Beyond the Beach

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GENRE: Adult Romance, language and sexual situations, suitable for 18+

SYNOPSIS

Masen Pelletier was living his life to the fullest, on a mission to surf every beach he could. He had his life ahead of him and there was nothing or no one he couldn’t have but what happens when he meets Zoe, someone who won’t give him what he wants. Will he change his ways and find a way to live beyond the beach or will he always swim alone?

Chapter 1

The crisp air blew outside the window, forcing small debris into the sky, lifting and lifting until it dropped somewhere Zoe couldn’t see. Her lip curled into a small smile as she imagined the scattered fragments drifting all the way to New York City, where it could join its brethren in the land of debris and chaos where she came from. A land where the sights and sounds, while exciting at times, were never tranquil or at peace.

Zoe couldn’t see the beach where she was standing but she could certainly sense its proximity. She had found that in the short time they had been there that the beach seemed to have a presence, an awakening of mind and spirit when you were anywhere near its vicinity. How this could be, she wasn’t quite sure. She only knew that it made her happy and oddly at ease.

The smell of the salty water rose from the shore and into the small room they occupied at the top of Surfer’s Beach. They were staying in Governor’s Harbor on Eleuthera Island, one of the many islands that made up the Bahamas. Eleuthera was more of a local destination than the tourist spot that was Nassau, which was both good and bad. Good in the sense that there were less people and bad, well, it had less people, leaving Zoe unsure of herself, unable to blend in with the millions. The creaky floorboards of the room announced themselves as Zoe strode to the worn couch cloaked in its tropical colors. She plopped down unceremoniously, looking up at her excited best friend, Summer.

“I don’t want to go,” Zoe pouted from the couch.

“Zoe, the whole point of being in the Bahamas is to actually be in the Bahamas,” Summer exclaimed with an arch of her perfectly sculpted brow.

“I am happy being where I am. I have been out, a lot, but I need to finish this piece. I want it to be done before we get back. I won’t have another opportunity to relax and just… write once we get home.”

Summer rolled her eyes as she brought one sash against her waist and then the other as she fitted her sarong low on her hips. Summer was unnaturally short, in comparison to other women, with short dark hair and deep brown eyes. She had a fiery spirit that often caused her to act without thinking, sometimes with dire consequences. But when she set her mind on something she went for it, full steam ahead. The complete opposite of Zoe. Perhaps that was why they had become such good friends.

Zoe and Summer had known each other for five years. They had met when Zoe was hired as a receptionist for Webster, Inc., a large investment firm in New York City. Summer, being a seasoned employee, had been assigned to show her the ropes and how to maintain herself within the company. They became fast friends, taking lunch with each other every day. It was during the initial stage of their friendship that Zoe had learned two very important things about Summer. The first being that she lived for fashion. She actually allotted 40% of her salary to be used specifically for clothes and shoes. Something that Zoe couldn’t fathom. The second thing she learned was that Summer was obsessed with Ethan Webster, who just so happened to be the CEO’s son and next in line to run the company.

Ethan Webster did not work in their particular branch but came in often. When Zoe and Summer decided to cut expenses a few years after they began to work with each other and share an apartment, she realized just how far this obsession went. Summer had a file of all the newspaper clippings that Ethan was in and talked relentlessly about his accomplishments in and out of the office. As far as Zoe could ascertain, Summer had never actually met him which is what led them to the island in the first place.

“Zoe, please, oh my God, this could be good for both of us!” Summer pleaded.

Zoe looked up from the newspaper she was reading and eyed her friend speculatively. She set the New York Times down on their glass top coffee table and crossed her legs and then her arms. Summer had been going on for hours about how Ethan was going to the Bahamas and it just so happened to coincide with their vacation time. She saw it as destiny, the fates aligning for her and Ethan. Generally, Zoe ignored Summer when she got frenzied like this but there was something different about her right now. An urgency that was almost frightening.

“How on earth would us,” Zoe waved her hand between the two of them, “spending our hard earned savings to go to the Bahamas on the off chance you will run into Ethan be good for both of us?” Zoe questioned.

“I can feel it, this is it,” Summer whispered reverently as she sat down next to her on the couch and linked her fingers with Zoe’s. “Ethan and I are supposed to be together. I know this with every fiber of my being,” she brought Zoe’s hand to her heart which was beating rapidly. “This is my chance, my opportunity to see him outside of the office, to let him see me, as me.”

Zoe was moved by her friend’s impassioned plea but was still a bit wary. “I don’t know, Summer. I was going to write that whole week.”

“What better place to find inspiration than here?” Summer exclaimed with unprecedented excitement as she tossed the newspaper aside and reached for one of the brochures that had been hidden underneath it, handing it to her friend.

Zoe took the brochure, letting her fingers run along the beautiful picture of a couple walking hand in hand along the ocean shore at sunset.

“Just change and come with me today. I have proof that he will be at Surfers Beach. It’s just down the way,” Summer exclaimed, bringing Zoe out of her memory.

Proof. Zoe’s eyes almost rolled to the back of her head at her best friend. Summer’s idea of proof was hearing from her ‘source’ that Ethan was going to be at this place or that place. So far he hasn’t been at any of the locations she was told he would be at. She wondered at what point Summer would become a stalker, perhaps she had already passed into it. Zoe glanced at her opened laptop on the coffee table and thought that maybe it would be best to get some fresh air and clear her head. Although she had a day job, her biggest desire was to write. She was working on her first novel but had hit a writer’s block of sorts. She looked back at Summer who was smiling, already sensing that she had won this debate. With her inspiration waning, Zoe stood and went to the bedroom to change. Maybe Summer was right, maybe something at the beach would inspire her.

Chapter 2

The wind blew Zoe’s blonde hair to and fro until it was a wild and chaotic mess, framing her heart shaped face. Her large brown eyes were covered by a pair of hand me down Ray Bans she found at a second hand store. As they parked, they could see many cars as the sounds of beach fun emerged from the shore. The girls quickly grabbed their things. Summer draped their towels and blanket over her arms as she scanned the perimeter in search of the elusive Mr. Webster. Glancing at Summer, Zoe shook her head before throwing their umbrella bag over her shoulder and picked up her ‘if you ain’t from the Big Apple you ain’t shit’ tote.

Noticing the tote, Summer sighed. She wished that Zoe was a little less hostile and abrasive. She worried about her friend. She had few relationships that seemed to last. Usually, she fell for unattainable men, men who had no desire to be faithful or settle down. It had been years since the last one, Darian, had broken her heart. Summer still remembered the day; six months after Zoe caught Darian with another woman. Zoe exclaimed triumphantly that she was giving up on love and men. So far, Zoe had kept that promise to herself, in spite of Summer’s attempts at matchmaking.

Summer turned towards the shore again in an attempt to find the best spot, a spot where she could see the large groups of people milling about. She noticed a centralized patch of sand not far from the water and motioned her head towards it. Zoe nodded as they began their trek. The warm sand hit their feet and made the two young women move just a tad faster than they wanted.

Zoe was lost in thought as the hot sand burned the tender soles of her feet. She saw the look her friend gave her at the car and tried to dismiss it, but it was haunting her. She was not willing to have the ‘you need to get out and experience life’ discussion again but had a feeling that it was inevitable. When they reached the spot Summer had selected, she stopped and noticed that Summer began to immediately rake her eyes over the beach, in an effort to find any signs of Ethan.

“You’re not going to ditch me, are you?” Zoe asked with a raised eyebrow, halting Summer’s search.

“Of course not, well, I mean,” Summer stuttered slightly.

“Oh for crying out loud, he’s just a man, no more, no less than any of them.”

Summer dropped their items on the sand and stared at her friend in disbelief. Not only was Ethan Webster New York’s most sought after investment broker, he was beautiful to boot, with light brown hair and hazel eyes. His tall and slim body was accentuated perfectly in his tailored suits. But it wasn’t just his looks. She also sensed there was something deeper about him but she would never know for sure until they actually spoke to one another. Zoe expelled an exacerbated breath before reaching down and straightening out their blanket and setting up the umbrella so that it offered shade to most of the blanket.

“I’m sorry, Summer. I know it’s a big deal to you,” Zoe looked up to see Summer staring off in the distance. “What?” she asked her nearly comatose friend.

“Ethan,” she whispered reverently.

Zoe turned and put her hands on her hips, squinting into the sun. Sure enough, there he was, Ethan Webster, III in all his uber rich glory. He was standing at a makeshift bar visiting with the bartender, a local man who was waving his arms in dramatic fashion as Ethan laughed in response. Zoe had never seen Ethan in anything but a suit, but today he was wearing a pair of board shorts with a light blue button down shirt. Not bad!

Zoe thought back to New York and the fact that she had never actually talked to him before. She had seen him around the office a few times but they had never interacted. He never seemed to pay attention to her, or Summer, for that matter. She was highly doubtful that he knew they existed. Why would he, they were clearly in a whole different social stratosphere than him. Plus, Zoe and Summer didn’t work on his father’s floor so unless Summer went into scary stalker mode there would be no reason for them to intermingle. Zoe placed her hand on Summer’s shoulder.

“What’s your plan, Mrs. W?” Zoe asked with a chuckle, she always teased her about becoming the future Mrs. Webster but, in truth, she knew that was exactly what Summer wanted more than anything else in the world.

Summer shrugged, unsure for a moment and then suddenly squared her shoulders and smoothed out her sarong. She then fluffed her hair and adjusted her boobs to maximize cleavage before she started to stroll in his direction. It was ‘do or die’ time. She convinced Zoe to take this trip with her and she needed to follow through with her plan which consisted primarily of finding Ethan and making contact with him. She figured nature would take it from there. She casually walked to the bar, glancing at Ethan as his eyes shifted towards her.

“Can I have a Flirtini?” Summer asked, offering Ethan a smile.

He grinned at the beautiful woman before him, thinking that maybe this trip wasn’t a complete bust after all. He turned to the bartender, instructing him to put her drink on his tab.

“Thank you,” Summer said, tilting her head slightly, trying desperately to control the desire to spring on him.

“My name’s Ethan,” he outstretched his hand to her.

She grabbed it and felt her heart leap with unbridled joy. Her hand was in his, right where she always knew it should be. “Summer,” she replied, her voice coming out shaky and unsure.

“Nice to meet you, Summer,” he said with a smile.

Zoe watched their interaction and chuckled. She couldn’t believe that Summer was actually that close to him. For a brief moment she wondered if she would make it through the conversation or if she would faint on the spot. When she saw her do her signature giggle while playfully tapping his chest, Zoe knew she had everything under control.

“That girl is nuts,” Zoe said to no one in particular as she watched her friend flirt shamelessly with the man of her dreams.

She shook her head and turned to check out the water. There were some nice waves and a lot of people surfing. Zoe smiled as wave after wave took people out and they got right back up again. It was amazing to watch. Some were definitely more skilled than others. She chuckled and took a seat on the blanket, figuring she would be there for a while, that is if Summer had anything to do with it. Just as she reached for her book, she saw a man stand up on his board.

“Oh, wow,” she muttered to herself.

He was looking towards the shore and Zoe tried to make out his distinct facial features but couldn’t from her distance. What she could decipher was the shape of his body. He was long and lean, wearing a pair of board shorts that were sticking to his wet legs, legs that appeared to be exceptionally fit. His hands brushed through his slick hair which looked like it fell to the top of his shoulders. She grinned, total surfer! She couldn’t quite tell but she got the distinct impression that he might be smiling. Oh shit! She thought as she glanced to the ground, embarrassed that she was caught admiring him. When she brought her eyes back up, he was no longer looking in her direction. She watched as he balanced himself on the board, crouching slightly as his arms bent and angled to the right. He began maneuvering through the wave and Zoe was mesmerized.

Chapter 3

“When will you be back?” The gruff voice on the other end of the speaker asked with clear frustration.

“I have a week here and then I’m off to Oahu for a couple of weeks,” Masen replied, staring at his frowning reflection in the mirror.

“God dammit, when are you going to take your life seriously? I have spent years waiting for you to get this,” the gruff voice paused and Masen could almost picture the veins in his father’s neck pulsing, “this hobby of yours out of your system but unfortunately it hasn’t.” Another pause ensued and Masen could no longer hold his tongue.

“This is not a hobby,” Masen stated with more bite than he intended.

He gripped the edge of the dresser, shaking his head and trying to control his anger. When he looked at his reflection again he could see that he was failing miserably. His father’s voice continued to berate him.

“This is it, Son, after this gig or whatever the hell you call it, you are coming here and you are working for me. You have responsibilities and I expect you to fulfill them,” his father exclaimed angrily before hanging up.

“Fuck you,” Masen muttered as the dial tone echoed in the silent room.

Masen ran his hands through his hair, pulling it all the way back, trying to imagine what he would look like with short hair, clean cut and business like. He struggled to picture it, unfortunately for him he may not have a choice in the matter. His father was accustomed to getting what he wanted and if he put his foot down he could make it so that no one would hire him, unwilling to risk the wrath of Mr. Antonio Masen Pelletier. He sighed and dropped his hands, walking to the large picture window that overlooked the beach.

“You need to get laid, Masen. Get some sweet thing to distract you,” he said to himself before washing his hands over his face.

Masen glanced at his board near the door and walked over to it. He ran his hand along the smooth surface that he already waxed to perfection. His father underestimated the power the water had over him. Only on the water did he feel free, did he feel real. How could he give that up? With a heavy sigh he headed to his bedroom to grab a jacket and towel before coming back to snatch his board. The minute he stepped out of his cabin he smiled. The wind was blowing nicely.

The water called to him, beckoning his embrace. He had a good feeling about today. Something special was going to happen. It was inevitable.

.~*~*~*~*~*~

Masen stepped out of his car and allowed his eyes to take in not only the ocean but the beach as well. He had been in Eleuthera for a week and had already gotten what he came there for. Now it was playtime. But who would be his ‘playmate’ he wondered as he took in the beautiful women who lined the shore. Masen wasn’t necessarily picky about the type of girl he wanted. He had no preference as far as blonde, brunette or red heads. He didn’t even care the nationality. His criteria were more that they be a tourist seeking a good time just like him. He had made the mistake, many years ago, of getting involved with a local and it turned out poorly as her brothers were not keen on the relationship they had. This is what led to him developing his current regime.

Anytime Masen travelled, which was often, he picked one girl to hang out with and, of course, have sex with while he was in town. It saved him any potential problems with one night stands on islands that were way too small to get away with and he was always assured a good time. He knew he wouldn’t be staying long, which served as the perfect exit strategy for him, as well as the girls, because they knew what they were getting themselves into right from the start. He never hid the fact that what they had together would by no means be anything more than an island fling. It was a plan that had worked successfully for several years.

Not seeing anyone that immediately caught his attention, he turned to his convertible and tossed his shirt on the front seat before lifting his board out of the car and hoisting it under his arm. He rolled his shoulders and ran his free hand through his long, shaggy hair and turned towards the beach.

“First things first,” he said to himself with a shrug before heading in the direction of the shoreline.

As he began making the trek across the sand, he noticed several women looking his way. This wasn’t unusual for Masen. He always drew attention without trying. He was an avid surfer, mountain climber, and all around adventurer. He strayed as far away from his family as he possibly could. He never wanted to be tied to them in any way, although, his name ensured that he always would be linked to them. He offered a few smiles to some women who he happened to make eye contact with, but so far none of them piqued his interest other than for a quick roll in the sand, but Masen didn’t want that. He wanted someone he could spend the next five days with before flying to Hawaii. As he continued to walk, he slowed as his eyes caught sight of long blonde hair attached to a body that nearly stopped him in his tracks. This girl hand her hands on her hips, accentuating her backside, which was a vision to behold. Not to mention her long legs that seemed to go on for days. Hmm, interest duly piqued.

“Hey, Masen, you going to The Pit tonight?”

Masen turned to Tyson and nodded. Tyson was a fellow surfer whom he met when he arrived a week ago. He had learned that Tyson and several other surfers had been here for most of the summer, trying to prepare for a competition that would be happening later this month. They rented a cabin not far from where Masen was staying and had befriended him immediately. Turned out that they had surfed many of the same beaches.

“Yeah, most likely,” Masen added with a slight nod. He turned to the water and then back to Tyson. “You been out yet?” Masen asked, motioning towards the waves.

“Hell yeah. It’s clean, man. I’m going back as soon as I get me some grub.”

Masen nodded and looked to the ocean, waving off Tyson. The conditions looked good. There was very little offshore wind so the wave energy would be optimal for him. He made a cursory glance at the woman with the killer backside and then got down to business, jogging the rest of the way to shore. The water was cold against his skin as he paddled out into the swell. The foam continued to jump up and kiss his face. He brushed it off and rose on his board. His eyes were drawn towards the shore where he noticed that the blonde from the beach was now looking in his direction.

“I’ll be damned,” he said with a smile.

He couldn’t see what her face looked like but he could most definitely distinguish the outline of her body, quickly coming to the conclusion that it seemed as if her front side was just as good as her backside. Her head dropped slightly but he wasn’t focused on that. No, he was checking out this girl’s exceptional body. She had a small waist and flat stomach and from what he could tell from his position on his board, perfect breasts. They were just the right size for him to enjoy and he was willing to bet that they were real. Spending a lot of time on beaches, he learned to differentiate fake from real very quickly. Unlike some of his peers, he always preferred real, even if that meant a smaller cup size. Quit thinking about boobs! He scolded himself as he ran his hands through his hair and got into position.

Masen decided at that moment that she would be the one he spent the rest of the week with. She just didn’t know it yet.

Chapter 4

Zoe,” he muttered, his lips hovering above hers.

Her heart raced while her breath came out in short, uneven gasps. The hot sand scratched and tickled her skin but Zoe didn’t mind as his lips finally made contact with hers. Her hands draped around his neck, pulling his body closer and feeling his wet skin against hers, his arousal evident.

“Zoe, what do you think of this one?” Summer asked, startling Zoe out of her daydream.

Blinking several times, Zoe tried to get her bearings. Rising from her lawn chair, she stared out across the patio, towards the walking path that led to the beach. Breathing in deeply, she tried in vain to erase her wanton thoughts of the unknown surfer, thoughts that were causing her skin to flush with desire. Feeling as if she were being watched, Zoe turned and noticed that Summer was now eyeing her suspiciously. Pushing her hair behind her ear, Zoe gave her friend the once over, checking out the ensemble she had picked out. It was a mint green skirt with matching stiletto heels and what Zoe liked to call an easy access blouse. She couldn’t help but chuckle as she was unfortunately aware that Ethan’s favorite color was mint green. Summer was ensuring that he wouldn’t be able to take his eyes off of her.

“Are you going to a club?”

Summer rolled her eyes as she flipped her off. “No, smart ass, we’re going to a restaurant but I want to be prepared for anything.”

Zoe grinned and nodded before approaching her. Summer gazed upon her curiously just as Zoe let her finger slip into the crease of Summer’s shirt and laughed as the top button popped open, easy access, baby. She arched her brow at her friend who stepped back fixing her shirt and then proceeded to stick her tongue out.

“Is that what you’re wearing?” Summer asked disapprovingly.

Zoe looked down at her ensemble which consisted of jean shorts and a baggy t-shirt. “What’s wrong with it?”

“Oh, Zoe, what am I going to do with you?” Summer asked, shaking her head. “Come on,” she said taking her friends hand.

Wonderful! Zoe thought as she followed her friend into the bedroom area and to the pile of discarded clothes. Summer blissfully started moving items around, humming softly to herself as she selected a blouse and then wandered over to Zoe’s neatly stacked clothes trying to decide what the least offensive garment might be. Settling on a pair of skinny jeans, she snatched them up before perusing through Zoe’s unmentionables.

“Did you not bring any sexy lingerie?” Summer asked in a huff.

Zoe couldn’t contain the snort that emerged. “Why the hell would I?”

Summer shook her head and narrowed her eyes. She couldn’t believe the resistance that she was getting from her. Did Zoe not see that she was trying to help her? Summer saw her as one of the nicest people on the planet but her hard core, anti-relationship, anti-men stance was not going to help her have fun on the island. With a frustrated sigh, she shoved the clothes at her friend.

“Here, change. Now!”

“Yes, ma’am,” Zoe said in mock salute to the fashion dictator before her.

Summer once again flipped her off before pivoting and exiting the room. Zoe glanced at the clothes in her hand and frowned, tossing them back on the bed. She let her shorts drop to the floor and then pulled off her shirt. With her hands on her hips, she stood in her underwear, a pair of white boy shorts and a black bra, taking in her reflection in the mirror. She was never one to dress sexy, not even when she was in a relationship. She was more a ‘take me as I am or no way at all‘ kind of gal but even so she didn’t feel like what she had on was so unattractive. She shrugged her shoulders and reluctantly reached for the Summer approved outfit for this evening.

“I guess I better go do my hair and makeup before the head of the fashion police sends me to the stockade for some sort of style violation,” she said to her mirrored self.

Zoe grinned as she snatched her makeup bag off the dresser. It never took her long to get ready for anything. She didn’t believe in wearing a lot of make up or really dolling herself up for anyone. She usually wore only base and a small amount of blush and mascara, but, since she was ‘going out’ she decided to kick it up a notch and dipped into her plum eye shadow, adding some eyeliner and breaking out the velvet rose lipstick. She was reluctant to do anything with her hair so instead just brushed it out and applied some hair spray to hold that messed up, fly away look that she generally liked. Once she felt she was duly ready to pass inspection, she headed over to check on her best friend, still slightly annoyed that she was being forced to get ‘made up’ for no one in particular.

Summer continued to primp and prod as she prepared for the evening. She and Ethan had visited for a long time at the beach and when it was time for him to go he had invited her out so that they could finish their conversation. This was Summer’s opportunity and she was leaving nothing to chance. She had convinced Zoe, albeit reluctantly, to go out for the evening as well, therefore leaving their shared room open and available should she and Ethan choose to make it an early evening. She glanced in the mirror to see Zoe standing in the doorway with her arms crossed.

“Zoe, come on, girl, don’t look at me like that.” Zoe didn’t change her stance. If anything she became more determined. “You know what you need?” Summer asked teasingly.

Zoe snorted. “Please enlighten me, oh wise one.”

Summer rolled her eyes dramatically. “You need to get laid. How long’s it been?” Zoe scrunched her eyes and Summer pointed at her. “See, it’s been so long you don’t even remember.” She turned back to the mirror to finish applying her makeup. “Perhaps if you actually tried having sex it would be easier to write it,” she finished nonchalantly.

Zoe loosened her stance, dropping her arms and leaning against the doorway. She wasn’t sure what was wrong with her. She had mentioned to Summer a month ago that she felt stuck in relation to her novel. She thought that the content of her story was good, the plot, the characters, all of it except the most important piece, the romance, the sex. She had been stopped at the intimacy. It wasn’t that she was naΓ―ve, far from it, but she had never had that just looking at him makes my body want to explode experience. And thinking back to her last relationship has not helped with the motivation.

“Maybe you could see it like that one old movie we watched a couple of weeks ago,” Summer said, applying her liner.

Zoe glanced her way, having been brought out of her thoughts. What is she talking about now? Zoe thought as she arched her brow in confusion.

Summer grinned. “How Stella got her groove back. Didn’t she go to Jamaica or something, hooked up with some hot island stud,” Summer said with a wag of her brows.

“For Christ’s sake, Summer, that woman was like in her forties going through a divorce. Is that what my love life equates to nowadays?” Zoe asked louder than she intended.

Summer shrugged. “I’m just saying. You need to open yourself up to really experiencing the island. It’s not like we will ever be coming back or will ever see anyone again.” She smirked. “What happens in the Bahamas stays in the Bahamas.”

“That’s Vegas, ya weirdo,” Zoe said, unable to contain her smile.

“Same principle applies.”

Zoe shook her head and stepped away from the door. “I’m heading out, have fun tonight.”

“You too,” Zoe heard from the other room. “And get lucky!” Summer added with a boisterous laugh.

Zoe walked out of their room giggling and shaking her head. She loved Summer and her zest for living life to the fullest but she never saw it as a lifestyle she could fully embrace. She was much too serious for that. She walked along the pathway outside their room towards the main lobby. It was a nice night and, without realizing it, she found herself looking towards the pathway to the beach a couple of times. For what, she wasn’t sure. She supposed maybe on an unconscious level she was waiting for the surfer to stride up and whisk her away like they did in those romance novels on all the shelves of the bookstores. She looked to the ground, kicking a small pebble out of the way.

“Jesus, Zoe, calm the hell down,” she mumbled to herself as she stepped into the foyer of the main lobby.

Her eyes moved around the room. Surfer’s Ridge was a nice place to stay, not very fancy but it was close to the beach which was a perk. She could see an older woman talking to a couple in their mid-forties. No, she didn’t want to go anywhere that she was directing them to. It was bad enough that Summer equated her love life to a woman in her forties, she didn’t want to make it a reality. She scanned further and saw a younger man, early twenties, if that, scrolling on his iPhone. Zoe smiled and approached him. She figured if she was going to go out then she might as well go somewhere unique and different. She had always found that the younger employees knew where the hot spots were, whereas the concierges often directed people to the tried and true tourist destinations. Not that that was a bad thing, mind you, but Zoe was not interested in the mainstream. She wanted something a bit off the beaten path so that she could do as Summer had told her and experience the island. She could at least take her advice on that.

“Ma’am,” the young man said with a bright smile.

The boy was clean cut and deeply tanned so she knew he spent a lot of time outside. She imagined him riding a wave or hang-gliding off a cliff. There was something about him that screamed I need to be outside doing something versus standing behind a desk. She liked him immediately.

“My roommate has given me the boot for the evening,” Zoe began.

If possible the young man’s smile grew wider. “Sorry to hear that, ma’am.”

“Yeah, well, it was expected, but anyway, I thought you might know of a cool place to hang out for the evening.”

The young man, whose name Zoe realized was Joaquin, nodded and looked around, checking to see if anyone was watching. He knew there was indeed a pretty big party going down this evening because he was heading over there after his shift ended in thirty minutes. DJ Nester was supposed to be there which meant it would be jumping with ladies. More ladies than men which was the way he liked it. He watched the woman before him and wondered. She was really hot and seemed kind of cool…

“Alright, you have the look of someone who knows something. Spill it!” Zoe said with a laugh, interrupting his train of thought.

“There is a thing going down tonight at The Pit, but,” he looked around again, hesitating.

“But what?” Zoe asked, looking around as well, unsure exactly what she was looking for.

“You can’t say how you found out, okay?”

Zoe grinned and tapped his hand that was on the counter. “Your secret’s safe with me, Joaquin.”

He expelled a breath and led her out to a taxi that was waiting in queue. Joaquin gave the driver the address and waved at Zoe as they pulled out. She smiled at him and then looked out the window as the driver started taking her to some mysterious place called The Pit. She hoped it would at least buy her some time for Summer to do whatever she thought she needed to do to land Mr. Webster, otherwise she was in for a long evening.

“Have you been on the island long?” the cabbie asked.

“A couple of days,” Zoe replied casually, watching the sun setting over the horizon.

“You like it so far?” he asked, continuing with the small talk.

Zoe nodded. “So far it’s really nice.”

The cab driver rattled on about places she must visit. Zoe was from New York and she knew that the cabbies bread and butter fare was getting people excited about something, something that they could arrange to take them too. She gave him cursory yes responses and wow, that sounds interesting statements but in reality she was content reading at the beach or sitting on the porch at the hotel, writing. As they approached a large building with a lot of cars outside Zoe smiled, let’s hope The Pit isn’t the pits.

Chapter 5

Masen strolled into The Pit like a man who owned the place. He had a cocky reassurance about him that was just shy of arrogance. People were drawn to him and he knew it. His skill at working a room was almost legendary, at least in his mind. It was something he considered a welcome side effect to being raised as the only son of a very powerful man. He rolled his shoulders as he walked up to the bar.

“What can I get you?”

“I’ll take a Stella,” Masen replied and nodded as the bartender set it in front of him.

Masen leaned against the bar, sipping his beer, mentally kicking himself for earlier today. He had spent too much time showing off for the blonde at the beach only to find that she had left sometime in between. That was an unusual situation for him as he always had an audience. Mostly females but there were men on occasion who appreciated his skill on the waves or who were simply trying to steal his moves. Either way, he had just finished shredding a particularly difficult wave when he realized she was no longer there. Disheartened, he had approached the shore thinking he might catch her but he was bombarded by people once his feet hit the dry sand.

“So where you going to after this?” Tyson asked.

Masen downed the rest of his beer and set it on the bar. “Two weeks in Oahu then back home for a bit.”

“That’s cool, man.”

Masen nodded, distracted as he scanned the growing crowd, hoping that maybe his mystery blonde would stroll in. He was dressed casually in a pair of low slung jeans that fell precariously on his hips and a simple white wife beater, his bare feet covered only in a pair of Nike beach sandals. There were definitely girls looking his way and some weren’t half bad but he had his mind set on the blonde. He would hit the water tomorrow and see if she showed up and, if so, he would make his move.

“Can I have a seven and seven?”

A whiff of lavender floated in the air as a wave of long blonde hair drifted past him. He looked at the woman next to him at the bar. She was wearing a pair of tight fitting jeans and a chiffon purple blouse over what looked like a silk cami top. Masen smiled, realizing without a doubt that this fine ass belonged to the blonde at the beach. He couldn’t believe his luck. The Gods were definitely smiling down on him tonight.

“Thanks,” he heard her say and looked up just as she glanced at him.

“I saw you on the beach today,” Masen said casually.

Zoe turned slightly so that she was facing him. She recognized him now. He was the surfer. God! He’s sexier than I imagined. His golden brown hair was indeed long and came to his shoulders in waves while his eyes were a spectacular blue and sparkling with mischief. His broad shoulders and strong arms were magnificently accented by his choice of shirt and he had at least a couple of days’ worth of scruff on his face that she was dying to touch. She had never seen a man this handsome up close. He could be an actor or a model with his looks. She blew out a soft breath that she hoped he didn’t notice and steadied herself.

“Ahh, yes, I think I remember you,” Zoe finally said with a smile.

He leaned in slightly, bringing his bottom lip into his mouth, his eyes shifted down slightly, admiring her ample cleavage, before he made eye contact with her again.

“Well, I am glad that I made an…” he licked his lips in a motion that immediately brought Zoe’s body to attention, “impression.”

Swallowing thickly, Zoe responded, “I wasn’t quite sure if you were really good or simply showing off.”

Masen laughed and covered his heart. “I’m wounded.” He turned to the bartender and raised his empty beer bottle indicating he wanted another. Once he got it, he took a sip and smiled before winking at Zoe. “I was showing off a bit.”

“I knew it,” Zoe laughed.

“I wanted to introduce myself but unfortunately when I got to shore you had disappeared,” he said, raising a questioning brow at her.

“Well, you had your fan club waiting for you so I knew you were in good hands,” Zoe smiled and took a sip of her drink.

He tilted his head and grinned crookedly before taking a long swallow of his beer. He was excited with the realization that she had not only been there but had been watching him. That boded well for making her his. He made eye contact with her again and noticed she had the same look on her face that most women did when they were around him. Want, unbridled and carnal want.

“What’s your name?” he asked, tilting his beer in her direction.

“Zoe, and yours?”

“Masen.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Masen,” Zoe said as she outstretched her hand to him.

Masen looked down at it and couldn’t contain the smile on his face. He knew with certainty that she was going to be a lot of fun this week. But it was time to pull out the old Pelletier charm so they could get things rolling. He had already lost the whole day and he wasn’t about to lose the evening as well. He held on to her hand and allowed his thumb to gently caress her palm before he leaned close to her ear.

“Would you like to dance, Zoe?” he whispered, letting his mouth linger longer than necessary.

Masen’s hot breath close to her skin sent a current flowing through her and straight to her core, igniting a part of her that had lain dormant for far too long. Zoe drew her bottom lip into her mouth and nodded. He smiled victoriously as he pushed off the bar. Still gripping her hand tightly, he led her to the dance floor. The upbeat rhythm of Pitbull was blasting from the DJ’s stand and Zoe immediately started dancing.

Zoe was not much of a dancer, per se, but Summer drug her out ‘clubbing’ at least one Friday night a month and, truth be told, she enjoyed it greatly. Zoe wasn’t paying much attention to what Masen was doing as she worried that if she did she would probably be dry humping him on the dance floor. The man was lethal and she knew it but more importantly he knew it as well. She needed to keep some distance between them as she wasn’t certain she could resist his immense charisma. They danced to a couple of songs before it changed to something Zoe didn’t recognize but the slow island beat begged for the gentle sway of one’s hips.

If Masen hadn’t already been turned on watching Zoe dance before, he certainly was now. Her eyes were closed as her hips moved sensually from side to side while her hands were working through her hair. Her head tilted to the side and her mouth parted just slightly. He needed to feel her body close to his and in one swift move his arm wrapped around her lower back as he pulled her against him. Her eyes opened to meet his as his mouth lowered to her neck, nestling his nose into her hair as he rotated his hips languidly to the rhythmic music circulating around them. Their dancing was intimate and erotic, sensual in a way that made people around them uneasy yet they were unable to look away. When the song ended, Masen loosened his hold on her and brought his mouth close to hers, hovering dangerously close, close enough that Zoe could literally breathe him in. His tongue darted over his lips as Zoe’s mouth parted in anticipation. Instead of kissing her though, his mouth tilted up as his lips touched her forehead in a gentle manner. Zoe could feel his smile against her skin and knew her resolve was slowly crumbling away.

“Excuse me,” she said quickly and stepped back, scurrying towards what she hoped was the restroom.

Once inside, she quickly went to the sink and took several deep breaths. One hand went over her stomach while the other was positioned above her rapidly beating heart as she tried desperately to control her bodily reactions to him. She had never experienced anything like this level of… lust before. She could feel the heat radiating off of her body, needing him to douse her flames. Zoe found her eyes closing as her body swayed slightly, still feeling his body pressed against hers. Get it together, Zoe!

Her eyes shot open and she looked around the small room. “I need some air!”

She quickly exited the restroom and could see Masen leaning against the bar, talking to the bartender. He was smiling as his lips touched the bottle of beer. Zoe’s heart raced again and she had to fight the urge to run over there and kiss him soundly on those perfect, succulent lips of his but instead she snuck behind the DJ stand and made her way to the front of the bar. Seeing a line of cabs not far from her, she waved her arm frantically, looking back to make sure Masen wasn’t following her.

“Come on, come on,” she muttered just as a cab pulled up.

“Where to, ma’am?” the cabbie asked with a genuine smile.

“Surfer’s Ridge Hotel, quick please,” Zoe said urgently, looking back at the bar through the rear window.

“Are you okay?” Zoe could hear his concern and nodded.

“Yes, I’m just…” she stuttered slightly and then sighed. “I’m fine,” she said stoically, allowing her memory of Darian to remind her why she couldn’t get attached to people.

Chapter 6

Masen was back at the bar waiting for Zoe to come out. His body was still buzzing from their dance. Zoe was beautiful and the way she moved against him let him know that they would be good together. He sipped his beer and watched as a few other girls went back to the restroom but he never saw Zoe return. After twenty minutes he became concerned and headed back to check on her, having surmised that she must be sick if she was still in there. He maneuvered his way to the door and waited until he saw a woman exiting the restroom.

“Hey, is there anyone else in there?” He asked.

She shook her head and he stood there dumbfounded. Did she ditch me? He thought, stunned, unable to fathom that idea. No woman ditched him, especially after the forehead kiss. That move pretty much guaranteed at least a blow job by the end of the night, usually before they even made it out of the club, restaurant, wherever, it didn’t matter where they were. He placed his hands on his hips, unsure what he was supposed to do. He was in unfamiliar territory and he didn’t like it one single bit.

“I don’t fucking believe this!” Masen said, before turning abruptly.

“Hey, Masen,” a tall blonde purred as he walked past the dance floor.

He waved her off and approached the bar, setting both hands on the ledge. His brows furrowed as he looked down and closed his eyes. He breathed in deeply, the smell of lavender circling the air around him. He shook his head slightly, confused by the situation. He had felt a spark between them and he sensed that she had felt it to, so why had she left? He was dismayed as he turned to face the dance floor. The blonde was looking his way and motioned for him. Normally, he would take her up on the offer of a good time but tonight his body refused to move in her direction, instead it led him outside where he looked up and down the street on the off chance that she was still around. Zoe, where the hell did you go?

“She left,” he heard from behind him.

He spun around to see Connie leaning against the wall. She was a voluptuous red head wearing a barely there mini skirt and a see through blouse. She was very beautiful to most men’s standards, Masen’s as well, but there was something about her that he didn’t like. She started walking stealthily towards him. She smiled as she stood before him, gently running her fingers up and down his chest. He frowned at her hand and she dropped it. Connie had made it clear from the beginning that she was interested in him but she worked at one of the resorts which made her a local in Masen’s mind, therefore making her off limits. Technically, he knew that he probably wouldn’t have the problems with her that he would if he were to get involved with one of the girls from the island but he suspected that she would bring all sorts of ‘other’ problems with her.

“Who left?” he finally responded.

“The blonde you were dancing with,” she said stepping closer to him. “Why don’t we head out? Her loss, my gain,” she whispered in his ear.

She tilted her face to him before planting her lips on his. Her tongue slipped into his mouth as she pressed her body close. Masen would be lying if he said his body wasn’t responsive to her but his mind was somewhere else. He blinked a couple of times and stepped back, rubbing his fingers over his eyes as he tried to think what to say to her and more importantly why he was hesitant. Was it simply because Connie gave off that stalker vibe or was it something more?

“Masen, I can take care of you,” she stated, as she moved her hand over his jeans.

“Connie, I already told you. I don’t get involved with locals.”

“Make an exception,” she stated simply before bringing her lips to his again. “I’ll make it worth your while.”

Masen closed his eyes, weighing the decision heavily. He knew he could use some relief but as she kissed him once more his decision was made. He stepped away from her and ran his hands through his hair. He couldn’t believe he was turning down sex with someone who would obviously put out for him right then and there, against the wall if he liked, but turning it down was exactly what he was about to do.

“Go back inside, Connie. Enjoy your evening,” he said casually as he turned around and started walking towards his vehicle.

His mind was all over the place as he drove to his cabin. Once inside, he quickly stripped of his clothes and jumped in the shower. He couldn’t believe he had come home alone. His mind played over the entire exchange with Zoe trying to figure out what went wrong but nothing came to him. He would sleep restlessly.

The following morning, Masen stared at his naked form in the steamy mirror. His body still flushed from the hot water. His green eyes looked tired and his expression was a toss between annoyed and bewildered. He had not slept well the night before having woken several times from dreams about the browned eyed beauty that had left him high and dry. His face morphed into a frown, evidence of his growing dismay. In perfect honesty, Masen wasn’t sure what was upsetting him more, that she had left without a word or that he cared that she had left without a word. His greatest concern at the moment was that it might be the latter, something he needed to rectify and quickly.

“Alright asshole,” he said to his reflection. “If you don’t see Zoe at the beach you are picking someone else. You only have four damn days left. You turned down probably a decent piece of ass last night for a dream piece of ass. Get it together.”

He narrowed his eyes at himself and brushed his hair out of his face, feeling more determined. He towel dried; applied some Palmer’s Cocoa Butter to keep his skin from drying out and headed to the bedroom to change. He quickly threw on some board shorts and a wife beater and grabbed the sandals by his bed. With renewed purpose he snatched his board near the door and dropped it in his vehicle. Slipping behind the wheel, he adjusted his Ray Bans and gave himself a knowing smirk before starting the engine.

Masen had already accepted that he would seek another woman’s company should he not see Zoe but was secretly praying that she would be there. He didn’t know why but he needed her to be there and that scared him more than anything else ever had.

Chapter 7

Zoe trotted out on to the sand with her beach bag enclosed with a small blanket, large towel, and her suntan lotion. She quickly scanned the water and drew her lip in her mouth as she saw him paddle out into the ocean. She carefully laid out her blanket and set up her umbrella, sitting down and being conscious not to draw attention to herself. She scanned the water again and when she spotted him she smiled as she brought her knees up and wrapped her arms around them. Zoe had waged a war within herself since she vacated The Pit so abruptly. But at that moment she felt she had to as she wasn’t confident she could resist his charms. She had been overwhelmed by her attraction to him. Something that had never happened in her life. With Darian, she had been hesitant at first. He wooed her and made her feel like the most important person in the world. They had been together for two years, all of it good from Zoe’s standpoint. Within a few weeks of walking in on him she learned that he had been with many others aside from Heather. A serial cheater, her friends said, she hadn’t seen it coming. Last night she had felt something with Masen, something in her heart and body that she hadn’t felt since Darian. Her natural instinct had been to get the hell out of there. But this morning she did feel bad for how she had left things. There was also a part of her that wondered if the attraction she felt last night was a fluke. That maybe everything was heightened because she hadn’t been with anyone in such a long time. She couldn’t just dismiss it, she needed to be sure.

“Is that him?” Summer asked, plopping down on the blanket beside her.

Zoe nodded, chewing on her lip nervously. He was exquisite and her heart began to beat wildly. The way his body moved in the water was almost sensual. It was clear that he was in his element on the waves. That he belonged there.

“So explain to me again why we are here?” Summer asked applying suntan lotion to her legs.

“Because I want to apologize for you know…” Zoe trailed off as she watched him make a particularly difficult move.

“Ducking out the back door of a party and catching a cab to the hotel without even saying goodbye to the poor dude,” Summer finished.

Zoe sighed. “Yeah, that.”

“I just don’t get you sometimes. You have this guy who you are obviously attracted to that seemed, from what you described, to be into you as well. You guys have this amazing connection on the dance floor and you… bail. That honestly makes no sense, Zoe.”

“I know you don’t understand but I can’t be with someone like him.”

Summer turned her head and eyed her friend. “What the hell does that mean?”

Zoe looked at her, her face straining. “He’s… shit, I don’t know how to explain it.”

Zoe tried to get her thoughts together as she glanced to her left and saw the same group of women as yesterday giggling and talking excitedly to one another as they watched Masen. She breathed in deeply trying to solidify that her decision had been a good one. He probably hooked up with one of them last night after I left. She tried not to be hurt by that thought but she was.

“If you can’t explain it to me then it’s probably not a very good reason,” Summer stated simply and to the point.

Zoe turned back to the ocean and sighed. “He’s like a shark in the water, circling and he’s picked me and when he’s done there’ll be nothing left,” she turned to face Summer again and could see that she didn’t understand. “A shark will seek out the one it deems as the weakest of the group, the one most vulnerable because it’s easy prey and then…” Zoe motioned her head towards the pack of women enthralled with Masen’s movements. “He’ll move on to the next one without any regard.” Zoe looked down for a moment mumbling, “just like Darian.”

Summer reached her hand out and grabbed Zoe’s in hers. “Alright, Zoe,” she said with a sigh.

Summer understood what Zoe had been through. She had witnessed it first hand. But it wasn’t as if she wanted Zoe to fall in love with this Masen person. She just thought it would do her some good to have fun. To remember what it felt like to be intimate with someone. But she had to honor her friend’s feelings even though she thought she was wrong. The two women sat and watched Masen for a good hour until he stood on his board and seemed to be looking their way. In fact, Zoe was certain of it. She could almost feel his piercing blue eyes boring into her. He was staring in her direction so long that he actually missed his wave and had to wait for the next one. Zoe watched him surf with purpose and this time, instead of paddling directly out again like he had been doing, he was striding in their direction. Zoe breathed out deeply, mesmerized by the perfection that was approaching her. His hair was dripping wet and falling loosely around his face. His body glistening in the sun while the muscles in his arm flexed as he shifted his board. When he got to her and Summer, he laid his board down next to Zoe and sat atop it. He didn’t say a word for several seconds as he watched her.

“You ditched me last night,” he finally said and Zoe could hear the tint of anger he seemed to be trying hard to control.

“I’ll give you two some privacy,” Summer said while leaping to her feet.

Zoe looked at her with pleading eyes but Summer shook her head and headed towards the little bar she had met Ethan at the other day. Zoe turned back to Masen and could see that he was indeed angry. His brows were furrowed somewhat and his eyes had turned into slits. Zoe was ashamed to admit that if possible he looked even more handsome now than he did last night. She swallowed hard as she tried to form the words in her head. She had thought about what she would say if he was here but now that he was next to her she couldn’t seem to make any sounds come out. He narrowed his eyes at her flustered expression and finally Zoe blurted out the first thoughts that came to mind.

“I shouldn’t have done that and I’m sorry. That was very childish of me. You didn’t, umm, deserve that.”

Masen stared at her, trying hard to read her. She was an enigma for him. One minute he thought he knew what to expect and the next minute she did the opposite. Last night he had already had visions of them making love, only to have those visions quashed by her early departure. He had left the party not long after she did but he had left pissed. No woman had ever denied him. He could have walked on the dance floor that night and taken any one of those women home but he didn’t. Hell, Connie had thrown herself at him but he didn’t take the bait. Instead he went home angry and dreamed of the girl who left him wanting. Now she was sitting before him looking beautifully flustered and all he wanted to do was kiss her. He looked away for a moment, not wanting to look into her thoughtful and caring eyes lest he quell his anger.

“So do you plan on telling me why you left so abruptly?” he asked curtly but Zoe felt more like the question was a demand than anything else.

“While we were dancing I got caught up in the moment and when I gathered my senses I realized that I was in over my head with you and needed to get some distance,” Zoe replied quickly.

Masen looked over at her, offering a knowing smirk and then leaned in closer. “I liked getting caught in the moment with you.”

His proximity was making it difficult for her to think straight so she pushed him back playfully; at least she was hoping that’s how it came across. He chuckled and ran his hands through his wet hair. He looked out at the ocean again. To Zoe, it appeared that he was trying to find answers, or, perhaps he was simply contemplating his next move. After a few moments he turned to her, his expression softer, gentler and if possible there was a playfulness about him.

“Let me take you out, Zoe, and then you will see that you have nothing to fear from me.”

Zoe looked down. Her mind was going in every direction. Flashes of Darian with Heather, him telling her it wasn’t a big deal, her pain and suffering at the hurt she had felt, suddenly she had flashes of Masen on the water, of them dancing and finally of them making love. He was sitting right beside her and she was envisioning what it would be like to actually make love to him. Zoe blew out a soft breath before finally nodding just slightly, knowing that she was treading on dangerous ground. Her willpower was shaky at best and her ability to resist him seemed null and void. This was a disaster waiting to happen but her body was overriding her head as she felt her head continue to nod.

“Perfect,” he said and she could hear the elation in his voice. “Where are you staying?”

Zoe blinked a few times before finally answering. “Surfers Ridge Hotel, room 418.”

“I’ll see you at six tonight,” he said, rising to his feet.

He grabbed his board and trekked off, leaving Zoe speechless. That had not turned out as Zoe had envisioned and she couldn’t help but hear the familiar Jaws theme song echoing in the back of her mind. She saw him drop his board on the water and begin paddling out with vigor. A man on a mission.

“How’d it go?” Summer asked, sitting down next to Zoe.

Zoe rested her head on her knees and looked at her friend. “We have a date tonight.”

Summer giggled involuntarily and when Zoe shot her a lethal glare she covered her mouth and tried to compose herself. “So much for avoiding the shark filled waters.”

Zoe moaned and lay back on the blanket covering her eyes. She couldn’t believe she was doing this. She was not a one night stand kind of girl. But it had been so long and the attraction she felt last night was definitely still there. Zoe allowed her mind to wander, wondering what it would be like to have a fling with him. Could she do it, could she have sex with someone she had just met for the sole purpose of sex? Would she be able to say bye and let it just be bye, go on with her life like she had never met him? But if she didn’t, would she always wonder and ask herself what if? Zoe squeezed her eyes shut as she tried to imagine the possibilities.

Chapter 8

Masen trounced off with his board under his arm, walking like a man who had won the lottery. In a way, he felt he had. He had scored with the blonde, she would be his tonight. He cocked his head slightly and smiled as he dropped his board on the water before lying atop it. This evening would be wonderful and perfect. Suddenly his arms stopped moving when a thought arose in his head. What the hell am I supposed to do on a date? I don’t do dates. SHIT! He shook his head and continue to paddle out and got in position. He looked towards the shore and saw that Zoe was lying down. What was it about her that made him want her so much? He didn’t know but there was definitely something different that he was drawn to. He couldn’t wait to find out. He smiled as he rode the wave.

Zoe took a deep breath and sat up again to watch him. For how long, she wasn’t sure. In all honesty, there was no way she could pull her eyes away from him. She became oblivious to the growing crowds, to the sun beating down on her skin, or to time passing as she stared absently at the waves and the gorgeous man surfing them.

“My God! Don’t they have any shame?” Summer asked shaking her head.

“What?” Zoe inquired, not taking her eyes off of Masen.

“Them.”

Zoe now turned to her. “Who’s them?”

“The group of cackling hens,” she replied, motioning her head slightly to the left.

Zoe turned and saw that the women she had referred to earlier had grown exponentially and indeed they were all cackling and cooing over Masen’s expert form. Not that Zoe could blame them. He was truly a vision. His fit and tight body dripping wet, his piercing eyes that made you think he was the devil incarnate, sent to steal your soul away. Zoe turned back to watch Masen who was now paddling out deeper into the swell, his arms moving in and out of the water with ease. She smiled as he threw his head back slightly, seeing his hair shift, out of his eyes she presumed. Gorgeous!

“Well, he’s beautiful,” Zoe finally said, her last word trailing off just slightly as she watched him ride the wave.

“Yes, he is, Zoe, but my God, these women are so freaking obvious!” Summer stated but Zoe was no longer listening as she went back into her trance like state.

When Masen stood up in the shallow water he was laughing. He ran his hand through his hair, completely proud of himself. He had seen others wipe out but he didn’t, no, he completely owned that wave and when he had looked to the shore he saw Zoe watching him which made him happier than he knew it should. He loved the fact that she was still there. It made him want to take chances. He glanced sideways and saw Tyson approaching him, holding his board. When he got in front of Masen, Tyson reached his free hand out to him, smiling and laughing.

“Holy fuck, man, that was fucking awesome!” Tyson practically shouted as he shook Masen’s hand vigorously.

“Thanks Ty,” Masen replied but he wasn’t looking at Tyson anymore he was looking at Zoe sitting there, admiring his every move.

He smiled at her and winked, then chuckled at her obvious embarrassment. She looked down slightly, bringing her bottom lip into her mouth. This small gesture turned him on as his dream from last night came to the front of his memories. He turned quickly, not wanting to get hard at that particular moment. Masen motioned with his head towards the waves and Tyson nodded happily, ready to surf with Masen. He and Tyson started paddling out together.

“Hey Ty, can I ask you something?” Masen asked as they waited for the next wave.

“Go for it, dude.”

“I got a date tonight and want to do something nice. Got any thoughts?”

Tyson laughed. “And taking her to your place is out of the question?”

“Oh, I’m sure that will happen, but I want to do something before that. You know, an actual date,” he said with a shrug before rising on his board.

“Yeah, we can…” Masen didn’t hear the rest of Tyson’s response as he went under the crest of the wave.

Zoe couldn’t take her eyes off of Masen. He was amazing out on the water. He moved with such synchrony, as if he and the waves were one. She was in a trance the entire time he surfed and then each time before he paddled out again, he would turn to her and smile, a smile that literally made her feel like she was on the cusp of an orgasm.

“I swear, I think I need to open a can of Skank-be-gone,” Summer huffed.

“Huh,” Zoe questioned, breaking her eyes away from Masen.

“The cackling hens are staring at you.”

Zoe turned to see that two women in particular were eyeing Zoe. Their disapproval was clearly evident on their faces. Zoe narrowed her eyes and gave them her best ‘fuck you I’m from New York and I’ll cut a bitch’ look until they turned away. This back and forth continued with the women for another forty minutes, until Zoe started to feel uncomfortable under the hen’s scrutiny.

“Let’s go,” Zoe pleaded.

“No way. It’s not your fault that Masen wants you and not one of those skanks,” Summer said, shooting another lethal glance at the woman staring at them.

“I don’t want to be here. I don’t like… this kind of shit.”

“Alright, fine, but on one condition.”

“What’s that?”

“We go shopping. You need something spectacular to wear on your DATE!” Summer emphasized the last word loud enough for the hens to hear. She saw one stiffen and knew that she had heard this bit of information.

“Okay, fine, geez, now can we go or do you plan on starting a rumble?”

“No, we can leave,” Summer replied in her perky, happy go lucky voice.

She leaped to her feet and reached down for Zoe, helping her up. They quickly gathered their things and Zoe looked towards the water once again, eyeing the beautiful man that she would be seeing later tonight and then glanced at the hens who were eyeing her. Zoe arched her brow before flipping them off casually with both hands. When they turned around again, Zoe grinned as she slipped into the vehicle. Summer smirked at her as she brought her fist up and tapped it with Zoe’s.

~*~*~*~*~

“What about this?” Summer asked pulling out a leather mini skirt and halter top.

“Summer, no, GOD! What the hell,” Zoe stated louder than she intended.

Summer turned to her and set the outfit down. She jutted her hip slightly and placed both hands on her waist, giving her a glare that would stop anyone in their tracks. Summer was fuming. Zoe had been unreasonable the whole time they had been shopping and disapproved of everything she had shown her. She was making this difficult!

“What is your problem?” When Zoe didn’t reply Summer continued. “If you don’t want to go out with him then cancel but my God if you do go out with him, well then damn it, enjoy yourself. It’s been forever since you had a good time with a man, since you got dolled up; since you felt that,” Summer started snapping her fingers and then grinned, “spark of electricity, that passion and desire that makes your whole body erupt in flames.”

Zoe looked down, unable to meet Summer’s eyes. She knew she shouldn’t be feeling this much apprehension but she was. And she also knew that Summer was on a mission, not just for Zoe but for herself as well. An hour ago she had received a call from Ethan who invited her out again, stating he wanted to make up for having to cancel their date last night. Summer did not hesitate to accept his invitation. When she hung up she was in an all-out frenzy. She was ecstatic but Zoe was concerned. Her old insecurities and memories of Darian were creeping out and wreaking havoc on her self-esteem, but she needed to think about earlier. It was obvious that Masen wanted her. She needed to focus on that and let that guide her this evening.

“Zoe,” Summer said softer, placing a hand on her friend’s upper arm and drawing Zoe back to the present.

When Zoe looked upon her, Summer smiled radiantly. “You have to take chances. Not every man you meet is going to be Darian.”

“I know. I’m sorry.”

Summer wrapped her arm around her shoulder. “Let’s do it up. We both have dates for this evening with very handsome men that every girl on this island wants to be with.” She winked and Zoe smiled.

“Yes and neither one of us know what we’re doing tonight which makes it hard to decide, don’t ya think?” Zoe asked with a laugh.

“That is very true but,” Summer raised a finger, “that’s also part of the adventure.” She finished with a smirk and then turned to another rack of clothes. “Now we need to get you something that really pops, okay? I need you to trust me, Zoe,” she said, looking over her shoulder.

“Alright, but nothing too risquΓ©, I’m not comfortable with that.”

Summer rolled her eyes before perusing a few more racks until she screamed and quickly pulled something out. Zoe arched her brows and then bit her lip. She wasn’t real sure about this ensemble. It was pretty but also see-through. She looked up at Summer who was nodding and smiling like the Cheshire Cat. Sighing, Zoe reached for it while Summer bounced on the balls of her feet. I hope I know what the hell I’m doing.

Chapter 9

Masen stared at himself in the mirror, somewhat conflicted. It had been a long time since he had to woo a woman and there was a part of him, albeit a small part, that wondered if she was worth the trouble. He stretched and then ran his fingers through his hair. He had spent an hour trying to decide the right look for the evening and then scolded himself for pulling a typical girl maneuver but in reality he wanted to impress her. He had the suspicion that she thought little of him and saw him as someone that was out to play her. He sighed with that thought, knowing that her assessment wasn’t too far from the truth. But there was something about this girl that appealed to him. It was a pull he had never felt before, it wasn’t solely based on his body’s response to her. He arched his brow and loosened the top two buttons of his shirt before heading out to go get Zoe.

The drive to Surfer’s Ridge took him only thirty minutes from his cabin by the beach but he was glad for the drive. Worry and insecurity clouded his mind as he focused on every detail of the evening he had planned. This was a new experience for him and he wasn’t exactly sure if this was how he should feel or not. He wished his relationship with his father was better. If it had been, maybe he could have called to get some feedback, find out if this uneasiness in the pit of his stomach was normal or not. Unfortunately, their relationship was strained at best so he would just have to wing it.

Before he realized it, he was pulling into the parking lot. He parked near the entrance and hopped out, giving a head nod to the guy behind the desk that he recognized as Tyson’s brother, although he couldn’t remember his name. He was desperate to get this started and release the sensation he was experiencing in his stomach. The sensation he defined as nerves, something he was unaccustomed too. He rapped on the door and the short haired girl that had been at the beach with Zoe answered.

“Come in, Masen. She’s about ready.”

He nodded and stepped through the door just as Zoe stepped out from what must be the bathroom. She was a vision and, try as he might, he couldn’t stop the soft breath that escaped his mouth. Zoe had chosen a dress that consisted of a white old fashioned swim top paired with white boy shorts underneath a lace cover-up that had small peach flowers over it. He looked her up and then down, noticing how her legs were accentuated by the peach colored heels she paired it with. The dress was sexy and simple at the same time. Her hair was pulled back into a high pony tail with loose bound curls draping down her back while she wore minimal makeup, highlighting her natural beauty. Definitely worth it! Masen thought.

“Zoe, you look…” Masen paused and glanced down, trying to decide the word to use when Zoe spoke.

“So do you,” Zoe said smiling.

Masen was truly the most handsome man Zoe had ever seen. She half suspected him to come in board shorts and a t-shirt but he surprised her. Instead, he was wearing a pair of tan slacks and a light blue button down shirt which hung loosely from his pants. The first couple of buttons were undone at both the top and bottom and he had elected not to wear an undershirt. There was a spattering of chest hair visible underneath the lightweight fabric of his shirt and some peeking out of the V. His hair framed his face beautifully and much to Zoe’s delight he only trimmed his stubble but didn’t shave it. Magnificent! As she approached him, she glanced down nervously and noticed that instead of shoes he was wearing a pair of leather thong sandals. She giggled as he took her hand.

“What?” Masen asked, nudging her slightly.

“You’re wearing flip flops.”

He glanced down and smiled. “Well, I didn’t want to get too dressed up.”

“Have fun,” they heard as the door shut behind them.

“So where are we going?” Zoe asked as they walked towards his car.

“It’s a surprise but I think you will like it.”

She looked up at him and opened her mouth to inquire further but his finger went to her lips and he shook his head, chuckling at her frustrated expression. He opened the door for her and helped her in before he slipped behind the wheel. He smiled at her before pulling out his phone and dialing a number.

We’re on our way.”

Uh huh.”

Alright, thanks.”

Masen turned and saw Zoe watching him. He winked at her, not saying a word as he started the car. Zoe was a tad nervous and not sure what to expect but her brain and heart had battled throughout the day and suffice it to say her heart won out. She decided she would stop overthinking things and just go with the flow. The worst case scenario was he was using her but if she was aware of that then was it really the case? She decided it wasn’t. He could only use her if she allowed herself to be used. If she was going into this with her eyes wide open then it was merely two adults engaging in a mutually satisfying… relationship? Encounter?

“What has you so perplexed, Zoe?” Masen asked, bringing Zoe out of her thoughts.

Zoe laughed and shook her head. “It’s nothing, sorry, I do that sometimes, just zone out thinking about things.”

“I see,” he said with a smile and reached across to hold her hand in his.

They drove in silence, both lost in their own world, both feeling out of their comfort zone. Generally, once Masen picked a girl it amounted to nothing more than sex and them watching him surf, more sex, more surfing, until it was time to leave. That wasn’t going to work with Zoe and he wasn’t sure why but that was okay with him. He suddenly felt the urge to take her places, show her the island, some of the spots he had already been to, to experience the wonder and beauty with someone. This urge made him uncomfortable but excited all at once. Thirty minutes later they were pulling into a cove south of Surfers Beach where Masen had been staying for the past week.

“Where are we?” Zoe asked, noting that there didn’t seem to be any restaurants anywhere nearby.

He got a devilish smirk on his face as he parked the car and helped her out, leading her down a small path that led to a wooden canopy of sorts near the edge of a cliff which overlooked the shore. The canopy had palm leaves covering its roof but the sides were completely exposed. Hanging from the roof were two lanterns, one on each side of the enclosure and there were small lights draped around the four vertical beams. She scanned to the right and left of her and could see other canopies further down along the edge but none were similarly decorated. As they approached, they were greeted by someone that looked like he belonged on the waves. In fact, he looked familiar to Zoe.

“Tyson, this is Zoe,” Masen said, introducing his friend.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Zoe,” Tyson said with a slight bow and then motioned his arms to urge her to go forward.

Zoe looked at Masen for guidance but he was handing Tyson some money and nodding at him. Once he was done, Masen placed his hand on her lower back and guided her towards the entrance of the canopy which she now saw had a bench along the back of the small railing that encompassed the area. There was a hammock to the far left and, to her surprise, a small round table in the center with a white fabric table cloth, small votive candles, flowers and two plates covered like they do in hotels. On the bench was an ice bucket with wine in it as well as wine glasses sitting next to it. Situated nearby was a portable docking station for an iPod.

“Zoe,” Masen said as he pulled out one of the chairs for her to sit.

Zoe shook her head slightly as she smiled. She couldn’t believe this. This was not at all what she expected of this evening. She watched him go to the iPod and hit play before pulling out the wine and grabbing the two glasses sitting next to the bucket. He poured them both a glass as the island song they had danced to the night before came on. Zoe immediately covered her mouth as her cheeks flushed red and in the back of her mind she heard the theme song from Jaws playing again but this time it was accompanied by the whimsical voice of Dory from Finding Nemo telling her to, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Chapter 10

“Dinner is served,” he said with a twinkle in his eye, knowing full well what he was doing. He recognized the starry look in her eyes and felt increasingly confident.

“This is amazing. How did you plan all this?” Zoe asked as he lifted the lid off of her meal and then his.

“Ahhh, I cannot divulge my sources,” he said placing his hand over his heart.

Zoe rolled her eyes and looked at the meal before her. He was serving her pan seared salmon over noodles with vegetables. The ambiance, the decorations, the food and the music, everything was perfect. That is until she realized he probably did this with everyone. Her mood sobered slightly but instead of moping she decided to approach it with humor.

“You probably have all this on standby, huh?” she said with a laugh.

His smile faded, hurt that she assumed he actually went through all this trouble for everyone. He had been really proud of himself for coming up with the idea. He wanted her alone but also wanted her to feel special, something that he didn’t do with other women. He took a bite of his food and a moment later shook his head.

“Actually, Zoe, I have never done anything like this before. I am in uncharted territory right now, doing things entirely different.”

“Really?” Zoe was unable to mask her shock and happiness at this revelation.

“Yes,” he replied picking up his glass. “To new beginnings,” Masen said, tilting his glass towards hers.

Zoe cocked her head to the side slightly and nodded before raising her glass and tapping his. “To new beginnings.”

They ate in silence for a short time, both unsure how to start their date. It had been a long time since Zoe had been out and Masen had never actually ‘dated’ anyone since he was a teenager. He glanced at her over his food, happiness washing over him.

“So what brings you to Northern Eleuthera? Usually people stay at Nassau,” he asked, taking a bite of his salmon.

Zoe laughed which caused him to look at her. “It’s a long story,” she finally replied.

“Well, now you have me curious.”

Zoe set her fork down and took a sip of wine. “The woman I neglected to introduce you to is my best friend, Summer. She got it in her thick head that we needed to come here so that she could ‘run into’ Ethan Webster,” she said, using air quotes, “who was rumored to be staying at that resort called The Cove.” Zoe rolled her eyes while Masen’s eyes widened.

“Ethan Webster, huh? Isn’t he too old for her?” Masen asked, practically choking on his wine.

“No, not senior, his son, Ethan, ‘the third’ and…” she paused, eyeing him speculatively. “How do you know who Ethan Webster is?”

“You know, just because I surf doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s happening in the world or who the movers and shakers are.”

“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to imply…” she sighed. “So, what do you do for a living, Masen, aside from surfing of course,” she said with a smile.

“Of course,” he chuckled and took another bite of food.

Masen usually didn’t talk about his work, he liked to keep things separate but with Zoe, he wanted her to know. Hell, maybe he would tell her everything about himself, who he really was, what he should be doing but doesn’t. He had never wanted anyone to know about his family or their lifestyle. In all honesty, he hated the necessary association with them. He liked being seen as the rogue Pelletier who did his own thing.

“This is really good,” Zoe, noting his reluctance, changed the subject.

“Thank you and… I’m what you would call a freelance photographer,” he said casually.

“Really?”

Smiling, he continued, “I am doing a photo essay for National Geographic on the best beaches in the world. This is actually the fifth island I have been on in the past couple of months.”

“Wow, that’s amazing. So have you been around Eleuthera already?”

“Yes, I have. I should show you how beautiful it is.”

Zoe nodded and smiled. “I’d like that.”

They spent the next ninety minutes eating and drinking wine and talking. Zoe was fascinated with him and him with her. He found himself wanting to know everything there was to know about her. He learned about her work and her friends, living in New York and some of her misadventures in the city. Masen told her he had been to New York many times but preferred places with beaches. He was careful not to reveal too much about himself to her. Masen found it easy to talk to her which surprised him as he wasn’t one for talking with the women he spent time with. Their job was to watch him surf and have sex with him at the end of the day. But for some strange reason, he wanted more with this girl and he hadn’t even kissed her yet.

“Oh my,” Zoe whispered as she glanced to the side and could see the sun starting to set over the ocean.

“That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to bring you here,” he said as he stood and reached his hand to her.

He helped her up and they immediately went to the railing that over looked the shore. It was a spectacular sight. The orange and red hues of the sunset mixed with the gentle blue waves of the ocean, creating a sight that only God could produce. Masen glanced at her, mesmerized by the way she looked in the light of the setting sun. Unable to hold back any longer, he moved from beside her and brought his body flush against her back as he wrapped his arms around her waist. He began kissing her softly along her neck and Zoe felt her insides ignite as she lulled her head to the side, giving him permission to continue his quest. Masen smiled against her neck as he laid soft pecks along her sensitive skin. Zoe turned to him with glassy eyes as he brought his hand up to cup her face.

“You are so beautiful.”

His lips touched hers and it was as if she had never been kissed before that moment. Their kiss was passionate and primal and tender all at the same time. If Zoe had any doubts about being with him, they vanished in that moment. This may be a fling; he may not care about her but she couldn’t deny the chemistry that flowed between them. She would enjoy her time with him and if all she got was this one night then she would take it or forever regret it. She turned around and wrapped her arms around his neck as she deepened their kiss.

Masen felt consumed by Zoe. He wanted her, needed her. She was all he had thought about for the past two days and now to feel her entwining her fingers deeply into his hair as her tongue took ownership of his mouth was almost better than any dream he could have. His hands slipped down her back and then lifted the hem of her dress up. She didn’t stop him so he continued.

“Masen,” Zoe purred into his mouth.

He began touching her as her hands fisted his hair in pleasure. Their bodies were responding to each other in ways that filled them with carnal want. As her hands moved from his hair to his pants a feral growl erupted within him. He lowered her shorts before lifting her up and placing her precariously on the railing. Zoe’s hands immediately moved back to his neck, gripping tightly as she glanced down seeing only darkness below her.

“Trust me, Zoe.”

Zoe turned to him and nodded once again. He removed one of his hands and Zoe screamed slightly, startled as she swayed. He smiled and stepped closer to her, lifting one of her legs and placing it around his waist. Zoe smirked as she wrapped her legs tightly around him while he started kissing her softly. Zoe tried to kiss him more thoroughly but he was teasing her, just giving her quick pecks around her lips and up her jaw while he dug his wallet out of his pocket. He brought it behind Zoe so that he could use both his hands to dig the condom out. He then tossed it on the floor, hearing it land near the table.

“I’ve wanted you since we met,” he said with fire in his eyes.

“I’ve wanted you too,” she returned.

Masen smirked, that knowing smirk, the one that said he knew he could have had her all along. He brought the condom to her lips so that she could open it. Zoe grinned and stifled a giggle as she tore the corner of the package with her teeth. He wagged his brows as he unzipped his slacks. Zoe wanted desperately to look down at him but her eyes were locked with his. Bringing his lips close to hers again he gave her a forceful look.

“We’re gonna do this right here, Zoe. You okay with that?” He asked but Zoe once again felt like he wasn’t really asking a question but stating a fact.

Zoe nodded and held on tight as he slid inside her. He gripped her waist tightly, holding her in place as he started to move in and out of her, slowly at first. As he increased his speed, Zoe loosened her grip on his neck and threw her head back, moaning loudly. This action caused her to shift slightly. She startled herself once more, screeching as she jumped and grabbed him again.

“It’s okay, baby, hold on to me,” he whispered, bringing his lips back to hers.

Zoe did just that and more. She had never made love to anyone outside before, let alone as she sat on a small railing over a sea cliff. But she was excited by it all. He was everything she pictured him to be. His pace began to increase as his moans and grunts turned into breathless gasps. He was uttering several curse words into her mouth as his kiss suddenly became frenetic. She started to mumble along with him, until they were both panting, forced to break away from each other’s mouths until they had both reached their peak.

He held her closely as she reveled in the most surreal and fulfilling experience she had ever had. She didn’t know what lie ahead for them, whether she would even see him after tonight, but for now she was his. She would leave thoughts about what might happen beyond the beach to another time, instead she would focus only on this moment. Making love to the sounds of the ocean below them would have to carry her forward for a long time to come for she had been bitten by the shark and it was a mark she would keep for a lifetime.

The End

AUTHOR NOTE:

Awww, I loved writing this story. It was actually written for a friend of mine named Shan. She had the idea in her head of a cocky surfer who meets his match and asked if I would be willing to write it. After talking to her a bit to get her concept down, I came up with this. I did actually write more of Zoe and Masen’s story but at the moment I’m not planning on publishing it, unless, of course, people really want me too ☺

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Available to read on Wattpad HERE