Filthy English (English #2)(3)

by Ilsa Madden-Mills

My heart played hopscotch, jumping against my chest. My skin prickled.

Did I know him?

Did he know me?

It clicked, everything sliding into place. Dax Blay?

My breath hitched, and I swallowed down the emotion that zipped up my spine whenever I thought of him. He was my one HUGE mistake; the time I’d tossed inhibitions and carefully laid plans aside and went with my instincts (lots of sex), only to have it tossed back in my face.

But the man next to me wasn’t Dax. Thank God.

Last spring at the campus-wide end of the year fraternity party with Hartford, I’d seen Dax, and he’d had shorter hair, like always, and zero tattoos. Yeah. No way.

Plus, last I heard, he was in Raleigh where his father lived.

Yet . . .

Dax was British. He could have family here. Maybe he got a tattoo?

Nah. I mean, what were the odds of us both being at the same club on the same night in a country where neither of us lived?

Move on, Remi, forget faux-Dax. Focus on the bartender. He likes your cleavage.

Determined to get Mike’s attention back as he poured drinks for someone else, I slyly attempted to tug down the neckline of my dress with my right hand—check this out, Mikey—but the lace bodice snagged on my tennis bracelet in the process, leaving my wrist dangling like a wet dish rag in a most inappropriate place.

I wiggled my arm.

Jiggled it.

Sweat popped out on my forehead.

Holding my breath, I twisted and tugged the bracelet, forcing the delicate material in my bodice to stretch into the danger zone.

“Well, hell,” I breathed, pausing to assess.

Skin-tight with a plunging neckline, the dress was mostly a blue stretchy fabric held together by sequined straps and a zipper on the side. Slated as part of my honeymoon wardrobe, it was a Tory Burch and had cost four hundred dollars, the most I’d ever paid for a fun outfit, and no way did I want to damage it. I might have to return it to rent an apartment at Whitman.

Lulu. I needed Lulu. She was a whiz with wardrobe malfunctions.

I spun around on the barstool and used my free hand to wave at her, but she was slinging herself around dancing, having a great time and completely oblivious. I resorted to flapping both hands at her, one high and one low. Several people waved back with baffled expressions, but Lulu didn’t notice. Dammit.

I groaned and slumped down in my seat, ready to scream. Now what? Go to the bathroom and repair it there? Good plan.

But the club tilted when I stood, the strobe lights making me squint as they flashed in my face. I wobbled in my leopard-print heels—that Lulu had insisted I wear—and grabbed the stool to keep my balance.

I sucked in a breath to gather myself, but I couldn’t think straight. The room spun, and I was suddenly queasy, and why did I slam all that tequila, and oh my God, my wrist is currently attached to my tit like a T. rex arm.

“Hey, my shift ends in an hour or so depending on the crowd. You want to grab a drink?” Mike said.

Eeek. I’d forgotten all about the nice bartender.

Go with it, Remi. Be cool. Don’t be a wacko.

I pivoted carefully around to face him, using my captured hand as a chinrest, forcing me to lean my head down at an odd angle.

His brow wrinkled. “You okay there? You’re kinda pale.”

“Uh, maybe? Not really. I just—uh—need to go to the ladies’ room first. I—I’ll be back in a minute.” Trying to be stealth-like, I reached across the bar to get my beaded clutch, but because it was my left hand and not my right, which I used most of the time, I got off balance and stumbled—and my ankle folded in on itself. I yelped as my shoe catapulted off my foot and vaulted off toward who knows where, while I fell forward, straight into Mr. Beautiful’s lap.

Fifteen Minutes Earlier

MY COUSIN SPIDER (real name Clarence) and I walked inside the nightclub.

I had one goal this evening: Alcohol and a lot of it.

I hadn’t had sex in eighty-seven days, five hours, and a few odd minutes, which seems strange for a handsome and charismatic guy like myself who was used to getting a different flavor each month, but when my twin brother Declan had dared me to be celibate in order to clear my head, I’d accepted his challenge.

Besides, it wasn’t proper for a Blay male to turn down a dare. It was on.

But today before we’d left for the club, I’d had to deal with my father, Mr. Winston Blay, a former United States ambassador who’d gotten my English mum pregnant with my twin and me, married her—then promptly divorced her a year later.

He’d called me earlier from his mansion in Raleigh to demand I go to graduate school after I graduated from Whitman.

School hadn’t even started and he was already on my back. As usual.

I’d said “hell no.”

As a fifth year senior, I was a huge disappointment to him.

But this year—this year—I had to get my shit together and figure out what I was going to do after graduation.

Which meant not living at the frat house any longer. Done. So come fall semester, I was homeless.

Wearing his standard gray leather jacket and skinny jeans, Spider adjusted his mask around his bright blue hair and nudged me, reminding me to put mine on. With his penchant for getting tossed in jail for brawling and using heroin, I’d officially been his babysitter this summer in London until his bandmates, the Vital Rejects, reunited for their tour. What can I say? I’m a good cousin, and it gave me the chance to get out of Raleigh for the summer.

We waltzed inside the main area of the club where a fifty-foot bar lined the back of the room and a sizable dance floor held a shit-ton of writhing bodies.

Spider smirked as he looked around the place. He loved the masks because he could hide who he really was. “Any bets tonight?” he asked, rubbing his hands together.

“Dude, if you want me to take your quid, I will.”

All summer, we’d made silly bets for miniscule amounts of money.

Who could last the longest in an ice-cold shower? Me.

Who would stand up in the pub and sing “I’m a Little Teapot”? Me.

Generally stupid stuff, but Spider needed all the distraction from trouble he could get.

“I’m feeling lucky tonight,” he said with a grin.

I nodded. “Sure. What do you have in mind?”

His brown eyes gleamed from behind his mask. “Who can get a quickie shag in the loo first?”

I grimaced. “No.”