“Shot, shot, shot!”
We slapped our hands on the table and waited for the server to light up the glasses of liquor. My girlfriends and I were acting like wild teens. None of us cared. We were in Vegas, and this was the time to let loose and party like we would never party again.
Some of us wouldn’t. My best friend was getting married next weekend. This was her last hurrah. This was my last hurrah with her as two single ladies looking for some fun.
“Be careful, ladies.” The bartender laughed and stepped back.
The shots were on fire, which for some stupid silly reason just made it so much more fun. “Go!” I called out.
We reached for our shots, dropped them into the glasses of beer, and chugged. I was the first to finish. I swallowed a burp before rubbing the back of my hand across my mouth. It was our third round, and it was fair to say I was feeling the effects of the alcohol. Combine the drinks with the Jell-o shots we had for lunch and I was one drink away from being totally drunk.
“I have to pee,” Lyla said.
“I’ll go with you,” Trina chimed in.
“We’ll hold the table,” I said. “Unless you have to go?” I asked Josie.
She was just finishing her drink. “I’ll stay with you.” She adjusted the shiny, plastic crown on her head. It complemented the pretty pink sash she wore that made sure everyone in the club knew she was going to be married soon.
“Are you good?” I asked her. She was nursing her drink. I didn’t want to be holding her head out of the toilet and ruin a perfectly good night.
“I’m wonderful.” She grinned. “I just can’t drink beer like you guys.”
“I don’t even think I taste it anymore.”
“Thank you for doing this for me.” She was buzzed, but not drunk, as was I. “I can’t believe this is our last time out.”
“I’m sure Sebastian will let you go out.” I laughed. “He’s not going to lock you down once he puts a ring on it.”
“You know what I mean.” She sighed. “I’m going to be married. I’m going to be an old married lady. Sebastian is the last man I’m going to be with. I’m sitting in a club full of men and I can’t have any of them.”
“You don’t want any of them,” I reminded her. “You don’t need these guys. You got your very own hunk at home.”
Her face broke into a big smile. “I do, don’t I?”
“To one of the best men on the planet,” I said. “Your man worships the ground you walk on. I can only hope I will one day find a man like him.”
“You will.” She nodded and held up her hand.
The server returned. “Another round?”
“Can we just get a standard margarita?” I asked. “Four strawberry margaritas.”
“Coming right up.”
“This is going to be a big year for us,” Josie said. “Big, big year!”
“It is!” I enthusiastically agreed. “We still have to come up with a name for our design business. We need something catchy that people will remember.”
She looked thoughtful. Her blonde hair, cropped in a cute sharp bob, framed her petite features. She was tiny compared to my much fuller figure. Josie and I had been friends forever, much to everyone’s surprise. She was this tiny little pixie with big brown eyes. I was a couple inches taller and more than a few sizes bigger. She had no ass and I had ass for days. Josie always assured me my butt was perfect for my body and balanced out my boobs.
“I’m so not creative.” She shook her head. “Not in that way.”
“Trendy Interiors?” I suggested.
She wrinkled her nose. “We don’t want to be trendy. No one wants trendy. They want to think they are breaking the mold.”
“True.” I nodded. “Very true. What about Cutting Edge Interior Design?”
“I like it, but it feels like we’re trying too hard,” she said. “Like we’re trying to sound hip and cool. I think we should keep it classy and traditional.”
Our margaritas were delivered, and our friends returned. “What about Winstead and Powell Designs?” Josie said.
I mulled it over. I wasn’t going to be insulted she’d put my last name second. “You think?” I asked and looked to Lyla and Trina to get their opinions.
Lyla shrugged. “I think it’s simple.”
“Simple is good,” Trina chimed in.
I held up my glass. “Let’s toast to our new business, Winstead and Powell Designs!”
The ladies all clinked their glasses against mine. “Congrats, guys,” Layla said. “To Josie and Kristen and all their future success. I’d ask you to do my apartment, but I can’t afford you guys.”
“Considering we have exactly no clients, I think we’re very affordable,” I joked.
“After the wedding and the honeymoon, we are going to get down to business,” Josie said. “We’re going to push hard. We’re going to do a marketing campaign. We need one big client to get on the map.”
“Let’s get you married first,” I told her. “No shop talk. We’re partying.”
“I’m going to dance!” Layla declared.
Trina hopped up and joined her. The club was packed. I imagined in Vegas it was packed every night. This was Sin City. I was in the one place I could really let loose without worrying about someone finding out. Not that I had anyone to find out, but if I did.
If our interior design company took off, I didn’t want to have my reputation smeared with pictures of me on a drunken night of pure debauchery. Not that I was a regular participant in debauchery.
“I’m going to down this margarita and then we are going to dance our asses off,” Josie said.
“Don’t drink it too fast,” I warned.
“Is everything okay?” she asked.
“Everything is great!” I wasn’t going to bring her down with my own jealous thoughts. “Drink up. This is your weekend.”
“Can you believe I’m actually going to get married?” she asked. “Me. Married. I never would have thought we’d be having my bachelorette party. It was supposed to be you. You’re the one that wanted the husband and kids with the white picket fence.”
She was right. Life was funny that way. “I’ll have it one day. For now, I’m happy to send you into wedded bliss.”
“With one hell of a hangover.” She giggled with her lips on the straw poked into her fruity drink.
“A hangover is part of the package deal.” I sipped my own drink and contemplated my future. What if I never found a man that I could love and have the dream with?
“We’re going to be so miserable tomorrow. We’ve mixed our alcohol.”
I waved a hand. “They have all kinds of hangover remedies here. We’ll be fine. After tonight, it’s all work. We’ve got to get you home and ready to walk down the aisle. We’re going to be overwhelmed with all those last-minute details. You’re going to be freaking out and I’m going to be trying to calm you down. This time next week, you’re going to be officially Mrs. Sebastian Winstead!”
Her bright smile made me happy. As much as I wanted to be jealous and hate her for getting to live my dream, I couldn’t. “Thank you for being my best friend. And business partner.”
I held up my glass once again. “Here’s to a bright future for our business and your wedded bliss.”
“I can’t wait until we get to plan your wedding.”
I was beginning to wonder if I would ever get to have a wedding. “I might just elope.”
“The hell you will,” she said. “You have to go through this process. We’re going to find you the perfect dress. You’re going to float down the aisle with the prettiest bouquet of white lilies, just like you’ve always wanted.”
“You’re forgetting one little detail,” I reminded her.
“The man.” I laughed. “There is no groom.”
“We’re going to find you one of those,” she said with drunken confidence. “What’s your dream man? We’ll start looking right now.”
“I’m not going to pick up a husband at a Vegas nightclub.” The thought repulsed me.
“We’re at a Vegas nightclub,” she pointed out.
“True, but we’re not looking for husbands. We’re having girls’ weekend.”
“Okay, but if you were, what would we be looking for?” she asked. Her eyes scanned the room.
I could play along with this little game. “Let’s see. He’d have to be smart and funny.”
She rolled her eyes. “That’s boring stuff and it’s a little tough to see if someone is smart and funny. Let’s just be all about the surface stuff. If you could pick a guy based just on looks, what would you want?”
“Oh, in that case.” I laughed. “I’m going to stick with the golden oldie.”
“And what would that be?”
“Tall, dark, and devastating,” I answered without hesitation.
“How about that one?” She nodded at a guy that was definitely tall and had dark hair, but not what I wanted.
“Too skinny,” I said. “I’d snap that boy like a twig. I need a man with just a little more… just more. More of everything.”
“Good point.” She nodded. “You need a man that can toss you around a bit.”
I laughed at the image. “I’m not sure about that.”
“Oh, trust me,” she said with her eyes flashing. “You want a man that can pin you against the wall. A man that can carry you across the room and drop you on the first hard surface and blow your mind with some wild, passionate sex.”
“I think you might be talking about you. And you have just given me a glimpse into your sex life I didn’t need to know.”
She was unapologetic. “My man is good in bed. I love when he—”
“Let’s go dance,” I cut her off. I had to be able to look Sebastian in the face this week. I didn’t want to be blushing.
“We’ll lose our table,” she complained.
“Who cares? Let’s dance.”
I grabbed her hand and pulled her onto the dance floor. The music was pumping hard with bodies gyrating against one another. My long hair brushed over my arms as I shook my ass. Josie and I laughed and danced. I loved the freedom of partying in a city where no one knew our names. I imagined we weren’t the only ones feeling uninhibited.
Dancing was so freeing. I loved being able to shimmy and shake and totally let loose. I spun around to grab Josie when something behind her got my attention. A man with darkness surrounding him was cutting through the crowd and coming my way. He wasn’t just coming toward me—his eyes were locked on mine.
The man was gorgeous. I had just been telling Josie I wanted tall, dark, and devastating. I found it. Now, did I dare act on it? Assuming he was really looking at me.
Of course, he was looking at me. Someone stepped in front of him and he practically batted them out of his way. His dark eyes were framed by the thickest dark lashes I’d ever seen on a man. Hell, on a lot of women as well. Thick black hair that was perfectly messy. The kind of messy that a man would pay a stylist top dollar to get. He was wearing all black as well. The dark thing was really working for him.
I stopped dancing and just ogled the man. This was not what I did. But I was in Vegas. Didn’t I deserve to have a little fun? Didn’t I deserve a tasty treat in the form of a very tall, dangerous-looking man?
Danger excited me. It wasn’t like I ever really flirted with danger in my real life. But this was Vegas.
I could do whatever the hell I wanted.