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“That explains that, then,” he said, his face showing no sign of what he was thinking.
“You showing up at the reception in a wedding gown.”
He paused, letting the image sink in, then added, “It doesn’t explain why you were so drunk, though.”
Monica gasped. “Drunk? How could I have been drunk?” And then she groaned. She and alcohol did not mix well. Oh, she liked it—sometimes a little too well. But more than a drink or two and she started to lose track of her thoughts…not to mention her inhibitions. “Oh, no. I didn’t get another tattoo, did I?”
His brows raised with interest. “Another tattoo?”
Her cheeks warmed. “The last time I was out with friends and drank too much, I ended up with this ugly frog on my…”
“Butt?” he offered with a grin. Or was it a leer?
She inhaled deeply and refused to look him in the eye.
“No,” she said slowly. “Not my butt.”
Definitely a leer. And his gaze began to wander just a little too far south for her peace of mind.
But he’d already spotted her navel ring between the sagging waistband of her borrowed jeans and the knot she’d made of his oversize shirt and seemed completely captivated by it. His eyes rounded and his tongue all but fell from his mouth.
It was just a belly button ring, for heaven’s sake; she’d had it for years—and gotten it while she was stone-cold sober, thank you very much. But from the expression on his face, she expected to look down and find herself naked.
“Eyes front, cowboy,” she warned, scooting her stool even farther beneath the counter.
He stared at the region of her hidden midriff a moment longer. He also swallowed, she noticed. Hard. She bit her lip to keep from smiling. No wonder some women could get a man to do anything for them. Show a little skin—and perhaps a bit of jewelry in seldom-seen places—and they became mesmerized. She tucked that piece of information away and tilted her head, waiting for him to continue.
His eyes darted back to the counter below her breasts, searching. Then he seemed to shrug off his fascination with her body piercing altogether. “All I know is that you showed up three sheets to the wind. Made a complete fool of yourself in front of about two hundred people,” he added brusquely.
“I showed up drunk?” she asked, confused. And then understanding dawned. “Oh, no. The little bottles of booze on the plane. And the champagne,” she added with a groan.
His eyes locked with hers, silently questioning. “I bought a bottle of champagne at the airport before I caught a taxi to the reception. I was going to give it to Matt as a wedding gift.
Or crack him over the head with it, I’m not sure which.” She twisted her fingers together to keep from fidgeting. “But it was a long ride, and I was upset. I must have gotten thirsty.”
She saw his mouth pull together as he fought a laugh.
“You opened a bottle of champagne in a cab?”
“The driver might have helped. I think he was hoping it would calm me down.”
“It didn’t calm you down,” he said.
She wished she could curl up on the floor and slip into a coma so she wouldn’t have to face any further humiliation.
“You’d be a better judge of that than I would. I don’t really remember much after that.”
“Would you like me to fill in the rest?” he asked charitably.
She groaned. “All right,” she said slowly, reluctantly. “As long as you promise to bury my body afterward. Somewhere no one will find it. Maybe then the humiliation will die with me.”
He chuckled again, shifting on the stool. “It wasn’t as bad as all that,” he assured her. “The talk will die down in ten or twenty years.”
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