As they headed back to the bar, Kara noticed Trevor had arrived and was sitting and messing with his phone, clearly uncomfortable. “Hey,” she said as she gave him a sideways hug. “Why didn’t you tell me you were here?”
“Are you seriously asking me why I didn’t join you and your friends on the dance floor where you all seemed to be auditioning for the worst dance video ever?” Trevor asked with a blank expression on his face.
Kara glanced at Crissy and Ben, embarrassed by Trevor’s sourpuss attitude. He was never exactly the life of the party, but she had no idea what his deal was. In an effort to salvage the moment, she threw her hands up and giggled. “See, this is why I don’t drink. I get too fly. Every single
time.” Crissy and Ben broke out into laughter as Ben handed them each another shot.
“Then perhaps you shouldn’t drink, love,” Trevor said drily.
Kara glared at him while her friends stayed silent. “I’m not quite sure what your problem is tonight, but you’re killing my buzz. I thought you came to keep me company. I wasn’t aware you’d decided to be an asshole instead.”
Trevor continued to watch her for a few moments more, then silently stood and placed some cash on the bar. “Kara, you know I love you, but I can’t talk to you when you’re like this, and truthfully I don’t care to try. I’ll call you tomorrow.” Kara stood still, embarrassment coloring her face as he leaned in and gently kissed her cheek. “Here,” he said softly as he handed her a slip of paper. “One of my coworkers just redid their floors for a pretty reasonable cost. I asked for their guy’s name in case you wanted to give him a call. You know, for the bar.”
“Thank you,” Kara mumbled as she placed the card in her pocket. “Are you sure you won’t stay? I, well, I kind of need you tonight. It was a tough day.” She looked up at Trevor with pleading eyes. She didn’t need to explain any further because he always knew, better than anyone, what she meant. He knew what it was like to be moving on with life, only to have someone reach out and pull you back into their bullshit.
Trevor looked at her for a few moments, then placed a kiss on her forehead. “I’m sorry for that; I really am, Kara. But I can’t stay in these places. It’s just too much.” With a sympathetic look, he gave her one last hug and then made his exit.
When she finally had the nerve to look up, she saw Crissy and Ben give her a sympathetic look. William, on the other hand, looked pissed. “Sorry about him,” Kara said as she took her shot; the liquid burned deliciously in her throat.
“It’s not your fault,” Crissy assured her. “This just isn’t his scene, that’s all. Nothing wrong with that.”
“I guess.” Kara motioned for one more drink from the bartender. “More dancing?”
“Honestly, I’m wiped,” Crissy said as she leaned into Ben. “I think we’re going to head home.”
“Yeah, if I have any chance of getting some action tonight, I need to get this one in bed quickly.” Ben laughed as Crissy nudged him in the ribs. “You heading home too, or are you staying?”
“I’m definitely going to stay.” Kara waved down the bartender and ordered two more shots. “My day was shit, and I’m not quite over it yet.”
Crissy and Ben nodded, then looked questioningly at William.
“I’ll stay with her,” he offered. “I’m not ready to go home, anyway. But hey, congratulations on the promotion, man. That’s awesome, and nobody deserves it more than you.”
“Yes!” Kara exclaimed. “Ben, it’s amazing. I’m so proud of you.”
“Thanks, guys.” Ben smiled as he made a show of standing a little taller. Crissy laughed and leaned into his side. After a few minutes of chatter, they gave their hugs and said their good-byes.
Kara held a shot to William, who shook his head. “I’ve had enough for tonight. Thanks, though.”
Kara hadn’t had nearly enough. She shrugged and took her shot, waited a moment for the bite to settle, and then downed his. “Thanks for offering to stay, but I don’t need a babysitter. If you want to go, feel free.” William stayed quiet, so she continued. “All right, but if you stay, you’re going to have to deal with more of my auditioning for the world’s most awful music video, or whatever the hell he said.” She jerked suddenly when William came upon her, way too much in her personal space. She looked up at his six-foot-five frame and couldn’t help but take in his solidly built body. Color filled her cheeks as she stared at his blue shirt, his muscles pressing against the fabric. Okay, you’ve had way too much tequila.
“I have no interest in babysitting. I stayed because I want to stay,” William said, looking down at her with a heated expression. Then he knelt and spoke into her ear, his whispered breath sending chills up her spine. “And just so you know, Trevor clearly doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I fucking love the way you dance.”
WILLIAM WATCHED AS Kara’s face reddened. He didn’t know why it pleased him so damn much, but it did. He saw a different side to her tonight, fun and energetic, and he was aware of the other men in the club watching her. Normally he’d feel sorry for any sucker dumb enough to approach her, but tonight he wanted to be the man she stayed by.
Kara seemed to get herself together, then smiled up at him. “Okay, well, are you coming or what?”
William followed her to the dance floor where they stayed for at least another hour. At some point, and he couldn’t figure out exactly when, their bodies joined together. They swayed and moved in time with each other, dancing as if they’d been doing it all their lives. The music drowned out the surrounding sounds, their hips moved in rhythm with the beat, and the darkness swallowed everyone, leaving them seemingly alone in their own little world.
William groaned when her back pressed into his chest, her soft body flush with his. What the fuck are you doing, man? She can’t stand you, and you share the sentiment. Stop this shit right now.
Her hands snaked around his neck, goose bumps breaking out on her skin as he allowed his fingertips to graze the underside of her arm and down to her tiny waist. Before he could stop himself, and he should
stop, his fingers dug into her hips, kneading her flesh. His cock sprang to life in his jeans when he heard a guttural moan break free from her throat. He struggled to breathe as his lips found the side of her head, and he inhaled her citrusy scent. What is that? Grapefruit? Fuck…
Kara turned and angled her head, her parted lips gently brushing against his. His tongue hesitantly slid against her soft bottom lip before pulling it between his teeth and nibbling.
“Get a room!”
William felt her tense against him as the asshole’s words got through to her head. She quickly stepped away, and he instantly missed the heat from her body. She turned to face him, embarrassment in her expression. “Too much tequila.” She nervously laughed and glanced around the dance floor. “I’m, uh, I think it’s time for me to go home.” She turned and hastily made her way toward the exit before she even finished the sentence.
William discreetly adjusted the front of his pants, quickly shot the prick who’d interrupted their moment an annoyed glance, and then headed after her. He managed to catch up in time to hear her trying to find an available cab on her phone. “What are you doing?”
She looked up at him for a moment before responding. “I need a cab. I drank too much tonight.”
“I didn’t. I’ll take you home. My truck is over here; come on.” William tilted his head toward the parking lot. The last thing he wanted was her in some stranger’s vehicle, especially drunk, when she didn’t have to be. He’d heard way too many horror stories.
“Excuse me?” Kara asked, folding her arms and cocking one hip. “I don’t need you to take me home. I can call a cab, you know, like I came out here to do.”
William sighed and massaged his forehead. “Kara, come on. Please let me take you home. It’ll take a while for the cab to get here in the first place; by that time I could already have you to your house.” He looked at her and could see her thoughts racing behind her eyes. For the life of him, he didn’t understand what the big deal was. “Please?”
Kara sighed and shoved her phone in her purse. “Fine.”
They walked quietly to his truck, her body tense and stiff. Gone was the carefree woman he’d pressed against on the dance floor; back was Pain-in-the-Ass Kara, and she’d returned with a vengeance. As he guided her into his truck, he couldn’t help but notice the way her legs tensed when he placed his hand on her hip. He grinned at her, which in turn earned him a scowl.
She stayed silent as he drove to her neighborhood, well, silent except for her hiccups. It seemed the alcohol had caught up to her. It’d been like pulling teeth to get the name of the neighborhood out of her, and she still hadn’t told him her exact address.
William yawned and took in the neighborhood. One- and two-story houses lined the streets, fronted by spacious yards with trimmed grass. It really was a beautiful area, and he couldn’t help but wonder how she could afford it. From what Ben had told him, her bar was in trouble, and she used every available penny she had trying to fix up the place. Some noises outside pulled his thoughts out of his head, and he noticed a two-story house with numerous people in the front yard. They were clearly drunk and loud as hell. “Man, it’s three o’clock in the morning; what are they doing?”
Kara took in the scene, then crouched lower into the seat. “You know what? Can you please take me to the hotel down the street? It’s not far from here.”
William looked over in surprise. “A hotel? At this time? Kara, that’s crazy. Why can’t I take you home?”
“Because I don’t want to go home!” she snapped. William obviously must have given her a look of shock because she immediately got herself together and spoke again, more calmly. “I live next door to the house you saw, and I do not want to stay there tonight. Please, take me anywhere but home.”
William pulled over and stopped the truck, then turned to look at her. “Hey,” he said as he placed a hand on her knee. After a few moments she looked up, unshed tears in her eyes. He stared at her, an unrelenting nag in his heart that he desperately needed to ignore, then finally conceded. “Okay. Let’s go.”