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Just One Night 1_ The Stranger

By:Kyra Davis

Just One Night 1_ The Stranger -Kyra Davis, Kyra


CHAPTER 1





THE RED HERVE LEGER bandage dress I’m wearing is not mine. It belongs to my friend Simone. Yesterday I would have laughed off the very suggestion that I wear anything this overtly provocative. Tomorrow I’ll dismiss the idea out of hand. But tonight? Tonight is a night of exceptions.

I stand in the middle of the hotel room Simone and I are sharing at the Venetian and tug at the hem. Can I even sit down in this dress?

“You look so sexy,” she coos as she slips up behind me and pulls my black, wavy hair behind my shoulders. The move feels a little too intimate and I feel a little too exposed.

I step away from her and twist myself into a pretzel as I try to see the back of the dress in the mirror. “Am I really going out in this?”

“Are you kidding?” Simone shakes her head, confused. “If I looked half as hot as you do in that dress, I’d wear it every day!”

I pull down on the hem again. I’m used to wearing suits. Not the kinds of suits women wear in the movies, but the kinds of suits women wear in real life when they work at a global consulting firm. The kinds of suits that make you almost forget you’re a woman, let alone a sexual being. But this dress sings a melody I haven’t sung before.

“I won’t be able to eat so much as a carrot stick while wearing this,” I complain as I stare down at the neckline. I’m not wearing a bra. The only thing I was able to fit under the dress was a delicate little thong. But the dress is designed to prop everything up . . . which I have mixed feelings about. What surprises me is that my feelings are mixed. I’m slightly embarrassed; that’s to be expected. I also feel a little sinful just putting on this thing and yet . . . Simone’s right, I look hot.

I’ve never thought of myself in those terms. No one does. When people hear the name Kasie Fitzgerald, they think responsible, reliable, steady.

Steady, steady Kasie.

That’s the reason Simone dragged me to Vegas for the weekend. She wanted me to be unsteady on my feet for just one night before I fully embrace a life of stability with the man I’m going to marry, Dave Beasley. Dave is going to propose . . . or maybe he already has. “I think next weekend we should go ring shopping,” he had said as we finished up a quiet dinner at a Beverly Hills café. We’ve been dating for six years now and he has been talking about the possibility of marriage for five of them, examining the idea from every angle and putting our hypothetical marriage through hypothetical stress tests like a bank preparing for another financial crisis.

Dave is careful like that. It isn’t sexy but it’s comfortable. Once, after a few too many drinks, I told Simone that kissing Dave was like eating a baked potato. She gave me no end of grief for that. But what I meant was that a baked potato, while not the most exciting food in the world, was warm and soft and it was enough to stave off hunger. That was Dave. He was my comfort food, my baked potato.

You should sleep with a stranger.

That had been Simone’s advice. One last hurrah before I get married and while I’m still in my twenties. I wouldn’t do it, of course. I had bargained her down to flirting with a stranger and I was still trying to work up my nerve to do that.

When you’re old, do you really want to look back at your life and realize that you were never young?

Those had been Simone’s words, too. But she didn’t understand. I didn’t know how to be young. I hadn’t even known how to be young when I was a child.

“She’s so much more serious than her sister!” my parents’ friends would say as I sat next to them, my head buried in a book. “Not a girly girl at all!”

Somehow it had been understood that femininity and studiousness were mutually exclusive states of being.

But here I was, a Harvard graduate working at one of the top global consulting firms in the country. And I looked hot.

“Blackjack,” Simone says, with confidence. “You sit down at the high-roller blackjack table wearing that dress and all the guys at the table will forget how to count to twenty-one.”

I snort and then throw my hand over my mouth as Simone breaks out in giggles. Even this dress can’t make a snort sexy.

* * *

WHEN WE GET to the casino, heads turn. I’m not used to this. Men are watching me move; their eyes are appraising, measuring up their chances, taking note of all the secrets my dress reveals . . . and it reveals plenty. The women are watching, too. Some of the looks are judgmental; others, envious. I blush as I realize that some of their stares are every bit as appraising as the men’s.

Part of me wants to hurry through the room but the dress keeps my gate slow and careful. I’ve heard stories of models falling on the runway during Herve Leger shows and I can see how that could happen. With the shoes Simone insists need to be worn with this and the tightness of the dress itself, each step presents its own challenge.

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