Chapter ten

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Hailey could not believe it until the last possible second. Only once his mouth was on hers she had to concede the point: Dylan Shane had kissed her. He was kissing her.

Now this was the absolute best thing that had happened to her in her entire, sorry life. She closed her eyes and kissed him back. The softness of his bottom lip against hers, the warm, clean smell of his hair and his old, worn shirt filled up her mind. She forgot where she was. He seemed to be pulling her closer, or maybe she just felt drawn to him – anyway she stood up so her hips caught between his knees and her body was pressing against his, all mouths and cheeks and shoulders and necks, while her barstool tumbled backwards behind her and went crashing against the scratched parquet floor. 

The room went quiet.

"Oh no," she mumbled, half into Dylan's mouth, while he laughed. Looking up and blinking, Hailey saw how a whole room full of old people, five of whom were in a Australia's foremost Beach Boys cover band and just about to take their first break, had turned to stare at her and Dylan. In fact, now that they had her attention some of the rowdier ones in the crowd were clapping and yelling, and in one of the chairs closest by the bar, a mauve-haired lady was lifting her can of Red Bull in a salute.

"Ummm. Um, I'm sorry," she said, unable to meet anyone's eye. "I mean thank you. Yeah, you can stop clapping now. And I'm sorry."

This turned out to be more of a farewell speech, because Dylan was up and tugging her by the wrist out of the room. Well, what would she have said anyway? What do you say to a lot of old people who've caught you in the throes of a first kiss? There was nothing for it but just to get the hell out of there.

To keep up with his quick strides, Hailey had to jog along, the last few catcalls fading away behind her. In another couple of seconds, he'd pulled her through to the disco, where "Ring My Bell" was booming and rattling through the speakers and multi-colored lights were strobing over the dance floor. Dylan still had her by the wrist, and she could just see the back of his head in the disco-ball light a few feet ahead of her. "Where are we going?" she shouted, though he didn't seem to hear. That was okay too, because she had already figured out where they were going: His car, his place, or maybe her hotel room if they could possibly wait long enough to get there.

Hailey didn't want to wait. Not one part of her did. She could see it in her mind's eye, the whole thing, from shirts off to pants off to the first moment of full nakedness. In fact, it had come to her in a flash the moment he'd kissed her, like the idea for some great scientific invention, or a killer business idea or the plot of some world-changing novel. Sex with Dylan, dirty and drunken. He had to want it too -- why else would he be dragging her all caveman-like out of the bar?

The anticipation of touch made her skin prickle. She shivered as she jogged. Her pulse was zinging all around her body.

Half running, half stumbling, they fell into the miniature casino room with its slot machines flashing rows of cherries, bombs and musical notes in the darkness. It was still empty in there; not one person was gambling. The next moment, Hailey's back was against one of those machines and Dylan Shane – Dylan Shane! – was leaning the whole length of his body against hers and looking down into her eyes.

Before she could stop herself, she moaned. Sort  of. Managed to close her mouth just in time.

"Sorry," she whispered. "I'm a little drunk." 

"Yeah? So is this really what you want?" Dylan asked, in a voice Hailey had never heard him use before. All the mellowness was gone.

Hailey opened her mouth again to tell him yes, but found she couldn't speak. It was all she could do just to look him in the eyes. She was so filled with desire that she felt could move a boulder out of their path if she had to, but also like she couldn't write her name or even enter her pin in ATM if she tried.

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