This Man

Page 70

Oh dear, he’s trampled into my life and stole my heart, and there is nothing I can do about it.

The music starts to fade out, drifting into another track, and I start leaning back in his arms. He bends with me, supporting my back and refusing to break the contact of our lips. Moaning disapprovingly, he reluctantly releases me but keeps me suspended in his arms. It’s not uncomfortable; he’s holding all of my weight, like I’m no more than a feather.

His sludgy green eyes twinkle as they penetrate my heart and soul, and he lowers his face to mine so our lips brush lightly.

‘You’ve got me, baby.’

Well…that statement is just playing havoc with my drunken mind.

Chapter 19

I make my way from the dance floor with Jesse’s palm placed in the small of my back, guiding me as he moves people out of the way with his spare arm. He leads me over to a tall table, but all the stools have been claimed elsewhere.

‘Wait here,’ He positions me by the table and wraps his palm around my neck, pulling me in and planting a kiss my forehead. ‘Don’t move,’

I dump my clutch on the table, watching him as he disappears into the crowd. I don’t have much time with my thoughts – it’s probably a good thing because I have no idea what to make of them – Kate and the others come crashing through the crowd, laughing and sweating, with Sam and Drew in tow.

Sam eyes me on my own. ‘Where’s Jesse?’

I frown. ‘I don’t know.’ I point in the direction that Jesse left in, just as he reappears back through the mass of people carrying a bar stool over his head.

He places it down on the ground. ‘Sit.’ he commands, lifting me onto the stool. It’s a relief, my feet are killing me. ‘Drinks?’ he asks. Everyone nods, throwing their orders his way, leaving him looking slightly harassed as he leans in to listen to what everyone wants.

Sam steps up to the plate. ‘I’ll give you a hand.’

‘Yeah, I’m coming.’ Drew follows Jesse and Sam to the bar, leaving the three remaining pairs of eyes on me.

‘What?’ I ask. I know what. My head is suddenly swimming in wine.

Kate arches a well plucked eyebrow at me, folding her arms over her chest. She can get lost. It’s her fault he’s here. ‘Looking a bit cosy.’ she fires.

Tom strokes the oversized lapels of his coral shirt. ‘Cosy? No, no, no. That wasn't cosy. That was guaranteed hot sex tonight, darling!’ He raises both hands, and Kate and Victoria comply, slapping a hand each in unison.

I scowl at Kate. ‘Me and you, later.’ I threaten.

She inhales sharply. ‘Oh, feisty! I love everything this man brings out in you.’

Yes, she’s made it perfectly obvious that she loves this man, and I want to know what was going on in that little exchange.

‘Did you see him move?’ Victoria pipes up.

‘He weren’t bad.’ Tom pouts. Oh dear, someone’s stolen Tom’s dance floor thunder. Jesse may well have made a lifelong enemy.

‘So –’ I’m firing this right back at Kate. ‘Talking of cosy?’ I nod at Sam as he walks back through the crowd, balancing three drinks between his hands.

‘A bit of fun.’ she shrugs.

God, I hope so. Do I tell her what Victoria saw? ‘And you?’ I look at Victoria.

She looks shocked. ‘Me?’

‘Yes, I saw you shaking your thing at Drew.’

Tom throws his hands up in the air in exasperation. ‘I’m a huffing raspberry! I want to go to Route Sixty,’ He turns to Victoria. ‘Darling, please!’

‘No!’ she exclaims, and I don’t blame her. It makes a change for Victoria to be having the male attention, possibly the action too.

Sam plants the drinks on the table and Drew follows suit, brushing suspiciously close to Victoria. She giggles, fluffing her hair. She needs to lay off the fake tan.

Sam grins. ‘Wine for Kate,’ He bows as he hands her the glass. ‘Vodka for Victoria and I’ve no idea what this is, but it looks camp, so it must be yours.’ Sam hands Tom a pina colada on a wink.

Tom blushes a bright shade of red and flops a limp wrist at Sam. I don’t believe it. For the first time in his life, Tom is rendered shy. Oh, this is too good an opportunity to miss. ‘Tom, your face is clashing with your shirt!’ I splutter, through a helpless fit of laughter.

Everyone turns to stare at Tom, only serving to intensify his blush and, subsequently, his mortification. An eruption of howling laughter breaks out, prompting Tom to huff a few times and storm off.

‘What’s so funny?’ Jesse asks when he reaches us, placing my wine and a bottle of water on the table. I can’t talk. I’m still recovering from my fits of giggles. I wipe my eyes.

‘We’ve just found Tom’s Achilles heel.’ Kate volunteers when she sees I’m no closer to composure. Jesse looks perplexed as he looks around at the recovering hyenas that he’s returned to. I see Sam shrug, swigging his beer.

‘Sam.’ I offer, through my abating giggles.

‘Sam?’ Jesse frowns.

Victoria jumps in. ‘Tom fancies Sam!’ she cries cheerfully.

Jesse shakes his head and reaches for his water, undoing the screw cap and taking a swig. ‘Here, have some.’ He trusts the bottle under my nose.

‘No,’ I screw my face up, pushing it away.

‘Have some water, Ava. You’ll thank me in the morning.’

‘I don’t want any water.’

He scowls at me, thrusting the water in my face again. ‘Have it!’ he growls.

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