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Unbound (Forbidden Bond Book 1)(8)

By:Cat Miller

Catcalls and whistles from Jared, Steve, and a few other random boys met  the girls when they reached the common room. Jared put his arm around  Dani's shoulder and told the others in a dry, matter-of-fact tone,  "Sorry. I changed my mind. I'll be taking Dani. The rest of you can  walk." Olivia smacked the back of his head. "I'm just kidding." He  ducked.

Lindsay reappeared in a silver sequined halter top, skinny jeans, and  silver strappy stilettos. Smiling, she winked at Dani. "You're not the  only girl with a bag of tricks."

The catcalls continued as they crossed the courtyard to the cars, and  they almost lost Olivia to a guy in a Porsche. It was a short ride to  the club in the back seat of Jared's Mustang. Lindsay was talking at  high speed about the ladies' night she went to on Wednesday, and Olivia  was in the front with Jared, arguing over the radio station. When they  arrived, Dani told herself to relax on her first real night on the town.

 She could feel the thumping of the bass from inside the club. There  was a long line to get in. A doorman checked IDs and placed wristbands  on the people old enough to be served at the bar. Some people were  forgoing the line and heading straight to the bouncer, who let them in  quickly. She became self-conscious when she realized the people she  watched skirt the line were staring right back at her as they passed.  She wondered if her choice of outfit had been off the mark. Then she  realized the problem was her hair. It figured that just as she began to  forget about it, everyone else started to notice.

When they finally made it to the large, muscle-bound doorman, he reached  out his heavily tattooed python of an arm to check her ID. He looked  her up and down in a way that made Dani feel dirty.

"Princess, you didn't need to stand in this line. The next time you're  here, come straight to the front. Vince will hook you up, baby girl." He  referred to himself in the third person as he placed a wristband on her  arm. He escorted the group inside, refusing to accept their cover  charge.

"You come see Vince if you need anything else, baby girl." Eyeing her  again, he said in a low, rolling timbre, "Anything at all." He retreated  to his station while speaking into the earpiece she hadn't noticed  before.

The rest of the group cheered Dani and patted her on the back as they  shuffled into the club. They all had a little extra cash in their  pockets now.

The first thing that hit her when she entered the dark club was the  loud, pounding bass of chest-vibrating music, followed quickly by  flashing lights that seemed to match the rhythm of music and bodies on  the floor. Combined with the smell of beer and cologne, she felt a bit  of sensory overload as they began to weave through the crowds of dancers  to find a table. She'd been stopped at least ten times crossing the  floor by guys asking for a dance. Jared and Steve seemed annoyed by this  holdup in the action but quickly forgave her when a waitress  approached.

"Your VIP table is ready. Please follow me." Dani looked at her,  confused. The waitress pointed to the front door, where Vince waved at  her and winked. "Vince requests that you save him a dance."         



Dani smiled and nodded in agreement, and her friends cheered again. She  knew it was silly, but the attention was very flattering. The group was  led to a comfy section in the corner that overlooked the dance floor. It  was equipped with its own bar and big, semi-circular sofas with low,  round tables.

Olivia smiled widely at Dani and asked, "Do you plan on making use of that wristband?"

She didn't answer. After settling into a table, she ordered a soda from  the waitress and went to join the throngs of dancers. Everyone else  ordered drinks, but she wasn't ready for that, not tonight. She wanted  to keep a clear head.

They danced for what seemed like hours. The strobe lights mixed with  the swaying crowd were dizzying. She began to feel dehydrated and leaned  back against a railing on the edge of the floor to catch her breath.  Before she knew it, her friends were nowhere in sight. Shit.

A deep voice rumbled right next to her ear, "Hello. Would you like to dance?"

She turned to find a guy who looked like he belonged on the cover of GQ  eyeing her. He was at least six feet two inches of sculpted perfection  that was visible through his tight shirt. He towered over her as she  stood in his shadow. Dani stared, mesmerized by blue-green eyes and rich  coffee-brown hair.

"I'm Chase, and you are?" He held out a hand and waited for an answer, while Dani gathered her scattered wits.

She smiled and accepted his hand. He turned them toward a less crowded  corner to dance. Finally, her brain located her mouth. "My name is  Dani." Getting closer to him, she was overwhelmed by the essence of  summer. It made no sense at all, but he smelled like line-dried linen  and sunshine instead of the heavy cologne she'd expected. It was  heavenly.

They danced in silence for a bit, until he leaned down and questioned,  "Do I know you? Lovely as you are, I'm sure I would have remembered  you."

His speech seemed a bit too formal for someone their age, so she figured  he must be an uptown boy. Maybe she was hearing the polish of a private  school. "No. I just started school at the university last week. Do you  go to school here?"

He blinked rapidly, as if she had missed something. "My family lives in  the area, but I have friends at the college, so I frequent the grounds."

They were interrupted when Vince grabbed Chase by the shoulder and  barked, "Hey, man. Thanks for entertaining my girl. Now take a hike."

Chase turned slowly toward Vince with one eyebrow raised in agitation.  The shock on Vince's face when Chase knocked his hand off was  astonishing. Vince was a huge, muscle-bound monster, yet he flinched at  the sight of Chase's face.

"Chase! I didn't realize it was you, man. I'm sorry." Vince scampered away as if afraid for his life, or maybe just his job.

When he turned back toward her, Chase's eyes darkened and his brow  creased in anger, a stark contrast to the beautiful face she had been  admiring a moment before. There was no hint of that stunning  greenish-blue color in his eyes that she was sure had been there a  moment ago. He quickly put his face back together.

"I'm sorry about that, Lovely. Vince can be quite crude," he apologized, pulling her closer.

Something about the way Vince reacted to him, and the way Chase looked  when he turned around, made Dani want to get away from him quickly. He  loosened his hold on her.

"Thanks for the dance. I gotta get back to my friends. Maybe I'll see  you around campus," she told him politely. She tried to pull away, but  he caught her arm.

He leaned in close, looking deeply into her eyes, and tried to persuade  her. "Don't you want to stay with me, Lovely? I'd really like you to  stay."

She cocked her head to the side, showing the confusion she felt.  Suddenly she did want to be with him, and a look of pure triumph crossed  Chase's face.

Dani heard her mother's voice in her head saying, Stay with your friends. There's strength in numbers.

He leaned into her again and was clearly not ready for her reaction when  she said, "No. I actually would rather be with my friends. Catch you  later, maybe." She quickly returned to the VIP area to drink her  watered-down soda and tried to shake the urge she felt to go running  back to Chase. She settled for watching him cross the floor to his  table, wanting nothing more than to follow. But something had frightened  her in that moment out on the floor.

Olivia smirked at her and said, "You're my hero. You just left that  fine-ass man standing there with his jaw on the floor. Girl, if you  don't want him, I'll go keep him company. He's yummy."

Dani smiled wryly. "Go get 'em, tiger. I have a boyfriend."         



Olivia was off like a shot.

Dani spent the rest of the evening in the VIP area, dancing with Jared  and Steve. Olivia got her up on the sofa to shake it with her, until the  waitress started shooting them dirty looks. They didn't want to lose  their big, comfy couch privileges for the next visit, so they were  climbing down when Jared came to help Dani. She fell happily into his  arms. He spun her around once, like a little kid, before setting her  feet on the ground. With his arms still around her, Jared began to dance  slowly, swaying back and forth, in stark contrast to the fast pounding  of the music.

She felt so comfortable with his warm body against hers. So comfortable,  she wanted to lay her head on his shoulder and take the scent of him  into her lungs. He smelled of mint and rain. Suddenly she was hungry.  When she looked up, he smiled, and the spell was broken.

He spun her out in a silly move and pulled her back into a more appropriate dance pace.

On the way out of the club, they passed Chase, sitting at a corner booth  with a bevy of girls fawning over him and another guy. Dani made eye  contact, just as a half-nude blonde rubbed against Chase's side and took  his hand. Why did that annoy her? Seeing that really pissed her off.