It’s Day 5! Today’s winner is Lynne T from Dearborn MI – congratulations!

Since it’s hump-day, I think it’s time share another one of my stories – this one is from Destination Mexico City. [We all need a little inspiration halfway through the workweek, right?]

I’m sure I’m like most authors;  stories are personal. I’ve fallen in love with my characters. And Destination Mexico City was my first book written from the perspective of a married couple. They love each other, but somehow, they’ve lost their way. They’re wondering if they have a future together. They’re unsure about what direction they want to go. They question everything.

At 53, I’ve been married for over 30 years. We’ve had our ups and downs – that’s part of being married. At times we forgot to take the time for romance, especially as we aged. We got busy. We’ve “been there, done that.”

But no matter what happens in life, love is still important. Romance is still important. If you don’t make it a priority, feelings can fade. That’s what I explored in Destination Mexico City. And if you haven’t read it yet, you’re going to love the first chapter.

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Destination Mexico City

1 Chapter One

“Ohmigod, are you kidding me? Where did you find this place? It’s gorgeous!”
Jena Hughes watched the jungle zip by as the most tranquil place on earth came into view. She looked from the resort to the man sitting beside her and back again.
Compared to the way they’d been living the past week, anything would be an upgrade. A small tent with eight cots was anything but luxury. And one small tent with eight warm bodies, day after day, night after night, in the tropical heat without a shower was anything but romantic. Still, it had been quaint. It’d been exactly what she signed up for.
And it was where she met him. Already, she knew this was something special. He was something special.
Six months before, Jena had signed up to travel half way around the world to spend a week helping to build a school in the middle of nowhere, where the villagers desperately needed any help they could get. The volunteer organization had promised an experience like none other, a place to give a week of time and a lot of hard work in order to vastly improve the lives of people who had so little.
Through the website, the volunteers organized themselves into groups based on dates and locations. Then slowly, their little group formed and bonded. The eight of them came from different parts of the world. London. New York City. California. Chicago. Boston. Sydney. They’d met via email and attended a few telecalls to get everything in order. Finally, they all met in person at base camp, the place where they would begin their journey to a remote village to offer their help. They had seven days together to work hard and be rewarded with knowing they made a difference in someone else’s life.
It’d been a good trip. A great trip.
Because at base camp, Justin Reither had walked up and introduced himself. His eyes bowled her over the moment they made contact. He held her hand a little longer than necessary when they shook; he found every reason in the world to be by her side as they climbed mile after mile to the village.
They made each other laugh. They talked about other trips. Chatted about life back home.
Then as they hammered nails and put together walls, they went deeper. They discussed their goals. Their successes. Their desires. Their wishes and their wants. Until they couldn’t deny it anymore.
They snuck kisses whenever they could. Sat by each other every chance they got.
But sharing a tent with six other volunteers isn’t a place to get romantic.
With two days to go, he’d asked her to stay with him one more week. He’d find a place. He’d take care of the reservations. Bali, a place to relax, renew and discover who they were.
When she’d agreed to this getaway before heading back to reality, she’d expected something nice. Just having electricity and a working toilet would have been considered a luxury. But this? This was most unexpected. Nice.
“How did you do this?” Jena knew there was no Internet access from the tiny village they’d been staying at. Then she guessed. “Adhi.”
Justin’s eyes sparkled. “Maybe.” He wasn’t about to reveal his secret. But she knew.
Adhi had been their guide, their translator, their go-to person as they’d navigated the foreign village. If they had a need, somehow it magically appeared. If they had a request, he filled it. She’d been most impressed with young Adhi, who couldn’t have been more than twenty years old.
Jena sat back, relaxed into the side of her seat mate. Even after a week of living in the jungle, she’d wanted to be close to him. She’d never felt like this with anyone before. And to think she’d only met him a week before. What did that say about where this relationship was going?
Justin felt her long, lean body press against his. He couldn’t wait to spend the next week with her. He’d planned on giving her nothing but his attention for the next week. No interruptions. Just alone time, the two of them.
Of course, he needed a shower first.
Desperately.
The taxi pulled to the entrance. They got out, checked in, and followed concierge to their room.
Then stepped into paradise. A sunken tub. A private plunge pool. An outdoor shower built for two. And a king size bed built on a platform held center stage. Lying there meant they could easily take in the view of the ocean, feel the gentle breezes that flowed in.
Jena couldn’t get in the shower fast enough. The first scrubbing removed a few days of grime. By the third she felt human once again.
Glowing, she slipped into a dress. Then waited for Justin.
A private dinner on the beach led to dancing to their own music.
Justin slipped his arm around her. “You’re where you want to be?”
“Nowhere else on earth.” She brushed a strand of hair from his eyes and traced a finger down his jaw as she moved in for a kiss.
Deeper, deeper they dove, tasting, touching.
“This is such a surprise. I never expected this.” Jena moved ever so slowly, wanting this moment to linger.
All of these feelings bounced between them. Why here? Why now? What had brought them together in such a magical way?
He let himself feel all of her. As his finger traced her spine, she arched into him.
Unzipped, he pulled a strap down as he kissed where it’d been. More, her dress slid down and away.
She worked at each button, one at a time, touching beneath as she went. She felt him quiver at her touch.
“I want this. I want it all. It’s never been like this before. It was different from the beginning.” She had him. From the very first moment, he was lost to her. Forever.
He backed her up, fell to the bed, covering her completely. And slowly, ever so carefully their hands began to roam. Exploring. Discovering.
His strong hands touched her at her core. With a flick of his tongue, the warmth of his mouth, the scrape of his teeth, he drove her to a quaking, throbbing mess.
Then he was inside, sharing, giving her his everything.
The soft breezes cooled their skin as they moved together. Hearts racing towards the edge, they were pushed to the brink, and over.
“Jena. This, this …” His eyes searched hers, looking for the words.
Jena held his eyes, knowing. “This means everything.”

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Jena banged on the alarm clock, trying to shut off the annoying sound before it beeped again, knocking over her water bottle in the process.
“Shit.” She reached to the floor and righted the bottle back on the table. Then fell back to the bed and covered her head with the pillow. Just a minute more …

If you love somebody
Better tell them while they’re here ‘cause
They just may run away from you …

Jena scrambled out of bed and moved to the dresser, picked up her phone and punched it into silence. She loved Imagine Dragons, but today the song was just too much.
That dream …
She threw her phone on the bed as she moved to the sink to start the coffee. She ripped open the cellophane around the coffee filter, tore open the prepackaged serving of dark roast. Filling the water to the line and hit the on button, she fell to the desk chair and looked around.
She took a deep breath. Relax. She breathed in again. Hell, that never worked in real life.
She walked to the door, back to the desk, waiting for coffee.
Cream color walls with wood accents. The desk was perfectly situated for the business traveler, with multiple plugins for multiple gadgets. Her laptop and iPad were plugged in and charged. She stopped to wrap up the cords, placing them back into the side pocket of her briefcase.
She moved to the window, opened the drapery just a touch, peered outside, wondering where she was.
California. Los Angeles. Marriott.
Slowly reality dawned.
Another city. Another assignment.
She looked around the cramped quarters of her hotel room one more time. She was tired of being in a hotel. She was tired of being away from home. She just wanted to go home.
Back to Atlanta. Her home. Their home. The house Justin and she had lovingly filled with all of their belongings over the past three years, together as husband and wife.
She fell back to the bed, hugged her pillow close while the coffee continued to brew.
She laid there thinking about her dream. Thinking about the very first time she saw Justin’s face. That face she’d fallen in love with almost from the moment they’d met.
He still did it for her, in every way.
But she missed him. She knew things had to change. They used to be each other’s priorities. Always.
Now it seemed like it was always work. Another city. Another job. And another night apart.
Work was important; they had goals. They had a number to reach before they could retire early, see the world.
But what if they didn’t reach that number? What if they couldn’t hold it together until that number materialized in their bank account?
Bali. She really wanted Bali all over again. Togetherness with nobody else around. Just them and nothing else.
She wanted to be his priority. She wanted him to be hers. The way it should be.
They had to talk about that. Soon.
She reached for her phone and texted him.

Love you. Dinner tonight? Talk about things?

In seconds

Of course. Can’t wait. Love you.

It was time for their day to begin.

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