Copyright © Grace Harper 2022
The right of Grace Harper to be identified as the author of this book has been asserted by the Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Copying of this manuscript, in whole or in part, without the author and her publisher’s written permission, is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved
This was the last night of celebrating Alex and Erin’s wedding. They’d run off in the middle of the wedding reception a few days ago on a helicopter. Erin would be languishing on a lounger in the South of France drinking cocktails on her honeymoon.
Meanwhile, I was trying to seduce Sebastian Wild. Unfortunately, my chances dwindled as time passed. He had placed me in the friendzone and no plans to move me out, despite all my wily ways. My plan was to get Seb drunk and bring out his flirtatious nature. Then I could make my move.
We’d just come from dancing for hours with the rest of the exec team at a night club in the city.
I stood, with my hands on the small table, staring into Seb’s eyes, willing him to notice me in my sexy dress as more than his business partner and friend.
“One more for the road?” I said to Seb.
He sagged on his bench seat in the semi-circular booth we’d taken over. Agnes jumped around on the dance floor with Flynn to some cheesy 80s tune. The rest of the executive team were scattered around the club or on their way home. Tom was somewhere in the venue making sure we all got home safely.
“I don’t think I can drink anymore,” he said, looking straight ahead at the wall.
My big plan was to get him drunk enough to have some fun, flirt a little, maybe get a little handsy and see how things went. I’d tried the last two nights, but it hadn’t worked. The night of the wedding party, he’d left without saying goodnight. Tom told me he was so drunk he couldn’t see straight and had to be carried to bed by Dai, one of the security guys. The next night he was still drunk or hungover. Seb drank water all evening. Last night, my game plan was on point when I wore my slinkiest dress with no back, and he wouldn’t even look at me for more than a glance.
I wore a similar low back dress tonight.
Which brought me to now, him staring ahead and me wanting to place the palms of my hands on his naked taut stomach. I moved up the bench closer to him and rested my head on his shoulder. Seb automatically lifted his arm to wrap around my shoulders. He’d always been tactile, but in a friendly way, nothing overt or sexual. If I wasn’t so in love with him, I’d be over the moon at his insistence of asking permission before going in for a kiss.
Seb snapped out of his fog and turned his head towards me. The movement forced me to straighten up. Our mouths were inches apart. I could feel his warm breath over my cheek. The sadness in his eyes took my breath away.
“I wish we’d met differently,” he said.
I reared back, stunned by his words.
I couldn’t keep his gaze, Seb dropped his head and then looked to the side, no doubt seeking help from an invisible source.
“I worry you only think of me as a sex fiend.”
I did, but that wasn’t all I thought about him. He was kind, generous and loving.
“Is that a bad thing?”
If I lived a thousand years, I don’t think I’d ever get the image of him and the woman having sex on the side of the stage out of my head. Never had anything since been more erotic.
“It is for you,” he said.
“You’re not making any sense.”
“I wish I was a better man.”
“You’re a great man. Why so melancholy?”
Seb sat upright and held onto the table, scrunching his eyes closed.
“Too much sambuca. I need to go home.”
I looked around the dancefloor and spotted Tom over in the corner speaking to another man. Tom tilted his head to the exit, and I nodded. He nodded back and said his goodbyes to the man he was talking with.
“Tom’s getting our ride for us. Can you stand?”
“I might need some help, put your arm around me,” he said with a wide smile.
It could’ve been the drink, but I hoped he was being flirty. Three days too late, but I’d take it.
He draped his arm around my shoulders while I held my arm around his waist. When we were steady on our feet, Seb kissed the top of my head. He left his lips in my hair for a few beats. I could’ve stayed where we were all night, tucked into his side.
“Come on, rock star, let’s get you to bed,” I said, and led him around the perimeter of the dance floor.
We met Tom at the exit, and he shook a set of car keys at me.
“Are you our ride?”
“Yeah, Agnes looks like she’s glued to the dancefloor with Flynn. Dai can take her home when they’re ready.”
Seb dropped his hand to the base of my back while we waited for Tom to pull up in his vehicle.
“Christ, Tara, you must be freezing in that dress,” he said as he smoothed his palm up and down my spine. “Where’s your coat?”
Even drunk, he still considered my wellbeing. The intention of the sexy dress was to entice him to take it off, not cover it up.
I suppressed the shiver that was about to break out for long enough that he didn’t notice how turned on I was at his touch. I’d never felt his hand on my skin for very long. The torture I endured for the three minutes until Tom arrived was heartbreaking. Seb didn’t want to touch me seductively, he was just being protective.
I lurched forward out of his grasp and opened the back door of the SUV Tom was driving and scooted along the back seat. Seb joined me. As soon as I buckled us up, Tom was on the move, and Seb passed out.
“If you told him how you felt, you wouldn’t be suffering from blue lady balls right now,” Tom said from the front.
I sniggered at his reference, catching his eyes in the rear view mirror.
“Tom, he’d never want a woman like me.”
Tom shook his head, sighing heavily. He dropped me home first, telling me he’d get Seb safely to bed and he’d see us tomorrow at the mansion.
I needed my best friend to talk this out, but she was busy being happy on her honeymoon. This was my problem to solve, and by the time Erin came back from her honeymoon, I vowed to find out if there was a chance for Seb and me.
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