As the year comes to a close, Mary has taken stock of her life—and she doesn’t like what she sees. She’s too shy, too complacent, and she’s done letting life pass her by. Ready to make a new start, Mary attends her friend’s New Year’s Eve party, determined to grab some fun, embrace her sexy and usher in the New Year properly.
Handsome and flirty, Reid seems like the perfect man to aid in Mary’s reinvention. Every touch, every kiss, encourages her to toss aside her shy reservations and embrace the woman she wants to be. As the heady mix of alcohol, Reid’s delicious mouth and the holiday spirit strip away Mary’s insecurities, she’s sure of just one thing—there’s no way she’s going to be satisfied with just a kiss to ring in the New Year.
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“So sorry,” the woman slurred as she stumbled into Mary, spilling her drink onto the front of Mary’s New Year’s Eve dress and causing Mary’s Long Island iced tea to slosh out of her cup and over her fingers. Mary jumped back to try to avoid the spill but the crowd was so thick in Lizzie’s living room that there was nowhere for her to go.
“Hey, watch it!” a woman hissed and shoved her back with a hand between her shoulder blades, causing more Long Island iced tea to slop out of her cup and onto her hand.
Mary turned apologetically. “Sorry, some drunk just dumped her drink on me.”
“And you almost made me spill mine,” the woman snarled before turning her back on Mary as if she weren’t worth the time it would take to argue. Not that Mary wanted to fight, but really, did the woman have to be so dismissive? Her natural instinct was to shrink away, but she hesitated. She’d come to this New Year’s Eve party determined to break with her past and become the new, bold, assertive, fun woman she’d always wanted to be. She wanted to be someone who was comfortable in crowds—the natural life of the party. Would that person let this woman dismiss her out of hand like this?
Mary reluctantly decided she would. The new her might be willing to get into fights, but she wasn’t looking for one. She decided to give the woman a pass even as she worried that it was a sign she wasn’t really blossoming into her new self. Oh, well, baby steps, right? There will be plenty of other opportunities tonight to practice coming out of my shell and shining.
She looked around for the woman who had started this mess but the drunk hadn’t stopped to help clean up. Heck, she hadn’t even really looked at Mary either, not even as she was spilling her drink on her. Nobody had. Was she invisible? Why was nobody talking to her? Maybe she should just give up and go home—put off her New Year’s resolution for another year. Despite her best intentions, this wasn’t looking like the night to let down her hair, make some new friends and maybe have fun with some guy without having to envision walking down the aisle with him.
She tried to assess the damage to her new dress. Fortunately, she’d bought the black, fairly conservative one and not the slinky silver party dress with all the glitter. The silver one fit the new image she wanted to craft for herself but she just hadn’t been able to picture herself actually wearing it. It left too little to the imagination about the curve of her ass and just how much cleavage she could sport. At the time she’d worried she was letting herself down by not buying it, but in hindsight with some drunk’s drink in her lap, it was clear she’d made the better decision after all. Black would hide a stain a lot better than silver.
She bent over to get a better look at the damage. It was hard to tell for certain with people jostling her on all sides, but honestly, the stain didn’t look too bad—just a bit of a splash over her right thigh. She tried to bolster her confidence. With the people pressed as close together as they were, it probably wasn’t even noticeable. Maybe if she got a little soda water from the bar it would come right out when it dried.
She sighed. Cleaning a stain off her dress was something she did too often. The old her got overlooked all the time. She was supposed to stand out in the crowd now, be the life of the party, maybe groove to the music and get people dancing, find a guy and have some fun with him instead of simply staring from the sidelines as she always did. So why wasn’t she doing any of that?
She looked around for an opportunity to assert the new her. The party was rocking with the Black Eyed Peas blasting from the speakers and people all around her smiling, drinking and having a good time. Why couldn’t she relax enough to join in? She pictured herself catching the beat, moving with the music until her rhythm caught the attention of the room. She lifted her arms and tried to find her stride. It wasn’t easy. Even though she’d just worried that she was invisible, she now feared that every eye in the room was watching her.
But wasn’t that what she wanted?