Jason and Remi want the same thing--no-strings-attached, screw-their-brains-out, burn-the-sheets-up fun. Pro hockey player Jason just broke up with his girlfriend because she got too serious. Schoolteacher Remi just saw the last of the younger siblings she raised leave the nest. Jace isn't ready for responsibility. Remi's had enough responsibility. They're perfect playmates.
But fun and sexy games get complicated when emotions get involved. Then responsibility and commitment crash the party when Jason's past comes back to haunt him. Like it or not, Jason and Remi both have to figure out what they really want.
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
March 17, 2011
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Excerpt from Breakaway by Kelly Jamieson
"It's a classic case of empty nest syndrome."
Remi frowned at her best friend. "How can it be empty nest syndrome when I'm not even a parent?"
Delise waved a hand. "It's the same thing. You've been raising those two kids for the last five years. No, actually you've been raising those kids since they were born. Your parents were hardly ever around. So it totally makes sense that you would feel depressed now that they've moved out."
"I'm not depressed." Remi slumped lower into the soft cushions of her couch.
Delise laughed and patted Remi's knee. "Yes, you are. And you're making the rest of us miserable too. Emily told us you stopped by her place to make sure she was okay the other day and interrupted her and Caleb..."
Remi pursed her lips and folded her arms across her chest. "She was sick."
"That was a week ago."
"I was worried about her."
"She's an adult."
Remi regarded her friend glumly. "I know."
"You just want someone to take care of. I know, hon. And you can't keep dropping in on Jasmine and Ethan."
Remi's stomach tightened. "I've only visited them a few times."
"She just moved out a couple of weeks ago."
"You know I'm worried about her. I think she's making a big mistake moving in with Ethan." Remi pressed a hand to her fluttery stomach.
"She's a big girl. She has to make her own mistakes."
"I know, but..."
"I know what you think of her jerk-off boyfriend," Delise said. "But she loves him. If they want to live together, fine. She's twenty-one years old."
Remi nodded "But..."
"You're just such a mother hen, you can't help but worry about them." Delise patted Remi's knee again and Remi scowled. Was she being that much of a pain in the butt to her friends?
Sure, she'd been a little bit at loose ends since her brother and sister had moved out. Kyle had started college this year and Jasmine had just moved in with her boyfriend. She just had to adjust to things. Then she sighed. The truth was, she did feel lost and alone. Her whole life had been looking after her younger siblings and without them there always needing something, she almost felt like she didn't really exist any more. But she'd been trying to keep busy with work and after school projects and...pestering her friends. She gave Delise a crooked smile. "I'm sorry."
"Don't apologize! We love you. We just hate seeing you so blue. Some day you're going to be a great mother."
Yeah, right. With no man in her life, motherhood seemed a sadly far-fetched dream.
"But right now," Delise continued, "You're young and single and now totally free. You should be out having fun!"
Delise grinned and stood. "Which is why we're all going out tonight. You, me, Emily and Sarah."
"We are. And I brought over something to get us started." She walked out of the living room and Remi rose too and trailed her friend into the kitchen. Delise opened the refrigerator with easy familiarity and pulled out a bottle of champagne.
Remi's eyes widened. "Where did that come from?"
Delise grinned, eyes dancing behind her funky eyeglasses. "I sneaked it in." She peeled away foil and untwisted the wire cage, then pointed the bottle away from Remi as she eased the cork out. A satisfying pop and a whisp of smoke and the champagne fizzed out. "It's time to celebrate, girl! You can finally have a life of your own! Glasses?"
Remi blinked, then moved automatically to the cupboard where the champagne flutes were. Champagne? What was she celebrating? Her little brother was barely making it through his freshman year of college and her younger sister had just moved in with a man she'd suspected more than once of cheating on her. Remi was pretty sure he had. The scumbag.
"I don't exactly feel like celebrating," she said glumly as she held out the glasses.
"Oh, come on! I know you're worried about Jasmine, but you have to let go! You just need to change your attitude!"
"I'm living alone for the first time in my life." It hit her then that she did in fact live alone. All alone. No more kids to worry about, to bail out of scrapes, to sacrifice sleep and money and a life of her own for.
Well, until they came running back out of money, broken-hearted or in trouble of some kind.
"But that can be a good thing! Just think--you're free now to do whatever you want! Whenever you want." Delise poured champagne carelessly and it frothed over the top and ran over Remi's fingers in cold foamy rivulets.
Delise was right. She did need to let go. But she couldn't get rid of the worry that Jasmine was going to get hurt or that Kyle was going to flunk out of college and spend the rest of his life working at Burger King.
"I'll try," she said and clinked her glass against Delise's. The sparkling bubbles nipped at Remi's nose and throat as she drank and she laughed.
"So. Where should we go tonight?" Delise picked up the bottle to refill the glasses.
"I don't know." It had been a while since she'd been out with her girlfriends. A long while.
"We'll go to Rouge," Delise said, answering her own question. "It's the hottest, most happening place in town. And you're going to find the best looking guy there, pick him up and bring him home for head-banging, screaming sex. And it won't matter--because you live alone now!"
Remi laughed at the outrageous plans. Like that'd ever happen! But she supposed she was willing to go out. It would probably be good for her, to keep the worry about Kyle's marks and Jasmine's cheating boyfriend at bay.
"Okay!" She forced a smile, drained her glass and held it out for more.
"I'll call Emily and Sarah and tell them where we're going. They said they'd meet us there."
"Wow. You guys have this all planned."
Delise shrugged, mouth curved into a smug smile. She tossed her long spirally auburn hair back over her shoulder. "I had to. If I left it up to you, you'd stay home marking papers or something. On a Saturday night!"
Remi grimaced. Yeah, that was usually what she did on Saturday nights. Or pretty much any night lately. "You're so right," she said with a sigh. "My life is boring. I need to have some fun."
"True that." Delise toasted her again. "Let's go find your sexiest outfit for you to wear tonight."
"Uh. That might be a problem. I don't exactly have a sexy wardrobe."
"Hmm." Delise tapped her index finger against her lips. "Okay, then--let's go shopping!"
"I can't go shopping!" Remi glanced at her watch. "It's nearly dinner time..."
"Remi. You don't have to cook dinner for anyone. Time doesn't matter. The stores are open for two more hours. Let's go!"
Remi stared at her friend, fighting her reflexive resistance to anything spontaneous and carefree. A lifetime of being responsible, of being the dependable older sister, the mature, reliable one everyone counted on, had worn grooves in her that were too deep to disappear in an hour. A day. Maybe ever!
She drew in a long deep breath and straightened her shoulders. "Okay. Let's go shopping."
Pulsing techno music wrapped around Remi and Delise as they descended a long red-carpeted staircase into the dark nightclub. Ornate lanterns on red walls provided discreet light and mirrored columns reflected it back around the room, creating light and shadow, glitter and darkness. Remi and Delise walked into the front area of the club where well-dressed patrons crowded around a long glass and stainless-steel bar. Emily and Sarah waved from a small table near the back, which led to a second level where more gorgeous people lounged on red leather banquettes.
When Sarah looked up at Remi, her jaw went slack. "Remi! Holy cow!"
Emily's reaction was similar. "You look incredible!" She studied Remi's gold sparkly camisole top, short black skirt and stiletto heels. "Where'd you get that outfit?"
"Diva." Remi looked down at herself and bit her lip, wishing she could slouch down into her seat. The low-cut top revealed generous cleavage--not that she had that much cleavage, but the mega-push up bra Delise had talked her into was doing a fine job. She tugged at the short skirt and shifted in her chair.
"Doesn't she look hot?" Delise demanded with a satisfied smile.
Delise dropped her small purse on the table. "We went shopping. I helped pick it out."
"Good job, Delise," Emily said.
"I thought it would help with the uh...shift in mindset."
Emily and Sarah grinned.
"So here we are, four single girls out for a night of fun. Now that Remi lives alone, she can do whatever she wants, whenever she wants, with whoever she wants, and that starts tonight! We're going to find her a hot guy to have some fun with."
"No, we're not," Remi said, her cheeks burning. She picked up a small plastic drinks menu. "What're you two having?"
"Mojitos," Emily answered. "Yum."
"Sounds good to me." Remi dropped the card and discreetly pulled at the bodice of her top.
"Stop it!" Delise gave her hand a smack. "You look great! Stop fidgeting. You'll just draw more attention to yourself."
Remi blinked and dropped her hands to her lap. Delise was right. She needed to act like she dressed this way all the time. Another quick glance assured her nothing inappropriate was being revealed and she sat up straight.
A waitress appeared to take their order. When she'd left, Delise turned in her chair to scan the crowd, moving to the throbbing music. Flashing red lights lit the dance floor, shifting with dancing bodies. On a catwalk, three gorgeous girls in tiny shorts and bikini tops swung their long hair in sexy choreography. Remi couldn't take her eyes off them. They were so fit, so confident in their beautiful bodies, so graceful.
"That guy over there," Delise said in Remi's ear. Remi dragged her gaze away from the dancers to a group of three men standing at the bar. All three of them were good-looking, clean cut, nicely dressed. She shrugged.
"I'll go invite them over," Delise said and rose from her chair. Remi grabbed her arm.
"No! Don't be crazy!"
"Why not?" Delise shook her hand off and smiled down at her. "Relax, Remi. It's okay to talk to men."
Remi rolled her eyes. It wasn't as if she was a twenty-eight year old virgin, for god's sake. She'd had boyfriends, relationships...but picking up guys in bars was not her style.
"Fine," she sighed. "Go ahead."
She tapped her foot to the music while she awaited her drink, studiously avoiding watching Delise approach the men. Sure enough, all three followed her back to the table and a search for extra chairs ensued. Soon Remi sat sandwiched between two men.
She pulled her shoulders in and reached for the drink the waitress set in front of her. Lord.
"Hi," the guy on her right said. "I'm Elton."
"Remi." She smiled at him. His gaze dipped to her chest. Her lips tightened.
"Nice to meet you, Remi," he said, still looking at her cleavage. She sighed.
"I'm Dave," the man on her left said. "This is Tiger."
Remi blinked. Tiger?
The girls all introduced themselves and Remi sucked back her tangy cocktail. The lime puckered the inside of her mouth, but it was cold and wet and she was feeling very warm, despite the scant fabric of her new top.
"We're celebrating tonight," Delise announced to the men.
"Oh, yeah? What?"
"Remi's new life."
Remi wanted to slide under the table. She forced a tight laugh. "It's not really a new life," she explained. "My sister moved out recently and now I live alone."
That didn't even begin to explain the huge change that had just occurred in her life, but whatever. She didn't need to share every detail with strangers.
"Cool," Elton said. He leered at her. "Party at your place tonight, huh?"
She rolled her bottom lip in and seared Delise with a look. She was so dead after this. Delise grinned.
Remi tried to make conversation with Elton and Dave. She really did. But all Dave wanted to talk about was the stock market, which she knew next to nothing about, and all Elton was interested in was staring at her boobs.
Remi ordered another drink along with everyone else. The music grew louder, the dancing more frenzied.
"Wanna dance?" Elton invited.
"No thanks." She smiled politely.
"Aw, come on." He stood and tugged her hand. She tried to resist, but his grip was tight and rather than make a scene, she let him lead her onto the dance floor.
Oh dear lord, what a mistake. Elton danced like he was doing the funky chicken, elbows up and out, flapping like wings, feet shifting erratically. Her face burned as she cast glances at the other patrons on the dance floor. Nobody paid any attention to them, wrapped up in their own dancing or wrapped up in their partners' arms.
Remi smiled brightly at Elton, waiting for the song to end. When it did, she stood on tiptoes. "I'm going to the ladies' room!" she said into his ear. He nodded and she quickly exited the dance floor.
She passed the catwalk where the go go dancers shook their booties. A group of men at the end of the catwalk watched them with smiles on their faces. Remi spared a glance and then a second glance at the group of big, good-looking and uh...big men. The five of them created quite a sight, with their massive shoulders, expensive-looking suits and neat haircuts.
She returned to the table moments later to find only Elton sitting there.
"The others are dancing," he said. "Wanna go dance again?"
"No thanks." She smiled and picked up her drink.
They sat there for a moment, Remi trying to think of something to say, and then Elton stood and said, "Excuse me. I see someone I know."
He disappeared into the crowd around the bar and Remi sighed. She didn't know what was worse, sitting there with a man she had absolutely no interest in--or sitting there alone. Painfully alone.
She dipped her straw in and out of the cocktail, studying the people. In her sexy new clothes, she definitely wasn't out of place. Many girls wore similar outfits. Rouge was the hottest bar in Chicago, an upscale place to see and be seen.
When the others returned to the table, breathless and laughing, Delise said, "Where's Elton?"
"He went to talk to someone," Remi said. A frown creased Delise's forehead.
"Well," she said, head swiveling one way, then the other. "We'll have to find someone else for you."
"It's okay, Delise!"
"No, it's not." Delise pouted. "We're finding a hot guy for you tonight if it's the last thing we do."
"I'll find my own guy!"
Delise rolled her eyes. "No, you won't."
"I will, I promise. I'll...go for a walk. Right now." She stood. "After I get another drink."
Delise shook her head, but subsided back into her seat. "Fine."
Remi could tell Delise didn't believe she would try to pick up a guy. She knew her too well. She grinned as she squeezed between some bodies at the bar to order another mojito.
Drink in hand, she twisted and turned through the crowd, surrounded by warm bodies and mingled scents of Armani, Chanel and Prada. She glanced back at the table and saw Delise watching her with narrowed eyes and raised chin. She couldn't help but be amused by her friend's determination, even though she wanted to shake her head. She waved a hand at Delise and moved on through the crowd.
Near the catwalk she paused again to watch the dancers, admiring their defined abs, long lean thighs and sexy moves. Then she spotted Delise coming toward her. Remi's eyes flicked around and she saw that group of stunningly gorgeous guys still there, laughing, each of them holding a beer. She moved toward them.
What was she going to say? This was crazy.
She paused beside the men, and put a hand on the forearm of the one closest to her. He looked down at her--waaaay down. He had to be six foot three at least, and considering she was five foot three--okay, a few inches taller than that in her new heels, but still--he was in another layer of the atmosphere. He lifted a brow.
"Excuse me," Remi said, heat sweeping from her collarbones up over her throat and into her face. "Can you do me a really big favor?"
Jason looked down at the tiny little blonde standing there with her hand on his arm. Was she even old enough to be in the bar? Amusement tickled inside him. He was used to girls hitting on him, went with the territory, but this little pipsqueak teeny-bopper blonde was hands-off material. Not even close to his type, anyway.
"Favor?" he said.
She nodded, smiled with pretty white teeth and tipped her head. "My friend is determined to fix me up with someone. If you'd just talk to me for a few minutes, maybe she'll leave me alone."
"Talk?" His lips quirked. "You want to talk?"
"Well." She licked her lips and blinked rapidly. "Whatever. Just fake it. You know." Her eyes darted to the side, then back. She gave him a bright smile.
She was kinda cute, in a Reese Witherspoon sort of way. Heart-shaped face, small mouth, big eyes. Her chin-length blonde hair flipped out at the ends and long bangs grazed her eyelashes.
She pressed her lips together and gazed up at him and those big eyes were like turquoise pools, liquid and shiny. He couldn't help but smile. It was a new pick-up line, one he hadn't heard, but he didn't have it in him to tell her to take a hike. He turned toward her and bent his head. She was so little, he'd have to crouch to talk to her. "Sure," he said. "Let's talk."
He shifted his body so they stood apart from the other guys, who were giving them amused glances. They could think he was hooking up with blondie here, it didn't bother him. He was a free and single man again as of this weekend, free to do whatever he wanted, including pick up little blonde pixies in bars if he wanted to.
Which he didn't. He almost laughed at the thought. But those big blue-green eyes made it kinda hard to say no to her.
Relief shone in her eyes and her smile beamed. "Thanks," she said. She rolled her eyes. "My friend gets an idea in her head and there's no stopping her."
"Why is she so determined to find you a man?"
She gave her head a little shake, then lifted her drink, closing her mouth on the straw in a tiny pursed-lip suck that shot heat straight to his dick. Jesus.
"She's crazy." She laughed. "My little sister moved out...well, it's a long story."
"Go ahead," he said, taking a swallow of his beer. Hell, it was almost done. "Wait. I need another drink. How about you?"
He caught the eye of a pretty waitress dressed in a low cut, skin-tight black dress. She was more his type--tall, athletic build, long dark hair. She hurried over with an inviting smile. "Another of these," he lifted his bottle. "And another..." he looked at uh...hell, he didn't even know her name.
"Mojito," she said.
"I'm Jason," he said, not bothering to watch the waitress leave, even though he knew the tight dress showed off a very fine ass.
"I'm Remi. Nice to meet you, Jason." Her sweet smile pulled at something unexpected inside him.
"Where were we? Oh, yeah, your little sister."
"Oh. Well, my parents died about five years ago. My brother and sister were both teenagers, so I've looked after them since then. My brother started college this year and my sister recently moved in with her boyfriend. My friends think I need to start having more fun now that I'm on my own."
"Wait a minute."
She lifted a brow.
"If your brother and sister were teenagers five years ago, how the hell old were you?" He frowned.
"I was twenty-two."
"No way. You look like you're about eighteen now."
She laughed. "I know, I get that a lot, dammit. I'm twenty-eight."
Huh. Only a year younger than him.
The waitress returned with their drinks. Remi set her empty glass on the small counter near them and reached for the purse hanging over her shoulder. He waved a hand.
"Don't worry about it. She'll just put in on my tab."
"No, no. You don't have to buy me a drink. Really, I just want to get Delise off my back..."
"It's fine," he said firmly, waving her money away. "I got it."
"Oh. Okay. Thank you."
She picked up the full drink and did that sexy little pull on the straw with her pretty mouth.
"So you're a free woman." Just like he was now a free man.
"Whatever." She waved a tiny hand. "Jasmine's twenty-one, it's not like I had to baby sit her. But it feels a little weird to not have two kids at home to look after. I've never lived on my own."
Her bangs lowered and the corners of her eyes creased.
"You don't want to be alone?"
She lifted a shoulder. "I don't know. Delise thinks we're celebrating tonight. And I guess...I should be happy. I will have more freedom to do whatever I want."
"But you don't seem happy."
She looked a little lost for a moment, staring past his shoulder. Then she focused those glowy turquoise eyes on him and smiled again. "It's just hard to let go. My brother's been partying his freshman year away at college. And my sister's boyfriend is a jerk. I can't help worry about them even though they're on their own now."
He studied her for a moment. "You like being needed," he said and her eyes flew open wide at his words. He smiled. "That's okay. I think it's very cool that you care that much about them. But maybe you need a distraction. Something fun to take your mind off them."
"Like I am tonight," she said. "But Delise thinks I need a man to do it." She rolled her eyes.
"Having a fun night at Rouge is a good start," Jason said.
"Except I wasn't having much fun." She grimaced. "This place is cool, but not really me."
"Me either." Yeah, when the other guys had wanted to come here after the game, he'd agreed because, hell, he could go out and do whatever he wanted now without having to worry about Brianne, but the edgy, agitated, almost desperate-to-have-fun vibe in the room made him feel tired.
"Where would you rather be?" she asked.
He pursed his lips. "There are a few places in Wicker Park I like. They play live music, sometimes the bands are just starting out, but they're pretty good."
"Oh, like Underground and Lucky's. Yeah, I know those bars."
"How about you?"
"Mmm. I like Blue Moon. They make awesome martinis and they have great jazz music."
"Yeah! I like that place too."
"But actually..." She looked down at her drink. "I really just like staying home."
He laughed. "You know what? So do I."
They stood there smiling at each other. Then Remi looked at her watch. "Well. I should get back to my friends."
A sharp nudge to his shoulder made him flinch. "What?" He turned to Dominic, who'd just elbowed him.
"Look who's here." Dominic jerked his chin. Jason followed his gaze and saw...Brianne.
Stunning as usual, she stood nearly six feet tall in her three inch spiky heels, wearing a purple dress that looked like it was wrapped tightly around her body in complicated layers. The deep V in the front showed off what he knew to be expensive implants. Long dark hair hung in curls and waves nearly to her waist.
One corner of his mouth deepened. He sighed.
Remi said, "What's wrong?"
He turned his gaze back to her. "Hey," he said. "Don't go back to your friends just yet."
"Now it's your turn to do me a favor."
Her lips parted and her bangs moved again with the lift of her eyebrows.
"My ex-girlfriend just walked in," he said in a low voice, bending closer to her. "Stay and talk to me so she doesn't uh...get any ideas about getting back together."
Remi stared at him.
"You owe me." He gave her his most appealing smile. It usually worked. And it did.
She smiled too. "I guess I do."
He shifted a little closer to her. Just to make it look like they were together. She smelled incredible. Like spring flowers. Light and fresh and pretty. He inhaled, feeling a strange urge to bury his nose in her hair.
"We could go upstairs," he said. "And sit down for a while."
"That would be great." She made a face. "My feet are killing me in these heels." She extended a leg and he looked down. And a spark flared in him.
She had great legs. For someone so small, they were long, slender and perfectly shaped, with delicate ankles. The shiny black shoe with the skinny heel and pointy toe almost made him drool. He loved shoes like that. Especially in bed.
With black stockings and black lace underwear.
What kind of underwear did Remi have on under that sparkly little top?
Jesus, what was he thinking?
He gave his head a shake. "Come on." He took her hand in his, so small it almost slipped right out of his grip, and led her toward the stairs that climbed to the next level.
"Going upstairs, guys," he told his buddies as he passed them.
At the top of the stairs, the music a little quieter, the lights more subtle and glowing, he surveyed the couches and low tables. The place was full--what were the chances they'd find an empty banquette?
They moved through the bar, hand in hand, and then a couple stood.
"You leaving?" Jason asked and they smiled and nodded. Another sexy waitress appeared to clear their empties and Jason and Remi took a seat.
"Aaaah." Remi let out a long sigh. Then she laughed. "I'm not used to wearing heels like this."
Jason wasn't sure if he'd ever seen Brianne without heels. Kinda funny.
He admired Remi's legs again, the short skirt riding up higher on firm thighs. Sweet. He shifted sideways, leaning one elbow on the padded back of the banquette so he could face her.
"So...your ex-girlfriend. You don't want to see her?"
He shrugged, his gut tightening. "Rather not."
"Things didn't end amicably?"
He pushed out his lips. "Uh, no. She was a little upset." Her tears and pleading flashed through his mind and he winced.
"So you're the dumper...not the dumpee, then."
"Yeah." He huffed out a laugh. "But I felt like crap. She's a nice girl."
"What went wrong?" She tipped her head, blue-green eyes fastened on his with focused attention, and sipped her drink.
He sighed. "She wanted to get married. I didn't. I figured it was better to break up now than to let things get too far and have her disappointed."
"I'm sure she was already disappointed."
"Yeah, I guess." He shifted on the couch. "She'll get over me."
"Why do you say that?"
He looked at her. "I'm not that great a catch. I have this feeling she loved me for more than just uh...me."
Her brows drew down and her bangs tangled in her long lashes. "I don't know what that means. Was she after your money or something?"
He shrugged. "Or something. I don't know. I don't want to accuse her of being shallow. Like I said, she's a nice girl."
What was she thinking? He could see her mind turning over. Enough of this conversation about Brianne. She was the last thing he wanted to talk about.
Dammit. He looked up at Brianne and forced a smile. "Hi, Brianne."
She stood there all super-model tall and gorgeous, frowning and flicking her eyes back and forth between him and Remi. Her frown deepened.
The air thickened around them and he felt Remi tense. He put a hand on her bare forearm and slanted her a glance. Her eyes were wide and worried and she nibbled her bottom lip.
"I...uh...can leave..." she began, but he clamped down harder on her arm.
"That's okay, honey," he said.
"You said there wasn't anyone else." Brianne stabbed him with an accusing stare.
Remi tried to pull away from him and he held on tighter, dragging her across the leather seat easily--she weighed like a hundred pounds--and up against him. She shot him a startled glance.
"Brianne, this is Remi. Remi, Brianne."
Brianne's dark eyes shot sparks and then she swiveled on a spiky heel and stalked away.
"Thanks," he muttered into Remi's ear. "I thought for a minute there she was going to make a scene."
"That was your ex-girlfriend?"
"Yeah. Brianne Haskett."
"Jesus. She's a famous model."
"You dumped her?" Remi's voice rose. She squirmed next to him so she could look up at him. This close he could see the green and blue flecks in her turquoise eyes, the long eyelashes that brushed her bangs every time she blinked, the perfect smooth texture of her skin.
"Oh." Silence. More silence. "Well, I guess we're even now. I should get back to my friends."
She blinked up at him. He felt the room shift around him, slip out of focus, her face the only thing crystal-clear. The feel of her soft warmth, the fresh flowery scent of her, the way the red lights turned the flicked-up ends of her hair pink, combined with the deep gratitude he felt for her just being there and saving him from an ugly scene with Brianne, made him want to wrap his arms around her and carry her out of there.
So he said, "Why don't we go somewhere quieter?"