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As the first rays of the morning sun began to creep into the bedroom, still wide awake, Zoe started to wonder about something that had been nagging at her. And that was, why she felt she was only worthy of a sex life and nothing more.

But knew it could be since she could never have any kind of a love life at home, she felt all she really needed to be happy was to finally experience the thrill of something a little wild, without considering anything deeper.

Saddest part of the whole thing was, she really liked Tate too, and could already tell that he was one of the good ones. So she wondered why she’d felt compelled to tell him that she didn’t want anything more from him than just sex. No wonder he was upset, if a guy had told her that, she knew she’d have been hurt, too.

And now she wondered what she could do to fix it, but knew that trying to mend what she’d said with more sex was probably out of the question at this point. And after what she’d said to him, she had a pretty strong feeling that the sexy professor was probably no longer willing to fulfill her sensual fantasies with her anymore, anyway. And who could blame him? She heaved a sigh. For a reasonably intelligent woman, she sure did some pretty dumb things sometimes.

Later, when she finally awoke later from a fitful sleep, she noticed she wasn’t curled up nice and tight against him anymore, mostly because he was no longer in bed. Sitting up, she listened for any sign of him, relieved to hear the water running in the kitchen, glad that he hadn’t left. Then she gave herself a stretch, trying to decide what her next move should be. At this point she knew a simple apology probably wouldn’t cut it, not after the way she’d hurt him.

So, she decided to wander into the kitchen to try and test his mood. “Morning,” she said brightly when she saw him standing at the fridge in just his boxers — looking hot and sexy as ever.

But his hotness just nodded his head, and muttered, “Morning,” not even bothering to look at h er.

“Can I make you some breakfast?” Zoe asked hopefully.

“No, that’s okay. I was thinking of going for a run. So, I’ll just get a bottle of water, change into my gear and go.”

Scrambling for something to say, she knew she had to say something before he left, so she said, “Oh, that’s funny, I was thinking of going for a run this morning, too.” And that was such a huge honking lie, she wondered if she should check the mirror to see if her nose had actually grown any, since she’d never gone for a run in her entire freaking life. The occasional long walk, the odd time on the treadmill, maybe a leisurely swim at her local pool, or that one disastrous time she’d foolishly tried advanced yoga, and nearly broken her neck, but that was it. Those were the limits of her fitness regime, which really wasn’t much of a regime, more like something she did when she panicked after she’d done something stupid like stuffing her face with a big fat slice of creamy cheesecake or one too many slices of extra cheese pizza.

Tate seemed to be considering what she said for a minute. Finally shrugging his shoulders, he said, “Sure, I guess you can come if you want.”

And what an enthusiastic invitation that was. Yep, no doubt about it, he was still pissed. “Okay, I’ll just go change, then. I won’t be long.”

Thankfully, she’d packed an old pair of sneakers, or she would have felt pretty foolish attempting to traipse along beside him in a pair of heels. After she got herself a bottle of water she joined him at the front door and tried to give him a friendly smile. But he just narrowed his eyes coolly, so clearly that wasn’t going to work on him either.

Out in front of the building before they got started, Zoe carefully followed Tate’s lead when he did a few forward lunges, followed by some squats, before he reached back to grasp one ankle then the other, stretching out both his long muscled legs, following it with a full body shake out. And as he did, he eyed her, trying not to laugh as she followed his every move to the letter.

‘What the hell is she doing?’ He wondered, watching as she mimicked him. ‘Does she think this is some kind of weird game of Simon Says?’ Whatever. Not really caring much what she did at this point, he said, “I’ll try not to run too fast, so you can keep up.”

“Yeah, that might be good.” Very good actually, or he might look back to find her in a crumpled heap on the sidewalk.

After running only two blocks Tate could see that Zoe was struggling to keep up and looking pretty winded. Finally, he slowed his pace and then stopped. “Hey, you okay?”

Her cheeks bright red, arms wrapped around her waist, bent over, he could tell she was fighting to catch her breath. “Yeah, I’m good,” she huffed out.

No she wasn’t, in fact he could tell she looked ready to collapse. “How about if we mix it up and just walk the next block,” he suggested.

“Sure,” she panted breathlessly, “that would be good, too.”

No way in hell was she a runner. Despite the fact in her sexy skin tight, thigh high güvenilir canlı bahis siteleri shorts and little midriff baring top, he could easily discern that her slender body was lean and rounded in all the right places, and that she wasn’t in any way out of shape. But she was definitely not accustomed to running. Finally he suggested, “You want to stop for a coffee somewhere?”

Zoe nodded. “If that’s what you normally do, sure.”

Not since he’d started running at the age of fourteen had he ever stopped on his run for a coffee, but he wasn’t about to tell her that. “Yeah, I find it’s a nice break from all the running,” he said, struggling to hold back a smile.

Again she just nodded, and he had to resist the urge to suggest they turn around and head back to the building so she could put her feet up before she risked passing out, or even stroking out by the looks of her. And he had to wonder why she’d offered to join him on his run if she never ran.

He was honestly stymied. She’d made it pretty clear last night that all they had between them was sex, and since there was nothing even remotely sexy about the way she was fighting to breathe, he couldn’t figure out why she was with him. Just up ahead he saw a coffee shop that was open, and he nodded his head toward it.

Once they were inside seated at a booth, Tate watched her grab a few napkins out of the dispenser and wipe her brow, making him realize that he hadn’t been running long enough to even break a sweat. Normally accustomed to running at least five miles a day, he knew the half block they’d run would barely have gotten his heart rate up. “You okay over there?” he asked, trying not to give away how adorably funny she looked still panting and wiping her face like she’d just finished a marathon.

“Whew,” she said, blowing out a breath. “Yeah, I will be once I have my coffee.” Suddenly her eyes went big, looking at him across the table. “Oh, crap, I just realized I didn’t bring any money.”

Tate reached into the back pocket of his shorts and pulled out a twenty, giving her a smile. “It’s okay, I’ve got it.”

“Oh good, then I’ll have to pay you back.”

Clenching his jaw, he had to fight to stay quiet. But before he had a chance to consider his words he said, “Look, I realize you don’t want much to do with me, except for maybe in the sack. But I don’t think that buying you a coffee is exactly going to ruin this whole platonic-unless-we’re-screwing thing you have pictured going on between us.”

Shocked, Zoe’s mouth actually dropped open. Then as she considered what he said, she felt forced it shut again. Biting down on her lip, she looked down at her hands, and quietly said, “Guess I deserved that.”

Tate rolled his eyes. Shit, now he’d upset her. What was wrong with him? “No, I’m sorry, that was rude. It’s just that I’m kind of confused with the way you’ve been blowing hot and cold, expecting me to be able to read the signs, and I can’t. I like you, Zoe, I really do. And I think we’ve been having a pretty good time together. And then you go and say that it’s strictly sex and nothing else, and what am I supposed to take from that? You think I’m some kind of sex toy that you can use whenever and however you like then put away when you feel like you’re done?”

Zoe glanced up when she heard the sound of someone clearing their throat and noticed their server, an older balding man with a snowy-white day’s growth of beard standing beside their booth, waiting to take their order. And judging from the look on his face, he’d heard every word Tate had said, which had her wanting to crawl under the table and keep right on going till she got out the door. She flinched. Ooh, talk about embarrassing.

Once the waiter finally managed to get their attention, he said, “What can I get for you folks?”

“Um, just coffee for me,” Zoe said, doing her best not to look at him.

“And I’ll have the same,” Tate said, giving him a smile. And the guy just sadly shook his head at him and walked away.

“Would it matter if I said I was sorry?” Zoe asked and reached for his hand.

Tate looked down at her hand covering his for a minute, finally looked up and said, “Not if what you said was really how you feel. I don’t want you apologizing for the way you feel about us, Zoe. If you’re not interested in being with me, I can either get a hotel room somewhere, or find one of those blow up mattresses I told Robert I was sleeping on, and actually sleep on it. The choice is yours.”

And he hoped like hell that she didn’t really want either option because there was no way he wanted to leave her. Though he had no idea what was motivating her to push him away, he couldn’t believe what he was feeling was all one-sided. At least to him it felt like they were way too good together for it only to be about sex. But if she really preferred that he leave and find somewhere else to stay, then he knew he’d have no choice but to get his stuff and go.

Finally, she shook her head, and said, “I don’t want you to leave, Tate. Or go out and buy güvenilir illegal bahis siteleri a mattress to sleep on the living room floor.”

The waiter put their coffee down just then, and asked, “Anything else?”

Tate wondered if there was any chance patience might be on tap, since he knew he was going to need a good dose of it if he was going to survive spending the next few weeks with such an equally confounding and intoxicating woman, but he just shook his head, and said, “No, thanks, we’re good.”

They drank their coffee in silence until Zoe finally looked up at him and told him, “I don’t even know why I said it, because I like you, Tate, I really do. You’re kind and funny and not just good in bed.” She playfully wiggled her eyebrows. “Though you do have a gift. No denying that.”

He chuckled at that, surprised that he was still able to, after what she’d put him through. “And I like you, too — a lot actually. But I’m not exactly about to propose, so you don’t have to worry this getting too serious too fast. All I’m suggesting is that we keep our options open.”

She nodded. “Agreed. And I really would like it if you’d stay with me. And if you’d prefer that we don’t have sex anymore, then I guess I can live with that.” She wouldn’t exactly be happy with it, but she knew she’d survive. Well probably. Maybe. Eee. Just barely. Then she bit into her lip and waited, hoping like hell he wouldn’t agree to go along with them living together sex-free.

He pulled a comical face and said, “No sex, huh? Guess we could try it and see how it goes.”

Inside, she groaned. Oh shit, he called her bluff. She did not see that coming. Now what was she going to do, sleeping with him night after night, and just sleeping and nothing else? Seriously, she was really going to have to learn to think before she opened her big fat mouth.

Tate leaned across the table, eyes sparkling mischievously. “But I wonder if Pussy would miss me?”

Zoe blinked. Hers, she wondered, with them not having sex any more, or did he mean the cat. “What do you mean?”

“I mean if I wind up finding another place to stay, would Pussy miss me?”

She was trying hard not to smile, but he could see it in her eyes. “Yes, I do think Pussy would miss you, very much.”

They walked the rest of the way to Central Park, and by the time they got there Tate noticed that Zoe had run out of water. So, spying a drink cart he walked over to buy her another bottle. And while he was waiting for the guy to dig a bottle from the ice in his cart, he glanced over and noticed that another runner had stopped to chat with Zoe. And judging by the way she was smiling at him, they seemed to be hitting it off. ‘Son of a bitch.’ He shook his head, slamming his eyes shut. They had yet to get back to the apartment to even see if they were going to follow through with this whole no sex thing, and already she was looking to hook up with someone new? ‘What the hell was her deal?’

Wandering over to join them, as calmly as he could muster, Tate said, “I got your water, Zoe.” Handing her the bottle, he watched as she immediately twisted the top off and eagerly took a big gulp.

And when she’d finished, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, she smiled at him and breathlessly said, “Thanks, Tate.” Then turning that smile on the man standing beside her, she introduced them. “Oh, and this is Marcus Cooper. Marcus, Tate Caldwell. Marcus and I went to teacher’s college together, small world, huh?”

‘Yeah, no shit.’ Tate watched as her old pal Marcus slowly raked a slow lecherous gaze over her from top to toe. “Hey, how’s it going?” Tate said, as politely as he could manage. Then he leaned in close and deliberately wiped his thumb along her bottom lip and said, “You had a little drip there, babe.” Following it with a smile he flashed at Zoe’s friend that basically said, ‘You get that, asshole? The lady’s with me.’

Marcus narrowed his eyes on Tate before flashing a smile at Zoe and telling her, “Well, it was great seeing you again, Zoe. We should keep in touch. You can find me online. Tate, nice to meet you,” he said with a quick nod before starting off at a brisk run.

Watching him leave, Tate asked her, “So, you ready to head back?”

“Sure. But you didn’t get in much of a run today.”

“No, it was fine.” And it was. He got to spend some time with her, hopefully cleared the air between them, at least to some degree — and also managed to keep her old pal Marcus off her ass.

“Come on,” he said, taking her hand, “let’s head back and I’ll make us some breakfast.”

She sighed, clutching his hand. “Good, ’cause after all that running, I’m starving.” And Tate just shook his head and laughed.

As they walked, the urge to pull her in for a kiss was nearly killing him, but Tate had come to a decision, if she wanted him, she was going to have to prove it. And if she didn’t… well, at least he’d know. So, unless she made the first move, he had no plans to do much more than occasionally hold her hand and simply sleep güvenilir bahis şirketleri beside her in bed.

And if it actually did kill him, then he imagined one of his colleagues could write a paper on the probability of sexual deprivation being a contributing factor in human mortality. Because if lying next to her night after night without so much as laying a finger on that gorgeous body of hers didn’t kill him, then he didn’t know what would.

Squeezing his hand in hers, she said with a sweet smile, “Thanks for letting me come on your run with you today, Tate.”

Flashing her and indulgent smile, truth was, he was glad she’d come, though they hadn’t really done much running. “And I’m glad you came.”

Back at the apartment, Tate decided his shower could wait for later, especially since he never really broke a sweat. “Eggs okay for you, Zoe?” he called out to her from the kitchen.

She wandered in then in a silky white bathrobe that barely covered her butt cheeks, making him instantly hard. And seeing her like that, Tate’s hand froze in mid-reach for the carton of eggs in the fridge. “Sure, but I can do it,” she offered.

“Nope, I promised I would, so I’ll make us breakfast. So, how do you like your eggs?” He hoped his voice hadn’t actually cracked when he asked, seeing as he couldn’t take his eyes off her. She just looked so delectable with her long dark hair lose around her shoulders and the thin little robe leaving very little to his imagination.

“Sunnyside up, scrambled, doesn’t matter. I can do the toast while you do that, though.”

Tate just nodded. Working around her in the tiny kitchen was sure going to test his resolve, because all he could think of doing was pulling her into his arms and cupping that sweet tight ass of hers in his hands and kissing her face off. Oh, and tugging that belt loose to discover if she was wearing anything beneath it. But from the look of her taut nipples poking at the silk, he didn’t think she was. And, rolling his eyes, once again he realized he was hard as a fucking brick. But what difference did it make if he was cooking with a raging hummer? Around her, it seemed like all he did was try and function without tripping over his dick.

Later, sitting across from each other at the little table and chair set in the small living/dining area, at the front of the apartment, they seemed to be almost uncomfortably aware of each other. “Eggs are good,” she said wearing a sexy little smirk.

Tate grinned, eyeing her pert breasts. “So’s the toast.”

Zoe finally managed to laugh, giving him a smile. “Not much to screw up there.” Unlike their burgeoning relationship that she’d effectively torpedoed with her thoughtlessness.

“So, have you got any plans for tonight?” he asked, pouring more tea into her cup for her.

“Well, I wasn’t planning to go trolling again, if that’s what you’re asking.”

God, was he ever glad to hear that. “No, I was going to ask if maybe we could go out and get some dinner together, unless you’d consider that crossing the line.”

Zoe put down her cup with a sigh. “Look, I’m sorry I said what I said, okay? It’s just that when I realized I was going to be here for a few weeks, I saw it as an opportunity to try some new things…”

“And I can fully understand you wanting to do that, but does it have to be with a stranger for it to work?” He knew sex with a stranger fantasies were pretty common for both sexes, but only hoped that it wasn’t a requirement for her. Actually prayed it wasn’t, since he knew he wouldn’t be around to keep an eye on her indefinitely. Never mind the fact that already he hated the idea of her being with anyone else.

She shook head. “No, it doesn’t have to be a stranger.” Biting her lip she seemed to be wrestling with how much she should tell him, till finally she said, “You want to know how many men I’ve been with, Tate?”

That made him blink, surprised she’d ask him something like that. “Not really sure if I do, I mean, that’s pretty personal.”

“Well, considering you’re just the third, I don’t think I’m giving away many secrets.”

Wow, no wonder she seemed so inexperienced, turns out she really was.

“Technically, I’d say in some ways, I’m practically a virgin,” Zoe explained. “The first time I had sex was only five years ago. I had just turned twenty-two, and from what I remember, which isn’t much, I’m pretty sure the guy took longer to get the condom on, than he did to do the deed.”

Tate pulled a face, trying hard not to laugh. “So, I’m guessing that wasn’t exactly memorable, or overly satisfying?”

“More like something I’d rather forget. And then two years ago I was at teacher’s conference at the state capital in Albany and I wound up spending the night with a teacher from another town. He was nice enough, but I think the term to describe what happened between us is vanilla, nothing but missionary, and it seemed like it was all for him. And it was over so fast that I never got anything out of it. Still, even after that, we met a few times, until last year when he thankfully moved to California. And to be honest, I wasn’t the least bit disappointed when he left. Since then I’ve been doing a lot of reading, even watched a few pornos to try and figure out what I’ve been missing out on, because I just knew there had to be more than what I’d experienced.”

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