Lesbos Paradiso Book Cover The beach was a delight: not crowded, but not utterly deserted either. The sand was warm and golden, the sky was clear and pink, the water in the lake was cool and blue, lapping gently against the coastline and the weathered wooden supports of the pier.

Women in couples or small groups sat or lay in the sunshine, enjoying the fine day. Not that it was ever otherwise, here. A few, particularly those with unusually fair skin, wore wide hats or perhaps a tee-shirt to protect their shoulders from the sunlight reflected and concentrated by the rotating array of mirrors outside. But nobody wore anything else other than sunglasses and most were content to remain gloriously, beautifully naked.

Some women just sat together companionably; perhaps one reading from a book while another fiddled with her hair or rubbed suntan lotion onto her back. But others were enjoying more intimate pleasures, entirely uninhibited by the presence of others nearby. As I looked around, I could see one woman licking and nibbling another's nipples, the playful bites accompanied by cries of lust and fervor. Two others lay passionately entwined, oblivious to the world around them, kissing with great intensity while each one's fingers massaged the other's clitoris with nimble and practiced fingers.

I sat on a towel - the only thing between me and the authentically fine sand - under a wide parasol. Not that I really needed to be sheltered from the sun: my Mediterranean heritage has given me black hair and skin which tans so quickly you can almost see me darken as you watch. No, the shelter was more psychological rather than physical: I am a newcomer to this particular world and sometimes I still needed a certain sense of privacy.

From my vantage-point, I watched as my girlfriend Kayanne splashed in the shallows with two of her other friends. They were all laughing and giggling like children, flicking cool water at each other and screeching when it splashed on their skin. I smiled at the imagery: in reality, she was so much older than I was and often affected a calm serenity; here, she was suddenly ten years old again.

After a few minutes, it seemed that Kayanne's friends were proposing to swim out to a floating platform which was situated fifty meters or so from the beach. For a moment, I thought that she would swim with them, but she declined the invitation. She glanced up the beach to where I was sitting, as if she could feel my eyes upon her even from this distance, and smiled widely. It was a glorious smile, a wonderfully warm smile; it was one of the things that had attracted me to her when we first met.

Kayanne turned to walk towards me, the soft breeze catching her hair. She returned to her side of the towel and reached over to kiss me full on the mouth. I stiffened for a moment, an act which she must have noticed. After many a late-night pillow-talk, she has come to understand something of my reticence, my shyness; it is something I have not yet been able to eradicate from my personality, even though the freedom to perform such an act was the reason for me coming here in the first place. She ignored my involuntary reaction; another trait that has endeared her to me. I forced myself to relax, then reached around with one arm and drew her close to me for a lingering kiss.

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