Let’s do it.” Now they had to make this look real. Turning to face Zack, Sam suddenly realized the chemistry of the moment had stopped her anxiety from building. She was nervous, but it felt different today. “So, cave diving is inherently dangerous. Why do it?”

 

 

He cocked his head and grinned like Tom Cruise in Top Gun. “I’m an adventurer.”

 

 

Those simple words ignited heat in her belly. Or maybe it was that confident smile. She licked her lips.

 

 

I want to explore the unknown,” he continued, looking right into her eyes. “To seek out what I’ve never explored before. I want to run my fingers down a virgin passage, squeeze through a small opening. I may get stuck a few times, move back and forth, and work my way through, you know, into this mysterious place where I’ve never been. It’s magical.”

 

 

Oh. My. God. She took a deep breath, her heart drumming like tiny, nervous fingertips. He was just playing with her. She had to remember that.

 

 

There’s no audience, no crowd.” He motioned to the sinkhole. “It’s your own personal achievement. The ultimate pleasure.”

 

 

She started to ask a question. “But—”

 

He cut her off. “I’m a man who loves beauty.” His gaze bathed her again, warming her with its intensity. “Very few people can say they’ve seen the light as it breaks through crevices in the rock, painting an underwater cave in a rainbow of colors.” He closed his eyes, the vision in his mind obviously blissful enough to raise his lips into a smile.

 

“There are no computers, no phones, no interruptions.” He opened his eyes and stared deep into hers. “Do you know what I do when I’m in an unexplored cavern?”

 

Her heart pounded loud enough in the silent pause she was sure her microphone would pick up the beat. “What?” She held her breath.

 

I leave my fingerprints all over the new territory, marking it as mine forever.”

She exhaled. Jesus. He’s good.