Sean and Emily have an instant, undeniable chemistry that's hot enough to... Well, I'll just let you read their first encounter and find out for yourself!
Here's the couple the first time they meet. Enjoy!
Emily laughed as the Lone Ranger dipped Trish on the dance floor and nearly dropped her on her head. The bartender wasn’t stingy with the alcohol, and after the shot of tequila and her second gin and tonic, her head spun in a delightful way. She pushed the glass away. Any more, and it might affect her judgment. She was on a mission. But not just any guy would do. If she was going to kiss a stranger tonight, she wanted to feel something.
Passion. Her life had been devoid of that emotion for nearly a year. Of course, she was mostly to blame for the downward spiral her last relationship had fallen into, but she could change. Trish only asked for a kiss. Emily would one-up her friend and make sure the kiss made her burn.
She scanned the ballroom. Plenty of men appeared attractive, but the costumes and masks made it hard to be sure. Captain Jack Sparrow looked cute, and she’d always had a thing for pirates. But he’d blackened his teeth to go with the costume, and the thought of kissing that made her skin crawl. A wolf-man character looked big and muscly, but she couldn’t tell if the blanket of hair peeking out of his shirt was real or part of the costume. This was going to be harder than she thought.
She picked up her drink and downed the contents as a man in all black approached her. He wore knee-high boots and black pants that hugged his muscular thighs. His Renaissance-style shirt revealed a smooth, sinewy chest, and a long sword sat sheathed at his hip.
So far, so good.
A black cloth wrapped around his dark eyes acted as a mask, and another cloth covered his head, concealing his hair. Her gaze traveled up and down his body, and when she met his eyes, he smiled.
Her pulse quickened. She could definitely burn for this guy.
He sauntered toward her with a cocky gait—completely in character—and his playful grin and full, kissable lips sent her stomach flipping.
“What’s the Queen of Hearts doing all alone at a party like this?”
Emily sat up straighter. “I could ask the same question of you, Dread Pirate Roberts. Where is your Buttercup?”
“I’m currently interviewing for the position. Would you like to apply?” His devilish grin widened; her heart pounded harder.
“And how many applicants would I be competing with? It must be a coveted position.”
He chuckled. “So far tonight, ma’am, you’re the only candidate.” He cleared his throat and whisked her glass from the table. “Your drink is empty, and that’s a shame. Let me get you another one.” He examined what was left of the contents. “Gin and tonic?”
“I’ll be right back.”
He strode to the bar, and she got a view of his backside as he moved. Nice. Everything about the man was scrumptious. She inhaled a deep breath to calm the swarm of butterflies in her stomach. What on earth was she thinking agreeing to a dare like this? She didn’t go around kissing strangers.
“One gin and tonic for the beautiful queen.” He slipped into the chair next to her and set the drink on the table.
“Thank you.” She could do this. It was just a kiss, and he was just a man. An incredibly sexy pirate tonight.
He leaned an elbow on the table. “You know, you’re the first person who’s gotten my costume right.”
“Really? The Princess Bride is a classic. I can’t believe people don’t recognize you.”
“I know. It’s one of my favorites.”
“And you look so authentic. You’ve got the mustache and everything. Is it real?”
He smoothed the thin strip of hair above his lip. “Of course. But everyone thinks I’m—”
“Nailed it. By the way, my name is—”
“Westley.” She stirred her drink and swallowed before raising her gaze to his. “Your name is Westley tonight.”
“Oh, we’re being mysterious?”
She shrugged. It was better if she didn’t know his name. Trish was right: she didn’t need to attach herself to the first man she met. And this guy was way too magnetic.
He smiled. “I get it. It’s a masquerade. We can reveal our identities at the stroke of midnight.”
She tilted her head. If she was still talking to him at midnight, she’d be in trouble.
“Okay. Westley, it is. Can I call you Buttercup?”
Covering the tip of the straw with her finger, she brought the other end to her lips and released the contents into her mouth. “I’ll let you know.”
He laughed and downed the rest of his drink. “I promised our hostess I would dance with the first woman who didn’t call me Zorro.” Standing, he offered her his hand. “Would you care to join me on the dance floor, my queen?”
“I would be delighted.” She took his hand and let him lead her to the center of the floor. The band played Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are,” and Westley pulled her close. Though their bodies didn’t touch, an inexplicable magnetism held her. His masculine scent, the warmth radiating from his skin—she couldn’t have pulled away if she’d wanted to.
One hand on her hip, his left hand cradling her right, he led her around the floor with the grace of a professional. His strong arms guided her into moves she didn’t know she had in her dance repertoire. He spun her, releasing his hold to twirl her under his arm and pull her back into a firm embrace.
She gazed into his eyes, unable to quell the butterflies flitting their way into her chest. “Wow. You’re an amazing dancer.”
His cocky grin returned as he twirled her. “All those years of cotillion finally paid off.”
“Dance and etiquette classes my mom forced me to take as a kid. I hated every second of it.”
“No regrets at all.” He gave her one final spin and dipped her so low, her head nearly touched the ground. As he brought her back up, she stumbled into him, and he caught her in his arms. “You okay?”
“Yeah. I think it’s the alcohol. I’m not usually this clumsy.”
His gaze lingered on hers, and though she was steady on her feet, he still held her close. The feel of his firm body pressed to hers sent warmth flooding through her limbs, and as he started to let her go, she held on tighter.
“I love this song. Can we dance again?”
A slow smile curved his lips. “As you wish.” He kissed the fingers of her right hand then traced his thumb across the tiny butterfly adorning the inside of her wrist. “That’s a nice tattoo. What does it mean?”
Instinctively, she wanted to jerk her hand away, but she forced herself to hold contact. “It means I like butterflies.”
“I like them too.”
Her heart fluttered as he slid his hands to the small of her back and held her with firm yet gentle pressure. Cheek to cheek, she clutched his shoulders and tried to slow her breathing. His woodsy scent filled her senses, making her head spin, and as the slow, sultry music played on, she melted into his embrace.
She lost track of how many songs ended, how many new ones began as they held each other on the dance floor, softly swaying to the rhythm. She could’ve held on to this mysterious man all night. His strong arms. His intoxicating scent. The way his breath tickled her ear when he turned toward her.
He slid his hands up and down her back, his gentle touch raising goose bumps on her arms. His heart pounded against her breast as she glided her hands across his shoulders to cup the back of his neck. It was time. She was going to kiss him.
Her cheek brushed against his masculine stubble as she pulled away to look in his dark brown eyes. He inhaled deeply, dropping his gaze to her mouth. Her eyes fluttered shut as he leaned in. Something vibrated against her hip, and she opened her eyes. His gaze lingered on her lips.
“Your pants are vibrating.”
He chuckled. “They can leave a message.”
“It might be important.”
He pressed his forehead to hers and slid his hand up her neck, into her hair. “Nothing is as important as dancing with the most beautiful Queen of Hearts I have ever seen.”
Heat flushed her cheeks. “I’m sure you say that to all the ladies.”
“I can assure you I don’t.” He twirled her around the dance floor and stopped close to the edge.
Emily wasn’t the type to swoon, but something about Westley made her knees weak. “You really are a fantastic dancer.”
“It’s all part of my diabolical plan.”
He smiled. “To keep you here until midnight, when the masks come off, and the identity of the most beautiful woman in New Orleans is revealed.”
Her heart slammed into her throat. She wanted to know this man. More than his identity, she wanted to know him. But she couldn’t. Trish was right. She shouldn’t latch on to the first hot guy she met.
She needed to kiss him and walk away.
His phone vibrated in his pocket again, and he let out a disappointed grunt.
“You should answer that. It’s probably important if they’re calling again.” She released her hold on his shoulders, but he tightened his grip around her waist.
“You’re not getting away so easily.” He fished the phone out of his pocket. Checking the screen, he sighed and pressed the device to his ear. “This had better be important, Jason.”
He closed his eyes and listened. “You have got to be kidding me. Did you call Syd?” He stroked his fingers down her cheek and mouthed the word sorry. “How many over are we? Twenty-five? No, I’ll be there in fifteen… Yeah. On my way.”
He mashed the screen with his thumb to end the call and shoved the phone into his pocket. Wrapping his arms around her, he pulled her into a tight embrace and pressed his lips to her ear. “I have to go.”
She fought the shiver running down her spine. “I figured as much.”
“Can I see you again?”
She bit her lip to keep from saying yes. “Tonight, for me, was about learning to live again. To enjoy life, and I’ve enjoyed every second I’ve spent with you. But this is all I’m able to give right now.”
He pulled back, disappointment evident in his eyes. “How about this? I’ll give you my number, and if you ever decide you have a little more to give—and I’m not asking for much…just a little of your time—then you can call me.”
The temptation overwhelmed her. She couldn’t form an appropriate answer, so she did the only thing she could.
She crushed her mouth to his.
A deep groan rumbled in his throat as he parted his soft lips to let her in. He tasted sweet, like honey laced with warm whiskey, and when his tongue brushed against hers, fire shot through her veins. He tightened his arms around her, and she allowed herself to get lost in his embrace. They were the only two people in the world, and being in his arms was all that mattered. The kiss slowed to a gentle brush of the lips, and she had to get away before she gave in.
She took a step back and rested her hand on his cheek. “Thank you, Westley, for a lovely evening I will never forget.”
His gaze was heavy and filled with longing. “Can I at least know your name?”
“My name is…” She shouldn’t. The moment with Westley was ending, and sharing names would only quell the mystery. She stepped toward him and placed a soft kiss on his cheek.
“Call me Buttercup.”
He chuckled and lowered his chest into a formal bow, his heated gaze never straying from her eyes. “As you wish.” He lingered for a moment as if hoping she’d change her mind.
“Farewell, Buttercup.” He nodded and walked away.
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