The Devil She KnewBy: Talia Hunter
He drained his beer and motioned to the waiter for a fresh one. Suzie was on what had to be her fourth or fifth drink too, but showed no sign of slowing down. Her eyes were glittering, her attention fixed on Laura and her new husband. When would this song finish? As much as Nate liked Laura, she and Luke were terrible dancers, their movements jerky and awkward. They looked like two chickens trying to catch the same bug.
He’d gulped down a few good swallows of his next beer by the time the song ground to a merciful end. Politely clapping with everyone else, he felt Suzie lean towards him. Her lips moved so close to his ear that her warm breath tickled across his lobe. The sensation was exquisite. His whole body tingled with it, like she’d zapped him with a thousand volts of electricity.
“I hate you, Milhouse,” she whispered. Her voice was so low, it felt incredibly intimate and his body reacted as though she’d murmured an indecent suggestion instead of an insult. He was suddenly hard, shifting in his seat again, fighting the aching lust she could so easily summon in him.
He grabbed her arm, pulling her up to standing.
“What are you doing?” she yelped.
“Time to dance.” He hadn’t planned on dancing, and still had his shoes on while all the other guests moving onto the dance floor had kicked theirs off. But if Suzie’s dancing was anything like her sister’s, it might cure him of his attraction to her. At this stage, he was willing to try anything.
He’d managed to pull her halfway to the dance floor before Suzie wrenched herself free of his grip. “You think I’d dance with you? Not if we were the last two people left alive.” She darted to the nearest table where a man was sitting with a group of other guests. “Excuse me, would you like to dance?” She grabbed the man’s shoulder, practically hauling him to his feet.
The man looked startled for a moment. Then he flicked his gaze over Suzie’s delectable body and a sleazy grin crept over his face. “Sure.”
As the man led her to the dance floor, Nate’s fists clenched. If he had a scrap of sense, he’d either leave now, or head to the bar and finish the job of getting drunk. There was no reason for him to stay rooted to the spot, watching the man’s lecherous hands circle Suzie’s waist. No reason for his blood to heat as a slow song started and the man pulled Suzie close.
Just Suzie’s luck to pick a man whose breath stunk like something had crawled inside his mouth to die. And if Nate hadn’t been watching, Suzie would have told corpse-breath that asking him to dance hadn’t been an invitation for him to slide his sweaty hands down until they almost cradled her ass.
Was Nate still watching? She snuck a glance to the side. Yes, there he was, right where she’d left him. He’d found yet another beer and was gulping it while he glared at her.
Suzie leaned in a little to murmur in corpse-breath’s ear, on the side Nate would be able to see. She let a little smile play over her mouth as though she were enjoying herself.
“Do I know you?” she asked. He looked familiar, but she couldn’t quite place him.
“Suzie, darlin’, don’t you remember me?” When he leaned back to give her a hurt look, another gust of his hot breath almost made her gag. “I’m your cousin Ronny.”
“Oh. Ronny. Of course.” He was the kid who’d tried to convince her to play doctor when she was ten.
“Well, we haven’t seen each other since we were young.” His hurt look turned into a smirk. “I didn’t recognize you either, at first. But the red hair suits you. I like redheads. Even when the drapes don’t match the carpet, if you get my meaning.”
Okay, so she’d clearly picked the wrong man to dance with. Even teaching Nate a lesson wasn’t worth being subjected to Cousin Ronny.
“I’m sorry. I’ve just remembered I need to, um…” She tugged free of his grip, stumbled and almost turned her ankle. “I think I’ve drunk a little too much.”
“That’s okay, sugar. I’ll look after you.”
Suzie looked around for an excuse to get away. Nate had disappeared. Laura and Luke had stopped dancing, and Laura was frowning at her. Usually that look would make Suzie’s stomach sink, but right now she welcomed it. “Laura’s trying to get my attention. She’s probably going to complain that I’ve done something wrong, but I’d better go and see.”