Stripped Bare(8)

By: Emma Hart

He froze for a split second before lowering his face back to mine. His lips were inches from mine, his breath dancing across them. “I’ve never done this,” he said in a low voice. He stood and, grasping my thigh, knelt forward. Then he hooked my leg over his hip. Wrapping one hand around the back of my neck, he grazed his mouth along to my jaw to my ear, and I fought back a harsh shiver. “But I’ll leave there ten minutes after you and meet you there.”

My face turned toward his, my teeth sinking into my lower lip for the hundredth time that night, and I grazed my nails across his lower stomach. “How will you know when I go?”

“I have my ways.” That dirty smirk formed on his lips again, and after squeezing my leg, he got up. He grabbed his pants and, as he pulled them up, said, “Now, go back out there and enjoy yourself. I’ll make sure another bottle of champagne finds its way to your table. For the bride-to-be, of course.”

I grasped the bottom of my dress and met his eyes, my mouth tugging up into a coy smile on one side. “Of course.”

I stared at my hotel room door, wringing my hands in my lap.

I was insane. I mean, I’d known it for a long time, but my actions earlier had cemented it. Proposing sex to a stripper?

In my defense, and it was all I had left, if the man moved his hips like that in the club, I was kinda interested in how he moved them in a bed. If it was anything like he moved them there...

I slapped my hand against my forehead. God, I really was insane. The second we landed back in San Diego, I needed to call a therapist and get my head checked. Random one-night stand with a guy whose name I didn’t know? Mind you, though, the dating-guys-whose-names-I-did-know thing wasn’t exactly working out for me. I had a long list of break-ups and equally shitty reasons to go with them.

“You make more money than I do.” Sorry you felt like I emasculated you with my career I’d worked hard for while you flipped burgers part time.

“I kinda sorta slept with someone else.” Kinda sorta? What’d you do? Put it in her belly button? Her ear?

“I accidentally kissed my ex-girlfriend, and now, we’re getting back together.” ‘Cause you slipped and fell on her mouth, right?

And my personal favorite: “I’d rather see other people. Men. I’m gay.” Nothing like being the girl to make a guy realize he no longer had to be confused about his sexuality.

Yes. Maybe random one-night stands were definitely the way to go.

Was I slut if my whorishness was justifiable? Did one one-night stand make me a slut? I had no idea. I was a serial dater, not a serial screwer.

I turned my attention to the clock on the nightstand and tapped my nails against my knee. I’d been back for eight minutes. Yes, eight. I was precise.

He said that he’d leave the club ten minutes after I did, and the club was around ten minutes away if you walked.Basically, this has been the longest eight minutes of my life. Except the two that were about to happen. No doubt those one hundred and twenty seconds would be like a hundred and twenty thousand.

What was I doing?

Oh my god.

I’d invited a stripper back to my hotel to fuck me.

That was not normal behavior.

That was fucked up.

What was wrong with me?

The last time I’d had no-strings sex was with my best friend’s fiancé’s best friend, and look where that had gotten me. I had to pair my ass up with him at said best friend’s wedding because of being best man and maid of honor.

I had time to get outta here, right? I knew that Lucie was alone, and Allie definitely was. Jaz... Well, she’d left with Hot Server, as we’d all assumed she would.

It was one a.m. and I was—

Knock. Knock.

—no longer waiting for the stripper to show up.

I blew out a long breath as I got up and headed for the door. I peeked through the little peephole and cussed myself out when my heart thumped a little too hard at the sight of the hot guy standing on the other side of the door.

“Nine minutes,” I said approvingly, opening the door. “I’m impressed.”

His instantly eyes caught mine, a slow, sexy smile curving his lips. “I don’t like to keep a lady waiting.”

“Come in.” I stepped away from the door. “Would you like a drink?”