Announcing Ivy Years # 4
The Shameless Hour by Sarina Bowen
Coming on or before May 1st
The girl who’s had everyone meets the boy who has no one.
For Bella, the sweet-talking, free-loving, hip-checking student manager of the Harkness men’s hockey team, sex is a second language. She’s used to being fluent where others stutter, and the things people say behind her back don’t (often) bother her. So she can’t understand why her smoking hot downstairs neighbor has so much trouble staying friends after their spontaneous night together. She knows better than to worry about it, but there’s something in those espresso eyes that makes her second-guess herself.
Rafe is appalled with himself for losing his virginity in a drunken hookup. His strict Catholic upbringing always emphasized loving thy neighbor—but not with a bottle of wine and a box of condoms. The result is an Ivy League bout of awkwardness. But when Bella is leveled by a little bad luck and a downright nasty fraternity stunt, it’s Rafe who is there to pick up the pieces.
Bella doesn’t want Rafe’s help, and she’s through with men. Too bad the undeniable spark that crackles between the two of them just can’t be extinguished.
I heard the band start to play the classic one-two Merengue rhythm that I’d heard my whole life. On the dance floor, the energy picked up as the geezers began to move to the faster beat.
“Let’s go,” I said, standing up. I offered Bella my hand.
But Bella shook her head. Even worse, she scooted her chair toward the wall.
“Don’t leave me hanging,” I said, my hand still waiting in the air. “Come on now. Nobody puts Bella in a corner.”
On the other side of the table, Bella’s sister snorted into her white wine.
Bella rolled her eyes. Hard. “You did not just quote Dirty Dancing.”
I leaned down near Bella’s ear. “I did. Now get your ass out of that chair, like the girl in the movie, or I’ll have to put you in a fireman’s hold.”
Her mouth tight, Bella stood up. Not one to waste an opportunity, I clasped her hand, tugging her onto the dance floor. When we were right in the center, I put one hand onto Bella’s waist and took her opposite hand in mine. She was as stiff as a piece of wood. “Shake it off, chica. This is supposed to be fun.”
“Your job tonight was to make my life less embarrassing. Not more.”
“I am doing that. We’re going to be the best looking dancers on this floor, and everyone in this mausoleum is going to wonder how I got so lucky as to be here with you. Now listen to this rhythm, okay? Just step to the beat. And let your hips absorb the motion.” I began to move to the music. The merengue is a Dominican dance, and every kid in my neighborhood can merengue before his fifth birthday. It’s just not that complicated.
With nervous eyes, Bella began to move.
“Use these hips,” I prompted, touching the silky fabric of her dress. As I watched, she loosened up a tiny fraction. “Yes! But even more. You look great. I wouldn’t steer you wrong. And think of pressing the balls of your feet into the floor.”
Biting her lip, Bella moved with me.
“That’s it! See? Nothing to it.” Just like that, we had a proper merengue going on.
“Can I sit down yet?” Bella asked.
“Not even close,” I laughed. “See, I knew you could move.”
Bella pouted. “We’ve seen each other’s moves, Rafe.”
She lifted her eyes, and the heat in them went straight to my dick.
Jesucristo. That was the trouble with getting so close to Bella. I was always going to be susceptible to her. Anything she did to remind me of that night was always going to knock me right over.
“Ha.” She said. “I finally found a way to shut you up.” Bella put a little more effort into her merengue then, looking smug.