Our small group each takes a shot glass and a lemon, raising them up in the air.

“I’m probably going to regret everything about this night, aren’t I?” Finnley asks Phina with a laugh.

Forgetting about dick bag husbands who may or may not kick my ass, I slide close enough to Finnley that our arms are touching, leaning down until my lips brush her ear to whisper, “Hopefully you won’t regret everything about tonight.”

Chapter 5—Let the Flames Begin


I lost count how many shots of tequila I tossed back after number three. As the night wore on, the four of us continued to reminisce about high school and Collin and I moved closer and closer to one another until we were pressed together from shoulder to wrist. After who knows what number shot, my head fell to the side until it was resting on his shoulder. He never acknowledged that it happened or moved away, so at least I didn’t have to be mortified about moving into sloppy drunk girl territory and making him regret coming over here.

I lift my head off of his shoulder when I realize the conversation has gone silent because Phina and D.J. are making out across the table from us.

“I need to go to the bathroom,” I blurt, suddenly feeling very uncomfortable with the scene unfolding in front of me. Since all I’ve been able to think about after Collin walked over here is kissing him, I’m feeling a little jealous of my best friend and I don’t like it at all.

“I’ll go with you,” Collin quickly states, wrapping his arm around my waist and pulling me away from the table.

He’s obviously not too keen on watching our friends stick their tongues down each other’s throats, either. As we make our way through the throngs of people on the patio, Collin keeps his arm wrapped firmly around my waist, only releasing me once we’ve reached the end of the hallway where the bathrooms are.

Locking myself in the bathroom, I lean against the door and calm my racing heart.


What the hell is wrong with me?

Pushing away from the door, I step up to the sink and rest my hands on the countertop, staring at myself in the mirror. Under normal circumstances, I would blame my flushed cheeks and bright eyes on the tequila. It’s definitely the cause for the slight spinning of the room and my unsteady feet, but the pink on my cheeks and the sparkle in my eyes is all Collin. Every time he touched me tonight I got goose bumps, and just thinking about going back out there and standing next to him makes the hair on my arms stand up. I can’t get over how good he looks, how great he smells and how he still has this kind of affect on me after all this time. Shouldn’t I be holding a grudge that he broke my heart? I don’t care how long ago it was, I let him stick his hand down my pants and he thanked me with a note that said ‘it’s just not working out between us.’

I want to blame my overactive libido on the fact that it’s been months since I had sex and years since I had good sex. It’s hard to get in the mood when you’re constantly angry with your husband. One week without turned into two, two turned into five and soon we were only having sex because I felt guilty for not having sex with the man I was married to. I can’t even remember the last time I had an orgasm that wasn’t assisted by my own fingers or the arsenal of vibrators we bought to spice things up.

Jordan is the one and only man I’ve ever had sex with, but that doesn’t mean I’ve never thought about what it would have been like with someone else—namely, Collin. He’s the only other person I had any kind of sexual experiences with. I really don’t know why I always turned him down, other than the fact that I just didn’t feel ready until I met Jordan. Seeing him tonight has brought all of those thoughts to the surface. I wonder if he kisses the same and if he’d fumble around in my underwear not really knowing what he was doing. I wonder if my brain would be able to shut off long enough to even let him try something or if thoughts of Jordan would interfere, reminding me that, even though our marriage is over, he’s still the only man I’ve ever been with. Sex was always something special and sacred between us. No one ever really believed it when we told them, but I was his first and only, as well, and that was one of the things we were the most proud of. Would I even know what the hell to do with another man if given the chance? And why am I standing here in the bathroom contemplating this right now? I ran into an old high school boyfriend. Just because he’s hot and he seems to be doing everything he can to get close to me tonight doesn’t mean he really wants anything to do with me. He’s probably just waiting for me to throw up on him like I did the last time we drank tequila together.

I am such an idiot.

I’ve been out of the game for far too long. Hell, I was never even really in the game. After Collin, I jumped right into a relationship with Jordan and I eventually married him. With a disgusted shake of my head, I quickly rinse my hands and head back out into the hallway.

I stop short when I see Collin leaning against the wall across from the bathroom with his hands in his pockets. He looked up as soon as I opened the door and now we’re both just standing here staring at each other. I jump when the bathroom door pulls shut behind me with a bang.

“You didn’t have to wait for me. I’m drunk, but I’m pretty sure I can still walk,” I tell him with an uncomfortable laugh as I lean back against the closed door.

He pushes himself off the wall and closes the distance between us in two steps, his arms coming up on either side of my head and caging me in.

“I need to ask you something,” he tells me seriously, his eyes staring down at my lips as he speaks.

My tongue darts out to wet my bottom lip that suddenly became bone dry when he moved in close to me and I hear him groan softly.

“Okay,” I whisper, not really sure if I’m telling him ‘Okay you can ask me a question’ or ‘Okay you can fucking kiss me already.’

Collin moves forward until his hips are pressed up against mine. I keep my hands down by my sides, flattened against the cold steel of the door to try and cool down the heat flowing through my body at his nearness.

“Are you still married?” he asks with a raise of one eyebrow.

Of all the things I thought he’d ask me, this definitely wasn’t one of them. How in the hell does he even know that I was married?

“I’m… I… we’re separated,” I stutter.

I thought saying the words out loud would make my heart hurt, but I still feel nothing. If anything, saying them has lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders and helped to drive home the reality that my marriage is over.

Collin doesn’t say anything for a few minutes, just continues to stare down at me while I watch a muscle tick in his jaw.

Standing this close to him has turned me into an idiot and I feel like if I don’t say something, this silence is going to stretch between us until it’s uncomfortable. I open my mouth to say who-the-hell-knows-what, but before I can utter a word, Collin nods his head slightly and smiles down at me. “Good.”

I start to ask him what’s so good about me being separated when his hands suddenly drop from the door, wrap around my waist and pull me tight against his chest. He halts my gasp of surprise when his lips crash against mine. I immediately open my mouth to him and it’s my turn to groan when I feel his tongue slide into my mouth and tangle with my own. My hands immediately fly up to his head and I slide my fingers through his short, black hair, pulling his mouth harder against mine. In all the years I thought about kissing him again, I pictured it exactly like it was in high school—clashing teeth, sloppy tongues and wiping the drool away from our chins when it was over. This kiss is nothing like that. His lips are firm and his tongue moves boldly as it swirls around mine. He tastes like peppermint and beer as he gently sucks my tongue into his mouth. His hips press harder against me and I slide one of my legs around the back of his thigh until I can feel his erection rubbing against the thin material of my shorts between my legs. His tongue begins to move through my mouth in tune with the motion of his hips against me.




He pushes his tongue deeper and slowly grinds himself between my thighs. He takes his time exploring my mouth and, with each jerk of his hips against me, I can feel myself getting wetter and wetter, the throbbing in my clit growing stronger every time the rough denim of his jeans rubs against my bare thighs and his tongue circles mine. His hands glide down my back to cup my ass and help move my lower body against him. He continues to roll his hips into me as he uses his grip on my ass to slide me up and down over his hardness. I’m moving jerkily against him, not caring how desperate I seem or how needy I sound each time I whimper when I feel another burst of arousal shoot through my core. There isn’t an inch of space between us, our bodies pressed so tightly together that I’m surprised I even have the ability to move against him. My body shakes with the need for release and Collin instinctively knows how close I am to coming, kneading his hands harder into the cheeks of my ass and moving me faster against him. I don’t know how many times we did things like this when we were dating, but it was never this intense and it never had me close to coming this quickly. I can feel my orgasm tingling just beyond my reach…

“Excuse me, I need to use the bathroom.”

A female voice right beside us pulls me out of my hormone-induced stupor and I break off the mind-numbing kiss. When I try to push myself away, Collin tightens his hold on me, maintaining the contact in the lower halves of our bodies as he moves us away from the door. The woman gives us a dirty look before disappearing inside the bathroom.

With as much strength as I can muster in my lust and alcohol fueled high, I bring my hands up to Collin’s chest and push him away. I look down at my feet, trying not to let the embarrassment I’m currently feeling show on my face. I’m suddenly very conscious of the fact that I was dry humping a guy I haven’t spoken to in seventeen years in a public hallway, a guy I kind of thought I hated until I saw him again tonight. Bringing my hands up to my cheeks and holding them there to cover up the redness I know is prominent, I struggle to calm my racing heart as it threatens to burst out of my chest.

Without a word, I turn away from Collin and rush down the hall, pushing my way through the crowd that has doubled in size since we walked to the bathroom. When I get back to the patio, I walk as fast as my high-heeled feet will allow, pull Phina out of D.J.’s arms and tell her we need to leave. She takes one look at my face and scoops up her purse, blowing a kiss to D.J. and giving him a wink before whisking me down the steps of the patio and into the parking lot, where she shoves me into her car and quickly pulls away from the bar.

Wanna know why Phina is my best friend? Please tell me how many women would walk away from a make-out session with a gorgeous fireman without a single protest.

We’re a few miles down the road before she finally breaks the silence.

“You were gone for an awfully long time. Does that have anything to do with your flushed face and the guilty look you’re currently sporting?” she asks, not taking her eyes off of the road.

Letting my head fall back against the seat rest, I close my eyes and bring my fingers up to my lips, the feel of Collin still there and the ache between my legs a reminder of how close to release I was before we were interrupted.

“He kissed me,” I finally admit after a few seconds, turning my head to stare at Phina’s profile.

“Hot damn, he doesn’t waste any time, does he? He totally still has a thing for you.”

I throw her a look of disbelief even though she can’t see it in the dark car. “It’s been seventeen years, Phina. I highly doubt he has any sort of thing for me aside from a case of blue balls at this point in time.”

She laughs and shakes her head at me when she stops at a read light and turns to face me. “Come on, you know he’s regretted breaking up with you every day since he did it.”

“I know nothing of the sort. You’re delusional.”

She cocks her head at me and narrows her eyes. “This is a small town, my dear, and everyone has a mother with a big mouth. I know for a fact that Collin asks about you practically every time he talks to his mother.”

I knew it for a fact, too, mostly because my mother, who had never been Jordan’s biggest fan, mentioned it dozens of times over the years. I never paid it much attention, seeing as I was married and all. Sure, I thought about Collin from time to time, but I didn’t really think we’d ever see each other again and I certainly never expected to be kind of single when it happened. I always figured that when I ran into him again, Jordan would be at my side and we’d be blissfully in love and I could rub it in Collin’s face that the guy who picked up the pieces of the broken heart he left behind turned out to be the love of my life and we were living happily ever after.

Clearly, that is not going to happen.

Everything about tonight has me confused and I know tomorrow will bring a headache that’s equal parts tequila and emotional distress over what I’m fairly sure was the huge mistake I made tonight.

I mean, it was a mistake, right?

This was the first time I’d laid eyes on Collin since graduation and I’m sure it will be another decade and a half before I see him again. We can probably just chalk this up to a lapse in judgment due to an overabundance of alcohol.


Chapter 6—Playing With Fire


It’s done. Jordan has been served the separation papers and my cell phone has been ringing non-stop since it happened. I know I’m being a coward by sending his calls to voicemail, but I really don’t give a shit. He’s had plenty of years to change, plenty of years to be the man I needed him to be.

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