Amber is suddenly by my side, wrapping her arm around my shoulders. “If you love him, you’ll get used to it. I promise.
Her voice and her touch are making me hurt more. I down my second shot and ask for another. My head starts to spin.
Amber drags me to the dance loor and I welcome the American music playing. I need something that feels familiar, something to put a loor beneath the ground I feel has fallen from beneath my feet. I know the words and I sing to them, blocking out the bad things trying to speak in my mind. Only I can’t stand the way Amber keeps trying to touch me, how several strangers paw at me, and I shove away from the crowd.
All I want is . . . Chris. I want these people to go away. I want to call him and I want him to be the Chris I know, not the Chris Amber knows. I stop dancing. He is. He is that Chris.
My Chris. These people do not know him. Amber does not know him. I want out of here, but now I’ve made a mistake. I’ve let the tequila go to my head and I don’t think I can get home.
Not without Chris.
My gaze goes to an empty pedestal and I climb on top. I am alone. So alone, and I shut my eyes, try to block out everything but the music and the dancing. I don’t want to think. I don’t want to feel anything.
Until his hand touches my leg, and I hear his voice calling my name, permeating the loud beat in my head. I look down to ind Chris standing there.
I stare down at Chris and blink, not sure if he’s real. He’s supposed to be at the museum. He can’t know I’m here. And why does he look angry? I’m the one— “Come down!” he shouts at me over the loud music.
Swaying slightly, I swallow hard. He’s really here. Chris is here, and I’m not ready to hear what he’s going to say.
I shake my head, and the room spins.
Chris reaches up and grabs my legs. I sway again. He shackles my wrist and tugs. I tumble forward with a yelp, only to ind myself down on the dance loor, lying against Chris’s hard body, his arms wrapped around me.
“What the f**k are you doing here, Sara? And dressed like you want to be here.”
Tequila, anger, and hurt collide and ignite my tongue. I push against his chest and reel back, and all but snarl, “Why the f**k do you want me here? Because you do, right? This is one of your many secrets, right? You wanted me to join you in f**king half of Paris.”
His expression is searing anger, his voice a growl permeating the music. “This is not my secret, Sara.Secret, singular.
There’s only one thing I haven’t told you.”
“That’s news. Even how many secrets you have seems to be a secret.”
His eyes lash. “I don’t want you here in this place now or ever. We’re leaving.” He turns me toward the exit, itting me under his arm, at his hip, and it’s a good thing. The tequila has my feet not listening to my brain, and I stagger, then stumble.
I grab Chris’s Superman shirt for balance, and he tightens his hold on me. Our eyes collide and for a moment we stand still, lost in an intense clash of sexual heat and anger. He is warm and strong and sexy, and I just want to wrap my arms around him and hold him. I can barely remember why I can’t, or shouldn’t, until someone bumps into us and the spell is broken, and reality zooms back into place.
Chris sets us in motion again, and not even the tequila can block out the bodies pressed to bodies, or the scent of sex in the air. I ight the urge to scream, or run, or . . . I just need out of this place. Now.
Chris pulls me to the stairs leading to the small walkway to exit the club. Thankfully, this time they’re free of the na**d bodies that blocked the way during my earlier attempt to leave. The instant we’re on the stairwell, out of sight of prying eyes, I twist around and confront him, needing to know just how well connected he is to this place. “How did you know I was here?”
He gives me a hard look. “Why didn’t I know you were here, is more important. Why didn’t you call me?”
“Answer the question, Chris. How did you know I was here?”
“Tristan had a moment of conscience.”
“Yes, Tristan. Why didn’t you call me?”
“You were helping kids.”
He’s looking at me with such accusation that I feel like I’m the one who should feel guilty, and I’m confused. I do feel guilty.
“Amber told me Tristan was going to beat her. I’ve seen the welts on her arms.” My head spins and I have to lean on the wall. “I tried to call her a cab, and she stopped answering her phone. I thought I could just grab her and get out of here.”
His gaze slides up and down my body, before he presses a hand above my head and leans closer. His wonderful earthy scent calls to me, even as his accusations push me away. “Why did picking up Amber require ‘come f**k me’ clothing?”
I linch as if I’ve been slapped. “Because I feel as if I’m being judged by a past I don’t even understand.” My eyes burn and I turn away from him, wobbling down the stairs. He follows. Despite the wicked mix of emotions inside me, I’m acutely aware of how he’s stopped touching me, and how much I want him to touch me, and how, considering the implications of this place, I shouldn’t. But then, I’m brilliant at being stupid tonight, both with and without the help of tequila.
We stop at the coat check and I dig for my ticket in my boot, but can’t seem to make my hands work. “I can’t get it,” I say helplessly, frustrated at myself for drinking. I hate being like this, and what good did it do me?