Karson and Maverick Neidum were my best friends and they had been for a long time—and they were also supremely full of shit.
As I rolled my eyes and spun away from them and their loving wives, I shook my hands out at my sides and refocused on my target—the gaggle of bridesmaids shaking their asses at the center of the dance floor.
All night, I’d been making jokes about being the next to be bitten by the wedding bug, but that wasn’t going to happen. Try telling them that, though.
They were convinced that if I hooked up with someone tonight, that would be it for me. That the next step would be falling in love and picking a wedding party of my own, then choosing hip but weird baby names that sound like cooking spices or species of trees.
The mere thought of it all made me feel like I’d been punched in the balls. I might be a best man at a wedding right now and I might honestly believe that Maverick and Penny’s marriage was going to be epic, but that didn’t mean I believed in love.
Not for myself anyway.
I was a lone wolf and I was going to stay that way. Karson might’ve hooked up with Peyton at her brother’s wedding and ended up marrying her, and Maverick might’ve hooked up with Penny at Karson’s wedding and had now married her, but there were two essential differences to our situations.
The first was that I was their friend, not their brother. That right there meant that their little theory couldn’t hold water. I was in the wedding party and I was going to try my luck with another member of said party, but I wasn’t related to anyone here and that exempted me from their family curse.
At least, it’s a curse from my perspective.
Second, I simply wasn’t interested. They claimed they hadn’t been interested either, but I knew for a fact Karson had always been a romantic at heart, and in Mav’s case, there had been a baby conceived that night. As far as I was concerned, that changed the picture a little bit.
A lot, actually. Even if he hadn’t known about her at first.
As for me, I was going to find a bridesmaid to sweep off her feet, have my fun with her tonight, and then, I was not going to marry her. Just to prove I was a bachelor and that it was entirely possible to do what best men and bridesmaids had been put on this planet to do without it ending in nuptials.
A slow smirk spread on my lips as I walked away from their teasing and circled the bridesmaids like a predator circling his prey. I could feel my friends’ eyes on me, and I knew they were probably speculating about which one of these fine young ladies was going to have my ring on her finger one day soon.
The joke was on them, though. The only thing the chosen one would be receiving from me was pleasure. And even then, it was only ever going to be for this one night.
The DJ let the upbeat song that had been playing fade into a slower tune, and almost immediately, dancers began coupling up. I smiled. The universe seems to be on my side for this.
Two of the bridesmaids started looking around, presumably searching for myself or another member of the wedding party to dance with, but I’d already zeroed in on the third bridesmaid. I didn’t know her name—I hadn’t been paying enough attention to catch it before—but she was looking mighty good tonight.
The curviest of the three, she wore her clingy, sparkly pink dress with an innate confidence that spoke to me. She stood tall on her sky-high heels, and although she had to feel like her full tits were about to break free, her shoulders were pulled back and her chin was held high.
The interesting part was that despite all the confidence projected by her posture, she had a guarded look in her blue eyes, like she wasn’t really that confident at all and yet had been taught how to fake it till she made it by some pro.
Her straight blonde hair was pulled into a high ponytail that hung like an arrow down her back, pointing directly at a thick, voluptuous ass I wanted to get my hands on. Natural-looking but white-tipped fingernails and on-point makeup completed her look.
Something about her stand-offish appearance and the way she wasn’t looking around for someone to dance with like everyone else made me want her.
What can I say? I like a challenge.
When she realized people were starting to dance together instead of by themselves, her chin dipped in a slight nod and I deftly sidestepped the other bridesmaid making a beeline for me to offer my hand to the curvy one. Her gaze snagged on mine, holding it for a beat before it dropped to my outstretched palm.
Her chest rose and fell on a deep breath, and then, almost reluctantly, she moved her eyes back up to mine and nodded. I smiled, stepping closer. I took her hand and prompted her into a twirl before spinning her into me.
As soon as her body touched mine and her arm wound around my neck, a spark of need rippled through me. Yeah, she was a great choice.
The scent of her was faint enough not to be overpowering, but it was also expensive and alluring. I was no expert, but I definitely caught hints of sandalwood, peach, cardamom, and something citrusy. Like catching a whiff of what I imagine a royal would smell like.
Her touch was light but firm, and she molded to me almost like she’d been born to follow wherever I led. My dancing skills left much to be desired, but with her in my arms, I kind of felt graceful, like I actually knew what I was doing.
“You didn’t have to save me,” she murmured, her mouth close enough to my ear that I heard her even though she hadn’t raised her voice.
I pressed my hand into the small of her back, taking more control of our movements while at the same time making it clear that I didn’t want her going anywhere without me. “I didn’t save you. I needed someone to dance with as much as you did. Swaying by myself didn’t seem quite right when the song is about love and it’s being played at a wedding.”
“Are you looking to fall in love?” She pulled back slightly to look into my eyes when she asked the question, but she kept moving with me, not stepping away or withdrawing her hand from my own. “If you are, you’re barking up the wrong tree, buddy. I’m all for a dance, but this isn’t going anywhere.”
“Perfect,” I replied, my gaze on hers. I spun her around and brought her back to me again. “I’m not looking for anything but a good time and a dance. That okay with you?”
She offered me a small, tentative smile before she leaned forward to rest her head on my shoulder, her breath feathering over my skin when she replied. “That’s perfect.”
My cock woke up with her body against mine. Her curves melted into me and her soft fragrance was so close to my nostrils that I inhaled her with every breath I took. I turned my head so my lips moved against her temple when I spoke.
“What’s your name?”
“Flynn. It’s nice to meet you, Ariane.”
She let out a soft chuckle. “Yeah, you too.”
After that, we finished out the song and stayed pressed against each other for the next, but when the DJ decided on a faster tune, we finally broke apart. My dick missed the heat of her against it immediately, but I didn’t try to pull her back.
At this point, I was eager to get her back to my hotel room, but she seemed like the type I’d have to talk to for a bit first. “You want to go get a drink?”
She was still holding my hand even though we’d broken apart and were no longer dancing. Her teeth sank into her lower lip as she regarded me for a moment before she nodded. “Just one. I shouldn’t drink too much.”
“Why not? Big day tomorrow?”
As I led her off the dance floor toward the bar, she gave me a little shrug and a barely there smile. “Something like that.”
Yep, I was definitely right before about her being guarded. Not wanting to push her even if I was curious about what something like that meant, I decided to switch tactics to a safer subject. “So, how do you know Penelope? You guys must be close if she asked you to be a bridesmaid.”
“We used to be,” she said in a small voice as she looked around the room and smoothed out her dress almost like she was self-conscious. Either self-conscious or afraid someone was about to take her picture while her dress dared to have a wrinkle in it.
Odd, but it seemed like such a practiced move that I didn’t even think she realized she’d done it. Either way, I was getting more and more curious about the woman. What mysteries lurked beneath her quiet appearance?
She glanced at me once we got to the bar. “Penny and I have been friends since elementary school, so our friendship has been through a few different phases. The great thing about it is that we can be apart for months and pick right up where we left off when we see each other again.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean. It’s the same with me and Maverick. What do you want to drink?”
She scanned the options available behind the bar, then brought those big blue eyes back to mine. “I’ll have a white wine spritzer.”
“Wow. You really meant it when you said you didn’t want to drink too much.” Leaning forward, I caught the bartender’s attention and placed our order before looking back at her. “Are you always so careful about drinking?”
She shrugged, something flickering in those eyes before she blinked it away when she nodded. “I suppose I am. The last thing I need is to be caught stumbling around or slipping a nipple.”
I couldn’t stop my gaze from dropping to her chest for a moment. “I won’t lie, I wouldn’t mind if you slipped a nipple.”
Ariane’s brow rose, and then she let out a surprised giggle. “You’re very direct.”
“Am I?” I frowned, shaking my head as I kept looking into those immensely blue eyes that somehow just seemed to keep getting even bluer. Or maybe that was just because I hadn’t been as careful with the drinking tonight as she had been. “If you think this is me being direct, you should come back to my hotel room with me. I’m a real straight talker in the bedroom. Or the elevator. Whichever you prefer, really.”
Her cheeks turned bright red, her gaze lowering soon after, but not before I saw the way her pupils had dilated just the tiniest bit. “I’m sorry. As tempting of an offer as that is, I can’t.”
“Stop being such a downer, Arrie,” another bridesmaid chimed in from behind her. I hadn’t even seen the other girl coming up to us, but it looked like she was waiting for her own order and it was obvious she’d heard what Ariane had said.
I didn’t know her name either, but her eyes were a bit glazed over and she seemed to be clutching the counter for balance. In her tipsy state, she’d let slip one of the secrets the mysterious Ariane had been keeping.
“You know what they say, honey,” she continued. “The best way to get over one is to get under another. Flynn is hot and he looks like he’d be good at it. You should go back to his room with him.”
The other bridesmaid smacked her on the ass before she disappeared clutching a fresh glass of champagne. Ariane’s face grew impossibly redder and she turned her gaze up to mine and offered me a shy smile. “I’m, uh, I’m going through a breakup. It’s still kind of fresh. I got dumped this morning, actually.”
As I stared back at her, I considered what I’d just learned. I could either get her drunk and be the shoulder she cried on, or I could turn her day—or night—around and be the guy who made her forget all about her ex for just a few hours.
And as broad as my shoulders were, I didn’t like them being cried on, so instead I turned to face her fully and smirked. “His loss is my gain. If you’re up to it, I’ll show you that it’s not so bad being single and getting some from a hot stranger you’ll never have to see again. What do you say, Ariane? Feel like a little rebound action?”