7 May 2013

Book Love: The Last Boyfriend by J.S. Cooper | Excerpt


The Last Boyfriend

J.S. Cooper

Forever Love #1

Purchase: Amazon | B&N
Lucky Morgan has had her share of heartbreak. She is devastated when her boyfriend dumps her after sleeping with him and she vows to herself that she won't be used again. She decides that the next guy she dates and sleeps with, will be her one true love.

Zane Beaumont is the mysterious and snooty guy that comes into her diner every Friday night with a different girl. He's the type of guy she's learned to avoid: carefree, fast, handsome, rich, and sarcastic. Unfortunately, she can't stop thinking about the devilish gleam in his eyes.

When Lucky's car breaks down one night after a party, it is Zane who comes to her rescue. As Zane attempts to sweep Lucky off of her feet, she soon realizes that nothing is as it seems and that Zane may very well be the guy for whom she changes the rules. That is until she meets Braydon.

About the Author

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J. S. Cooper was born in London, England and moved to Florida her last year of high school. After completing law school at the University of Iowa (from the sunshine to cold) she moved to Los Angeles to work for a Literacy non profit as an Americorp Vista. She then moved to New York to study the History of Education at Columbia University and took a job at a workers rights non profit upon graduation.

She enjoys long walks on the beach (or short), hot musicians, dogs, reading (duh) and lots of drama filled TV Shows.

Excerpt


Prologue

He wasn’t sure why he always chose that diner. It was a risky thing to do. If any of the waitresses slipped and said something about all of his dates, it could ruin everything. He liked the diner: it was low-key, comfortable and relaxing. It allowed him to entertain the girls without feeling any pressure. They were all beautiful women, and he was able to get what he wanted from them easily. They were everything he wanted and nothing that he needed and he liked it that way. He wasn’t going to allow a woman to get under his skin. He was never going to change his mind. Not for anyone, and certainly not for a brunette named Lucky that he didn’t even really know.

Chapter 1

“Can you believe that guy is in here with another girl?” Shayla peered out into the dining room and shook her head. “Are these girls stupid?”

“Maybe they don’t care?” I shrugged, not caring how many different dates Mr. big tipper brought to our restaurant every Friday night.

“Or they don’t know.” She rolled her eyes as she prepared two garden salads for her latest customer. “But really, how can they not know? One look at him tells you that he’s not a guy that’s going to be faithful.”

“Shayla.” I laughed as I folded mountains of silverware into napkins. “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”

“So you would go on a date with him if he asked you then?”

“Oh hell no.” I laughed and looked out at the tall handsome jock sitting at one of my tables. His name was Zane Beaumont and he had been frequenting ‘Lou’s Burger Joint’ every Friday night for the last 3 months with a different girl. This weeks date seemed as plastic as all the other girls he had brought into the diner. But I was no longer surprised like Shayla was every time he walked in with a new girl. In fact, I would have been more surprised if he came in with the same girl, two weeks in a row.

“You don’t think he’s hot?” Shayla turned to me and wriggled her eyebrows before heading off to deliver her salads.

“Oh he’s hot all right.” I laughed again and stared at him studying his face clinically. “But he must be the biggest player in Miami.” Zane Beaumont was everything I wanted to avoid in a guy: he was too handsome, with his light blue eyes and dark brown slightly too long hair. His hair was always perfectly spiked with a wisp in his face that he combed through with his fingers to give it a tousled look. His face was chiseled and classically handsome and he always had a slightly smug and superior look on it. There was something about him that I was instinctively attracted to but I knew there was no way I would ever act on it. Not that he would ever be interested in me anyways.

“You should go for it girl.” Maria, the other waitress working that evening, wriggled her eyebrows at me as she finished counting out her tips. “He always sits at your table, I bet he has a crush on you chica.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence Maria but I doubt it.” I laughed easily, while a warm flush ran through my body. “Even if he was interested, which he isn’t. I would never date someone like him, there is no way that he would fit my rules.”

“Ay dios mio.” Maria rolled her eyes. “You talking about those rules again? Forget the rules. Just go with the flow.”

“You know I can’t do that Maria.” I sighed. “I created the rules for a reason. I don’t want to just be some guys bed buddy anymore. I’m saving myself for the real deal.”

“If you say so.” She stuffed her thick wad of notes into her handbag and jumped up. “But I’m sure he would be dynamite in the sack, if you were to change your mind.” She laughed and I had to nod in agreement. There was something in the way that Zane Beaumont moved that was rhythmic and sexy; and his hands were big, warm and manly. I flushed as I remembered the shock of electricity I felt each time our fingers touched when I took his payments.

“Bye Maria. I’ll see you tomorrow?”

“Noo chica, me and Pedro are going salsa dancing.” She grinned and did a couple of steps in the kitchen.

“Oh, that should be fun.” I smiled at her, slightly envious. I wish I could afford to take Saturday nights off. Not that it really mattered anyways. I didn’t have a boyfriend and my two best friends were coupled up, so when I did have the night off, I was usually at home by myself watching crappy movies with a big tub of Ben & Jerry’s fish food ice-cream.

“You should come with us one night girl. Pedro’s cousin just moved here from New York, his name’s Armando, I think you’ll like him.”

“That’s okay. Thanks Maria.” I laughed and quickly made my way into the dining hall as a new couple was seated at my table. I sighed as they got into the booth on the same side. They were obviously a new couple, trying to cozy up together as much as possible. It was hard working at the diner on Friday and Saturday nights because they were usually date nights but they were also the best nights for tips. Zane Beaumont alone always tipped me at least 50%; what girl could say no to that?

“Hi, I’m Lucky and I’ll be your server tonight. Can I start you off with any drinks?” I kept the smile plastered on my face, even though the couple paid me no attention. They were too busy kissing each other. “Or maybe I’ll give you a few minutes.” I walked away from the table as they continued ignoring me and went to check up on Zane and his date.

“Hi, is everything going okay?” I smiled pleasantly, trying to ignore the excitement in my belly as Zane stared up at me attentively with a sexy smile.

“Is this diet coke?” The beautiful brunette asked me with an attitude. “I asked for diet coke and this tastes like real coke.”

“I can assure you that this is diet coke mam.” I tried to make sure I didn’t roll my eyes. “I personally filled your drink order and I made sure to hit the diet coke button.”

“Well are you sure? Because it doesn’t taste like diet coke.” She glared at me and I turned to Zane. “Is there anything else you need Mr. Beaumont?”

“I told you to call me Zane.” He laughed. “And no, we’re good here. Thank you Lucky.”

“My pleasure.” I smiled and walked back into the kitchen grinning. I would never admit it to Shayla or Maria but I loved seeing Zane Beaumont every week. In fact, seeing him was the only thing that kept me sane and not dying of loneliness. I had been single for a year now- not a date, not a kiss and certainly no sex and it was starting to wear at me. I had been asked out by a few guys but none that I would give the time of day to; certainly none that I found as attractive as Zane. Not only were my work friends shocked at my lack of dates, but so were Leeza and Shannon, my two best friends. The three of us had bonded during freshmen week at the University of Miami and had been regulars at pretty much every party on campus for our first two years. We had all gone from boyfriend to boyfriend and thought nothing of it.

Until about a year ago, when my boyfriend at the time, a graduating Senior who was also the head of his frat broke up with me. It had pretty much devastated me and it was his closing words to me that had had the biggest impact on me. “You can’t have thought this was serious right Lucky? Everyone knows you’re the girl for a lucky time. How many guys have you been with since you started UM? You’re like a hurricane through guys.” And then he had laughed at his joke. “Hurricane- get it?” He had asked and I had nodded wordlessly. The fact that he had thought it was funny to compare my dating history to the school’s football team had been no joke. He had made me feel like a slut, like I had gone from guy to guy, which he most probably thought I had, but it wasn’t true. At least not in the way that he had meant it. It was true that I had dated about 8 different guys since my time at UM but I had only slept with 3 of them. But I suppose they didn’t pass that information on when they talked about me.

It had taken me about a month to get over the hurt and pain and I had made a decision to myself that I wasn’t going to date just to date anymore. I wanted to make sure that any guy that I dated had the possibility to be my last boyfriend. That meant he had to fit several criteria:

He had to be honest
He had to be good-looking but not too hot or he would have too many women after him as I knew from experience
He had to be looking for a serious relationship but not be too old or too desperate to settle down
He had to be financially secure but not too rich or too many women would be after him as I knew, once again, from experience
He had to be funny, loyal, faithful and modest
He had to agree to wait for sex until we were married or engaged.

I figured that I had created a pretty thorough list. Shayla, Maria, Shannon and Leeza all thought I was being ridiculous with my list and destined for a lifetime of singledom but I explained to them, I wasn’t looking to just date anyone. I was looking for the guy that would be my last boyfriend. This was the only way I knew to ensure that I didn’t get my heart stomped on again.

So now here I was, a year later at 22 and just about to graduate from College with no current boyfriend and none in sight. Zane Beaumont was the type of guy I would have gone for in a heartbeat before I created the list. But he was also the type of guy that I knew would take my heart and rip it into pieces.

“Hey Lucky, your new table is ready to order.” Shayla came running into the kitchen with a plate in her hands. “And Mike, they asked for white meat, not dark, you need to do the white meat special again please and quickly. I don’t want to miss out on another tip.”

“Gotcha Shayla.” Mike grinned and dropped some chicken into the deep fryer. He winked at her and she sighed before turning to me with an exasperated look on her face.

“I tell ya, I don’t think it’s smart to work with your boyfriend.”

“You wouldn’t have it any other way Shay.” I grinned at her before going back to the dining room. Shayla and Mike had an almost perfect relationship. They had both been working for Lou for over 5 years before Mike decided to ask her on a date and they had been together ever since.

“Hi, are you guys ready to order now?”

“We’d like a cheeseburger and fries.” The guy ordered for both of them and the girl just sat there grinning. “We’re going to share so put the pickles on the side please.”

“And the onions.” The girl finally spoke and they both laughed.

“Okay, so a cheeseburger and fries? Anything else?”

“No, just two waters.” And then they were back to kissing again. I walked to the fountain to get them two glasses of water and sighed. There wasn’t going to be a big tip coming from them, that I was sure of. I tried to calculate how much money I had made for the night and bit my lip. I still hadn’t made enough to take my car into a mechanic. My 1991 Toyota Corolla was on its last legs and I was pretty sure that the head gasket was going to blow again. It was exhibiting the same signs it had been about a year ago when it had blown and I knew I couldn’t afford to not have a car. I wouldn’t be able to get to school and work if I didn’t have my car and I sure couldn’t afford to buy a new one. But the mechanic wanted $800 to fix my car and I only had $500. I had been hoping that tonight would have seen some spend-happy folks from South America but I hadn’t been so lucky. “I guess maybe tomorrow will be my night.” I mumbled to myself as I walked the two waters back to the table.

“Here you go.” I said to no one in particular and walked back to the kitchen to do some more mental calculations. Maybe if I asked the landlord if I could pay the rent a little late, I thought. Maybe I could borrow my rent money to fix my car. I sighed as I thought about approaching my mean-faced landlord. I had a feeling she wasn’t going to go along with my suggestion of paying slightly late.

“You okay Lucky?” Mike peered at me from his station and I nodded quickly. I didn’t want to get Mike and Shayla involved with my problems, I knew they would want to loan me the money but I also knew that they had two kids to support and they were barely able to do that themselves.

“Yeah thanks Mike.”

“What did Mike do now?” Shayla came back into the kitchen and looked Mike up and down. “You bothering my girl?”

“No Shay. Lucky’s just looking slightly down.”

“Oh I’m sorry girl, maybe they won’t be as cheap as they look.” Shayla grinned at me as she talked about the new couple that had been seated in my area. Everyone who worked at ‘Lou’s’ knew from the moment they approached the table what sort of tip was going to be forthcoming. Anytime a young couple came in all lovey dovey, it usually meant a low tip.

“I’m sure they will be.” I laughed. “They are sharing their entrĂ©e.”

“Oh man.” Shayla shook her head and patted my shoulder to show her condolences. “But at least you have Mr. Rich, he should be good for a few dollars right.”

“Yeah. He always tips well.” I smiled and looked out into the dining room to make sure that no one was looking around for me. I stared at Zane Beaumont again and I noticed that he kept his hands to his side of the table; I always saw the girls with their hands stretched out and inching towards him but I never saw him holding hands with them. I wondered if he slept with them all? He was certainly good-looking enough to bag any girl that he wanted. I wondered if he dumped them as soon as they said yes, if he was a kick-em out the next morning sort. I shook my head and grinned to myself, he was a spend the night at their place and leave early in the morning sort of guy. I was positive of it.

“What’s so funny Lucky?”

“Just wondering if Mr. Rich is as good in bed as he looks.” I said wryly and turned to Shayla with a grin. “And don’t you dare say a word.”

“Girl, I’m not going to say anything.” She winked at me and laughed. “But I’m betting that is a man that can go all night long.”

“Okay, I’m out of here.” I groaned and ran back into the dining room. I didn’t want to think about Zane and sex. It had been too long since I’d dated or had sex and just thinking about him was getting me hot and bothered. But it had been my decision and I needed to remember that. I couldn’t afford to daydream about a guy like Zane.

“Everything okay Lucky?” Zane’s voice was deep and husky and he looked at me with concern. “I hope nothings burning in the kitchen.”

“Oh no. It’s all good.” I smiled at him and turned away from his gaze. Every time he said my name I felt a flush inside. “Do you guys need anything else?”

“Just the check.” His smile was gone and his eyes were vacant again. “And quickly please.”

“Sure.” I turned away confused at his sudden change in demeanor. “I’ll get it right now.”

“So Zane, where are we going now?” His date preened.

“I thought we could go get some cocktails on the beach?”

“South Beach?”

“Yeah, we can go to Washington? I know a cool place.”

“We can go to my place.”
“Yeah, we can do that.” His voice was smooth as silk and I peeked behind my shoulder and watched as he caressed her hand. Asshole! I thought to myself as I printed out Zane’s check. I wanted to slap myself for thinking that perhaps he wasn’t the playboy I had thought him to be. He obviously was. He was not boyfriend material, I had to keep reminding myself.

“Here you go.” I dropped the check off at the table and spoke to the girl, ignoring Zane. “You can pay at the front.” I walked back to the kitchen quickly and into the bathroom. I locked the door and quickly splashed some water on my heated face. I was upset, and frustrated. I stared in the mirror at my dark brown hair and brushed my fingers through my ponytail. I gazed into my wide upset eyes through the mirror and saw the stress lines at the corners and sighed. I looked depressed and washed out; you couldn’t even compare me to the bevy of girls that Zane paraded in and out of the restaurant. Sometimes living in Miami gave me an inferiority complex and I’m not one prone to low self-esteem. Don’t get me wrong, I have my days like everyone else but generally I am happy with my looks and my life. I’m not Miss America but I don’t think I’m ugly. I didn’t like the uneasy feeling in my stomach. I didn’t really understand why I was so upset at Zane’s dismissiveness, it wasn’t like we were friends or had anything. It wasn’t like I liked him. I mean, yes I’ll admit it, I think he’s cute but he’s not all that. And he’s a player and pompous. The typical rich handsome guy who has had everything handed to him. He wasn’t the type of guy that I wanted to end up with. No, not at all. I just had to keep reminding myself of that.

“Lucky you there?” Shayla banged on the door.

“Yeah I’ll be right out.”

“You better, your young man is waiting outside for you.”

“What young…” Oh shit, I thought. He’s most probably mad that I gave the check to the girl. My heart started thumping and I felt a little sick. What if he decided that he wasn’t going to come back to the diner? What if I never saw him again?

“Thanks Shayla.” I walked out of the bathroom and through the kitchen to the front of the store where Zane was waiting for me with a concerned expression on his face.

“Hey Lucky, thanks for coming to talk before I left.” His blue eyes pierced into mine and I stared back at him without a smile.

“That’s okay.”

“I have to go in a second as she’s waiting in the car.”

“Okay.” I wanted to ask him why he called her she instead of by her name. “So did I get something wrong on the bill or something?”

“I wanted to apologize if I said anything to upset you.” He paused. “I just hope I didn’t come off as rude.”

“Oh no, of course not.” I was taken aback at his statement.

“I was raised to treat everyone equally.” He continued and I looked at him in surprise. What was he talking about? “I hope you don’t think I was disrespecting you as a waitress?”

“Not at all.” I blushed and looked away. All he saw when he looked at me was a waitress. I wanted to laugh. Even if I didn’t have my rules, he wouldn’t be interested in me.

“Good. Well have a good evening Lucky.”

“You too.” I smiled at him weakly.

“Oh I intend to.” He grinned at me and then sauntered out the door after rubbing my shoulder. I went back to his table to collect the cash he had left on it for my tip. My jaw dropped when I saw the $100 note and a short “sorry” message on a napkin. I looked back to the front of the restaurant and sighed. I stuffed the note into my pocket and walked back to the kitchen with my head starting to pound. I was so confused and felt almost delirious. I touched the spot on my shoulder that he had rubbed and a felt a warm flush run through my body as I remember his breath warm touch. I shook my head at the excited feeling that was running through my veins. “Remember the rules Lucky,” I muttered to myself as I started on my side work duties.

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