Authors: Tracy Tegan
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Women's Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Romance, #Contemporary
It’s Always Been You
BY TRACY TEGAN
No part of this book may be reproduced, reverse-engineered, transmitted in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, taping, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the permission in writing from the publisher except in the case of brief quotation embodied in critical articles and reviews. Please respect the hard work of the author and do not post or share this work.
This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, establishments, organizations, real people, or real places are used fictitiously to provide a sense of authenticity to the story. Other names, characters, places or events are products of the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2014, Tracy Tegan, www.TracyTegan.com.
All rights reserved.
Table of Contents
Zoey Parker has had serious feelings for exactly one person in her entire life and that was when she was in junior high. Since then, not as much as a spark for a single man. It wasn’t like she never dated, she just hadn’t found that someone special, that someone who was worth all the effort that it took to be in a real relationship.
So Zoey did what most single girls do with their time; she worked and enjoyed time with her friends.
Only now, her best friend Kara has gotten married and is absolutely driven to find Zoey a match of her own.
stomach filled with butterflies as she strolled into Kara’s fancy hi-rise apartment building. The two have been practically inseparable since junior high. They were both cheerleaders, they double dated for prom, and even went to the same college.
though, Kara married her boyfriend, Trevor, and while Zoey truly did think he was great, what wasn’t great was Kara’s insane devotion to the idea that if she could find true love, Zoey could too.
was always trying to set her friend up on dates, insisting that if Zoey found true love like she had with Trevor, she would be blissfully happy and that was all she wanted for her friend. Novel idea, but as Zoey has learned the hard way, it isn’t always that easy.
knew that Kara meant well, but she hated the endless stream of incompatible men Kara always found for her. Tonight was different though, because Zoey knew exactly who her pairing was with, and she couldn’t be happier about it.
was going to throw a dinner party and invited her sexy neighbor, Stefano, to be Zoey’s date. Zoey didn’t really know him, only his name, but she had seen him a few times and thought he was absolutely gorgeous. He was tall, dark and pure perfection. She overheard him once speaking to someone and his accent made her heart skip a beat.
Zoey stood in the elevator she caught sight of herself. She was having a great hair day and was sure that was a sign that tonight was going to go exactly as she had hoped. She tried not to let others see her looking at herself and admiring how her hair fell in soft waves, framing her perfectly made up face. The attention grabbing little black dress hugged her figure in all the right places and her matching six-inch, platform heels were the icing on the cake.
know what hit him
, she thought confidently as she rang the doorbell to Kara’s apartment.
wasn’t normally one of those girls who obsessed so much about her looks, but tonight was special. Tonight was going to be the night she finally spoke to the man she’d been secretly lusting after for months.
only took a second before the door flung open to reveal her best friend’s smiling face.
“Oh my god
Zoey, it’s about time,” Kara said playfully.
looked down at her watch in confusion, knowing she wasn’t late. In fact, she was even early. Kara laughed, grabbed her by the hand and drug her inside, giving her a warm, welcoming hug.
“Now let me
look at you. Girl, you are going to be the center of attention tonight. I love this dress on you, Zoey. It’s amazing.”
twirled around so that her best friend could get a good look at her and the sultry low cut of the back of her dress.
Kara gasped. “Wow, if that doesn’t get his attention, nothing will.”
Zoey followed Kara into the kitchen to check on the last minute preparations for their dinner party. On the way to the kitchen, they ran into Kara’s husband.
Zoey leaned in for a quick hug. “You are looking fabulous. I see married life is treating you well.”
“It’s nice to see you too
, Zoey,” he said as he fondly patted her shoulder while checking out her attire. “And look at you, all dressed up. I see someone is on the prowl tonight.”
giggled and then blushed. “You don’t think it’s too much, do you?”
“Show Trevor the back,” Kara said as she grabbed
Zoey’s hand and twirled her around.
Trevor cleared his throat. “I don’t
think there is a single man alive that would be able to resist you in that outfit.”
Zoey and Kara laughed and then went on into the kitchen to meet with the caterers.
The first guest to arrive
was Evan, Kara’s older brother. His date for the evening was someone that truly surprised no one. He tended to date a certain type of girl and this one was right up his alley. She was a bleach blonde with overly large, inflated breasts and wore bright red lipstick that matched her tight, bright red dress which showed off more of her body than it covered. Looking at the girl closely, Zoey wondered if she was even old enough to drink.
“I see you’ve outdone yourself,” Kara said
, clearly annoyed with her brother, as she leaned in to give him a hug. “And who might this be?” Kara asked, looking towards his date.
Evan’s date stuck out her hand, “Hi. I’m Ami. Ami with
an I,” she giggled and actually bounced as she reached out to shake Kara’s hand.
“Hello Ami with
an I, I’m Kara, Evan’s sister.”
Ami had a blank expression on her face, as if she had no clue who in the heck Evan
was so Kara continued. “Evan Scott, your date.”
Ooops,” Ami said giggling. “I forget things sometimes.”
“That’s okay sweetie,”
Zoey interjected. “I’m sure there are some things that Evan wished he could forget sometimes too.”
“Oh no, Evan doesn’t forget things. He’s so smart. Did you
know he went to college and actually graduated?”
“You don’t say,” Kara responded, trying her best to stifle a laugh.
Evan groaned and rolled his eyes and they all made their way into the living room to have a drink or two, or in Evan’s case, three or four.
after Evan and his date arrived, the doorbell rang again. Zoey was nervous, she knew this time it would be Stefano. While Kara went to greet her neighbor, Zoey made her way over to Ami to talk.
was the last person she wanted to be speaking with but she didn’t want to appear too eager or anxious when Stefano walked into the room and saw her for the first time, plus she figured that Ami might give her something she could use to tease Evan with later on. As a child, Evan had tormented and taunted her, and now as adults, she took every chance she could to get her revenge and girls like Ami made it all too easy.
, how long have you known Evan?”
expected some great story about how he picked her up in a bar the night before but no such luck. Ami, it seems, was distracted by the tall drink of water that had just walked in the front door.
“Is that Stefano Nikos, grandson to Greek shipping magnate Spiro Nikos?”
Ami asked excitedly.
know his family history. He’s Kara’s neighbor.”
Zoey did her best to pretend to be engaged in a fascinating conversation with Ami but it
wasn’t easy. While Ami rambled on about the Nikos family fortune, Zoey could hear Kara introducing Stefano to her brother.
this is my brother, Evan Scott. He’s a litigation support director at Baker, Price and Associates. Evan, this is the wonderful neighbor I have been telling you about, Stefano Nikos.”
, this night just got interesting,” Ami said as she continued to look Stefano over.
“I’m sure your date would agree,”
Zoey said under her breath while looking towards Evan who, at that moment, was staring right at them. Zoey couldn’t believe it, but she suddenly found herself feeling sorry for Evan. He had himself a real winner this time.
never understood why Evan dated the kind of women that he did. He was a great guy, good looking, smart, funny and successful. He was a real catch but he never, in all the years she had known him, seemed to have a real relationship or even date a girl that had any potential for something serious. It was always one stupid bimbo after another and over the years they seemed to be getting younger and dumber, if that was even possible. It was like he was going out of his way to make sure he found women that he knew he had no possible chance at a future with. Zoey just didn’t understand it.
With the exception of
his choice in women, Zoey might even go as far as to say that Evan was truly the perfect guy, and if he wasn’t her best friend’s older brother, she herself would have hooked up with him years ago. And although she would never in a million years admit it, she’s had a secret crush on him since junior high, but it was never feelings she would ever allow herself to act on. Zoey knew Kara would kill her if she hooked up with her brother, back then as well as now, but especially back then. Even though, when they were kids it wasn’t all too likely it would have happened, as he was a complete ass to her. If he wasn’t ignoring her, he was busy making fun of her.
As a child,
Zoey had been quite the ugly duckling and even uglier teenager. She was too thin, too pale, with bushy eyebrows, bad skin and her mouth full of braces didn’t exactly help either. Her confidence had bloomed as her skin cleared up, her braces were removed and she learned how to tame her unruly hair and eyebrows. She would never be a supermodel, especially considering the fact that she only stood five foot one inches tall, but still, nowadays she turns her fair share of heads and unlike Ami with an I, she did it with class.
, a relationship with Evan, no matter how much Zoey had grown up, was not in the cards. She knew that giving in to her secret desires for Evan would be the end of her friendship with Kara and she couldn’t do that. Kara had made it clear when they were kids that hooking up with her brother was not an option. Kara had been her lifelong best friend and nothing was ever worth risking that.
So Evan would
only ever be her friend, Zoey could live with that, or so she told herself. And as his friend, what she couldn’t figure out was his need to bring around these bimbos and even more confusing was this Ami with an I. What is her problem? Most girls would be thrilled to be on a date with a guy like Evan, who by most female’s standards is considered a God among men. He was hot, super sweet and had done quite well for himself financially. He’s every girl’s dream. Okay sure, he wasn’t heir to a billion dollar fortune like Stefano, but still Evan did quite well for himself.
Zoey thought about it, the more annoyed she was about what Ami had said. And not because Stefano was supposed to be there for her, but because Evan was a great guy. How dare Ami not recognize that in him. Did she not know how lucky she was to be here with Evan tonight?
Kara walked over with Stefano and started to introduce him.
“Zoey, this is ….”
“Are you kidding? No introductions are necessary. Who doesn’t know this is Stefano Nikos?” She stuck out her hand and Stefano leaned down to kiss it. Ami giggled and stuck out her chest. “I saw you on TMZ at that party with Paris Hilton last spring.”
Stefano out of Ami’s grasp, Kara turned his attention to Zoey.
Zoey, my nearest and dearest friend.”
“It’s a true pleasure to meet you
, Zoey. Kara has told me so much about you.”
As she stood before Stefano
, all of her butterflies were gone. Suddenly the man she had lusted after for all those months just didn’t seem as wonderful anymore. It was probably the way his eyes locked on Ami’s breasts as he greeted her or perhaps that he loved the way Ami recognized him. She really wasn’t interested in the pseudo celebrity type.
turned around to grab her wine glass and when she did Evan glanced at her and for the first time that night, he noticed the low and seductive cut of the back of her dress. His eyes widened in surprise and then his gaze locked on Stefano who, at that very moment, had also noticed the sexy backless part of Zoey’s dress.
Evan took off his suit coat, hurried over to
Zoey and sat it on her shoulders, covering her up. Surprised at his actions, she whipped around to face him.