The guys at the end shouted in loud appreciation as she stood up and adjusted her top.

“What?” she asked, smiling. “It’s way more fun with a captive audience, don’t you think? Want to go again?”

“Shockingly, hell yes.”

We slid down the plastic over and over again—giggling like little girls each time, running over to the bar for more alcohol in between.

I gave no thoughts to the fact that my dress was soaking wet, that my once perfectly styled hair now resembled a mop, or that I was drunker than I’d ever been in my entire life. Also, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t stop laughing.

“Okay, I think we should try to get dry now,” Nicole pointed toward a bonfire that had just started. “I just overhead some guy saying they’re doing free Skittle shots inside. They’re also doing a power hour at midnight.”

“Is that a good thing?”

“It’s a great thing.” She smiled. “They turn off all the lights so we won’t have to guess much of anything if we see a cock we’re curious about. We can just cop a quick feel for ourselves.”

“You’re ridiculous!” I burst into laughter as I took a seat in front of the fire.

The bright flames flickered and hissed, and as I held my hands out for warmth, I spotted Carter walking onto the deck.

Dressed in a black muscle shirt and dark blue jeans, he raised a red cup to me and Nicole before taking a long sip. Close by his side was Tina, and her eyes were completely glued on his body.

She was blushing and rubbing her hands against his chest, but he wasn’t paying her any attention. He was looking at us. At me.

His eyes trailed up and down my body, taking in my soaked dress and messy hair, but it didn’t look as if he was questioning it at all. Smiling, he looked me over one last time, and then he finally turned away to address Tina.

I watched as he gave her his usual “I know goddamn well that I’m charming the shit out of you” routine: A deep stare into the eyes, a light clasp of the wrist, and a few hushed and whispered words into the left ear that almost always led to an immediate blush. Watching him do those things normally made me roll my eyes, but tonight, I was envisioning myself in her place.

What is he saying?

My eyes roamed his body again and again—taking in the black tattoos wrapped around his sculpted right arm, his muscular chest, his mouth…And I seriously began to wonder how his lips would feel against mine.

Is he really into dirty sex? Would he have told me so if he was…?

“Are you checking Carter out?” Nicole asked, interrupting my thoughts. “Is that what you’re staring at?”

“No,” I said, lying. “Just thinking about something, and for the umpteenth time, Carter is like a brother to me.”

“Brother-brother or stepbrother? Because if it’s more along the stepbrother route, you should give it a try someday. How big do you think his cock is?”

Like he was any other random guy, I let my eyes drift toward his pants, but I stopped myself. I preferred to look at his lips instead.

As if Carter could feel me staring at him, he slowly turned around and looked in our direction again. He smiled at me and I blushed. Actually blushed.

Oh my god… “I’ve definitely got to get out of here.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, I…I just think I might be drunk.”

“You are drunk.”

You don’t like Carter…You don’t like Carter…There’s no way you like Carter… I tried to keep my psychotic mind in check.

“Um, Ari?” Nicole asked. “Why does it look like you’re about to get up and run away?”

“No idea…Can we please go inside?”

“Sure.” She stood up and slipped her arm in mine, slowly pulling me to my feet. “You know, I would so sleep with Carter if he wasn’t your best friend and liable to tell you all about it the next day.”

“Gee, thanks…”

“You’re totally welcome!”

Leading me across the yard like I was an elderly woman, she stopped each and every time I asked her to, and since that was at least ten times, it took us forever to make it back to the deck.

“Okay. Now, up the steps,” she said. “Right foot, left foot…No, no, no. Your right foot, Ari. That’s your left…That’s still your left…”

“What’s wrong with her?” The sound of Carter’s deep voice made me look up.

“Nothing. She’s just super drunk because she drank over ten drinks. You should’ve seen her do a body shot. It was epic with a capital ‘E’ indeed.”

“She probably didn’t eat enough before coming here, then.” He slipped his arm around my waist and carried me up the remaining steps. “No offense, but as her friend, you should’ve known that she’s a terrible hard-liquor drinking buddy. She’s the perfect definition of a lightweight.”

“I honestly had no idea…” Nicole’s cheeks turned bright red in slight shame, but her eyes zoned in on Carter’s lips. “Since I don’t want her to go to sleep just yet, I was going to get her some water and have her dance off some of the alcohol. Care to join us?”

“In a minute, sure.” His blue eyes met mine. “Are you feeling okay? Do you want me to take you home?”

If you do take me home, do you promise to have sex with me? I think I’d like to do that with you…Right now…