Take Me if You Dare (Entangled Brazen)(5)

By: Nina Crespo

She peered up at him through her lashes, and his gaze met hers.

Oh, who was she kidding? As if she needed Tab’s birthday dare as a reason to twist her arm into any kind of temptation with him.

He moved back and propped his booted foot on the rung of her barstool. His knee brushed her thigh and tingles radiated over her skin.

“I’m also playing chaperone tonight.” He gestured with his beer bottle toward an equally impressive man standing at a table with a blonde and a brunette. Both of the women’s perfectly proportioned bodies were poured into skintight dresses, and they balanced on six-inch fuck-me heels.

His buddy spotted him, and the two men exchanged a “bro nod” while the brunette licked her lips and sent Ethan a blatant look of invitation.

What the…?

A group of women let out collective a yell of encouragement, and Jasmine looked over at a woman with a tissue bridal veil partying with her friends on the dance floor.

Memories of her own failed engagement came to mind, and a chill washed over her skin. Greg had wanted her to fight for him when she’d found out what happened. News flash. He’d cheated on her, not the other way around!

She took a sip of chardonnay and swallowed the wine along with the bitterness rising in her throat. Tab was wrong. She wasn’t ready for this. If this guy thought she was going to get into some kind of a silly catfight to stop another woman from claiming him, his ego was about to take a serious hit.

“Well, thank you for the drink and the save,” she said, setting the half-empty wineglass down on the bar. “I have to go.”

“What? You’re leaving?” He frowned. “It’s not even eight o’clock yet.”

“Yes, I’m leaving.” She gestured lightly over to the trio. “You should probably get back to your chaperoning duties.”

“Mitch has things under control.”

“Oh, really? Well, I don’t think the brunette got that message.” The words slipped out before she could rein in the hint of angry wasp in her tone.

Ethan leaned down and looked directly in her eyes. “I don’t care what the brunette did or didn’t get, as long as you get the message that I’m here with you for as long as you want me to be.”

He slanted his lips to hers and coaxed her into a slow, unhurried exploration of her mouth that made her greedy for more, but once the kiss ended, doubt crept back into her thoughts. She shoved it aside.

What she wanted was simple. No promises, no investments, just a man willing to make a dare a reality.

She eased off the barstool, braced her hands on the side of his waist for balance, and found herself in the perfect position—up close and personal with his chest. As she formulated a plan, her hand wandered, almost of its own accord, past his waistband and pressed against the zipper of his jeans.

Rising up on her toes near his ear she whispered, “And what if I want you next to me all night?”

He lightly closed his fingers around her wrist, and she leaned back to look at him.

Uh-oh—too bold?

Ethan lifted his other hand to tip up her chin, looking into her eyes in a way that almost made her believe he could see straight into her thoughts.

He stroked his thumb over her bottom lip, and then brushed an unhurried kiss over the same spot. “Stick close to me. Romeo’s still on the prowl. He’s had enough drinks to make stupid feel courageous, and I’m not in the mood to educate him on the difference.”

She followed his gaze to a nearby table where the poor guy sat with three women, still not taking the hint as they ignored his presence.

Tugging her gently by the wrist, he urged her in front of him, and they walked toward the connecting restaurant. Once they were inside, they moved through the crowd and the maze of tables. Every time she stopped, his front bumped into her rear, a nice, hard reminder of what they were about to carry out.

What type of lover was he? Greedy, generous, unhurried…demanding?

The thrill of something new, something different, made her heart pound faster in anticipation.

And worry.

Greg hadn’t been her first lover, but like most long-term couples, they’d slid into a comfortable routine.

A near collision with one of the servers carrying a tray caused Jasmine to lose her balance, but Ethan wrapped his arm securely around her waist. He held her upright and his arousal nudged against her hip. Warmth pooled low in her middle and quickly replaced her worries of looking like a klutz.