Kristal’s newly arrived friends all dressed and danced like goddesses. Just like Kristal herself and apparently every other girl on this beach except me.
Jake pulled the blonde toward an empty patch of sand and she started gyrating against him. All the other boys seemed to have arrived with partners.
Ben was still dancing with Kristal. She hadn’t left him as Jake had left me. And he was coping better than I was with the music. Much better. Then again, Kristal was doing most of the dancing against him; he just had to follow along with her, supporting her moves. He looked like pretty much any other guy in the party.
“I’m going to take a break.” I didn’t know why I said it out loud, since nobody could have possibly heard me.
I thought back to the brochure my mother had given me of that Scottish survival course.
Maybe I would have been better suited wallowing around in one of those mud pools.
I walked over to the bar and, flashing my passport, picked up another glass of champagne. I sat down in the corner in view of the dance area and downed it in one gulp. The bubbles shot up my nose and I descended into a coughing fit. Thanks to the music, nobody noticed except for the bartender. I stood up and picked up another drink from the counter.
Or maybe I just need to be drunker. All these girls seem pretty drunk. Maybe that’s how they dance so well.
I downed one glass after the other until my head felt lighter, and my discomfort started to dull. But when I looked around the party again, I couldn’t spot any guy free who was good-looking enough for me to want to approach.
I waited for about half an hour, sitting and looking around hopefully. But the only men who looked available appeared older. Much older.
The heavy electro music reverberating around the party was starting to make my eardrums hurt. I walked toward the border of the dance area and turned around to glance back at Ben and Kristal. When neither noticed that I’d even moved from my place, I split from the crowd. Removing my sandals, I walked onto the sand toward the dark ocean. I breathed in deeply and approached the waves, dipping my feet in.
I think I can dance now. I just need to find someone…
Almost as soon as the thought entered my head, a dozen young-looking guys walked along the beach toward the party. There were no girls in sight.
My eyes fixed on the young man at the front. He looked around Jake’s age, maybe slightly older.
He is… handsome. Very. Handsome.
He wore black jeans and a smart navy shirt. He was tall—several inches taller than Ben—and well built, the muscles in his arms flexing as he walked. His strong jawline was covered with just enough stubble to give him a rugged, sexy look, while his dark hair brushed the sides of his face. He had deep chocolate-brown eyes.
Quick, Rose. Move!
Flinging my sandals into the waves, I raced toward him barefoot across the sand.
“Hey, you,” I said, stumbling in front of the young man before he could enter the dance area. I stared up at him, panting. He looked even hotter now that I was closer to him. My breathing became heavier. “D-dance with me.”
I held out my hand.
His eyes locked on mine. Then he took a step back and I watched as he looked me over from head to foot.
I thought for a moment that he was going to refuse, but then, wordlessly, he took my hand and pulled me toward the dance area. His hand felt cold for such warm weather.
I hiked up the end of my gown and attempted to fashion it into a shorter dress by tying some of the excess fabric around my waist. I glanced around at the other girls once more as I prepared to unleash my newfound moves. But before I could start, he caught hold of my waist and began to lead the way, guiding my every movement.
I didn’t even need to think. I just had to move where he was positioning me.
Oh, this is much easier.
Why couldn’t Jake have just done this?
This guy was good. He was making me look good.
I glanced around at the crowd until I finally caught Ben’s eye. I gave him a huge wink.
He laughed and got Kristal’s attention. Kristal, her cheeks pink and forehead shining with sweat, looked over the stranger I was dancing with and gave me a thumbs up.
Okay, now we’re finally back on track to this being a good night.
“How did you learn to dance so well?” I shouted into the stranger’s ear.
“I dance a lot.” His voice was deep and husky.
“Oh,” I said.
I couldn’t think of further conversation. But it didn’t feel awkward not talking, because he kept me moving and barely even gave me a chance to talk even if I had wanted to.
I found it a little disconcerting the way he kept looking around at the other men he’d arrived with as we were dancing. I thought that perhaps he was checking out the girls they’d hooked up with. I looked around myself. Each of them seemed to have found partners by now.
He bent down and whispered into my ear, “Care to take a walk outside?”
“Yeah,” I slurred. “Sure.”
He gripped my hand and led me away from the crowd. It was getting hot and the cool sea air felt welcome. His muscular arm wrapped around my waist as we walked along the sand.
“So,” I said, looking up at his face. “What’s your name?”
“Caleb,” I repeated. I liked the sound of his name rolling off my tongue, so I said it again. “Caaaa-leb.”
We walked side by side for about fifteen more minutes, the disco music and lights draining in the distance, until we were approaching a quiet part of the beach. When I looked around, I found it strange that his friends had all left at the same time with their girls, and we were all walking in the same direction.
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