“Dance with me,” I order, grabbing his hands and leaving no room for argument. The other guys watch me drag Shawn onto the dance floor, and Rowan and Leti stand side by side grinning like cartoon characters, like their mouths are going to stretch off the sides of their faces at any given moment.
I imagine the girl with the stupid hair is glaring poisoned daggers at the back of my head, but I’m too busy towing Shawn into the crowd to enjoy it. The drinks I’ve had are making the shiny dancers blur, the laser-filled room tilt, and my lips feel numb, but my feet don’t fail me. When Shawn’s hand squeezes mine, it’s enough to keep me sober . . . Kind of.
In the middle of the floor, I spin around and wrap my arms around his neck. He’s tall, but so am I, so I don’t have to crane my neck very far to catch his bright forest eyes. They’re locked on me, but the rest of him doesn’t make a move. He’s a statue, and I’m desperate. I step into him, pressing my every soft curve against his every hard plane, holding his eyes with every centimeter I close between us. He looks like he has no idea what I’m doing—and that makes two of us. My fingers play in the back of his hair, and when he still makes no move to put his arms around me, I make a soft plea against the shell of his ear. “Please.”
Shawn’s head is the only thing that turns, his hands hanging at his sides and his body stuck in place. He angles his chin toward my ear, his stubble brushing my cheek when he says, “Please what?”
Please touch me. Please hold me. Please want me. “Pretend I’m someone else.”
He pulls away to stare down at me, but I keep my arms around him, begging him with my eyes to please just let me pretend. Tonight, I don’t want to be the girl he left behind in high school. I don’t want to be his buddy from the band. These past few weeks with him have been torture, and right now, I just want to be a hot girl in a hot dress. I want to be the girl he was with at the bar. I want to be one of thousands.
When he shakes his head, my heart sinks. The word “No” leaves his mouth, and I turn to walk away from him. But then his hand catches my waist and pulls me backward. My back molds to his chest, my ass fits against his jeans, and his fingers slide up my arms, lifting them until my hands are curling behind his neck. With my body flush against his and me not daring to let go, his capable fingers slide back down my sides until he’s clutching my hips again.
I turn my head to stare up at him, and he doesn’t shy from my gaze. Instead, he pulls me even tighter—as tight as we can possibly be—and his hips rock mine from side to side. I turn away and close my eyes, tunneling my fingers into his soft, messy hair and grinding against him on the floor. There’s no mistaking that my dress is thin, that his jeans are stiff, and that whatever I’m doing, I’m doing it right.
Where Shawn’s hands move, a trail of fire follows. He ignites my sides, my arms, my thighs. A safety pin in the side of my dress gets unfastened, and then that hand is boldly sneaking inside my dress, caressing my blazing-hot stomach before flattening against it to hold me even tighter against him as his hips rock with mine on the floor. I long for him to move that hand up, or down, or, fuck, I don’t even know. I just want to feel him. I want to feel him like I felt him six years ago.
Kale told me I should hate him, should make him get on his knees. But how can I hate him when he makes me feel like this? When his fingers set my world on fire. When his eyes make my heart flip in my chest. When his voice calls to something in me that no one else knows is there.
When I slide his hand out from my dress and spin around, Shawn’s eyes are almost as dark as mine. I wrap my arms around his neck and forget everything. I forget the past six years, I forget all the drinks I’ve had tonight, I forget the warning Kale gave me.
“I forgive you,” I blurt.
And I kiss him.
I don’t even give him time to respond before I rise onto my tiptoes and do what I’ve been wanting to do for days, for weeks, for years. And God, his mouth is so warm, so soft. I savor it and breathe him in, letting his spicy-clean scent fill my lungs and thicken the fog in my head. His lips taste like a young whiskey, my heart drums against my ribs, one song stops and another begins—and everything I forgot comes back in a fucking rush.
I open my eyes and jerk away, covering my mouth with my hand because oh my God, I just kissed him. Shawn looks stunned, like I just ambushed him—because I just ambushed him. “Oh my God,” I gasp, dropping my hand from my mouth in a panic. I seriously just kissed him. I just kissed Shawn. “I’m so sor—”
One second, I’m panicking. The next, his lips are crushing mine. His fingers dive into my hair, leaving no room for me to get away if I’d even want to, and he kisses me like he’s stealing something. Like he’s on fire and needs me to put him out. But as his lips brush and tease and feed on the raw heat of mine, that fire blazes even hotter. His tongue teases the open seam of my mouth, doing things that have me melting into him and desperately gripping at the sleeves of his shirt. He’s close, but I need him so much closer. I pull and tug and relish the feeling of his fingers in my hair as he writes a song in the rhythm of my breathing. His kiss is an inferno, consuming all of the air in the room and lighting every nerve in my body on white-hot fire.
“Fuck,” he pants against my mouth, the hardness in his jeans throbbing under my hand, which got there all on its own.
When I pull it away—pushing it under his shirt instead because I need more of him, now, right now—Shawn plucks it from his body and links his fingers with mine. He starts pulling me from the dance floor, but stops three steps later to put those delicious lips on mine again. “I’m taking you to the bus,” he growls against my mouth with one hand squeezing my ass through the silky fabric of my barely there dress. He tugs me tight against him so I understand exactly why he’s taking me there, and I bite my bottom lip to keep myself from moaning. His stubble brushes against my temple as he moves his lips to my ear. “Right now.”