Skin of the Night

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Chapter 4: Spend All Night Bickering

The air shot out of my lungs, but I could not look away from him. He had me trapped in his gaze.

“Are you always this vulgar?” I feebly queried.

Crookedly, he smiled, and the sight was bewitching. In the orange light of the place, he resembled something of the divine. A Greek god, perhaps, and I was only a mere mortal. How was I supposed to resist such celestial temptation? The man was unfairly sexy. I was submitting to his power by the second, albeit unwilling.

“Sorry. I can’t seem to think straight in your presence. My tongue travels before my mind,” he apologised half-hearted. “In any case, though I haven’t been acting my age, I’m twenty-eight. How old are you? And please tell me you’re legal.”

“I’m seventeen,” I replied through a poorly suppressed smile.

He snorted and rolled his eyes at me. “No, you’re not.”

I sighed. “I’m twenty-three.”

“So you’re in your–”

“Ah-ah,” I scolded. “My turn,” I said while pointing my finger to my chest. His eyes dropped toward it, which forced me to realise that I was pointing to my cleavage. A wave of heat claimed my face, causing a crimson colour to etch through my faint layer of make-up. Hurriedly, I entwined my fingers in my lap.

Surprisingly, he seemed equally bothered. His eyes darted away, swiftly, too, before he fixed his gaze upon Olivia and Andrew by the bar. Was it possible that he harboured at least a portion of respect for me? It would seem that way. In all honesty, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he resorted to ogle my breasts when provided with such a chance to, but instead, he’d hastily looked elsewhere. It raised my faith in him. Perhaps he wasn’t so terrible after all.

“First impressions,” he muttered. “They can be surprisingly difficult to disprove.”

I chuckled. “Spoken like a true solicitor.”

He paid me a wry smile. “Your turn, you said. What would you like to know?”

I narrowed my eyes at him, uncertain. Where to begin? Glancing toward Olivia and Andrew, I was reminded of his companion. They did seem like good friends, and that made me curious. “How long have you known Andy for?”

“My entire life. My turn.” He grinned. “What are your interests, aside from medicine?”

That was a substantial question. From which angle should I attack it? “Um, I have eclectic tastes. I find that question too vast to answer. You’ll have to filter it down.”

He sighed, despaired, I thought. “What do you spend your leisure time doing?” he dryly rephrased.

I scoffed. “Leisure time? What leisure time?”

“Have you got a boyfriend?” he tossed at me.

“That’s none of your business.”

A lascivious gleam entered his arresting eyes, and it captured me alive. In that brief moment that it danced in his eyes, all I wanted was to explore its depth. In so many ways, he seemed like a promise of pleasure. As self-assured as he was, I couldn’t imagine that he’d disappoint between the sheets. So why was I denying myself the opportunity to explore the potential? Was teasing him truly that much fun?

“I assure you, darling, it is.”

Unsure of what he meant, I looked away. I had a faint idea, but I wanted to be certain. Frankly, I’d love to hear him confess it. “How so?”

There wasn’t a trace of a smile present on his handsome face when he answered, “Because I’d like to see you again. So if you’ve got a boyfriend, I’d need to know. I’ll have to reassess my tactics, then.”

I gaped at him. “Reassess your tactics?” I echoed in disbelief. “Are you trying to say that if I’d actually had a boyfriend, you wouldn’t respect it?”

“No, I’d respect it. Physically.” He smirked. “But I’d try and tempt you to leave him.”

“You’re ruthless!” Was he drunk?

“Which you need,” he claimed.

I frowned back at him. “You don’t even know me.”

“No, I don’t, but I’ve got a vague idea of what I’m dealing with. My intuition tends to serve me well.”

“You’re so cocky it borders madness,” I alleged. “Are you drunk, William?”

His eyebrows furrowed. “What makes you think that? No. I’ve had two cocktails.”

“Because your head is messed up.”

“You’ve messed it up.”

I snorted. He’d have to do better than that. “That’s ridiculous. What a rubbish line.”

“Better than ‘have we met’, though.”

I glared at him, and he glared straight back.

“Listen, Sandra, we can spend all night bickering, or we can spend this ridiculous energy in my bed. It’s up to you.” His voice was terse and to-the-point as his eyes blazed into mine. Two blue flames, they resembled, wild in their craving for me. I struggled to fathom the reality that I had only met this man a few moments ago. Clearly, our chemistry was off the charts.

When I had been getting ready for tonight, I surely hadn’t expected this turn of events. I had been settled with the fact that I was only out on the prowl to aid Olivia in finding a rebound. For the life of me, I hadn’t foreseen meeting someone like William, but bloody hell was he refreshing. He established what he wanted, without a trace of remorse or shame, and didn’t hesitate in his pursuit of it. Honestly, I admired that about him, even if his methods were controversial. A less tolerant and open-minded person might not have been as forgiving as I.

Breathless, I looked away from him, pink in my face. Had I heard him correctly? This man surely didn’t beat about the bush. He hadn’t even kissed me yet, and now he was proposing for us to join heat? What sort of a scene was he into? No-strings-attached, I reckoned. Such a notion filled me with relief. I didn’t have time for romance. In fact, I barely had the capacity for my shag-mate relationship with Robby Cliff.

This could be fun. Walking out on a man like William, the morning after, was horribly tempting. It would dent his inflated ego for certain to realise that I had left him before he woke up; a dent that he desperately needed. High on his horse, he was on the verge of losing grasp of gravity.

“I’m not nearly drunk enough for this,” I remarked and snatched my cocktail out of his hand. Humoured, he watched me drain it.

“I fancy my women responsive, Sandra, so please keep the intake to a minimum,” he warned.

“You’re speaking as if I’ve agreed,” I countered and placed my empty glass back to the table in front of us. Just as I was about to reach for my next one, a large and unfamiliar hand took hold of my jaw. Turning my face toward him, he leaned so close that our noses touched.

Only then did he pause his advances. My breath failed me. Within my chest, my heart throbbed with bittersweet delight. It was begging for me to give in – to allow myself a night I doubted I’d ever forget. Besides, it wasn’t like I hadn’t had a one-night-stand before. Hell, I subscribed to it. The less they knew, the better. I wasn’t at a point in my life where romantic companionship was even remotely appealing. It was far too time-consuming a venture. I had my studies to mind – my ambitions to mind. I was a millennial woman, and fiercely independent at that. Intellectual pursuits were my main priority.

However, I was still a sexual creature. I had needs, and one-night-stands sufficed them. Tonight, William was adamant to join my row of them. So why was I being so difficult? Because he’d been an arsehole toward me? What did that matter if I weren’t ever going to see him again?

The light blue colour of his eyes struck through my defences while he gently released my jaw. Instead, he trailed his thumb across my cheek, toward my temple, to then bury his large hand in my long, wavy and brown hair.

“I’m going to kiss you,” he warned.

I swallowed, utterly at his mercy. I couldn’t minister a single muscle of my body. He had me completely spellbound.

“Okay.” It was barely a whisper that escaped my mouth.

After a lopsided smile, he pressed his soft mouth to mine, and I marvelled in the taste of him. Only seconds into it, and I knew he was the best kisser I’d ever encountered. His lips moved tenderly across my own; gentle at first, before his lust overruled his resistance. With his hand in my hair, he brought me closer, and his remaining arm moved to sweep around me. While pressing me tightly against him, he kissed me like I’d never been kissed. It set my heart on fire. No words could ever match the immense feeling I endured. Kissing someone had never felt so right.

The mere motion of his lips overwhelmed me. So simply, he made me feel like the most precious thing alive – as if he couldn’t bring himself to stop until he had devoured all of me. Untamed and famished, he pushed his tongue into my mouth to explore the rest of me, and I, rather earnestly, welcomed him.

It was only when I felt my blood rush toward my sex that I realised why this particular kiss affected me so. For the first time in my life, kissing somebody didn’t feel like a mandatory part of seduction. I actually wanted this. I wanted to kiss him. Desperately. In fact, I never wanted it to stop. Another pair of lips had never felt so right against my own.

That was what it was. It felt right; so achingly, beautifully, right. It shocked me. In many ways, he wasn’t just kissing me. He was making love to me – with his mouth. Expertly, he was preparing my entire spirit to be consumed by his, and it was working.

But he pulled away far too soon. Breaking away, he leaned forward to grab my drinks for me.

He shoved them into my hands, impatient, while he stared intensely into my eyes. Breathless, he ordered, “Neck these. Then we’re leaving. Non-negotiable. I’m not wasting a second longer.”

I obeyed without a single protest. After necking them both, I wiped the corners of my mouth with my index finger and focused on his enthralling person again.

After he clasped my hand in his, he stood and dragged me up with him, but all of the sudden, something was off about him. If I hadn’t known better, I’d say he looked a little dazed. Rattled, even. It surprised me. He didn’t strike me as the type of man who would respond so profoundly to a mere kiss, and taking his expertise of the art into account, I reckoned he’d kissed his fair share of women.

Was it possible that the same flame that had spread throughout my system like wildfire had also touched him? I found that hard to believe. He was too much of a stoic for it, much too nonchalant and arrogant.

He started guiding the way toward the exit, meaning we’d have to pass the bar where Olivia and Andrew sat chatting. When we reached them, Olivia resorted to blink repeatedly at us. Was it the look on my face? It had to be.

“We’ll be off,” William told them and wrapped his arm around my small waist.

Olivia blinked again, before she released a loud laugh. “Sandra, you devil.”

“Devil, indeed,” William confirmed and shot me a look that I didn’t understand.

“Will you be all right by yourself, love?” I worriedly asked her. There wasn’t a chance that I would leave her behind if she didn’t offer her approval. If that meant losing my one shot at a sensational night, then so be it. My duty as her best friend would come first.

She eyed me shrewdly. “Will you?" she countered.

“I’ll take good care of her, Olivia. You have my word,” William assured her, suddenly the gallant man again, and not the greedy, vulgar and domineering man I’d just been kissing. I quite fancied them both.

“I trust you will. I know who you are, should she happen to disappear by the morning,” Olivia threatened.

“She might be sleeping until dusk, seeing as she won’t be getting much rest tonight, so don’t be concerned if she doesn’t answer her mobile first thing in the morning,” he informed her, and shocked me all the same.

Andy chuckled beside my gaping blonde friend. “He’s a bit of a character, but you get used to him. Very blunt, is all.”

“Blunt, indeed,” I mumbled under my breath.

“It was lovely to make your acquaintance, Olivia. I do hope we’ll meet again,” William stated before he leaned in to offer her cheek a peck. “You’re a sweet girl. Again, I’m sorry for earlier.”

“Y-yeah. Me too,” she stammered and met my eyes, a concerned look in hers, and I knew why. ‘I do hope we’ll meet again’. I dearly hoped it was only his chivalrous side speaking, because as far as I was aware, this was a one-time arrangement. The man didn’t even know my real name, for crying out loud. Had I been jumping the gun when I had assumed that no-strings-attached was mutually understood?

Well, it was his concern. Not mine. I’d be gone by the time he woke either way.

“I’ll see you Monday, Andy,” William continued.

His dirty blonde friend winked back at him. “Looking forward. Have fun.”

“We will,” my partner for the night confirmed, before he dragged me away from them, impatient in his long strides.

“Do you live nearby?” I queried after him.

“Yes,” he answered, before I heard him mutter under his breath, “And thank fuck for that.”

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