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It Started with a Kiss
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It was supposed to be a fun, easygoing bachelorette party. But it turned out to be so much more. They dared me to kiss the next guy to buy me a drink. And I agreed. It was just a kiss, right?
And then it happened… I saw Grey and felt something instant. I tried to back out of that kiss even though I wanted it desperately.
But he didn’t let me stop it. He kissed me until my toes curled and my heart raced. He kissed me until I knew I wanted more.
So when I left him standing there staring at me, I knew it was all kinds of wrong to leave.
It started with a dare.
It ended with a kiss.
And for weeks after she walked out of my life, I searched for her, doing anything and everything in my power to find a morsel of information about the first woman to make my heart stop and my future flash before my eyes.
And when I finally found her, I was going to show Ari that I’d known she was mine from the very beginning. And that I wasn’t letting her go a second time.
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“Shot. Shot. Shot. Shot.”
I tried to tune out the three already heavily intoxicated women shouting in my ear like they were at a frat party.
I lifted up the tiny glass and eyed the colored liquor inside. My stomach already clenched in queasiness.
“Don’t bitch out now, Ari.”
I narrowed my eyes at Francesca, or Franny as we called her, the bride-to-be and resident instigator of our little group.
“You can’t be sober at a bachelorette party,” Bernadette said. “I think that’s some kind of sin or something.”
“Yeah, no party poopers tonight,” Kai responded, then promptly giggled.
I snorted. “One of us should keep a clear head, right?”
The girls booed, and I glanced around, giving sympathetic looks to everyone around us. We were being loud, they were drunk, and no doubt the people around us thought we were a bunch of idiots.
But when I looked at Franny and saw what a good time she was having, I said fuck it. Let them be loud. Let us be obnoxious. And for once in my life—at least for tonight—I was hanging up my literal librarian persona and letting loose.
I tossed the shot back and the girls clapped and cheered. The alcohol burned down my throat, settling in my stomach so it felt like a lead ball. I wheezed and coughed, my eyes watering, and reached for a glass of water. After I sucked that down, I was reminded why I didn’t really drink. It made my face red, I was one hell of a lightweight, and my hangovers were pretty horrendous.
But this was a once in a while type of thing, celebrating with my friend before she got married, so what’s the worst that could happen?
“What’s new in the dating world with you?” Franny asked and picked up her beer, taking a long drink from it as she watched me over the rim, expectant of my answer.
I shook my head, not even wanting to go there. “What dating world?”
“Girl,” Franny said and started laughing. “We need to get you out there so you can get that V card punched.”
I rolled my eyes at her library reference.
I might be a librarian, but even I found it corny.
“Yeah, we need to get that V card punched real good.”
I glanced around, Franny’s drunkenness making her especially loud. A few guys looked over at us, one grinning and the other wagging his eyebrows.
Yeah. Hard no, boys.
I might have been a virgin, have the whole tight bun and schoolteacher look going on, but I wasn’t so desperate to get rid of my virginity that I’d give it away to some drunken asshole.
“Oh my God,” Lizzie said, her eyes wide as she looked between us. “I have the best idea.” She was already three sheets to the wind and there was no stopping or slowing her down. None of them.
“By the look on your face, I can see it’s a really bad idea,” I said and leaned back against the chair, afraid to hear this.
“Ari, to make things fun, spice it up, I dare you to kiss the next guy who buys you a drink.”
I was shaking my head before she even finished talking. “Nope. I’ll get some gross asshole. That would be my luck.” I looked at the guys who’d been eyeing me after overhearing the whole V card conversation with Franny.
They were grinning at me.
I internally cringed.
“Come on,” Bernadette pleaded. “Not like you’ll ever see them again. It’s all in good fun.”
“Besides, you’re never able to let loose. Tonight is the first time in what, like forever that you let your hair down? Literally.” Franny held up her shot glass and grinned.
“What they said,” Kai said and hiccupped.
I was going to say no again, but as I looked at my three best friends, saw them grinning and pleading, I knew they were right, that I didn’t let loose, that most times I did have a stick up my ass. It had been forever since I let myself enjoy just being out… just being alive.
It was just a kiss, right? But under no circumstance was I going to accept a drink from the creepers sitting at the table beside us who’d overheard the conversation.
“Okay, fine,” I said, and the girls started clapping even louder. “I can handle a kiss from a stranger, but I reserve the right to turn him down.”
The girls started shaking their heads. “Nope, a dare is a dare.”
“What if he’s like sixty?”
Franny shrugged. “Does the saying about getting better with age count toward dick too?”
I nearly spit out the water I’d been about to swallow.
“Come on. One kiss to the next guy who buys you a drink,” Bernadette and Kai said in unison.
I exhaled and sat back in my chair. “Fine. I accept the challenge.”
I’d noticed her from the moment she came into the bar. She’d been surrounded by three other women, all of them looking like her opposite.