Home > Dirty English (English #1)(13)

Dirty English (English #1)(13)
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills

Had they seen me? I closed my eyes.

How had I gotten myself in this mess?

Because you had to pee , I responded to myself. And because you came to this stupid party.

Praying the chair hid me, I moved in a slow duck crawl toward the hallway and hopefully a toilet.

Black Converse shoes stopped in front of me, and I looked up into the amused eyes of Dax. He peered down at me with a quizzical look. “Enjoying yourself?”

Think fast, Elizabeth.

“Just looking for my contact,” I said, patting the hardwood floor. “It popped out while I was looking for the restroom.”

“Ah. You need some help then? It’s rather dark in here.”

“No, I’m fine.” Pat, pat.

A few ticks went by.

I kept crawling around. Playing cool. Hoping he’d walk away. Praying .

I chanced a look up to see him watching me in amusement.

“Are you sure you don’t need help? That floor is terribly dirty.”

“I don’t mind a little dirt. Improves your immune system. I ate it daily as a toddler.”

He laughed. “Why don’t you just confess you were staring at my brother and Nadia? Besides, I can see straight down your dress when you’re on your hands and knees. I don’t mind the view of your tits but figured you’d want to know.”

Dammit!

“Fine.” I stood up, brushing my dress down. “For your information, I don’t wear contacts. I just happened to be walking by and saw them, and you have to admit, they’re intense. It’s like a soap opera. Obviously I lack social skills and I’m nosey.”

“Indeed.”

His lofty English accent only made my mortification worse.

I buried my face in my hands. “I should never have come to this party in the first place. I’m way out of my comfort zone, and your brother … well, I tried to flirt—pick him up, to be honest—and it blew up in my face.”

“You fancy my brother?” His tone was surprised.

I peeked through my fingers. “And by fancy you mean like?”

He smirked. “As you Americans like to say, duh .”

I bit my lip. “I barely know him.”

Dax looked over my shoulder, eyes narrowed. “He’s coming out now. Let’s pretend to be madly in love.”

“What?” He was crazier than I was.

He sent me a long look. “Let’s give him something to think about … make him jealous. Kiss me.”

I held my hands up to ward him off. “I don’t kiss guys with liquor on their breath—and probably a venereal disease.”

He clutched his chest like I’d broken his heart. “Oh, you’re funny, but trust me on this. Declan likes you . I saw how he was talking to you. Kiss me, love, just do it.” His voice was insistent.

Alarm bells went off. I clenched my fists.

“ No .”

But he wasn’t listening.

He gathered me in his arms, his strong arms cupping my shoulders and pulling me closer. He pressed his lips to mine, his hips maneuvering me against the wall behind me.

The smell of alcohol on his breath slammed into me.

My stomach lurched. Memories hit.

The sharp sting of vodka.

My dress torn around my body.

The slice of razor on my wrists.

I shuddered, bile crawling in my gut.

Dax lifted his lips from mine and stared down at me. Confusion dawned on his face. “Elizabeth? You’ve gone white as a sheet.”

His voice came from a distance, and I shook my head, shoving him to get away from me. Inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth. Just breathe . I dug down deep, reaching for that part of myself I knew was strong. A survivor.

I’d had years of counseling. I knew how to handle a freak-out.

He touched my arm, and I flinched, my palm flashing out to strike him hard across the cheek, the sound reverberating in the quietness of the hallway.

He cupped his cheek and stared at me with a stunned expression. “That is not how I saw this ending. Bugger, I had no clue you weren’t into me.” He put his hands on my shoulders with a light touch. “You okay?”

“Get away from me,” I hissed and shoved at his broad shoulders. He released me, and I leaned against the wall, my hands digging into the paneling to stay standing up.

Suddenly strong hands were pushing Dax even further away.

Declan stood between us, his face dark and angry. His silvery eyes swept over me then focused back on Dax, a muscle twitching in his jaw. “What’s going on here? What’s wrong with Elizabeth?”

“It’s fine,” I whispered. It wasn’t.

Declan swiveled his eyes back to Dax, who held his hands up. “I went in for a kiss, and she wasn’t excited. That’s it.”

His eyes flared as he shoved Dax away from him. “Don’t be such a prick, Dax.”

Dax flushed a deep red as he glared back at Declan. He exhaled and fixed his gaze to me, a contrite look on his handsome face. “Look, I’m truly, truly sorry. I didn’t know kissing me would make you want to barf. I just wanted to be able to tell Declan I’d kissed you first. We have this thing where we take bets on who can get a girl … Sorry, you probably don’t want to hear that right now.”

I wasn’t even listening to him, focusing instead on breathing.

Declan touched my hand. “You okay?”

Okay?

Hundreds of miles and years away from Colby and that hotel room, yet it haunted me. Shame beat me with her whips. I hadn’t had a reaction like this in months, mostly because I kept my environment in strict control.

   
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