flat stomach, lightly hairy chest. She blinked, realising she must have been staring. Adam had an amused smile on his face. He put his hands on his hips, almost posing, showing off his delectable form.
“Well hello, fancy meeting you here. Come to this hot tub often?” he asked.
“Oh, I didn’t realise we were sharing the facilities. I’m, uh…” Star blushed and pulled the towel closer to her.
“You’re naked under your towel? So am I. That’s the best way to be in a hot tub. You go first, test the water.”
“Uh, I don’t think so. I’ll just pass on the bath today.”
“Come on, don’t be shy. Under these bizarre circumstances, bashful is not going to work.”
Before Star could argue, Vesta appeared, striding along quickly as usual.
“Why aren’t you in the water? Come on, step in. It will help you relax. You said you wanted to soak.”
“I didn’t know I would be sharing with…with someone else. With a man. I’ll just go right to my massage now. You have a female doing the massage, correct?”
“Oh, just get in the water, please. I don’t have all day,” Vesta said, snatching the towel from Star.
Star gasped. Okay, this was definitely a bad dream, only now it had turned into the one where she was standing naked in front of a room full of people. Tears formed at this humiliation but she refused to let them fall. Instead, she narrowed her eyes and glared at Vesta.
“You’re going to pay for that, you skinny little bitch.” And with all the dignity she could muster, she walked towards the tub and climbed in.
“Your turn,” she called to Adam.
He grinned and dropped the towel to reveal the rest of his perfectly delicious body, and strolled shamelessly across the patio. After sticking one toe in the water, he gracefully lowered himself into the tub. Star scooted as far away from him as she could. They both sat in silence for a few moments, getting used to the temperature. The water was hot—not unbearably so—and Star found, despite her anger and fear, she began to relax.
“I think you scared your little pixie guard,” Adam said after a while.
“Good. She deserved it.”
“So, did you choose the massage or the Passionate Pleasure Private Parts hot oil rub for the second part of your amenities?”
Star’s jaw dropped open, then she snorted.
“I assume you’re joking, but since I wasn’t offered the hot oil rub, I suppose I’ll settle for the massage.”
“But would you have picked that selection if it was available?”
Adam smiled, and Star suppressed a grin. Cocky bastard, he either wanted to get a rise out of her or distract her. Either way, his plan worked. Warmth stirred between her legs that had nothing to do with the hot water, and it was nice to be teased and to think of something besides the ominous situation they’d been thrown into.
“You know,” he continued, “you have nothing to be ashamed of, you have a lovely body.”
“I used to have a lovely skinny body. I’ve packed on a few pounds recently. And how very ungentlemanly of you to stare at me.”
“You’re still lovely, and I won’t apologise for looking. Now scoot over here, we need to come up with a way to get out of this place. Come on, I won’t bite.”
Star moved and leaned in towards Adam. Once again, she picked up a faintly spicy aroma, enhanced by the steam surrounding them. He smelt so good she took another whiff, breathing in deeply.
“Are you sniffing me?” Adam asked, laughing.
Star pulled back in embarrassment.
“Um, I may have been. You smell pretty good. What is that scent?”
“A friend of mine makes a special soap. Roven just brought me a bar. The scent helps me relax—kind of like your cigarettes—only my little addiction is not going to rot my lungs. I see you have a fresh pack. How did you convince Vesta to get those for you?”
“I told her it’s a medicinal herb.”
“You’re going to be in big trouble when she finds out what they really are.”
“Until then, I’ll be happy. I think they drugged me last night, how about you?”
“Yes, I intended to locate your room but I passed out. We’ll have to find something else to eat and skip the wine tonight. What information has Vesta given you?”
Star repeated what she’d been told, and Adam nodded.
“That’s all Roven would tell me too. Do you believe them?”
“I don’t know what to believe. These people seem highly advanced though some of the things here are so primitive. I suppose their story makes as much sense as anything else.
And if we really are on another planet, I don’t know what would happen if we leave—Vesta told me this is a controlled environment. If we manage to escape, what’s going to happen to us outside this compound?”
“We need more information. Do you think you can get Vesta to tell you anything else?”
“I’m going to try to appeal to her sense of reason. King Gaius doesn’t seem to be playing with a full deck, and I think she knows that.”
“I’ll do the same with Roven. I suppose we’ll assemble in the dining hall again for dinner, we can talk then. Here comes your guard.”
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