New Beginnings Pt.3

Punch. Kick. Punch. Zane did his best to put a hurting on his punching bag. He was without a doubt frustrated. Since his fight with Lexi, he hadn’t been able to sleep much. That was over two weeks ago. He’d tried calling, texting, and had even gone over to her apartment. Rafe had given him the address. But she was avoiding him like he was a plague. Dammit, he was tired. Tired of chasing her ass. If she wanted to talk, she would have to come to him. By the looks of it, she didn’t. That bothered him a lot because he believed they would be good together. Needing to turn his off his thoughts, he began hitting the punching bag again. After about ten minutes, he felt much better. He walked to his bedroom to go and shower, but the doorbell rang. For a second, he considered not opening the door. He sighed and grudgingly made his way to the door. He wrenched it open and his heart did a somersault. Alexis. No. No. No damn somersaults. He was still mad.

“What are you doing here?”

She took in the sight of his body and licked her lips. Focus Alexis. “I…we..can I come in?”

He blocked the entrance. “Why? You were too busy running out of here the last time.”

She knew this wouldn’t be easy. She didn’t blame him if he was pissed. If she were in the same position, she would be too. “Zane, please.”

He clenched and unclenched his fists. All he could think about was pulling her into his arms and never letting her go, but his pride was wounded. “Look, Lexi. Let’s just forget about it.”

“I don’t want to forget about it. I’m sorry that you haven’t been able to reach me the last few weeks. I was just really embarrassed that I neglected to tell you I was a virgin and pissed that you yelled at me like that. I didn’t expect it. I knew you would be upset when I came over but I just wanted you to know that.” She stepped off the porch and turned to leave. She’d made it all of two steps before she felt him grab her arm. She turned and ran right into him.

He steadied her so that she wouldn’t fall. “Don’t ever leave me like that again. I prefer to talk things out instead of running away. And don’t ever deliberately ignore my calls or texts.” He drew her into his arms. “Thank you for apologizing. I’m sorry too.”
Dammit, he just couldn’t let her go.

“Okay. You’re sure that you’ve forgiven me?” She asked as she slid her arms around his neck.

He lowered his head and mere inches from her lips he whispered “Yeah, baby. I’m sure.” He touched his lips to hers in a gentle kiss and drew back. Desire coursed through his body but he held back anyway.

She licked her lips. The taste of him was so enticing. She wanted more. “Come back here. I’ve spent almost three weeks without you. I need more than that.”

He smiled and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “How much more are we talking?”

“Come back, and I’ll show you.”

“Alexis, can I ask you something first?”

She frowned. “Okay, this is not how I saw this going.”

He laughed heartily. “We’ll get to that, sweetheart. Trust me. Why did you come back?”

“Hmm, that’s a general question. Care to be specific?” Dammit, she could not tell him it was because she loved him.

What was she hiding? He wondered. She was deliberately avoiding his question. “Please answer the question. I need you to tell me the truth.”

She braced her hands against his forearms. “I can’t tell you. It could run you off and we’re just beginning. I just can’t do it.” She said softly

“Do you want to know the reason I forgave you? Even though I had every intention of giving up on you?”

She stared deeply into his eyes. “Tell me.”

He placed a soft kiss on her lips. “Because I really like you. Not just because you’re good-looking or a good kisser, but because for as long as I’ve known you, you have always been caring and selfless. You give yourself freely in whatever you do and I love that. I really think we could be good together. But I need you to trust me.”

Aw, hell. She had to tell him now. She didn’t want him to believe that she didn’t trust him. “Zane, I came back because…Because I love you.”

His heart swelled at her words. “You love me? How long have you felt this way?”

She tried to move out of his embrace but his arms tightened around her waist. “Yes. Since high school.”

Damn. This wasn’t what he’d expected to hear from her. She loved him. That scared the hell out of him but at the same time he was happy. “That’s a long time to love someone and not tell them.”

She looked away from his piercing gaze. “I just realized it a few weeks ago.”

“Which is the reason you ran from me the first time we kissed?”

Damn, he was too perceptive. “Yes.”

“Are you ashamed to love me? You won’t even look at me.”

She abruptly turned back to look at him. “Of course not. I’m just…scared.”

Well, that was something they could agree on. So was he. “How about we just take it one day at time?”

She smiled. “I think it’s a little too late for that.”

He leaned closer to her mouth. “It’s your call. I’m scared too but I want you and nobody else.”

“Really?”

He placed a soft kiss on her lips. “Yeah. Really.”

She smiled mischievously, pulled out of his embrace, and walked to the door. “You coming?” She tossed over her shoulder.

His gaze zeroed in our hips and behind. With little effort, she’d managed to make him hard. Oh, he was coming alright. Without replying, he walked up behind her and placed a kiss on her neck. “Let’s go.” Then he guided her inside.

The next morning

Alexis stirred in her sleep when she felt his mouth on her hot center. When she felt his tongue prob her folds, it was all she could do not to scream. The man had a devilish mouth on him. Something she’d quickly learned as he teased and taunted her mercilessly last night. Not that she had complained. She loved how he made her feel. She gasped as he circled his tongue and then bit the tiny nub in between her folds. This was exquisite torture. She writhed against the bed as he placed his full mouth on her and suckled. Oh my. Before she knew it, she began to tremble as her orgasm hit her over and over again, causing her to cry out. She fell back onto the bed breathless. Who knew it could be this intense? She thought but it quickly fled her mind as he slowly and languidly kissed his way up her body, and she gasped at every kiss and touch. It felt just that good. She felt her gut clench when their eyes met. She would never get tired of looking at him.

“Good Morning, baby.”

She smiled. “Good morning. So, can I expect to wake up to that every day?”

He leaned down to place soft kiss on her insatiable lips. “If that’s what you want.” He murmured against her lips.

She moaned. “I want.” She deepened the kiss and ran her nails down his back, something she’d discovered was a turn on for him. She felt a shudder pass through him. She whimpered as he abruptly ended the kiss.

He smiled knowingly. He loved her in insatiable appetite. “I’m sorry, baby. I have to go into work this morning.”

She pouted. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Unfortunately, no. Rafe called me while you were sleeping.”

She sighed. “Fine.” She made a move to get up but he wouldn’t move.

He lowered his head and kissed her neck. “Where do you think you are you’re going?”

She stammered as he began nibbling. “H…Home.”

He looked into her eyes. “I’m not going to be gone all day. You can stay here.”

She stared at him for a long moment. “I didn’t expect that.”

“I’m not letting you get away that easily from me.” He slid his fingers into her hair and kissed her passionately.

“How can I say no to that? Just one question.” She said once they broke apart.

“And what’s that?”

“Can I be on top this time?” She whispered

He looked at her body and licked his lips slowly. “Whatever you want, Alexis.”

She grinned. “Careful you might spoil me.” She rolled them over and climbed on top of him.

Damn, he was going to be late for work, he thought. But as he slid inside her, all thoughts about work fled his mind. This was worth being late for.

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New Beginnings Pt. 2

As Zane pulled out of Stanford’s parking lot, it occurred to him that taking Alexis back to his house was not the best idea. All he could think about was making love to her. It had been a while since he’d made love to a woman that he cared about. He’d always cared for the woman sitting beside him and he didn’t want to mess that up. Surprisingly, he wanted more than a casual fling with her. She deserved more and then some. Deciding not to go back to his house in Palo Alto, he entered the ramp to the highway and headed for Rick’s Ice Cream parlor. It was neutral territory and at least he could focus there. Besides, Lexi would love their homemade ice cream. He felt her hand on his and jerked his attention back to her.

“Change in plans?”

“Yeah. Disappointed?”

Her lips quirked at the ends. “Maybe. I get it though. You’re being a gentleman.”

He took her hand in his and laced their fingers. “Do you like gentlemen, sweetheart?” He asked as he pulled in front of the ice cream parlor.

She looked at their joined hands and did her best to calm down the butterflies in her stomach. She removed her seatbelt and leaned over to him. Feeling more boldly then she ever had, she inched towards his lips. She stopped mere inches from his lips, recognition dawning in his eyes. She wasn’t sure if he pulled her the rest of the way or if she moved on her own. Her breath fluttered over his lips for a second and then she placed a soft open mouthed kiss onto his mouth. She slowly pulled back and flicked her tongue against her top lip. Delicious. “I love gentleman. There is something sexy about them.” She smiled inwardly as she watched him try to absorb it all. “Ready to go inside?” She reached for the door handle.

“Hold it.” His voice sounded alot more gruff than he’d intended. But hell, Lexi had just surprised the hell out of him. Now he was turned on and trying his damnedest not to ravish her in his truck. How could one soft kiss turn him on so much?“I can’t go in there like this.”

“Like what? What’s wrong?” She watched as he looked down. Her eyes followed to where he was looking. Her breath caught. Was he really that big? Oh my. She tried not to stare but how could she not. She and Gabe had never had sex. Had gotten close to it, but her fear of pregnancy had stopped her every time. Her gaze slowly traveled back to his face. “Do you want to leave?”

“If we do, you know what will happen. I’m trying to prevent that.”

“Why? It’s going to happen eventually. With the way I feel about you…” She trailed off and looked away. Damn. She had to be more careful.

He pulled her to him and she willing went into his arms. He could get use to this. “Is that the reason you broke up with Gabe? Because you have feelings for me?”

She opened her mouth to speak and then closed it. Think of something to tell himShe couldn’t tell him the whole truth so she improvised. “Yes, partially. I didn’t love him.” I love you. Always have. She wanted to say but couldn’t. It would surely scare him away.

His arms tightened around her waist. “You were with the guy for two years and you felt nothing?” He found that hard to believe.

“I didn’t say that. I believe it was more of an infatuation. We argued way too much, and it was just draining. We’d been fooling ourselves for way too long.”

Stroking his fingers down her curls, he angled her face to his and kissed her soft, inviting lips. He didn’t think he would ever get enough of her. If he was honest with himself, he didn’t want to. He felt her lips open beneath his and he slipped his tongue inside. He let out strangled moan when he felt her suck his tongue. If it was possible, he felt himself grow harder. He abruptly broke the kiss when he felt her undoing his belt buckle. “Alexis…” He whispered hoarsely.

She looked up briefly into his eyes. “Can anyone see us in here?”

“No. The windows are tinted. Why?” Realization dawned him. She wanted to make love here? No, they couldn’t.

She saw the doubt that crossed his face. She didn’t care. She wanted him now. This increased throbbing in her hot center was driving her mad. “Yes or no, Zane? I need you now. I don’t want to wait.”

He smiled at her impatience. His little impatient woman. His?. Damn, he’d already claimed her. He might as well just stop fighting it and give in to his feelings for her. His body demanded that he take her here but he wanted them in a bed, not in his truck. He turned and started the engine. “Buckle up. We are going to my house. You don’t deserve to be made love to in a truck, babe. You with me?”

She was hot all over and that was from just a kiss. Her imagination went into overdrive. She absently nodded at his question and buckled her seat belt. Anticipation was climbing all over her as he pulled out of the parking space and headed back to the highway.

Zane’s home

Zane hurriedly parked his truck in the driveway. He opened his door and got out. He walked over to the passenger side and opened the door. The first thing he saw were her thighs and round hips in that skirt as she turned to get out. Oh man. “Come here, baby.” He watched as she scooted towards him. When she reached the edge, he spread her legs. He just wanted one taste. Lowering his head, he placed a kiss on the inside of her thigh. When she inhaled sharply, he smiled. So responsive. His fingers found her hot center through her underwear. He rubbed up and down and then he made small circles with his finger and she cried out. Music to his ears. He lifted her into his arms and kicked the door shut. “Let’s get inside.”

She laid her head on his shoulder as he carried her inside. She couldn’t believe that she was about to make love with him. The thought of losing her virginity wasn’t as scary now. Because she wanted this. With Zane. No one else mattered. Maybe that was selfish but thats how she felt. He placed her on her feet once they were inside. While he locked the door, she walked to his bedroom. Staring at his bed, she wondered how many other women had slept there? She closed her eyes and tried not to let that bother her. She jumped slightly when she felt his arms encircle her waist. She hadn’t heard him come in.

“You okay?” He whispered near her ear. He felt her stiffen and knew something had changed. “What is it, sweetheart? You can tell me.”

“I can’t tell you without sounding jealous. I don’t want to ruin our time together.”

He kissed her neck softly. “You won’t. Spill.”

She breathed deeply. “How many other woman have shared your bed?”

He lifted his mouth from her neck and turned her to face him. “Alexis, I don’t make it a habit of bringing women to my home. I won’t say that no one has been here before but we were in a serious relationship. To answer your question…Not many, sweetheart.”

“You barely know me. So, why are you bringing me here?”

A smile spread across his face. “Who says I barely know you?”

His smile did funny things to her insides. Focus,AlexisShe took a deep breath. “Come on. I’m your best friend’s sister. What could you possibly know about me?” Why was she questioning him like this? They had plenty of time to get to know each other.

He knew what she was doing. She was trying to find an excuse to get out of this. Well, he wasn’t one to hold people hostage if they didn’t want to do something. “If you must know, I know you like double fudge ice cream, black and white films, you’re very competitive, and a genius when it comes to problem solving. He paused. “Come on. Let’s get you home.”

She reared back, surprised. “Why?”

He shoved his hands into his pocket to keep from reaching out to her. She looked so stricken. “You seem to be having second thoughts about this. Are you?”

She wrapped her arms around his waist and pressed her body to his. “Of course not. I was jealous. I really have no right to be. You had a life before me.”

“Don’t worry about it. Trust me. I’m a one-woman man. And the only woman that I want is you. Are we clear?”

She smiled. “Crystal.”

“Good.” He tangled his fingers in her hair and gently pulled her into a kiss. So sweet and yielding. He nipped her lips and dragged his tongue across her bottom lip. She moaned and tightened her arms around his waist. She slipped her tongue into his mouth and her body jerked when he dueled with her tongue. Damn, she was on fire. If he didn’t put out this blaze soon, she was going to go up in flames. She shifted and lifted his shirt from his pants and briefly broke the kiss to pull it over his head. Her mouth watered just looking at his lean, taut body. She touched his abs with her fingertips. Her gaze jerked upward when she heard him hiss at the contact. Before she knew it, he gathered her in his arms and carried her to his bed.

He gently laid her down and slowly removed her skirt, inch by excruciating inch. By the time he removed it, she was panting. He removed her underwear next and then her top and bra followed. She was a sight to behold, he thought. Shapely hips flowed up to a small waist. Her breasts weren’t incredibly large but enough to fill his hands and then some.

“Zane, you’re killing me here.”

“Oh yeah?” He settled himself between her thighs and then lowered his head to capture a nipple into his mouth. She cried out softly. He licked, nipped, and drew it back into his mouth. “How about now?”

“It’s worse now. Come here. I missed you.”

His heart skipped a beat at the heartfelt words spoken. He moved up her body and placed a kiss on her soft mouth. She opened her mouth beneath his and the kiss turned passionate, more insistent. He needed to be inside her desperately. Sliding his hand down to her hot center, he rubbed and prodded her folds drawing small whimpers from her. He continued to ravage her mouth as he slid his finger inside her. Slowly he withdrew his finger to the tip and then slid it right back in. He smiled to himself when her hips began to move in the same rhythm. He tried to slip another finger inside her, but he couldn’t. He frowned. No. She couldn’t be. Could she? He wondered.

Alexis opened her eyes when his finger stilled and found Zane frowning. “Hey, what’s wrong?”

His gaze zeroed in on her, eyes blazing. “When were you going to tell me you were a virgin? Before or after?”

Her breath caught. She hadn’t really thought about. She had been too caught up in the moment. “I…I don’t know. Does it matter?”

“Hell yes, it matters!” He yelled. How could she not think that this was not important? He wondered

She cringed. This wasn’t going to end well. Now, was a good time for her to get her clothes and go home. “Let me up.”

He rose from his position and watched her scurry from underneath him. Damn. He shouldn’t have yelled at her. “Wait.”

She shook her head vehemently and threw her clothes back on. “I gotta go. I will talk to you another time.” She said softly

He grabbed her before she made a beeline for the door. When he felt her trembling beneath his hand, he swore. “Alexis, I shouldn’t have yelled like that. I’m sorry.”

She stared at him for a long moment before she spoke. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. Now, I need to go.”

He let out a shaky breath. “Please stay.”

She crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him. “Why? So, you can yell at me again? Thanks, but no thanks.” She tossed.

“I’m not taking you back home. We need to talk about this.”

She shook her head. “Fine. I will just call a cab then.” She turned and sauntered out of the bedroom. As the front door closed behind her, she struggled not to cry. Sliding down the door, she sat and waited. For what…she wasn’t sure.

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New Beginnings

Zane stirred from his sleep to the sound of someone humming.What the hell? He knew for a fact that he lived alone, so who was  in his house? He tried to remember if he’d brought someone home last night from the bar he’d gone too. No, he definitely hadn’t brought anyone home. He would have remembered that.

Rising from his bed, he followed the humming into his kitchen. He froze in the doorway upon seeing a pair of gorgeous brown legs. He followed those gorgeous legs up to one of his white t-shirts that hung loosely on the woman’s body. Was she wearing underwear underneath there? He wondered. Good grief. He was acting like a starved sex maniac but for some reason he couldn’t stop his train of thought. Even though his shirt was big on her, he could see the curves that accentuated her body. His eyes traveled further to brown and blonde curls that looked oddly familiar. His heart did a flip flop as he realized who this person was. It was Lexi. And when her eyes met his, he knew he was right.

She must have sensed he was there. Or had he said something? Hell, he didn’t know. He was too mesmerized by that luscious, shapely body of hers that he couldn’t remember. Shit. This was his best friend’s sister. Rafael would kill his ass if he knew he was lusting after Lexi.

“Hi, Zane. You doing okay?” She said softly. Her eyes took in his finely sculpted body and she had to keep herself from sighing. The man was beautiful personified.

He shook himself out of his lust filled haze or at least he tried to. Get a grip, man. “Lexi, what the hell are you doing in my house? I don’t remember letting you in last night.” His voice boomed. He cringed. Okay, that didn’t come out right.

She frowned and planted her hands on her hips. “Well, somebody woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. First off, I called you and asked could I stay the night, because Gabe and I had a huge fight last night. You might want to check your phone in case you don’t believe me. And second, do not talk to me like that. I’ll just get my shit and leave.” She threw down the spatula she had been using for the pancakes she was cooking. She turned off the burner and walked past him to the guest room she’d slept in.

The nerve of him talking to her like she was some stalker or something. What the hell was wrong with him? She wondered. What made her come over here, she wasn’t sure. Whatever the reason, it had been a big mistake. She hastily put on her jeans and tank top. Before she could slip on her shoes, she felt his presence. Just like she had in the kitchen. What was that? It was like her body went on high alert whenever he was near now.

“Lexi, wait. I’m so sorry about how I talked to you.” After she’d left the kitchen, he remembered her call late last night. He’d been half drunk which was the reason he couldn’t remember at first. He shouldn’t have talked to her like that. Hell, he’d never been that abrupt with her and it unnerved him that he’d hurt her. Why it bothered him so much, he couldn’t say. He was more upset with himself because of his reaction to her. Maybe it was the shock of seeing her without much on her body. Yeah, right. He was he fooling? Himself? Probably.

He wasn’t sure what possessed him to move towards her but he did. He stood behind her and placed his hands on her shoulders and drew her back to his chest. Wrapping his arms around her waist, he pressed a kiss to her hair. “You don’t have to leave, Lexi.” God, she smelled incredible. Her body was soft against his and he couldn’t stop himself from reveling in how good she felt against him.

Her breath caught when he embraced her and smelled her hair. She hadn’t expected this. Not at all. Her anger melted just that quickly. “Zane, what’s happening?” She whispered. Suddenly, she found herself snuggling deeper into his arms. Not wanting him to ever let her go. His strong arms felt incredible around her.

“I don’t know. I saw my best friend’s sister in my t-shirt and now I can’t get that image out of my head. You looked incredibly sexy.” His voice dropped an octave lower.

Sexy? Oh my God, he wants me! She screamed in her head. For years she’d liked Zane but he’d never really noticed her. Wait. What was she getting so happy about? She was involved with someone. She couldn’t ignore that. Could she? “Zane, I…I’m with Gabe, remember.” Well, that sounded convincing. Real good job, Lexi.

He wrapped one of her soft curls around his finger. “Are you? You guys fight a lot, Lexi. Why are you still with him?” He’d always wondered about that but never asked. She deserved so much better.

She wasn’t sure how to answer him. The question had crossed her mind more than once. Last night’s fight had been the worst fight they’d ever had. Gabe had accused her of being in love with someone else and things had escalated from there. Technically, they had broken up. Hadn’t they? “I don’t know.”

She sounded so unsure. He hated that. He wanted her for himself. As crazy as it sounded, that’s what he wanted. Gabe be damned. He gently tugged the hair wrapped around his finger until her head fell back onto his shoulder. “Let me give you something to think about.” He placed small moist kisses on her beautiful neck and felt her shudder. He kissed her cheek and then his mouth slid to hers. Their breaths mingling sent his senses into overdrive. When their mouths joined, he felt a jolt in his body. God, he’d never felt that before with anyone else. He groaned when he felt her tongue slide into his mouth. When his tongue slid back over hers, a fire began to build in his lower belly. And damn he never wanted it to go out.

She turned in his arms and wrapped her arms around his neck. She moaned when he pulled her closer. Their kiss turned hot and demanding. She rubbed her body against his and gasped when she felt how hard he was. The passion that gripped her made her dizzy with longing. She had never felt this out of control…not even with Gabe….Because she didn’t love him. She loved Zane. This newfound revelation stopped her cold. She froze in his arms and panic began to set in. She loved a man who didn’t love her back. In fact, he’d never thought of her as a woman until today. Oh God, she had to go. Now she understood how Gabe felt. He loved a woman that didn’t love him back. Funny how that little fact had never come across her mind until now.

“Lexi, are you okay?”

She shook her head and quickly moved out of his arms before she changed her mind. “I have to leave. I will call you later.”

He frowned. Something just wasn’t right about her hurried departure. ” Wait. Lexi..”

“No. Just stop. Please.” She gathered her things and all but ran out of Zane’s house. As soon as she reached her car and got inside, she hit her steering wheel with her fist. How could she have not known that she loved Zane? Had she been in denial? That was a strong possibility. She wasn’t sure but she needed to figure it out. But first she needed to move out of Gabe’s apartment and find her own.

Two weeks later

Zane felt like he was going crazy. He shut down his computer and leaned back in his chair in his office. For the millionth time, he thought about Lexi and their kiss. He’d loved every minute of her lips on his. He loved the taste of her and was disappointed that the kiss had ended so quickly.

He wasn’t sure what made her run from him but he was determined to find out. He wasn’t easily deterred. If anything, he was more determined to find her. He’d already tried calling her but she wouldn’t answer. He had even been desperate enough to go by the apartment sh’de shared with Gabe. When Gabe had told him that she’d moved, it was as if he’d been sucker punched in the stomach. Now, he had no choice but to ask Rafe. Shit. The last thing he wanted was for his best friend to be upset with him, but he just couldn’t give a damn right now. He needed to see Lexi like yesterday.

Rising from his chair, he went next door to Rafe’s office. He and Rafe had been partners in their construction business, Stepping Stones LLC, for nearly ten years. They’d never let business come in between their friendship and he was glad that he could trust Rafe. He knocked on his door and peered inside. Rafe waved him inside.

“What’s up, man? Have a seat.”

He pushed his hands into his pockets. “No. I’d better not. This won’t take long.”

Rafael’s eyebrows drew together. “What’s wrong, Zane? Has something happened?”

Zane pushed a hand through his already tousled hair. “No, everything’s fine. Have you heard from Alexis?”

“Yeah. She called this morning.”

“Okay. Is she still in school? At Stanford, right?”

“Yes. She normally leaves around two in the afternoon.”

Great. That was enough to track her down. “Thanks, man. I will catch up with you later, okay?”

“Hold it right there. Zane, is there something on between you two?”

Zane exhaled sharply. “I won’t lie to you. I think there is something going on between us. What exactly that is, I’m not sure. I just need to talk to her.”

Rafe smiled knowingly. This was the first time he’d seen his friend so out of sorts over a woman in quite some time. His sister no less. “Looks like you got it bad, man.”

Zane’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “What the hell does that mean?”

Rafe chuckled. “You like Lexi. Admit it.”

Dammit. He was not suppose to catch on this quick. “Hell. I guess you could say that.”

“Why was it so hard for you to say that?”

“Come on, man. You know why. Let’s not pretend.”

Rafe shrugged. “I’m not. It’s been five years since Amber ripped you to shreds because of her inability to be faithful to you. Don’t tell me you’re not over that?”

What kind of question was that? Of course he was over it. “I am. I’m just a lot more cautious now. Lexi’s younger than Amber was.”

Rafe snorted. “She’s five years younger than you. That’s not a huge difference. Besides, why does that matter?”

It didn’t really. He just didn’t want to be hurt again. “Let’s not go there right now. I gotta catch her before she leaves school.”

“Just so you know, I don’t think you’re really being cautious, otherwise you wouldn’t be running after her. Care to tell me how all this came about?”

Zane rolled his eyes upwards. “Later, Rafe.” He ignored his friend laughter as he left.

Stanford Campus

Lexi walked out of her last class of the day. She was glad to be done for the day. She had a few months until graduation and then she could start her career as a nurse. As she walked outside to her car, she saw a couple of women she knew and waved to them. She was a few feet away from her car when she saw him. Zane. He was casually leaning against his truck. All of a sudden, it felt like she couldn’t breathe. How did he know what time she left school? She wondered.

Granted, she hadn’t left right at two today, but he didn’t look like he was in a hurry. What was he doing here? Damn, she was not prepared for this. Lexi, just breathe and just go talk to him. She reasoned with herself. But she couldn’t do it. She had to get past him somehow without him seeing her. She began walking but stopped again when his head lifted and their eyes met. Their kiss came rushing back into her mind. She knew he had to be thinking of it too.

Ignoring him or at least trying to, she made a beeline for her car. She pulled the keys from her purse with shaky hands once she got there. She’d just gotten the door open, when a shadow fell over her. He didn’t need to touch her for her to know it was him.

“Its time to stop running, Alexis.” He said as he gently closed her car door.

She swallowed hard and did her best not to tremble. She wasn’t scared of him because she knew he would never hurt her. The feelings she had for him made her afraid to take a chance. “Zane, please.” She pleaded.

He drew her back to him and inhaled her scent. She smelled of lilac and flowers. “God, Lexi, I missed you. It’s crazy how one encounter can change you.” He left off forever. It was too soon to say that.

“I know what you mean.” She murmured.

He gently pushed her curls behind her shoulder. He dipped his head to place a kiss there, and when he heard her inhale sharply, all the blood in his body felt like it was rushing to one spot in particular. He had to get a grip. The last thing he wanted was to scare her off. “Lexi, we need to talk. Don’t you agree?”

She nodded and let herself snuggle deeper into his embrace. She’d missed him and his touch. Suddenly, she regretted her impulse decision to run from him.”Yes, I suppose so.”

“I love when you do that.” He murmured near ear.

She smiled. “What is that exactly?”

“Snuggling deeper into my arms. Trusting me.”

She moved her body just enough to turn and look into his eyes. The hazel depths mesmerizing her. “Hi.”

He smiled. “Hi there.”

She sighed. “I guess I owe you an explanation.”

“An explanation would be nice.”

She chuckled. “Where do you want to go to talk?”

He pulled her closer. “Wherever you’re most comfortable. I promise I wont do anything you don’t want me to do.”

Indecision gripped her hard, but for the moment she decided to just be free and not so uptight. “So no kissing?”

He grinned. “Do you want me to kiss you, Alexis?”

She loved the way he said her full name. There was something sexy about how he let the “l” roll off his tongue. “I will admit that I’ve been thinking about it since I left your house. Yes.”

“You mean since you ran from my house?” He teased

She groaned and ducked her head. “Look, I-

He slid his finger down her cheek. “Hey, this is new for me too. I guess I can understand why you ran. Let’s go talk somewhere in private. Where would you like to go?”

He had no idea and she wasn’t going to correct him. She had no intention of telling him she loved him…yet. “How about your place?”

“Are you sure you’re okay with that?”

She smiled. “I’m more than okay with it. Come on. We can come back for my car later.”

“If you’re sure, then okay.” He took her hand and led her to his truck. When he helped her into his truck, he had to keep himself from staring at the way her skirt clung to her thighs. He had to keep his desires under control, at least until he talked to her. Damn, it was going to be a long day.

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