Chapter 01: Fyre

I will be the end of the Davenport dynasty.

No really, talk to my dad for about fifteen minutes and I’m sure he’ll tell you all about it. It’s a destiny that has been foretold to me since I was ten years old with as much certainty as if it were written in the stars. 

Nights like tonight make me wonder if he was right.

I glance down at my watch, grinding my teeth when I see what time it is. Where the fuck is Hillary?


“Jesus Christ!” My heart nearly leaps through my throat as the cannons hidden in the stage explode, sending a cloud of confetti and glitter into the air. It rains down around me and the rest of the crew, the tiny flecks of pink and gold sparkles getting caught in my jacket as they waft to the polished black floor.

“Eureka!” The stage director cries, so wired on stress she looks like she’s edging a breakdown. “I told you we’d get it fixed before showtime, Mr. Davenport. Nothing to worry about!” She shoots a thumbs up in my direction. I brush the glitter from my sleeve and turn an unamused look on the General Manager. 

The show that has his director so frazzled just so happens to be the crowning achievement of my entire year. It took months of proposals and sales pitches against every heavy hitter on the Strip, countless grueling contract negotiations, and a full multi-million dollar remodel on the performance arena my father callously dismissed as a concert theater, but I managed to pull all of it off without so much as a hiccup. All on my own. And now, the inaugural Digital Media Awards will broadcast live to millions of viewers tomorrow night from the Davenport Las Vegas. 

Every one of the 3000 rooms in my resort is booked through the weekend. It’s impossible to get a reservation at any of the thirteen restaurants in my hotel for the next three days. And the pièce de résistance, the hottest talent from the nichest corners of the internet to the most overexposed parts of Hollywood will be photographed on my red carpet, in front of Davenport branded backdrops.

I’ll let you take a guess at how much credit I’m going to get for any of that.

Where. The. Fuck. Is. Hillary?

“One more run through in the morning, and I think we’ll have it down to a science.” The GM looks at me expectantly, waiting for acceptance or outrageous demands, I’m not sure. 

I’m too busy trying to remember his name… He told me yesterday. Kevin?

“And you’re sure that thing won’t explode all over our headliner tomorrow night?” Maybe Carl?

He snorts. “Only if there truly is a God.” I crook an eyebrow at him, and he quickly shakes his head and lets out a nervous laugh, wiping his hand across the back of his neck as he continues. “What I mean is… we’ve just had some issues arranging things with her team this week.”

“Issues?” My face hardens. “What issues?” 

“Nothing serious. Apparently she’s in some kind of bitter fight with another performer – Charlie Knight. His team came to me and complained that the dressing room we provided was too close to hers. Apparently, there’s some kind of drama between them that’s bad enough the Knight kid said he wouldn’t go on if he even sees her, so I’ve spent hours trying to rearrange talent without pissing anyone else off.” He sighs. “ I tell you, between the demands for the suite and the mile long rider I got for her dressing room, Leighton Winter has been nothing but problems.”

“Leighton Winter is not a problem, she’s an icon.” 

We both turn and find ourselves caught in the death glare of an otherwise completely unintimidating young woman. If anything, the wide set of her deep brown eyes makes her look like a teddy bear. She’s barely 5’3 and as skinny as a beanpole, but she has all the confidence of an eight pound Chihuahua taking on a Pitbull.

“Big fan, huh?” Ken asks, turning to chuckle at my assistant. Ken! His name is fucking Ken.

Hillary opens her mouth to respond, but I cut her off before she gets the chance. “Where the fuck have you been? I have been waiting for you for over an hour.”

“Well, I can only move as fast as the lawyers do, and I have a hard enough time getting them to turn shit around during business hours, let alone the middle of the goddamn night.”

“Is your phone broken?”

She tilts her head so her tight ginger curls spill over her shoulder, and her overly freckled face breaks into a sentimental smile. “Awh, Xander. Did you miss me?”

I glare at her. “Do you have what I asked for?”

“Of course I do.” She holds up a leather bound folder, and rolls her eyes. “Why would I be here if I didn’t have it?”

“Just give me the damn contract.” 

She holds the folder out for me and I snatch it out of her hands. Buried in the dozen or so clauses and walls of text I trust my lawyers to negotiate for me, I hunt out the very specific details I need ironclad in our agreement. The date of the event, the spaces that have been reserved, and that we’ve removed absolutely any provision which would allow for the event to be postponed or canceled. 

Even by my own team. 

For probably the tenth time, I confirm everything is written exactly as I need it, then I reach up to the pocket inside my suit jacket for a pen.


Hillary clears her throat and I look up to find her holding one out to me.

“Thanks.” Yanking the gold cap off with my teeth, I scrawl my name across the line on the bottom of the contract, then snap the binder closed and pass it back to my assistant. “Get this to New York tonight.”

She raises an eyebrow at me. “You do realize it’s one thirty in the morning in New York right now, right?”

“Did I ask?”

“Geesh. You’re so testy today…”

Hillary.” The warning that she’s pressing her luck is heavy in my voice, but she just laughs and tucks the folder beneath her arm. Hillary isn’t afraid of me. I can be cold. I can be angry. I can be downright unreasonable. None of it phases her. None of it stops her from moving mountains or working miracles. She’s good, really good, and that’s why she’s able to talk to me the way she does while lasting as long as she has. 

Well that, and I have no interest in fucking her.

It took me a long time to learn that lesson.

“Has everyone checked in?” I ask, crossing one thing off my mental to do list and moving on to the next. Namely, the friends I’ve abandoned all night waiting around for my assistant. 

She nods. “Yes, and Mr. King has a long list of complaints about his suite.”

“Well, according to Ken here, he can blame that on Lindsay Winter.”

“Leighton.” She glares at me again and her hand moves to her hip with irritation. “Her name is Leighton.”

“Whatever. Are they all at Fyre now?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good, then that’s where I’ll be.” I turn back to the General Manager. “I’ll see you in the morning, Ken.” 

“Sure thing, Mr. Davenport. We’ll get this cleaned up and reset for the show in no time.” 

While he returns to the last of the crew working on reconstructing the stage around the repaired confetti cannons, I start for the exit at the back of the stage – eager to leave behind my frustration over tonight’s technical difficulties and all the vitriol I just scratched into the contract clutched in Hillary’s hands. But I don’t even make it to the door. 

“Uh, Xander…”

My shoulders slump. “Yes, Hillary?” Her nose wrinkles with uncharacteristic reluctance that puts me on guard. “What?”

“Well, you should know… uh… Miss Moore is with them.”

Oh no.

Are you fucking kidding me?!” I snap back at her. She blanches, then nods, and my hands fly up in outrage. “I specifically told you…”

“I know, I know!” She holds the flats of her palms out defensively. “Obviously, I didn’t invite her. She came with Mr. Marchetti. He said, and this is a direct quote, ‘Ha ha. Good luck, Asshole.”  “

“Great.” I grind my teeth while I work through the 10,000 different ways Dominick is going to pay for this, then point at the folder clutched beneath her arm. “I want confirmation the moment that reservation is processed. You tell New York to cancel anything that conflicts with that convention, understood?”

“You got it, boss.”

Anything, got it?”

“Yeah, I know what words mean, Xander.”

“Good. Then have a good night, Hillary.”

The line outside my nightclub wraps all the way around the corner and stretches through the sportsbook into the casino. I scan the queue as I make my way to the front, searching for any particularly intriguing women to pluck from the purgatory behind the velvet ropes to join me, but it’s almost impossible to pick out any one person from the pack. There’s so many people it’s all just one homogenous blob of indistinguishable faces. 

Inside, the bodies on the dance floor and the paid tables are packed so tightly together, an alarm goes off in the back of my head about violating fire code. The party is alive, the drinks are flowing, the music pulsing through the sound system has the entire place vibrating. 

It’s like looking out at a living, moving sea of cash.

A smirk moves across my lips as I stare out at it. God, I can’t wait for the numbers to start rolling into the corporate office Monday morning. Maybe my dad will have a heart attack. 

“Good evening, Mr. Davenport,” says the hostess standing in front of the black velvet ropes that block off the stairs to the Diamond club level. “Your party is seated in booth 17, can I have a drink brought over for you?” 

“Yes. Macallan, on ice.” 

“Excellent choice, sir.” She purrs the word at me and pushes her tits together as she lifts her iPad to put in my drink order. My gaze drifts down to enjoy the view before I catch myself and quickly divert my attention to the bouncer manning the rope. 

Not the staff, Davenport. 

The hulking man blocking the staircase nods silently at me before pulling back the rope and allowing me to make my way up to the second landing. The entire floor is dominated with dozens of low backed, leather booths that change color with the kaleidoscope light show pulsing overhead. I weave between them, and the scantily clad cocktail waitresses carrying trays of drinks, until I see table seventeen, and the four guys I’d put behind my own family on a firing wall seated around it. 

Gabriel is the first I’m able to pick out, because of course he is. Gabriel King is not the type of man people don’t notice. He’s tall and looks it, even sitting down and surrounded by a group of men who are giants in their own right. His deep brown hair is as perfectly kempt as the knot in his tie, and his piercing blue gaze doesn’t miss anything. 


There’s a raven haired girl draped over his lap, and I watch his grin turn salacious as he reaches down to carelessly hike her already tiny skirt over her hips. Dominick, seated on his right, holds something out to him that I can’t quite make out until I watch Gabriel carefully pour a line of white powder over the girl’s bare ass. Warren shakes his head with dismay and glances over his shoulder, paranoid about onlookers despite the intensely enforced privacy rules of the club, when he spots me hovering a few yards away.

The irritation on his face melts into welcome. “Davenport! Get the fuck over here!”

I nod in his direction and start toward the table, passing by Warren to sit in the empty place next to Preston. Of all the men seated around this table, it’s Preston I’m closest to. Not just because the long, wavy blond hair he’s wearing tied up in a bun over the top of the collar on his Tom Ford shirt perfectly reflects his earnest and easy going nature, but because, with Preston, came Claire.

She’s the little sister we all adopted the day we adopted him, and now she has each and every one of us wrapped around her perfectly manicured finger.

“You’re late!” Preston shouts over the music pounding from the floor below. He places the end of the cigar he’s smoking between his teeth so he can retrieve another one for me from the inside of his jacket, then takes a long drink of brandy. “What took you so long?”

 I narrow my eyes at him through the flame of my match, then puff a few times on the end of the cigar. “I was working. Some of us have real fucking jobs.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Dominick interjects from across the table. “That’s not fair, Xander. He’s got a real job. That documentary he just did on GMOs was seen by like… fifteen people.”

Preston leans back, appalled. “Fuck you, fifteen people. That shit was screened at Tribeca.”

“So, it was a prestigious flop?” Warren laughs, flashing his best talk-show smile, and when the rest of us join in, Preston rolls his eyes.

“Ha, ha, ha, laugh it up. Just remember that, last week, when you assholes were all trapped in your fancy corner offices and your stuffy, overpriced suits, I was surfing with Miss America off the coast of Maui, so…” He holds up both his middle fingers at us and we laugh again.

The truth is, we really are all seething with jealousy over Preston. While the rest of us left Yale and went on to get MBAs or law degrees, Preston started a tech company that developed a GPS device small enough to fit inside the cap of pen, durable enough to survive explosions and crushing ocean depths, and so accurate it could find a tick on the ass of the rat on Jupiter. One multi-billion dollar military contract later, and now he’s retired, spending the last year of his twenties playing filmmaker and chasing b-list celebrities all over the sunny coast of Los Angeles.


I throw an elbow into his side. “How’s Claire doing?” The humor fades from his eyes, and I feel the smile drop off my face as the image of the bubbly young woman cutting study groups at university to be first in line for a sale a Lululemon fades into the too-skinny girl struggling to breathe in a hospital bed with the top of her head concealed inside a pink silk scarf. “What’s wrong? Is she okay?”

“Yeah,” he nods quickly, as every pair of eyes around the table turns to us, but the uncertainty set in his brow doesn’t fade. “She had treatment a couple weeks ago and she still hasn’t really bounced all the way back yet. It normally doesn’t take her this long. She’s getting there, she is… I don’t know. I’m going out to Minnesota after this, and I’m going to stay with her for a while. They’re opening the house now.”

“Your parents’ house?” Gabriel asks, surprised, and we all watch Preston swallow the lump in his throat as he nods.

“Yeah, for a month or two. I just want to make sure she’s getting all the rest she needs and taking her meds the way she’s supposed to. She’ll have treatment again at the end of October and she might get through it better this time if I’m there to take care of her. She has roommates who live in her apartment with her, so the only place for me to go is my parents’ house.”

I exchange nervous glances with Gabriel, Dominick, and Warren, each of us understanding on our own the gravity of the decision Preston’s made. He hasn’t been back to that house in almost ten years; the memories still haunt him.

There has to be more he’s not saying about Claire, but this is the first night all five of us have been in the same room since last Christmas, and it’s clear, as he puts out his cigar and takes another long drink of brandy, that Preston doesn’t want to spend it worrying about his sister.

Since I’m sure he’s doing enough of that every other second but right now, we all silently agree to let it go. 

For now.

“So you’re going to turn down the opportunity to stay with a bunch of hot co-eds?” Dominick says, raising a disgusted eyebrow at Preston. “What are you, stupid?”

Laughter rings around the table and several pairs of grateful eyes turn in Dominick’s direction, except for the guileless ones I’m doing my best to ignore seated directly next to him.


She stares at me like she’s willing to burn me if it will make me acknowledge her, and as the conversation moves on and Dominick passes another vial to Preston, I fuck up and look straight at her. 

“Hi,” she mouths at me. I pause, trying to keep the sudden swell of vexation from twisting up my face, then give her a tight, less-than-friendly smile. It doesn’t deter her. She leans forward over the table and takes the cigar I place between my lips. “Can we talk?”

“About what?” 

“About what? About us.” Her eyes nearly glisten with her plea, but I just blink back at her as if I don’t have the slightest clue what she’s talking about. 

Us? You’re here with Dominick, Lana.” Behind her, Dominick turns to me and his tanned face lights up with the gratification I’m sure he’s been waiting for since he invited her to come. He has a sick sense of humor that comes from his… tumultuous upbringing on the streets of Chicago, but this time, torturing me is actually going to end up biting him in the ass, and I let myself laugh about that. “Oh, I hope you enjoy yourself, buddy. Cause she sticks…” 

“Alexander!” Lana’s face melts with insult, but I go back to ignoring her because a cocktail waitress struts up beside me and places the drink I ordered on the table.

“Is there anything else I can get for you, Mr. Davenport?”  

I point at the scotch in my glass. “A round for all of us, please.”

“Right away.” She smiles, her hooded eyes moving up to Preston, and he watches the sway of her hips with interest as she turns away from the table. Once she’s disappeared into the crowd, he turns to me and wags his eyebrows. 

“Sorry to ditch your party, but something just came up.” 

I stare back at him, deadpan. “We don’t need to know about every erection you get, Preston.” He laughs, then gets up and leaps over the back of the booth so he can chase down the waitress. I turn to call after him, “Wait ‘til she brings the drinks back! Damn it…” 

I slump back in my seat as Preston also disappears, and drain the last of my scotch while I try to catch up with the conversation between my other friends. Thankfully, though they are delivered by another waitress, the shots I ordered do arrive, and Warren helps me pass them out. 

“Gentleman,” I say, raising my glass in the air.

“Ditio,” they chant in unison, the same way we did after every member meeting for our Secret Society back in college.

“Ditio.” I repeat, then I toss the drink back in a single gulp. It’s ice cold, and the sudden flood into the back of my throat makes me hiss, carrying with it an unexpected but wholly intoxicating scent. Jasmine. Citrus. And something musky I can’t quite place, but that makes my mouth water…

I turn to find the source of the perfume just in time to see a pair of hips sashaying past me. The girl attached to them is dressed in a short black dress that’s so tight it looks almost like it was painted onto her. Her dark hair is swept up in a messy knot that exposes her delicate neck and shoulders. My gaze moves down the tantalizing lines of her body, how they dip in at the waist and curve out again over her illicit-thought provoking hips. She isn’t tall, but you wouldn’t know it by the way her legs look in the sky high shoes she walks in as if she were born with them on. And fuck, her ass… 

From behind, the girl is a goddamn knockout.

In a stroke of pure luck, she stops at another booth only three down from mine that’s tilted at the perfect angle to allow me to see inside. It’s full. Most of the girls seated there I could have easily switched out with Lana or the girl next to Gabriel without ever noticing. 

But this girl… I notice this girl.

There’s one dude sitting in the center of the booth that most of the women he’s surrounded himself with seem to hang on, so I assume he’s someone. An athlete or a rapper, maybe, judging by the diamond encrusted grill that glints over his teeth and the way he’s throwing back Hennessey like it’s about to be discontinued. I’m not usually the kind of guy who picks off another man’s pack. It’s rude, after all. But when the brunette turns to sit and I get a good look at her tits in that tight black dress… all bets are off.

My friends continue to drink, and, for no reason at all, Dominick interrupts Warren talking about his campaign to remind him about the time he blacked out at a Toga party our Sophomore year at Yale and we left him tagged up with Sharpie on his face, passed out a bench in a courtyard on campus overnight. I barely hear any of the licks he has to take from Dominick and Gabriel over it, which is unfortunate because stoking the humiliation Warren still feels over it just so happens to be one of my favorite hobbies. 

But I’m too absorbed in her. 

She’s laughing with the women around her, and her smile is really something else. Warm and inviting, almost entrancing. Stunning. I’m actually stunned, watching the way she lights up the entire room with that beguiling smile. The woman is unbelievably beautiful, and as I lift my drink to my lips, studying her with a rare kind of enraptured fascination that should probably send up about a thousand red flags, she rolls her eyes at the blonde sitting across from her and they land on mine. 

The polite thing to do would be to look away, pretend I haven’t been gawking at her like a brand new Ferrari I’m itching to test drive, but I don’t. I grab her in that split moment of connection, and she lets me do it. 

That dangerously enchanting smile falters for half a second, then grows even brighter as her face twists with intrigue. I make an obvious show of letting my gaze travel down her legs, and of the approval that journey incites. When I meet her gaze again, she turns to the girl sitting next to her and subtly gestures over her shoulder until her friend leans forward to get a better look at me. 

There’s no moment of recognition that sparks inside of me when I meet her friend’s scrutinizing stare, but apparently it does for her. Her mouth drops open in a red-framed ‘oh’ and then she turns back to whisper in the brunette’s ear. 

My hand tightens around my glass. As a general rule, whispers aren’t a great thing for me. I find people don’t really whisper if they have something good to say, and I have enough black marks on my reputation to be concerned about what she might be hearing. One of them is sitting next to Dominick right now, still trying to catch my attention. But as her friend pulls away, the brunette doesn’t scowl or sour at all. If anything, her smile slowly spreads wider, until she reins it in again with a soft press of her teeth into her bottom lip.

God, what I’d give to taste those lips…

It’s impossible to see the color of her eyes beneath the changing hues of the lights, but the intent behind them is as easy to read as the face of my Rolex. 

Game on. 

I just need an opening. Only every time even a shadow of one arises, someone around her table pulls her attention away from me. The friend to her right, the blonde across from her, the guy a few seats down who makes her face crinkle with annoyance every time he calls out to her, and finally an entirely new man who materializes out of nowhere and charges up to her like an angry rhinoceros. He reaches down to grab her by the arm, and a competitive flash of red-tinted heat moves through me as I watch the possessive way he pulls her out of her seat. 

She looks taken aback when he starts screaming in her face, but it doesn’t take long for the shock to pass and then she matches every bit of the rage he spits down at her. The ensuing screaming match is loud enough that I can hear their voice obscured by the music playing from the DJ below, but I can’t quite make out what they’re saying. 

I can make out that she’s pissed from the rose flush that fills her cheeks to the violent way she finally shoves his hand away and storms off.

After about three seconds, the blonde who was sitting across from her gets up, says something to the man still shaking with anger in the brunette’s wake, and chases after her. 

And that’s it. The man scowls and stalks off, and everyone else she was with stays in their seats and goes on as if nothing happened.

It’s my chance.

“Gentleman,” I say in a rush, draining the last of my scotch as I get up from the table. “Enjoy the rest of your night, it’s all on me.” 

“Where are you going?” Gabriel demands. “Xander!” 

The protests fade into the thumping bass, while I weave my way down the same path the brunette disappeared down, examining every black dress my eyes fall on. None of them are the one I’m looking for. She’s not at the bar, she’s not in line for the bathrooms, she’s not in the mob of people dancing in the pit below… I’m just about resigned to the fact that she’s left, and ready to return to my friends when the strobes overhead flash in a different direction, and I catch the reflection off something silver out of the corner of my eye. It’s a bracelet, and it’s wrapped around the exact wrist I’m looking for. She’s leaning over the edge of the balcony, shaking her head while the blonde behind her pleads a case I can’t hear. 

Almost the instant I find her, she finds me again. Her back goes straight and I watch her eyes dim with a decision, then she turns back to the blonde and screams at her until she throws up her hands in frustration and walks away.

Then she’s alone, and I move in.

“Boyfriend troubles?” I ask, coming up behind her. She glances back at me, and when our eyes meet, I’m finally able to make out their rich amber color. 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she replies. 

“That guy back there, is he your boyfriend?”

She snorts and turns to look out at the dance floor again. “He’s not my boyfriend. He’s my… uh, boss, I guess.”

“You guess?”

“It’s complicated.”

“Well, I’m a smart guy. Try me.”

“I don’t even know you.” She turns a simpering smile on me and I grin back like it’s a written invitation as I lean against the balcony and reach my hand out for hers. “Alexander Davenport.”

“Davenport?” she repeats. “As in… The Davenport.” She gestures around the room, my room, and my grin broadens.

“Yes, but most of the women I sleep with just call me Xander.”

She laughs, and the sound is just as hypnotic as I imagined it would be. “Do they? Like that cute little blonde over there?”

I turn in the direction she nods and see Lana now occupying the place where I was sitting next to Preston, her head weaving back and forth as she tries to see around the other people filling the space between us. When I look back to the girl in front of me, I shrug.

“I never kiss and tell.”


“Only if you do.” She laughs again, then turns to look back out at the people dancing on the floor below. I reach out a finger and tilt her chin back to me. “Are you going to tell me your name, Gorgeous?”


I lean back, a little taken aback. “Gertrude.”

“Mhm. Ooh, no… Mable.”


“Yeah, like all-the-way-May.” Her face breaks into a dazzling smile and I stare down at her with something between wonder and bewilderment. 

“Did you just make that up?” 

“Oh come on, what’s in a name? It won’t tell you anything you want to know about me.”

I take a step closer, moving so that I’m only just not pressed up against her. “And what do you think I want to know?”

“Oh, I have a good idea…” Her golden hued eyes glitter with salacious promise that makes it impossible not to touch her. I reach out and brush the edge of my thumb across her face, catching one of the dark tendrils falling over her eyes. She leans into my touch and I inch my way towards her alluring pink lips.

“And what do you want to know, Gorgeous?”

She smiles, and lets out a single, breathy laugh. “Only one thing. Who sings this song?”

I pull back and glance down at her, thrown off by the question. Then I glance out toward the dance floor where the DJ is playing. It’s a little hard to hear with any kind of real clarity over the crowd and the pounding bass. I can tell the tempo of whatever song is playing is generic, the kind that’s obviously meant to get stuck in your head, and the underwhelming vocal playing beneath it suggests its current. Something probably playing on the radio right now.

Which means I’m fucked.

I search the deep recesses of my memory for the first popstar I can think of. “Uh… Ariana Latte?”

She bursts out laughing, doubling over so hard she falls into me. “What did you just say?”

“I’m not big on celebrities, alright? If I’d have known there’d be a pop quiz, I would have studied.”

She shakes her head, the beautifully lighthearted good humor still shining on her face, and steps all the way into me before she wraps her arms around the back of my neck. “I’m just waiting for you to ask me to dance…” 

Her hand moves up to tug at my hair, her nails scraping tantalizingly over my scalp. My eyes narrow in on that delicious looking mouth. I’m just leaning in to get my first taste when she takes a step back, fishes into her cleavage for a pair of mirrored, aviator sunglasses that reflect the flashing strobe lights, and grabs the sleeve of my jacket. 

“Let’s go handsome, I wanna see how you move.”

I let her pull me away from the balcony, through the VIP lounge, and down the stairs to the floor around the stage where the DJ plays. It’s packed, enough so that she has to keep her body pressed against mine just to stay upright, which isn’t the worst circumstance to find ourselves in.

I take every opportunity to let my hands wander around her insane body as she grinds against me. Her perfume swims in my head as I pull her against me and bury my face in the curve of her neck, dragging my lips over her skin the way I want to do with my tongue. She shivers, and turns in my arms. The desire reflecting back at me is palpable, flashing like a neon sign. Her eyes move down to my lips, so I once again lean in for our first kiss, but, this time, it’s disrupted by an unexpected ruckus a few feet away.

We both turn to the source of the commotion and watch someone climbing the stage where the DJ I’d poached from last year’s Coachella is spinning. I glance around, wondering why security isn’t stepping in to stop him, but before I’m able to flag anyone down to end the stunt, the man crawls onto the stage, stands up, and raises his hands in victory.

And the crowd goes wild.

“Vegas! Make some noise for Charlie Knight!” the DJ shouts. The girl still mostly wrapped around me goes stiff and stares up at him as the guy on the stage grabs a mic and starts using his hands to pump up the crowd. The music changes and he lifts the mic to his lips. Suddenly, the crowd is filled with a thousand hormonal screams.

I shake my head in disgust. “Prick.”

When I look back at the girl, she isn’t staring at Charlie Knight anymore. Her eyes are on me, and filled with questions, as though she’s trying to solve a complicated riddle. I slide my hand over her shoulders, and cup the back of her neck like I’m going to pull her back in for the kiss we missed.

“What’s going on, Gorgeous?”

She tilts her head to the side, then, slowly, her perfect lips break into that irresistible smile. “You got a room in this hotel, Xander?”

I smirk. “Gorgeous, I’ve got any room you want.” I hold a hand out for hers, and finally,  she takes it. “Why don’t I give you a tour?”