A female voice called out, "In your dreams, Julian!" Karen Cullen came to the door and greeted them.
Julian bent and kissed her cheek. "Thank you for staying here, Karen. I'm sorry it took so long."
Eve stared from one to the other in complete dismay.
Julian turned to Eve. "This is Karen Cullen. She is my secretary, confidant, shrink..." He laughed. "She stayed to keep an eye on the place while I flew back to Harmony to get you."
"Karen, this is the love of my life - Eve!" He proudly hugged her close.
Karen held out her hand to Eve. "I am pleased to meet the famous Eve. You are all Julian talks about." She winked at Eve.
Eve shook her hand, not sure what to think. "I am?" she asked, raising her eyebrow at Julian, who was blushing furiously.
"OK, enough about that," he objected as he handed the truck keys to Karen. "The Crane jet is ready to take you back to Harmony. Just park the truck at the airport; I'll send for it in the morning. Thank you again."
Taking the keys, she touched Eve on the shoulder gently as she walked by. "I am so happy for Julian. He loves you so much."
Eve smiled, "I love him too. I feel truly blessed." She slipped her arm around his waist as Karen, with a final wave, opened the door and headed for the truck.
Closing the door behind Karen, Julian turned to Eve and smiled. "Now that we are all alone, why don't I give you a tour?" He pulled her with him.
"You know," she said, following him, "any other woman would beat you with a stick if she came home with you to be greeted by your lovely secretary."
Julian laughed. "But you won't, right? Karen is harmless. If the "old Julian" couldn't get it on with her, the "new" one certainly won't. And that is because I have eyes for only one woman - you! No one else even comes close to what you do to me, Eve." He stopped and kissed her. "Now come on, I want to show you the rest of the house." He smiled.
Eve stared in amazement at the huge vaulted, tongue and groove, wood ceiling. The living room had two leather sofas and a couple of chairs. In the center was an expensive Persian rug complete with a cherry wood coffee table.
Windows covered the front center wall from floor to peak, making the entire side of the room seem like a wall of glass. To the right of the glass wall was a marble fireplace. On the mantle stood some vases and other art that Eve didn't recognize, and to Eve's surprise and delight, a picture of Whitney. Above the fireplace was a beautiful painting of a waterfall in a forest.
The dining room was elegant and charming. At the sight of the solid oak rectangular table for ten, Eve smiled. 'I guess he expects to have company sometime.' High oak chairs complemented the table, as well as a vase filled with two dozen red roses.
Julian walked up to the table and took a rose out of the vase. "For the woman I love with all my heart and soul." He handed Eve the rose.
Eve took it and held it to her nose, inhaling the intoxicating scent of the fresh cut blossom. Surveying the rooms, she was in awe of all the tropical plants hanging and standing throughout the house. She didn't know that Julian had a thing for plants.
He showed her the kitchen: oak cabinets, stainless steel fridge, range and dishwasher, and also a large pantry disguised as a floor to ceiling cabinet. The island in the middle of the kitchen had a round wheel suspended from the ceiling hanging above it, hung with an assortment of pots and pans. Eve smiled; it was everything a cook could ever want.
Then he took her to his den. Large windows filled one wall, while a desk of solid wood, beautifully built and polished to a brilliant shine, with a rather comfortable looking high back leather chair behind it, and a wall full of books addressed the left side of the room.
Directly in front of the desk sat a leather sofa and two chairs. The coffee table in the center gave the room a "family room - office" type feel. On the right wall was a fireplace, and in front of the sofas was a huge entertainment wall unit.
The entertainment center included a large fifty inch TV, VCRs, DVD player, and game gear. Eve mused, 'Did Julian play video games?' Trying to take it all in, she couldn't help but wonder how much it had all cost him. She was sure it wasn't cheap.
"This is where I like to relax." He smiled at her.
"It is very impressive, Julian. Though the house seems small for a Crane, I see the interior shouts it from every room." She laughed.
"Well, I may be a Crane, but I want this place to be something else, something special, that is not Crane.. a place where you and I can come as often as we please, just to be together, away from everyone." He pulled her into his arms. Running his hands lightly up her arms to her shoulders, he cupped her face in his hands. "I love you, Eve. I want to make you happy for the rest of our lives," he said as he kissed her.
"Just being with you, no matter where it is, Julian, that makes me happy," Eve said, pulling back slightly.
Kissing her again, he said, "I feel the same way, and I want to show you just how much I do love you." He nuzzled her neck eagerly.
Pushing him back, laughing, Eve said, "I want to finish looking at the house first. I won't be able to concentrate thinking about all of this.and what it possibly looks like. I am a woman after all; this 'need to know' must be satisfied." She chuckled at his pouting expression.
"But there is so much left to see - bathrooms, a utility room if you are interested in that, freezers, wine cellar - goodness, it is endless. Not to mention the stables and guest house. There is the indoor pool.we are going to waste the whole night looking at the house," he complained with a smile, trying to convince her to look later.
"All right, I just want to see the upstairs; then I am all yours," she promised with a kiss.
"Let's go." He hurried her up a spiral staircase in the center of the house that led to a large loft. Julian led the way into a huge bedroom with a king-sized, dark mahogany wood poster bed.
Eve smiled at the longing in Julian's eyes when he caught her gaze lingering on the bed. Before he got carried away with that look, Eve quickly shifted her gaze to the rest of the room.
Overstuffed chairs and a writing table, a large walk in closet, a bathroom with a Jacuzzi, and a breathtaking view of the lake from the suspended deck outside the French doors gave the room a cozy feeling, like a home within a home.
Eve stood for a moment out on the deck and enjoyed the beauty of the moonlight reflecting off the still lake, giving it a glassy look.
Julian walked up behind her and put his arms around her, hugging her close.
"It's so peaceful and beautiful here, Julian." Eve turned and smiled up at him.
"Yes, it is. That is part of the reason I chose this place." He leaned down and kissed her. "I have an idea," he suddenly whispered into her ear.
Eve turned when he dropped his arms from around her and took her hand. "What?"
"There are clothes in the closet for you. Dress in something more comfortable, something you can wear on the beach." He winked as he left the room.
"The beach? Where are you going?" she called after him.
"I am going to change. I will meet you downstairs." With a wave and a grin, he was out the door.
Julian was standing by the fireplace looking at the picture of Whitney when he heard Eve close the bedroom door. He waited anxiously for her to appear at the top of the loft.
Eve stood outside the room and looked down the open hall. There appeared to be at least four more bedrooms there. But, before her curiosity got the best of her, she headed for the railing and looked down into the living room.
She sucked in her breath when she saw Julian standing there grinning up at her, dressed only in white slacks, rolled up slightly above the ankle, and an open white shirt, revealing his smooth chest. He was barefoot and more handsome than Eve had ever seen him.
Julian smiled happily as Eve descended the staircase, wearing a pair of blue slacks and a white shirt, unbuttoned to reveal her cleavage. He raised his eyebrows at that and laughed when she kicked off her sandals, now barefoot just like he.
Eve approached him and elegantly held out her hand to him. "I am all yours, kind sir." She curtsied and giggled when he bowed and kissed her hand.
"Come on." He pulled her out the patio doors and down the stairs along the brick path to the beach.
"Julian!" she cried breathlessly when they got to the beach.
He slowed his pace as they headed up the wooden ramp to the end of the dock. "I'm sorry, my love, but I just can't take this anymore. We have been apart for too long, and I want you in my arms for the rest of the night." He pulled his shirt off his shoulders and threw it onto the dock.
"What are you doing?" Eve asked in surprise.
"We are going for a little swim," he announced.
"Swim? I don't have a suit," she protested.
"Neither do I." He winked mischievously.
Eve raised an eyebrow with interest. "You planned all this, didn't you?" She ran her hands up his smooth chest and around his neck.
He reached up and took her hands from around her neck and held them up, lacing his fingers with hers. Pulling her close, he bent and placed his lips on hers.
Eve opened her mouth to receive his kiss. Her hands ran through his hair and onto his broad shoulders as she rose on her tip toes in an effort to be closer to him.
Julian wrapped his arms tightly around her waist and lifted her off the dock. Pushing into her mouth, his tongue sought hers as he demanded total surrender.
Eve melted in his arms. The onslaught of his kisses made her weak in the knees, and she was glad that he was holding her; otherwise she would surely have fallen.
Finally coming up for air, the passion in their eyes was evident even in the silver moonlight.
The lights from the beach house illuminated the water with a soft yellow glow. Julian held Eve's gaze, his hands sure and gentle as they reached for the buttons on her shirt. One at a time, his eyes never leaving hers, he unbuttoned her shirt and slipped it off her shoulders.
He smiled as he leaned closer, sliding his arms behind her back, and unclipped her bra.
Eve sucked in her breath at his closeness as he released her breasts to the warm summer air. Her eyes sought his, enjoying him, the privacy, the thought that they could do whatever they wanted out here without a care in the world. Smiling deeply when he finally lifted his gaze to her face, she reached for his pants and unbuttoned them.
Julian held his breath, his heart pounding madly. "My love, I hope I survive this night."
Laughing, Eve stopped. "You are young still, and fit I might add." She eyed his toned shoulders and chest.
"My heart, it's my heart, it is pounding a mile a minute right now. I hope it doesn't quit on me," he joked.
Gliding her fingernail across his chest, she purred. "I am a doctor; I am an expert in cardiology and CPR." She grinned wickedly as she pulled his head down for a kiss.
Crushing her to him, Julian kissed her with the reckless abandon of a teenager. His fingers combed her hair and ran up and down her back, pressing her as close as humanly possible. His hands reached her pants and tugged on them impatiently.
Eve broke off the kiss, breathless and just as impatient as Julian. She looked at him and raised her eyebrows, flirting with him.
He raised his in reply, shed the remainder of his clothing and dove into the lake.
Eve gasped in surprise. Then, as he surfaced and watched her with hungry eyes, she took off her clothes and gracefully posed for him before diving into the water herself.