No Kissing Allowed (No Kissing Allowed #1)
For my mom, who taught me the importance of family and remembering my roots.
So far tonight, I’d bought a random guy a drink, danced on a bar, and serenaded a girl during a karaoke song. And the night was still young.
“You’re up again, Cammie,” Lauren said, sliding a shot glass my way.
I tipped the shot back and then glanced down at the list, ignoring Grace’s tapping on the bar. It was a scare tactic to make me question whether I wanted to take on the last task in our 10 Wild Acts Before Adulthood. But if anyone was going to win this game, it was me. I was fiercely competitive in everything I did. From sports to running times, to bets on who would graduate first, I was always in first place. Well, okay, maybe the graduating thing was because my last name came before theirs, and so technically, I had to walk first, but still, I was first. It counted.
And this was no different. I might not be the prettiest (Grace) or the funniest (Lauren), but I knew how to win, and I planned to win tonight.
It was the Saturday before our first real jobs—Grace as an assistant curator at the Met, Lauren a junior buyer for Bergdorf’s, and me an account manager with Sanderson-Lowe, the top advertising agency in the world. And though I had always walked a straight line, never veering left for fear of failing, tonight I wanted to push myself. Have one crazy night before I threw myself headfirst into my career.
The only part of the night that gave me pause was when the girl took the lyrics of “I Kissed a Girl” too seriously and decided to throw herself at me as I came off the stage. After a moment of her kissing me with my eyes wide open, Lauren and Grace laughing hysterically beside me, I had to explain that while I thought lesbianism rocked, I didn’t bat for the girls’ team.
But now, I was staring at the final task on the list, my mind—and clearly my vision—blurry from one too many shots. “What does that say?”
Grace laughed as she swept her long black hair into a high ponytail, causing several of the guys around the bar to peer over. She was the sort of pretty that caused people to walk into things, which she used to her advantage as often as possible. I glanced up at her, waiting for her smirk to turn into actual words.
“Um…I’m waiting here.”
Lauren grinned from beside me. “We made a last-minute addition to the list.”
“Yeah,” I said. “I figured that out when the 10 Wild Acts suddenly had an 11.”
Lauren’s grin widened, her bright red lips now stretching across her face. She refused to wear any other color of lipstick or gloss. Always red. And with her bleached blond hair and double-mascaraed lashes, she had a very Marilyn Monroe/Gwen Stefani thing going on.
I blinked hard, fighting to clear my foggy head. Obviously, they were going to make this as hard on me as possible. I eyed the list again, taking my time to read each excruciating word.
Hook up with a random guy.
A shiver crept down my back. I was twenty-three and I had never had a one-night stand—even a minor one. No awkward make-out sessions, no getting too drunk and losing control. My responsible side wouldn’t allow me to take such a risk. And now…
Lauren bounced on her heels, and Grace had begun to do a little dance on her stool, causing more looks from the guys around us. I shook my shoulders out, trying to make it no big deal, when something occurred to me.
“You can’t make additions to the list.” We agreed on our ten things the weekend before, handshakes and all. They couldn’t change it now.
“Of course we can,” Grace said in a singsong voice, Lauren nodding along in agreement, and I knew I was outnumbered here. The real point to this whole thing became increasingly clear—they wanted me to step outside my shell. Take chances. Live. All words and phrases that would never describe me.
“Now, go find your guy. We’ll even go easy on you and count kissing as hooking up.”
“What? No. This is stupid, this—”
“All right then, she forfeits,” Lauren said, winking at Grace. “It’s just you and me now. Or you could just give me the hundred dollars, Grace. You don’t need the money, anyway.”
“No!” I said a little too loudly. Yeah, the shots were definitely taking effect. Dammit all to hell! Why couldn’t I have shy friends, who thought dyeing my hair a different color was living? Oh, no. Instead, my best friends were both hardwired to never get embarrassed, to never worry about the consequences of their actions.
Clearly, I needed new friends.
Closing my eyes, I told myself to stop being so ridiculous. If it was just a kiss, then I could do this. No big deal. I’d kissed plenty of guys. All right, plenty might be a stretch. Maybe five? But five counted as something. I wasn’t a virgin, kissing or otherwise. Yet somehow, I’d never kissed a random guy. Never even had the urge.
I drew a breath. All I had to do was go up to a guy, start talking, and ask him to kiss me. Girls did that crap all the time, right? I could do this. Or I could just say no and lose. I mean, what was so wrong with losing? Nothing. I could lose. Cameron, the loser.
A sick feeling moved over me at the thought, followed immediately by sharp anger. Who was I kidding? I had never willingly lost at anything in my life. I wasn’t a loser, which meant I had only one choice here.
No Kissing Allowed (No Kissing Allowed #1)
Written By: Melissa West
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