By: Kim Karr

In slow motion, I push through the crowd.

Like a voyeur, I watch as he leans closer to say something in her ear that makes her tip her head back in laughter. He lingers that close for a little too long for my liking, especially since her trampy hair hides his face. Then he touches her bare shoulder, and I want to scream.

I hate him.

I want him.

I hate him.

I want him.

Just then he looks up and spots me. The fire is there, but something else too—I’m not sure what. He blinks rapidly and licks his bottom lip.

I draw in a breath, mind racing as my heart thumps faster.

Keen doesn’t smile or beckon me closer, though. Instead, he averts his gaze and lets his fingertips graze the pinup girl’s naked skin from the curve of her neck all the way down to her wrist. If he takes hold of her hand, I am so going to stomp over there and slap him at my own reaction to him.

Alarm bells go off.

Walk away.

Right now.

He is nothing but trouble.

But I like trouble, so I don’t move.

People come between us, blocking my view. Still, I stay right where I am. To be honest, I’m not sure I can move my feet away from him, but I can’t stay here all night, either.

The cold splash and tangy scent of someone’s beer drips down my back. I jerk around to see a hulk of a man with sweat on his brow staring down at me. Now, I’m tall, but he is way taller. Six foot six, seven, I’d say. Basketball player material for certain. And not half bad-looking. In fact, I’m going to hazard a guess that he’s a Knicks player, and that could be kind of hot. Right?

Gleaming at him, I wait for the spark to strike.

“Sorry, hot legs,” he says, moving closer, putting his hand on my bare back.

He smells of stale beer and sex, and I’m instantly repulsed.

Ummm . . . no thank you. “No problem,” I reply politely.

And then needing to get his hands off me, I wheel around to find Keen staring at me, nothing faltering in his gaze this time.

“Maggie!” he shouts as if he is surprised to see me.

Two can play at that game, buddy.

“Keen,” I answer in a high-pitched voice meant to show equal surprise.

Setting his drink down, he moves fast, but the girl is on his heels, and the two of them are close to me in no time.

I look from him to his trampy whore, who clears her throat when all he does is stare at me for countless moments.

He blinks at the sound, and then quickly regains his composure. “Francesca, this is Maggie,” he says all rough-voiced, bad-boy style.

Francesca. Please. I’m so not impressed.

Okay, so her name is much sexier than mine, and I am a little jealous. There, I said it. Now let’s drop it.

Francesca tilts her head to look at me, and her smile is wide and warm and inviting. She doesn’t shake my hand, but she does lean a little closer. “Hi!”

This time I look from her to Keen, and then back. “Hi. Nice to meet you.”

Like three idiots, we stand here making stupid small talk. I consider leaving them to do whatever it is they are going to do, but something won’t let me walk away.





When a tattooed girl taps trampy flapper chick on the shoulder and she eagerly engages in another conversation, Keen slips his arm around my waist and draws me close. Hip to hip. It’s electric. And then he hisses in my ear, “Why didn’t you tell me you were my brother’s date?”

Oh, shit!

Now, I could come clean and explain the date is anything but real, but why would I do that when this is going to be so much more fun? “It never came up in conversation.”

He grits his teeth. “You practically invited me into your bed; I think it should have come up.”

“I did no such thing.”

“You did, and you know it.”

“Even if I did, you obviously weren’t interested, since you left me like a dime-store hooker the minute your dick wagged in another direction,” I snap back.

Clearly frustrated, he runs a hand through that beautiful hair of his. “My brother called me over, for Christ’s sake. When I went back for you, you were gone. I looked around and couldn’t find you.”

Avoiding his eyes, I pick at the chips on my purple nail polish. “You didn’t look that hard, obviously, because you’ve been right here practically eye-fucking this little tart.”

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