And couldn’t find Max anywhere. I wandered the resort grounds, numerous couples walking hand-in-hand passing me by and making me envious.

Me. Envious of couples, of other people having someone to love. The girl who doesn’t believe in relationships, who has a daddy complex because he’s so selfish, is wishing she had someone, at least for tonight.

If my sisters were here, they’d be beside themselves in shock.

After searching around the resort for almost thirty minutes and about ready to give up, I accidentally stumbled upon a discreet nightclub tucked away behind one of the hotel towers. My earlier boredom evaporated the moment I saw the club and all the people milling about in front of it. I’d been so restless since the moment I walked away from Max, regret hitting me full blast when I went back to my bungalow. I knew I would go out looking for him tonight.

And most likely get myself into trouble.

Adults only, the sign reads by the club’s door, the loud thumping bass of the music pounding from within the dark, cavernous room, the sound seeming to throb deep inside my body. Pausing at the door, I peek my head in and see that the place is full of people.

A man materializes in front of me, large and imposing, and I take a step back, craning my neck to look up at his face. He’s huge, his face like an impenetrable mask, his mouth drawn into a thin line as he crosses his arms in front of his massive chest. His head is shaved, his skin dark, a sleeve of tattoos covers each arm, and he’s wearing a tight black T-shirt that conforms perfectly to his muscular chest. I stare at him, at a loss for words. His eyes narrow as he glares at me.

“How old are you, sweetheart?” he grunts.

Okay, I can’t remember the last time I was carded, but every club I hang out at in Manhattan knows who I am, so I’m surprised. “Old enough,” I answer, lifting my chin and resting my hands on my hips. I probably look younger than I am, what with the lack of makeup on my lightly sunburned face and the simple bright pink cotton dress I’m wearing. It’s not my usual style.

But I’m trying to deviate from my usual style while here on Maui. It’s refreshing, not having to keep up the pretense.

The man looks me over, not in a creepy, sexual way, but in an assessing, I-don’t-believe-you-at-all manner. He probably deals with fake IDs every night.

He flicks his head at me, the glare softening in his gaze. “Let me see your ID.”

Slightly irritated, I reach into my tiny purse and pull out my identification card, handing it over to him. He takes it, staring at the card, his gaze lifting to take me in for a long, tension-filled moment before he resumes his study of my ID.

I shift on my feet, worry coursing through me. I hope he doesn’t recognize my name. I’m here to avoid the Lily Fowler persona, not embrace it. Not that I think I’m that recognizable or whatever, but I’m trying to avoid the bullshit that comes with people knowing who I am.

“You can go in,” he finally says as he offers my ID back to me. I take it from him and stuff it in my purse before I flash him a quick smile.

“Thank you,” I toss over my shoulder as I enter the club. I blink against the darkness, my eyes adjusting slowly as I take everything in. I’m surrounded by people, the women scantily dressed and overly made up, the men clad in Hawaiian shirts or tank tops, many of them sporting fresh sunburns, their skin gleaming red against the flash of multicolored lights coming from the nearby dance floor.

I can feel the men’s eyes on me as I walk past them, checking me out. I’m sure they see me as fresh meat. I knew the resort caters to the singles crowd versus families but I’ve seen nothing but couples since I arrived, save for my watcher.

Damn it, I still want to kick myself for leaving him like I did earlier. Why didn’t I take him up on his offer? I could have sat on that empty lounge chair and talked to him. Flirted with him some more. He certainly is handsome, in that rugged, manly way that I don’t normally find attractive. But I caught myself before taking it too far.

I stop at the edge of the thick crowd that surrounds the giant bar, standing on tiptoe to see just how deep the throng is. The club is hot. I’m dying of thirst and wouldn’t mind getting my buzz on if I’m really going to stay here for a while, which I so am. It’s not like I have any major plans. And unfortunately, I haven’t spotted Max. Though I’d love to. Despite the warning bells clanging in my head, I’m half ready to go with my impulses.

How would one night of hot sex with a stranger hurt? I need to do something to take the edge off.

“Care for something to drink?”

Startled from my thoughts, I turn at the sound of the deep voice coming from behind me, ignoring the disappointment that settles in my stomach when I see that it’s not Max. Of course it’s not Max. He probably wouldn’t frequent a club like this.

Would he?

This man, he’s very attractive, in a slick, well-kept way. He looks a little older than me, mid to late thirties, with a confident smile and interest lighting his pale blue eyes.

“Are you offering?” I flash him a flirtatious smile, grateful for the attention, almost starved for it despite my reluctance to capitalize on my last name while I’m here. I was starting to feel invisible, and that flat-out never happens to me.

“You look like you could use a helping hand.” He inclines his head to the right, toward the crowd clamoring for the two bartenders’ attention. “I have the inside track.”

I raise a brow. “Really? Friends with one of the bartenders?”

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