I silently chastised my mind’s attempted response, grateful that it had at least had enough sense to send a signal for me to bite my lip so those words wouldn’t come out.

“Ari?” Carter was still looking at me, waiting for an answer. “Do you want me to take you home?”

“No…” I managed, fully aroused by his touch—by the way his hand was rubbing my back.

“Carter…” Tina whined behind us. “Since she’s okay now, can we go get another drink together? I don’t want to go alone…”

He asked if I was okay and looked me over one last time before taking Tina down to the yard bar.

“You were right.” Nicole said, opening the door to the house. “He’s definitely like your big-brother.”

I don’t think I would ever want to sleep with my big brother…

The second I stepped inside, the mix of weed fumes, wasted alcohol, and body sweat were so strong that I felt like I was going to pass out.

To my surprise, Nicole retrieved a few bottles of water and patiently encouraged me to drink them before pulling me onto the dance floor.

White and red strobe lights were now illuminating the room, striking the walls with their brightness. And every few minutes, the DJ shouted “Get ready! Power hour is almost here!” over the bass.

With the alcohol still in control, I shut my eyes and swayed to the music. I even leaned forward, grabbing onto a pair of shoulders for support, but those shoulders moved away—making me stumble.

“Is that your way of asking me to dance?” Some random guy turned around and caught me before I could fall.

“Sorry…” I stepped back.

“No need to apologize.” He placed his hands around my waist and steadied me. “Better?”

“Much…Thank you.”

Several songs later, when I was finally able to distinguish the difference between the ceiling and the floor, I was able to dance without him holding my hips.

“All the single people scream!” The DJ shouted over the speakers. “It’s power hour, bitches!”

I screamed my lungs out and danced to the techno beat—leaning my head back against random stranger guy’s chest. I felt his grip tighten around my waist, heard him whisper something in my ear, but my focus was on the music.

“Hey, Arizona!” Nicole stepped in front of me, shouting and waving her hands. “Ari?!”


“This has been really fun, but I’m leaving now. Are you going to be alright?”

“Wait, what? You’re leaving the party?” I yelled over the music. “I’ll come with you, I just need to find my—”

“No, no, no…” She cut me off. “I’m leaving with a guy and we’re going back to his place. Looks like you found someone to go home with, too.”

“No, I’m just dancing…” The sober part of my brain surfaced and wondered if she honestly thought leaving me here alone was something a good friend would do. “I thought we were supposed to take a safe ride together?”

“We were until I found a guy, a very hot, I-was-dancing-on-him-and-felt-his-massive-cock-in-the-dark guy.” She put her hands on my shoulders. “You’ll be totally fine…Besides, Carter is here. He’ll definitely make sure you get home okay. If you don’t want to go home at the end of the night, the guy you’re dancing with is really, really good-looking…Just saying.” And with that, she left me in the same way that she’d left me a hundred times before.

I shouldn’t even be surprised anymore…

Random stranger guy spun me around to face him and smiled. He leaned close and whispered into my ear, “You want to get out of here?”

“Like, together?”

“Yeah, babe.” He smiled. “Together. My place?”

“Your place?” My brain still wasn’t firing off enough logical neurons. “To have sex?”

“Um, yeah.” He looked amused. “To have sex. Good sex…”

“No, I’m uh…” I shook my head. “I don’t think I’m sober enough to have sex right now.”

“Why do you need to be completely sober? I’m good at what I do, I’ll make sure you feel more than satisfied when I get done with you…”

What the…

I immediately yanked my hand away from him and pushed my way through the crowd, heading straight for the bathroom. I knocked, waited for a reply, and when none came, I slipped inside and shut the door.

I turned on the cold water and splashed my face repeatedly, murmuring, “Sober up, sober up, sober up….” I gave myself another slap of water and heard the door opening.

“Hey!” I snapped, turning around. “I’m in here! Do you not believe in knocking first?”

“I do,” Carter said, stepping inside. “I saw you come in here so I wanted to check on you.”

“Oh.” I continued splashing my face. “Thank you.”

“Where’s Nicole?”

“Where do you think?” I looked at him through the mirror, prepared to say something else, but I got distracted by his smile.

Has he always had dimples?

“You should probably stop trying to force that friendship.” He turned off the water and took a face towel from under the cabinet, pressing it against my wet forehead. “I personally think you can do much better.”