Chapter 2

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I was ready to go in record time. Mind you, I couldn't seem to focus on what I needed to get done. My mind kept focusing on all things Dillon. Deep inside, I couldn't understand why I felt so nervous. Actually, I did, but part of me refused to make sense of it.

Dillon was just like any other guy—good-looking, down-to-earth, charismatic, and open to almost anything. He was also honest about what he wanted in life. The man exuded confidence and strength. His moral ethics when it came to friends and family piqued my interest. Though, I couldn't deny that his occasional bad boy image drew me in like a moth to a flame.

The woman in me wanted him. Heck, women around the world wanted to be with him, too. He was that smooth a talker when it came to charming the socks off a woman. I wasn't any different from those who sought his presence day in and day out. Aside from the fact that I came from the other side of the tracks.

I set the hairbrush down and stared at my reflection in the mirror. The shoulder-length bob I'd gotten not too long ago complemented my round face. I'd flipped the ends of my hair outward and curled them upward.

A soft knock on the door of my room drew my attention. Myrla peeked inside. Her blue eyes lit up with appreciation upon meeting my brown ones.

"You ready?" she asked.

I nodded and released a pent-up breath. "Yeah."

She smiled. "Looking good."

I glanced down at the black knee-length skirt, silver blouse, and matching silver Christian Louboutin peep toes I wore. Myrla had gifted me the shoes for my twenty-seventh birthday, but I never had the chance to wear them until now.

"If you say so."

"I do. Got everything?"

"Yup," I said, grabbing my purse off the desk and walking out of the room behind her.

"Aiden sent me a text. He said he'll be here in five minutes."

"So soon?"

"It's a four-hour drive to Vegas."

"Yeah, I know, but—"

Myrla stopped walking and turned to face me. "You've nothing to worry about. Aiden's a sweetheart."

I snorted and rolled my eyes at her. "I'm sure he is."

"Girl, I'm serious."

"Uh-huh."

We walked down the hall toward the main door, playfully bickering amongst ourselves.

The moment we shared was like any other, except I found myself thinking about what was to come. I couldn't help it. Part of me felt giddy. The other part wanted me to run back to my room and stay there. I'd grown up sheltered and rarely spent time outside the house. I preferred my books, my cat, and my writing. Everything else never mattered much. Until now. By the time we arrived at the lobby, my nerves were shot.

Myrla glanced in my direction. "You okay?"

"Yup."

"You sure, 'cause you don't look so good."

I'm hyperventilating. What do you expect?

"It's nothing, Myr. I promise."

She flipped open her purse and rummaged through it. Pulling out a small container, she popped it open and held a small tablet in my direction.

I stared at the pill and shook my head. "I'm good."

"Take it," she said.

"Nope."

My best friend sighed with exasperation. "It's a mint, Chance."

My lips formed a perfect O.

"Yeah. Whenever I'm nervous, I suck on a mint. Helps calm the nerves."

I accepted the mint and popped it into my mouth. The burst of peppermint combined with a hint of strawberry caught me by surprise. I've never tasted anything quite like it before.

"Better?" she asked.

"Yeah."

Myrla glanced over my left shoulder. "Good, 'cause Aiden's here," she said, and stepped through the double glass doors.

I rushed after her and found myself face-to-face with a pair of warm blue eyes. "H—Hi."

Aiden smiled. "Hello," he said, holding a hand out in front of him. "I'm Aiden."

Nervous, I cleared my throat and clasped his hand in mine. "Hi," I replied before letting go of his hand.

Oh, Lord! Can this get any worse?

Myrla chortled and shook her head. "You'll have to excuse her. She's not herself today."

He raised an eyebrow. "No?"

"Nope. Shall we?"

Aiden stepped forward and patted my right shoulder in the hopes of reassuring me. "You must be Chance. I've heard a lot about you."

"Y—Really?"

"Yes."

"G—Good things, I hope."

"Of course. I can see why Myrla likes you."

I glanced at Myrla, unsure of what to say. "Oh, I—"

Aiden brought my hand up to his lips and pressed a kiss to the back of it. "It's a pleasure, I assure you," he said, and straightened.

Letting go of my hand, he turned and pulled Myrla into a warm embrace. He held her close for several minutes before letting go of her. With a jerk of his head, he turned around and walked toward a black Cadillac Escapade.

"Isn't he dreamy?" Myrla asked.

"Uh-huh."

"Too bad he's married."

"I don't think that matters."

She rammed her left elbow against my ribs. "Yeah, well . . . Let's go."

I grunted and massaged the sore spot.

Myrla grinned and walked away.

I took a moment to rub my clammy hands across the front of my skirt, pretending to smooth out imaginary wrinkles. The day was definitely taking an unexpected turn. Never once had I given thought to meeting someone like Aiden. His best friend, on the other hand . . . Shaking my head to clear it, I squared my shoulders and plastered a smile across my lips.

It's now or never, I thought, making my way over to the waiting SUV.

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