Stephanie Sullivan wanted nothing more than to enjoy her week-long vacation at the beach. In order to do that she decides to take the train to the white sands of the north. Her hot trip heats up when she runs into a handsome, alluring stranger. Compliments fly from him and leaves her hot and heavy until her train almost leaves her behind. She escapes his affections and runs for the train, but finds several unexpected and sultry surprises waiting for her in her private sleeping compartment.
Publisher: Crescent Moon Studios, Inc.
I was almost free. The clock on the wall of my cubicle ticked closer and closer to the noon hour. Just fifteen more minutes and I would enter the heavenly abode known as ‘vacation.'
"Stare at that clock like that long enough and you'll melt a hole through it," a voice piped up.
I jumped and whipped my head to the entrance to my six-by-six domain. There stood my best friend, Georgiana Alva. She had a smile on her face and leaned against the entrance to my little hovel.
"Maybe they'd give me a faster one. This one makes the time slow down," I defended myself.
She snorted and shook her head. "Not when you've got a vacation coming up. You still going to the beach on that train?"
I smiled and gave a nod. "Yep."
"I don't know why you want to take that clunky old thing. It takes twice as long to get to the beach that way as driving, and it already takes a day to drive there," she reminded me.
I shrugged. "
Yeah, but I don't have to be the one doing the driving, and I can enjoy the scenery from my sleeper car."
"But those sleeper things cost a fortune," she pointed out.
Five minutes left. I prepared to shut off my computer. "A lot, but I've never been in one and I'm hoping it's a lot more comfortable than sitting overnight in a chair or the dining car." My computer screen went black and I grabbed my purse. Just a few more minutes.
Georgiana pushed off from the entrance and shook her head. "Well, just call me when you get to the beach, okay?"
I stood from my chair and rolled my eyes. "Taking the train is just as safe as a car. Maybe safer."
She laughed. "Not with you on board. You would hijack the thing and rob banks if you thought you could get away with it."
I grinned. "I'm not that evil. Usually."
She glanced at the clock. "Your train leaves in two hours?"
"Yep," I replied as I slung my purse over my shoulder. I glanced around at the gray, artificial walls and sighed. Around me were the sounds of typing and whispered chatting. The smell of food as people opened their bags for lunch. Feet and chairs scuffed the floor as people stood to join the rat-race to lunch at the countless cafes in the city. "One week away from it all."
"Just remember to come back. You have rent to pay," she reminded me.
"I know, I know. All those adult responsibilities for the working stiffs," I agreed. I turned to her and opened my arms. "A hug for the rails?"
Georgiana smiled and wrapped me in a hug that took my breath away. "You just be careful out there, okay?" she whispered in my ear.
I pulled away and smiled. "I doubt I'm even going to talk to anyone, much less be kidnapped."
"Yeah, but if anything did happen to you I'd never forgive you," she returned.
"I'll cal when I get to the beach and tell you all about my unexciting train ride," I promised.
Georgiana smiled, stepped aside, and put her hand on my back. "Good." She pushed me toward the cubicle entrance and the hall beyond it. "Now get out there and go get a tan. Get one for me, too, while you're at it."
I paused in the doorway and turned to her with a grin. "How about a sunburn?"
"Pass, but how about you find me a boyfriend, and maybe one for yourself?" she suggested.
I snorted and gestured down to myself. I wasn't fat, but calling me big-boned would have been a stretched compliment. "Aren't you afraid I might eat him?" I teased.
She rolled her eyes. "Let's not start this again. Besides, you don't have enough time for me to scold you about you not being fat." She scooted me into the hall. "Now get along before you miss your rail ride."
I obeyed and skipped to the elevators. My place of work was a tall, steel-constructed office building in the downtown section of a large city. Beyond the city limits was a large expanse of farmland and wilderness that acted as a border between the city inhabitants and the surf and sand of the ocean. The sand was my destination. For a week I would be free of paperwork and stress. There would be only me, the sun, and a strawberry daiquiri in each hand.
First, there was the stop to my apartment to grab my bag and my ticket. I could live without the bag, but the ticket was my passport to fun-in-the-sun. I squeezed into the crowded elevator and was reminded why this vacation was so precious to me. The smell of sweat and food permeated the small space. There was enough room to breathe, but not enough to twitch your elbows. People chatted on their phones or watched the lights above the door tick closer to their floor. A floor was reached, the doors opened, and humanity streamed in and out of the small elevator.
It would have been heaven for a sociologist, but for me it was just too cramped. I wanted room to breathe and air worth breathing. I wanted to feel the sun on my pale, chubby cheeks and have a fresh wind whip my hair into my face. The only wind that whipped my face right then was when someone broke it. I shuddered, closed my eyes, and imagined myself on the beach. I would be lying there in my lounge chair and a shadow would fall over me. Opening my eyes would reveal a handsome young man. His muscled body would be covered only by a flimsy pair of shorts, and in one hand would be a tray with my daiquiri. He would smile, I would blush, and he would set aside the tray and join me on the lounge chair. His lips and body would press against mine. I would slide a leg against him and groan.
My groan was a little too loud. I opened my eyes and found myself staring at a few people who stared back at me with looks of concern. Damn Georgiana and her talk about men! I blushed under their scrutiny and tried to squeeze myself into the wall. I was saved by the bell, or rather, the ding of the elevator. We'd reached the lobby, and our mass of humanity squirmed through the open doors and into the river of humans that flowed through the front doors and onto the streets in search of food. I was in search of a bus.
My job barely covered the rent, not the expenses of having a car, so I bounced my way on the public transportation system to the place I called home. It could've also been called an ancient apartment building bordering on being condemned, but to me it was what I could afford. The neighborhood also left something to be desired, namely clean streets. Heck, calling the pothole-filled, trash-filled concrete slabs streets was being nice.
I stepped off the bus and looked up at home. It was an old four-floor apartment building built at the turn of the last century. No, not that one, the one before it. The one where you had a greater chance of stepping in horse manure than dog crap. I climbed the steps worn smooth by thousands of footsteps and used my two keys to get past the heavy metal door. There were bars on the windows and the smell of urine permeated the bricks that made up the outer walls. Like I said, a great neighborhood.
Inside was a hellish wasteland. On a good day it was reminiscent of a dystopian novel. On the bad days it was a dystopian novel. This was a good day so I didn't have to pay the bum toll. That was when one of my lovely neighbors would sit in the foyer and bum money off of me for drugs, drink, etc. You name the sin, they wanted to buy it. I slipped into the fire stairwell and walked to my third-floor apartment. There was an ancient elevator, but you put your life in Jesus' hands going up it. Not having gone to church in a few years, we weren't exactly on speaking terms so I wasn't sure how much lift he'd give me if the old cables snapped and I plummeted to the basement.
I reached my floor and walked down the hall of peeling and mismatched wallpaper to my dingy door. Inside was a dingy apartment with small touches of home. Pictures of my family, my friends and myself, and a few mementos from past vacation trips. There was a rock from a neighboring dude ranch, a stick from the forest lodge a hundred miles off, stuff like that. This trip I intended to bring back a seashell.
I snatched my ticket off the coffee table in my small living room and looked over the details. My thick, electronic ticket with its bar code on the bottom would also be my key to my compartment. "One sleeping compartment. Single occupant. Compartment Number Two," I read the words on the front.
Perfect. I would be alone without any distractions and anybody to bother me.