Authors: Megan Hart
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Simone took Elliott to the place she thought he’d like the least. Loud music, black light, goth decor. Guys in eyeliner, girls in latex dresses. Expensive liquor. Honestly, it wasn’t one of Simone’s favorite places even when she’d been younger and more into this scene, but she could fit in here if she tried. She’d layered her eyes with thick, black shadow and painted her mouth the color of fresh blood. Spiked her hair. The transformation had taken only a few minutes, and she’d looked at Elliott’s face carefully when she came out of the office lobby restroom, watching to see his reaction.
He hadn’t looked scared.
She couldn’t get a read on him, but at least she could tell that much. Now, sipping from a bottle of beer while he drank whiskey on the rocks, Simone studied him. He hadn’t so much as loosened his tie. “Wanna dance?”
Elliott looked like he was at least considering the idea before he slowly shook his head. He lifted his glass toward her. “You go ahead.”
Simone rolled her eyes and tipped her bottle at him, mirroring what he’d done. “You’re in a dance club. But you’re not going to dance?”
She took a long pull on the beer and set the bottle on the small highboy table an arm’s length away. “Scared?”
Elliott looked surprised. Then he laughed, cutting his gaze from hers. It was a surprisingly endearing look on him, that hesitant humor.
“No,” he said. “Should I be?”
Simone grinned. “I’m a really good dancer. Maybe you can’t keep up.”
“Maybe.” Elliott finished off the whiskey and signaled to the bartender for another.
“Maybe,” Simone said, leaning closer, “you just like to watch.”
Elliott took the glass from the bartender and slid a ten-dollar bill across the bar without looking at her. He drank before giving her his gaze. There was a smile there, too. Not shy. She still couldn’t read him, which intrigued and irritated her. Usually she was better at figuring out the machinations of men. But though she’d seen Elliott in a lot of intimate positions, she had to admit that she really didn’t know him at all. He tipped his head toward the dance floor like he was offering her a challenge and took another slow, deliberate drink.
Simone hadn’t come here to stand around at the bar all night, that was for sure. Why exactly she
come here, she didn’t want to think about. Didn’t want to give that much power to her emotional reaction to what Aidan had told her. So now she leaned in close enough to smell Elliott’s musky soap scent and feel the heat of his skin on her cheek.
“When you want me, you’ll know where to find me.”
Her lips brushed his cheek so close to his mouth that all it would take was him saying a single word for that touch to become a kiss, but Elliott didn’t answer. Simone didn’t wait. With a laugh, she pushed away from him and, looking over her shoulder just once, moved through the crowd to hit the dance floor.
It was lower than the rest of the club and surrounded by metal railings, making it possible for observers to lean and watch without getting in the way of the dancing. Having an audience had never been Simone’s thing. Voyeur, not exhibitionist. Still, knowing that Elliott was indeed watching her had set her heart to beating just a little faster.
She loved the song that came on as she hit the dance floor. A steady, grinding industrial beat. Sexy lyrics. It was music made for fucking, and what was dancing but fucking with your clothes on? At least if you were doing it right, she thought with a grin as she gave another glance over her shoulder to see that Elliott had taken up a spot along the railing. His hands gripped the metal. How had she not noticed how big they were?
Then, she was dancing.
With herself at first, though after a minute the girl next to her turned to shimmy and shake, easing closer. Simone matched the other woman’s moves. She wasn’t into girls, as a rule, though she could appreciate a beautiful female body and she’d experimented a time or two with the making-out thing. This girl wasn’t trying to come on to her. She was a reverse image of Simone, almost ridiculously so, like a photographic negative. Short, white-blonde hair, but deeply tanned skin. Dark eyes. Pale mouth. Even her clothes, covered in sequins and glitter, were the opposite of Simone’s tailored shirt and skirt.
They turned heads when they picked up a coordinated set of steps. The other woman grinned, tossing her blonde hair and shaking her ass. Simone, laughing, matched it.
And this, this was what she loved. Losing herself in the music. Not giving a single tiny fuck about how she looked or what anyone thought. Letting it all out, getting loose, it didn’t matter if she made a fool of herself or seduced an army, all that mattered was giving in to the need to move her body.
The song changed, and with a little bow the other woman danced away, leaving an empty space that was filled immediately by a tall man with a fringy Mohawk and amazing biceps revealed by his black tank top. Splashed in white across the front of it was a rabbit with a skull face and the name of a band Simone had heard of but never listened to. In the black light overhead, his teeth gleamed very bright.
He didn’t grab her—that would have earned him a not-so-accidental kick to the shins or a jab to the side. Instead, he held out a hand almost formally, like an old-fashioned gentleman asking a lady for a waltz. The gesture was incongruous in this crowd of jerking, twisting, and grinding dancers, but it worked. Simone took his hand and let him twirl her. Again, the music changed, one song blurring into the next, and they both moved with it at the same time.
His lips moved, speaking words she couldn’t hear and didn’t care to interpret. Shaking her head, Simone indicated that she couldn’t understand him. With his hand still in hers, he tugged, bringing his mouth closer to her ear so she could hear his question.
“What’s your name?”
It was her usual practice never to give her real name to men she met in bars, but this time Simone didn’t even have to come up with the standard answer of “Mary” or “Susan.” Before she could say a word, a big hand had gripped the tall guy’s shoulder, half turning him. Elliott, with a smile that was all teeth, didn’t have to say a word. All he did was jerk his chin to the side, and the tall guy gave Simone a sheepish grimace and ducked out of the way.
“Thought you didn’t dance,” she shouted over the beat and throb of the music as Elliott pulled her into his arms.
She’d expected a bob and weave. Maybe even a grinding pelvis against her, that was common enough. She ought to have known better from Elliott Anderson.
That man could dance.
One hand on her waist, the other taking her free hand, he led her into a pseudo jitterbug/waltz combination that kept them spinning until the other people on the dance floor cleared the way. Simone hadn’t done any formal dancing in years, though once upon a time she’d taken lessons every week. Elliott, however, knew how to lead, so that even a woman who hadn’t had any dance training might’ve been able to keep up with him—but he took it one better when he saw that Simone knew the steps. He raised his brows at her after a slightly more complicated combination of steps, and Simone, grinning, heart pounding, nodded.
“Let’s go,” she cried.
That’s when Elliott really began to dance.
He didn’t lead her into anything showy for the sake of it. Every step, every move, built one upon the other so that even as the music changed—was the DJ watching them? Catering to them? Simone began to anticipate what Elliott would do next. Their eyes met and held, and the subtle press and release of his hand on her waist or the grip of his fingers against hers told her where to go. How to move. And she let him lead, laughing into breathlessness as he twirled her around and then brought her right up next to his body with both hands on her waist.
The crowd had circled in on them again, the music changing now that they were no longer showing off. Elliott slid his thigh between hers, rocking her against him. His hands slid lower to grip her ass. He looked down at her, eyes narrowed, without a smile.
Simone linked her hands behind his neck, tipping her face to his. She was far from drunk but felt loose and giddy with the dancing. With his body against hers. “You’re a good dancer.”
“Yeah,” Elliott said. “I know.”
No more room now to move, not really, with people bouncing and thrusting and twisting all around them. The crowd had become a massive living thing, taking up all the air. Elliott shifted when someone bumped into them, then put an arm around her to keep her from getting knocked over by a shit-faced girl wobbling on a pair of ankle-breaker stillettos.
“Let’s get out of here,” Elliott said into her ear so he didn’t have to shout, and Simone followed.
* * *
He hadn’t meant to go anywhere with her. Simone had cornered him in the lobby, and what could he say but that he’d been weak. Too long without a woman, too long without release, and Simone had a way about her that Elliott simply could not seem to shake.
Since that first meeting, he hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her. The way she moved. The flavor of her mouth. And most of all, the way she reacted to him taking her flesh in his teeth. Pulling her hair. Other women squirmed or cringed, some even scolded or shouted or cried.
Simone had pushed into those hard caresses. Embraced them. There’d been a reason why he dated women who didn’t like the dark and secret part of him Elliott tried to keep hidden. It was easier to pretend he didn’t want to pinch and bite, to leave his mark on sleek, soft skin. To hear a woman cry out in pain as much as pleasure. It was easier to push all of that aside, to tell himself a life lived without being entirely satisfied was the way it worked for most people.
He hadn’t meant to go anywhere with Simone ever again, but he’d let her take him dancing. He hadn’t meant to dance with her either, but the years of lessons with Molly had paid off in a way he’d never have anticipated. He and Simone had moved together like she could read his mind, and for that time, those three or five minutes, he’d felt something he hadn’t experienced in so long that he wasn’t sure he ever had.
So here he was in the living room of Simone’s small and cluttered apartment, watching her pour him a glass of whiskey from a bottle she’d taken from what looked like an antique tea cart in the corner. The glass she handed him was equally vintage. Not antique. Just old. He hoped it was clean.
“I should leave,” he told her.
“You don’t want to leave.” She tossed the words at him over her shoulder, giving him a sly smile that should’ve infuriated him but instead worked some sort of magic on his cock. “If you really wanted to leave, you’d never have agreed to come home with me in the first place.”
He watched her slip out of her shoes and toss them without ceremony in the corner. She ran a hand upward along the back of her sweat damp hair, spiking it. She’d poured herself a glass of ice water in an insulated cup and now she sucked gently on the straw.
“You’re not drinking?” He asked.
“I know my limits.” Simone leaned against the counter separating her kitchen from the living room.
Elliott knew his, too. He drained the glass and walked it to the sink, where he rinsed it and put it in the drainer on the counter. When he turned, she was still watching him.
“I’m going to go,” he said. “It’s late.”
“Why’d you dance with me?”
This stopped him.
She put her cup down. Moved toward him on silent feet. She was so tiny he could almost span her waist with his hands. He could certainly circle her throat with one of them.