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"Mmm, that feels good," Zoey Passmore said, closing her eyes and lying back on her bed. "Do it just a little harder."
Zoey sighed as her boyfriend, Lucas Cabral, continued to rub her feet. Helping out at her parents' restaurant was always exhausting, but that night it had been even worse than usual.
"I thought business was slow during the winter," Lucas said. "Why'd you have to stay so late?"
"Private party," Zoey replied.
"Fun," Lucas said.
"Yeah. It would've been even more fun if the dishwasher had been working."
On a normal Wednesday, Zoey tried to get home in time to watch Party of Five, but that hadn't even been a remote possibility this evening. The broken dishwasher had added an extra two hours of standing on her feet to Zoey's already long night of work. She still had homework left to do, but somehow, with Lucas massaging her arches, it was the last thing on her mind.
Zoey moaned. "Now I'm too tired to do homework."
"I know one way to wake you up," Lucas offered, a sparkle in his hazel eyes.
"Without caffeine?" Zoey laughed.
Knowing what Lucas had in mind wasn't very difficult, considering the fact that her boyfriend had a one-track mind. Even if they weren't in her room, lying on the bed with the door shut, Lucas would want to fool around. And though she wouldn't admit it, fantasizing about this very moment had gotten Zoey through scrubbing the dessert plates.
Lucas gently placed her foot down on the covers, put his hands on either side of her, and crawled catlike up the bed to where she lay. Without hesitation, he planted a kiss on her lips that sent shivers down Zoey's spine.
Just what Ineeded, Zoey thought, relaxing into the warmth of Lucas's touch. Kissing Lucas made everythingthe rowdy customers, the broken dishwasher, the reading she had to doslip from Zoey's consciousness. Lying on her bed with Lucas's arms around her, Zoey felt as if the whole world had disappeared.
How could she have almost given this up for another guyany guy, much less that snake Aaron Mendel? Sure, Aaron was gorgeous and talented and said all the right things, but he could never hold a candle to Lucas ' in the kissing department. He could never make Zoey feel the blood drain from her head to her toes with a simple touch. Lucas was the only guy who had ever made Zoey feel this way. He was the only guy who ever would. Thank God he had forgiven her.
Zoey felt her kisses become more urgent, more intense. Lucas had been right. She was revitalized.
Suddenly Lucas pulled away. He lay next to her on the bed, their faces not even an inch apart. Zoey gazed into his eyes almost as intensely as he gazed into hers. "I should go now," Lucas said, brushing a stray blond hair off her cheek.
Zoey stared back at him in amazement. Things were just heating up between them, as their messed-up clothes and tousled hair could attest.
"It's not that late, is it?" Zoey asked as she fished around her cluttered nightstand for her clock. It wasn't like Lucas to be concerned about the time while occupied in his favorite activity.
"No," Lucas replied, getting up from the bed, "but you have homework and I should let you do it."
"It's really not that much. You don't have to go, Lucas. I could do it on the ferry tomorrow," Zoey offered.
"That's okay, Zo," he responded, tucking his turtleneck back into his jeans. "You've had a long night. I should let you unwind."
"I am unwound," she said, rising to her knees to put her arms around his neck, "thanks to you."
"Anytime." Lucas kissed her lips briefly. "But I'm gonna take off. Good night," he said, giving her a final light kiss on the cheek.
"Good night," she responded as he crossed the room and headed out her bedroom door.
This wasn't the Lucas Cabral Zoey knew. That Lucas Cabral would never willingly end a make-out session. That Lucas Cabral had to be told when to stop. Zoey knew for certain that something was up. She just didn't know what.
Lucas let the cold water run across his face and down the length of his body. He tried to suppress a full-body shiver, but it was just no use. Cold showers definitely sucked.
But it had been worth it, he was convinced. As much as he wanted to stay with Zoey, he had vowed to himself that he wouldn't let things go too far. And he had stuck to his guns.
Throughout their relationship, the biggest source of conflict between Zoey and Lucas had been his desirehis sometimes overwhelming desireto have sex.
Lucas knew that Zoey resented always having to be the one to cool things off. In fact, Lucas was sure that a big reason why Zoey had fooled around with that slimeball Aaron Mendel was that he'd fed her a line about wanting to remain a virgin.
No one will ever come between us again, Lucas thought as he lathered his arms. 1 won't let it happen. He'd adopted a new cool-off policy. From now on, before things got too heavy for Lucas to remain the polite, nonpressuring boyfriend he knew Zoey wanted, he would simply stop.
As difficult as it had been, he had done just that at Zoey's an hour before. She had seemed a little disappointed at first, but by the time he left, Lucas was sure he had detected a look of surprised happiness on Zoey's face.