“Man, oh, man, oh, man. I think I’m in love.”
            Creed turned around to see what his best bud was talking about. Joey stuck out one cigarette-stained finger and pointed to a table a few yards away. He wrapped the other fingers around the long-neck bottle and took a swig.
            She was a beauty, all right. Slender and not quite petite, but in that dress it was easy to see she had body that didn’t quit. And blonde. Not a faded, washed-out blonde, or one diluted from a bottle. Not even albino. No, this woman was one of those rare, diamond-certified images of perfection, with skin like the purest white marble, complete with a sculpted face, large eyes, and full, rosy lips. She was wearing a pale rose-colored striped, short-sleeve dress that hugged her cute ass and brushed against her knees, a pair of low-heeled mules, and a soft pink chiffon scarf tied around her neck. Her waist-length snowy hair fell freely down her back, and even without a hint of makeup, her face was to die for.
            “Yeah,” Joey chuckled. “And I get dibs.”
            “Like hell, you do. You know the rules,” Creed argued as his mind frantically tried to come up with the perfect line by which to introduce himself to her. “First man into her panties wins.”
            Giving his friend a roguish grin, Joey snickered, “Think it’s natural?”
            “Can’t be anything but,” Creed almost promised.
            Other than a small walkway, there was nothing blocking their view of the woman who sat calmly perched on the stool at the outdoor bar, sipping her glass of water and watching the sailboats entering and exiting the harbor. The restaurant at the end of the pier was a popular spot, and the two men often came to sit and enjoy a drink, and hopefully catch the eye of some obtainable, giggly female over the age limit. Hopefully to catch, and later to reel in as their prize.
            “Think she’s a model?”
            “If she isn’t,” Joey commented between sips of his beer, “she should be. Damn, but she’s hot! Think she’s here to meet someone?”
            “Why take the chance of someone else finding her first?” Creed got to his feet and began to make his approach. Once he got within her line of sight, he could see her eyes were a light sky blue. Both her lashes and eyebrows were a slightly darker, more golden color than her hair. There was no way she wasn’t a natural. Putting on his worried face, he hesitantly paused beside the bar. “Excuse me?”
            The eyes swiveled up to take him in. Briefly her gaze skipped over the broad, suntanned shoulders and the California good looks of the man standing before her. When she shifted back to his face, Creed gave it the old college try.
            “Do you know if the Heart of the Sea has come in to dock yet? There were a couple of boats that sailed in a short while ago that looked like her, but you were blocking my vision. So I thought I’d ask you first, since you seemed to be watching them as well.”
            The woman gave him a small smile before holding up her left hand. Using her thumb, she wriggled the diamond wedding band on her third finger. Creed feigned hurt. This wasn’t the first time a woman had pulled that same act with him, and it wouldn’t be the last. And they had found a way around that ring of gold just as easily as she could, if she wanted to.
            “I’m sorry you decided not to be hospitable,” he said, making it appear as if he had been misunderstood. “I was merely asking a question, with no other purpose or hidden motive. Local folk are happy to help. It’s clear you’re not from around here,” he added, and backed away slightly. The woman continued to eye him with a glint of mischief in her smile. For some reason, her reaction irritated him.
            Behind his back he could hear his friend smirking. It was apparent to Joey as well, that he was quickly going down in flames.
            “If you’re smart, you’ll go back to your friend and choose another likely conquest,” the woman finally replied. Her voice was soft and rich like thick cream, and without a hint of an accent, knocking out the idea she may be from another country, like one of those Scandinavian sex spots.
            “What if I don’t care to?” Creed challenged, giving her his best boyish grin. It never failed to melt a woman’s resolve, and he turned it on full-bore.
            From the rear, he suddenly heard Joey’s quick gasp, and then a, “Creed, I strongly suggest you heed the little lady’s idea and make a run for it.”
            Creed held up a hand to stay his friend’s remark. “No, thank you. I want to hear from her own sweet lips why I need to tolerate her rudeness.”
            The woman’s smile was like a flood of sunlight. “Because my husband will not appreciate you giving me such attention,” she generously gave him.
            He held up his hand once more, keeping his eyes glued to hers. In his imagination, he could already see those big blue bedroom eyes filled with heat as he filled her body.
            “Are you telling me that he’s so jealously possessive, he wouldn’t allow you to spend a half hour or so in simple conversation with a strange man?”
            “Fuck it, Joey! What?” Mad beyond measure, Creed finally turned around to see the man standing directly behind him. His mouth dropped open to catch the breeze.
            The stranger was a big man. A big man. And dark, like the color of old copper pennies. He wore his thick, black hair long and down his back. From the high cheekbones and fine features, there was no doubt in Creed’s mind that he was looking at a full-blooded American Indian. The guy was dressed in a short-sleeve dress shirt and a pair of jeans, and built like a defensive tackle. And if he wasn’t one, the bulging biceps in his crossed arms showed the guy had definitely pumped his share of iron somewhere.
            Dark brown, almost black eyes drilled into his. “Yes,” a deep voice rumbled, somewhat amused. “The husband is jealously possessive to the point where he won’t allow a strange man to sit and converse with his wife for even five minutes.” His gaze dropped to the delectable beauty seated at the bar. “Been waiting long?” he asked her gently.
            “Nope, not long,” she smiled, sliding from the stool. Taking her husband’s arm, she glided past the stunned young man without a backward glance. The last thing Creed saw was the wink thrown his way by the big, dark man before they disappeared into the restaurant’s main dining room.
            Seconds later Joey joined him. “You so lucked out, you know that? He could’ve crushed you like you were so much aluminum foil.”
            “Let’s get the hell out of here,” Creed spat, turning to leave the pier as quickly as possible. His friend followed without another word, and nothing more was said about the pearlescent woman who had slipped between their fingers, although in the future many nights would never go by without their fantasies.