Barefoot in the Sun - Roxanne St. Claire

Roxanne St. Claire - Barefoot Bay #3 - Barefoot in the Sun

Barefoot in the Sun (Barefoot Bay #3)
Roxanne St. Claire



Zoe reached into the backseat and pulled a faded black bandanna from her purse, snapping it like a lion tamer’s whip inches from Oliver’s face.

“Blindfold time,” she announced, her eyes glistening like dew on fresh-cut grass.

He choked softly. “I won’t be able to see.”

“Ya think?” She gave his arm a playful punch, lingering on his muscle, which of course he flexed for her. “You know, Dr. Oliver Bradbury, for a Mensa-IQ summa-cum-laude chief resident of Mount Mercy Hospital who got himself into college at sixteen…” She nudged him. “You’re not the sharpest scalpel in the sterilization tray. Turn and tie, them’s my rules.”

“As if you ever met a rule you couldn’t chew up and spit out.”

That made her laugh. “We are not getting out of the car and going past those trees until I’m one-hundred-percent certain you are blinded.”

“I am.” He leaned closer to her mouth. “By you.”

“Sweet.” She obliged, but the kiss was quick. “Now let me tie this.”

“You think I’m kidding?” He tossed one final glance at her, then complied with her order. “You’ve wrecked my life, Zoe.”

“Aw, thank you.”

“Everything was all orderly and simple and straightforward and—”


“As hell,” he agreed. “And now I’m letting you blindfold me and take me into the woods at the crack of dawn to do…God knows what, but I think I’m going to like it.”

She was dead silent while she knotted the bandanna.

“I am going to like it, aren’t I?”

More silence.

“Zoe?” He dragged out both syllables of her name, his voice lifting the long e in a playful question.

As she adjusted the material, her fingers caressed his cheeks, scratching the twenty-four-hour-shift shadow. “You’ll like it if you’re ready to face your fears.”

He turned to her, and even though he couldn’t see her, he could imagine the smile he’d been admiring and exploring for a month now, the smattering of freckles decorating a slightly upturned nose, and those honey-silk curls brushing her cheeks and begging to be tangled in his fingers. God, he loved her, even when he couldn’t see her. And that, he admitted to himself, was the only thing that scared him.

“I’m not afraid of anything,” he lied, mustering his macho. Not of anything in those woods, anyway.

“Not a thing?”

An image so old and dark that he could barely remember details flashed in his brain, but he instantly erased it. “My only fear is losing you,” he told her, which was the absolute truth.

“Oh, you are freaking Shakespeare today. And you’re lying. You’re scared of heights and I know it.”

He didn’t like them, but…scared? “What makes you think that?”

“Ahem, first date? Skydeck of Sears Tower? Your excuses for not going up there were pathetic.”

“Those weren’t excuses. I wanted to get you home and in bed.”

“Mmm.” She leaned so close he could feel the warmth of her lips before they touched his. “Guess that worked.”

He closed the space and took the kiss. “Could work again. Let’s get out of here if you want to face some fears. I’ll scare the clothes right off you.”

She laughed. “We can do that later, but first…” Her voice trailed off.

“But first what? Survive your latest bout of crazy?”

“Yeah, you could say that.”

He tried to imagine what in the rural area outside of Chicago could be life-threatening. “Are you going to make me climb a tree or something?”


“What something?”

“I’m going to tell you something.”

A little jolt of joy kicked his chest, making him lift the edge of the bandanna for a one-eyed peek. “Hell, yeah.”

She tugged the blindfold back over his eyes. “You don’t know what I’m going to say.”

Oh, yes he did. Three little words he’d been declaring and she’d been refusing to reciprocate.

“I’m going to tell you…something very important, very secret, and very…” For a second she hesitated, and he could hear her inhale a shaky breath. “Very revealing about me.”

This time her vague answer made him grin. “ ’Bout damn time.”

“Hope you’re smiling like that after I tell you.”

Of course he would be. She loved him. He’d be the happiest guy in the world. He might propose then and there. Who cares if they’d only known each other for a month? For the first time in his life he wasn’t following the expected course, and nothing had ever felt better.

“Just say it, Zoe. Move your lips and say I…” He kissed her mouth. “Love.” He nibbled her lower lip. “You.” He sucked gently, making a squeak. “Your