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She takes a big gulp of her bottle and almost slams it down. “Yeah, I know him. Damn, he’s hot, isn’t he?”

My face heats. I try to keep my voice calm, but I can hear the edge in my tone. “He’s a nice guy.”

She looks surprised and eyes me closely. “What? You like him?”

I shrug my shoulders, and she starts to laugh. “You might as well give it up. I tried to get him to go out with me. Heck, I pretty much told him I’m a sure thing, but he wasn’t interested.”

My heart is racing, and I want to smile, but I don’t. So it’s not just me. Maybe he really has sworn off women.

I don’t have time to think about it before a couple of guys come over to the table. They’re flirty and obviously interested in both Kaitlyn and me. Normally, I’d flirt back and even dance with them, but tonight, all I can think about is Ozzie.

I have another drink as we all sit around the table and talk and laugh. One asks me to dance, and I tell him, “Sure. I just have to make a phone call real quick. I’ll be right back.”

I walk to the edge of the bar and pull my phone out. The numbers are blurry. No doubt I’ll be calling my sister for a ride later. But now I dial the number for the Cherry Bomb Tattoo Parlor.

“Cherry Bomb,” a man says.

I try to keep my voice even and control the slight slurring I have. “Hi. May I speak to Ozzie please?”

I sound almost official, like this is a business call instead of a booty call.

“Sure, may I ask who’s calling?”

I hiccup and snort. “Uh, Ginger.”

The man says, “Hey, Oz, you got a phone call. There’s music in the background, but it sounds like she said her name is Ginger.”

I hold my breath, wondering if he’s going to blow me off or not, but in only a few seconds, I hear Ozzie’s voice over the line. “Hey, Ginger. You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.” I forgot to control the slur, but the happiness of hearing him say my name comes over me.

“Where are you at?”

I hear Kaitlyn and the two men behind me, laughing. “The Tipsy Cow. The reason I am calling is I’m wondering if maybe you’ve changed your mind?”

“Changed my mind about what?”

I laugh then. “If you want to go out with me?”

He takes a second before he responds, “Ginger, we talked about this...”

“You’re right. I know we have. I’m just wondering if maybe you could give me a chance, that’s all.”

When he doesn’t say anything, it’s like I can feel my heart deflate in my chest. “Look, I’m sorry I keep bothering youuuuuu,” I say dragging out the u.

“Are you drinking?” he asks.

“Yeah. Drinking and dancing.”

When he doesn’t respond, I almost just hang up the phone. I pull it from my ear and stare at it before putting it to my ear again. “Look, I get the message. I won’t be calling you anymore.”

“Ginger, wait,” he says as the same time one of the guys from the table comes up to me and puts his hands on my shoulder. “You ready to dance?”

“Yeah, go on out there, I’ll be there in a minute,” I tell him, even though dancing is now the last thing I want to do. “Look, Oz, I’ll let you go.” My voice is strangled, filled with emotion as I click the hang-up button.

Ozzie

Fuck!

I want to scream into the phone. I’m only halfway into the two-hour tattoo when I get the call from Ginger. I should just go back to work, but I know I can’t. The pain in her voice when she thought I was turning her down is my undoing. Well, either that or the fact that some asshole is obviously hitting on her. That could be it too.

I leave the shop with the promise to my client that I will finish his tattoo next week and I’ll do it for free. I’ve never offered a free piece before, but I know that nothing, not even money is going to stop me from driving out to the Tipsy Cow to check on Ginger.

I slam my brakes as I pull into the parking lot and almost run to the door. Once in, I stand there and watch the dance floor looking for her. My gaze goes directly to her. And she’s dancing, but thank God she’s not actually in the arms of some man. She’s doing some kind of line dance with a bunch of other people. There’s a man that is right next to her and keeps watching her, but she is not looking at him. She’s doing the moves but almost like it’s second nature to her and she doesn’t even have to think about it. She looks a little sad and deep in thought. I move closer to the edge of the dance floor and watch her. The longer I stand here, the more aroused I get, but I can’t look away. When she finally lifts her head, she looks straight at me. The way her face transforms into a huge smile as she walks toward me tells me I made the right decision. Coming to see her was the right thing to do.

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