By: Lauren Landish

From inside the club, the bass of the music thrums against my body as we reach the door. My heart begins to pound. I almost feel like I’m back at Trixie’s. Almost. The two handsome bouncers are dressed in fitted suits, their hair cut professionally and their designer sunglasses blocking their eyes. They kinda look like the Men In Black. Whoever is running this place isn’t playing around.

“We have a reservation,” Hannah says. I don’t know how she got it. She’s got connections, I guess. Hannah gives her name and the bouncers let us in, pulling the large double-doors wide.

The entire interior is just as luxurious as the exterior. The bar stretches around a good quarter of the large rotunda that makes up the main room, lit up beautifully in blues and dim whites. Out on the floor, beautiful women and men dressed in great suits are already dancing beneath a balcony that overlooks everything. There’s a crowd up there, and I bet it’s the VIP section from the way things look.

My eyes are pulled to the stage that’s set up so that the VIP balcony can watch, and I feel my heart speed up some more. I want to get up there. I want to feel their eyes. I want their applause. I want to rock this place out.

“This place is incredible,” I finally say. It’s no lie, either. Everything, down to the smallest detail, is amazing.

“Isn’t it?” Hannah says, perfectly serious. “They really went all out.” Hannah’s eyes hungrily rove over the crowd. “But less talking and more stalking. Let’s hit the bar.”

We’re not even seated for a full minute before some blonde guy is hitting on Hannah. In my ‘lucky’ red dress, I feel a little deflated.

My disappointment is short-lived, unfortunately.

“Mind if I have a seat?” asks a voice. I look up into a pale but handsome face.

“Not at all,” I say politely.

He sits down beside me and grins, his eyes piercing into me. For some reason, my flesh crawls at his look. It’s just a bit off, even if he is hot.

“So where you from?” His voice has a nasal, whiny tone it, and I regret telling him to have a seat.

Somewhere you’re not, I want to say, and hopefully will never be. The words are on my lips, but I’m not comfortable being rude.

“Summerfield,” I say diplomatically. Come on, it’s been ten months. I should give the guy a chance. Maybe he’s just nervous and he’s actually sweet.

He arches an eyebrow. “Summerfield, huh? Where’s that?”

I wave my hands nondescriptly. “Off somewhere on the coast.”

He chuckles. “It’s like that, huh?” He nods at the waiter. “Can I have a Bud Light for my lady friend here?”

“You don’t have to buy me a drink,” I try to protest. I hate beer.

“I insist” he says firmly, grinning at me. “A beautiful girl like you shouldn’t be sitting here alone without a beer.”

“Is he the one?” Hannah whispers sarcastically in my ear. I could just kill her. The guy saddled next to her doesn’t give me the creeps and remind me of Draco Malfoy.

I mouth No, giving her an outraged look.

“Remember what you said. Unleash the Rox!” she jokes.

More like I’m thinking of unleashing The Rock to come lay the smackdown on this dude’s ass if he doesn’t take a hint.

The beer comes, and Mr. Weird tries to talk me up some more. “So, what do you do?”

“Office stuff, nothing cool,” I reply, trying to politely let the guy know I’m not interested. “You’d be bored.”

But he’s not having it. “Oh, every job seems boring when you’re doing it,” he says, fiddling with his drink. “Hey, try the beer. It’s pretty good.”

“Not just yet. I don’t want to have to run to the ladies’ room all night,” I reply. Actually, hitting up the ladies’ room might be a good idea. It’d get me away from this guy.

“Oh, I get that. But come on, what could one beer hurt? Hey, if you need to pee, I’ll escort you to the guy’s room. Nobody’ll say anything.”

Seriously? Now I don’t feel bad. My gut feeling was right. This dude is a creep. As the music changes, I mutter under my breath, “Somebody please fucking save me.”

Chapter 2

Jake - One Hour Ago . . .

“This is gonna be epic,” Nathan Scott, my childhood friend and business partner, boasts as the limo we’re in rounds the corner. He’s seated across from me, dressed sharp as a tack for our big night.

“All the cards have lined up for us,” he continues. “We’ve got a great local band and an assload of local celebrities. We even got that girl who’s got like two million Instagram followers because of her ass. That ass and Club Jasmine are going to be in front of two million people by the end of the night. I’m telling you, we’ve got everything.” Nathan claps his hands and rubs them together. “This is going to be huge, Jake. Huge!”