I can’t tear my eyes away from her. “How the hell did she end up here?” My voice is half-edged and half… well, intrigued, far too much.
“Her brother would go through the roof.”
My eyes whip to Brent’s. “Again. Why is she here?” Now my voice is clipped.
“Violet knows Charlotte, and you know I can’t say no to Charlotte when she requests an extra invite.”
I rub a hand across my jaw from his explanation. “Thank fuck for the NDAs that we all sign.” I’m not even joking.
This woman, oblivious to my gaze, is completely off-limits.
But since I’m no longer her brother’s off-limits hockey player friend and everything stays between these walls, then I have no problem looking a little longer at her, trying to comprehend how in the world she wound up standing before me twice today.
She’s a bad idea, but I’m the selfish guy who ignores potential alarms when the parameters allow… as in the rules of this party preventing anyone from finding out.
Lucky me, the parameters allow.
Violet’s eyes catch with mine and blaze in recognition. She looks away quickly but then back to me, as there is no escape.
She’s been caught, and I’ve been caught.
My interest is far too piqued, because she doesn’t strike me as someone who would come to these types of parties, and my guess is that this is her first.
“Knew you would love the guest list,” Brent speaks low before I move.
I’m too confident of a guy to pretend to ignore this coincidence of being at the same party, which is why I stride my way toward Violet, with her eyes now glued on me as I approach her.
Planting my feet next to her, standing side by side, I notice the way her breath catches and her body flinches in my presence.
“Violet,” I greet her firmly, with a sinister laugh brewing in the back of my throat.
“Declan.” She returns the tone but doesn’t look at me.
“I thought you had a concert tonight. This is the last place I would have guessed to run into you.”
“A little white lie. I doubt my brother would enjoy the specifics of what I’m doing tonight. Charlotte is a friend of mine; we went to college together.” I’ve never hooked up with Charlotte, but Brent loves to. Apparently, Charlotte is wild, and she’s married to her job in marketing and detests relationships as much as Brent.
My eyes roam the room to see if anyone takes notice of us, which they don’t.
“Brent and I have known one another for years. You do know that nobody leaves this party alone, right?” I tell her, and it doesn’t surprise me that it comes out almost as a dare, because I’ve thought about bending her over a few times through the years, in various ways.
She turns her body to me and gives me, I swear, a seductive smirk. “I do know that.” She pauses for a second while her demeanor turns relaxed. “How are you, Declan? I didn’t get to ask earlier. It was your last season of hockey. All good?” Her tone is purely genuine, soft, and it’s refreshing because nobody ever asks me like they truly care.
I half-smile. “We’re at a sex party, and you’re asking me how I am?”
“Why not?” She shrugs.
“Your brother wouldn’t be thrilled if he found out you were standing before me.”
Her smirk turns humorous. “Considering you telling him would immediately reveal what you get up to in your free time, then I severely doubt he’ll find out. Besides, nobody wants to talk to their friend about their little sister’s sex life. Not to mention the contract we all signed,” she challenges with a cocked brow.
I like her bite. “True. But why are you here?”
“Why are you here?” she counters.
I have no qualms revealing the truth. “I’m a man with needs who enjoys a beautiful woman. I don’t do relationships and don’t go for the puck bunny bullshit; I have a little more class than that.”
Violet scoffs a laugh. “Wow, that’s some honesty.”
I have to quirk my lips and squint an eye to study her. “You’ve done this before?”
She crosses her arms over her chest, which doesn’t help this situation, as it draws my eyes to her pert cleavage, and she taps her arms with her dark pink nails. “There is a first for everything.” I admire her candor and the hint of assurance in her voice. “Everyone is allowed to live a little. There are many things in life that scare me, and this little rendezvous of an evening is not one of them.”
“What does scare you then?”
She side-eyes me. “Birds. Freaking hate them.”
I chuckle. “Any bird in particular or all birds?”
“All. I just have a complete trauma thanks to Hitchcock.”
“Fair enough. I hate maple syrup, if it’s any comparison.”
She snorts an adorable laugh. “Doesn’t your family own Grizzly Dash, that maple syrup company?”
“That and a bunch of hotels. But maple syrup is… sticky and too sweet.”
“Many delicious things in life are sticky and sweet… it’s natural.” Her tone is floaty and seeping with innuendo.
“I like your philosophy.” And her dirty mind.
Her head lolls to the side slightly. “What really scares you?”
I have to rile her as my mouth curves up. “That you’ll end up with me tonight.”
She glances at me with her wistful eyes. “The odds of that are slim.”
"Want to bet on it?"