That was what had her slamming her hands against his chest, forcing him back.
“How could you?” She gave him only seconds to answer. When he didn"t, she tore off across the lawn.
It took her over an hour to walk home. Halfway there, Rachel pulled off her pumps to walk barefoot on the steaming asphalt. She deliberately took side roads in case Shawn came looking for her, winding around the luxury cars lined along curbs until she"d traveled far enough that the breeze reeked of the ocean.
She stopped on the sidewalk in front of her condo and bit her lip. She should go inside and make sure she was all set for the flight, although she knew she was.
Prepared was her middle name. But glimpsing the beckoning slice of moon through the rustling palm trees, she wavered.
Here? Paradise at her fingertips.
Upstairs? Facing Morgan, her older sister and roommate, and her inevitable interrogation. Why’d you leave the party so soon? Where’s Shawn? Didn’t he drive you?
“Easy choice,” she murmured, darting through the trees.
As she ran, she dropped her shoes and twisted her dress up and over her head.
This was their stretch of beach, private, secluded. Even if someone strolled by, the heavy darkness bisected only by a slash of moonlight would conceal her. She debated momentarily at the water"s edge, then shed her lacy bra and panties before diving beneath the rippling black surface.
The first kiss of the waves was jolting, the second, a caress so warm and silky she shuddered. As a lifelong swimmer and former lifeguard, she knew it wasn"t safe to go for a dip alone. Things lurked in the ocean, snapping, slithery things, and the undertow could be brutal. But right then, she had no choice but to take her chances in the deep.
She swam furiously, cutting through the gentle swells as easily as an eel.
Again and again she went under, comforted by the water"s gentle resistance as she tried to outswim the uproar in her mind.
With each stroke, she pushed herself for more. She wanted the burn in her muscles. Needed her arms and legs to shake with exertion. Anything so she didn"t have to think. At last, she shifted onto her back to let the breeze cool her flushed skin and dry her dripping face.
Since she was a little girl, swimming and music had been her havens.
Whenever she felt stressed or mad—or hell, even happy—she retreated to the ocean or the piano to lose herself in her own world. But tonight she couldn"t let her worries go, not with her rock-solid foundation crumbling beneath her.
Why had Shawn kissed her? Worse, why had she let him?
You know exactly why.
Besides the sleek cougar grace he exhibited whether he wore outrageously expensive designer suits or ripped jeans and a T-shirt, he had a smile that rivaled the fireworks on the Fourth of July. His hooded green eyes offered wicked delights his equally naughty lips promised to fulfill, if a woman didn"t exhaust herself on the fantasy before she"d sampled the reality.
Not that she fantasized about Shawn. She didn"t think of him that way. At least she fought mightily hard not to. He was her best girlfriend, except he just happened to be male.
They did everything together. Played video games, watched sunsets, took lazy Sunday drives in his Porsche. Hell, he"d even watched Titanic on cable with her—
four times—and always tossed her tissues when Jack froze to death. And he"d only laughed at her tears twice.