Blame It on the Bachelor


DEVON MCKEE FELT like a hyena at high tea. He did not belong at a fussy rehearsal dinner in a country club. But he was a groomsman, and the wedding party and all the relatives had been invited, so here he was. Chatting with his buddy’s Great Aunt Mildred and trying to resist the urge to add about four ounces of rum to his plain Coke.

If he added the rum, he’d be all too responsible for the consequences. He might do things that he’d regret—and his head still ached from the bachelor party the previous night.

Mark was getting married, and for Mark’s sake, Dev would do his best impression of a gentleman, comical though the act might be.

He’d known Mark since college and he loved him like a brother. He might heckle him about going over to the Dark Side, but he was secretly envious—and that was just plain weird.

Dev first spied the girl of his dreams through Aunt Mildred’s hairdo, which was teased and sprayed to an awe-inspiring volume, in spite of its sparseness. Aunt Mildred’s hair—a spiderweb combed into an upside-down urn shape—was almost transparent, gossamer in the overhead lighting.

Through it, Dev got a glimpse of the girl. She had a smile like a Swiss bank account: secure, glamorous and a bit secretive. A regal neck and aristocratic shoulders, revealed to perfection in her short, navy silk dress. Dark blond hair with shimmers of gold throughout. And legs that were nothing short of spectacular.

Devon, once the lead guitarist for the Miami band Category Five, was a connoisseur of such things. He’d always been a leg man—not that he disliked cleavage or sassy asses. Far from it. And he saw plenty of those now that he’d opened a successful South Beach bar.

What he didn’t always see was—no other word for it—class. This woman dripped it the same way many others oozed availability. She fit in perfectly here in the country club’s garden room.

His first coherent thought was that he wanted to lick those incredible legs of hers—but not through Aunt Mildred’s hairdo. So he extricated his hand from the old lady’s and told her he’d return with a glass of champagne for her.

Dev swam, sharklike, through the crowd and up to the bar, where he secured two champagnes before he continued toward the delicious woman, his dorsal fin flying high. In no time at all, he was in front of her. He opened his mouth, sure that one of his famous one-liners would emerge and make her giggle.

But nothing happened. His mojo, his schmooze, his charm—they’d deserted him. He searched blindly for a word, any word, even a grunt. But he’d been struck dumb.

Finally, Dev closed his mouth.

She lifted an elegant eyebrow, clearly amused at his expense.

Embarrassed and trying to recover, he dropped his gaze to her breasts. She had very nice ones. C cup, he estimated. Friendly, they seemed to surge toward him, eager to make his acquaintance.

“Hi,” Dev said to them. “Uh. Mark thought you might like some champagne.” A lame line, but workable.

Naturally enough, the breasts did not respond. Instead, their owner did. “Mark’s not even here yet.” Her voice was rich, smooth, spicy like the Jamaican rum he craved.

He blinked at her, feeling like an idiot. Mark hadn’t arrived yet.

“But the twins never turn down tiny bubbles.” She smiled at him and neatly plucked both glasses from his fingers, holding them in front of her breasts. Then she raised one to her lips. “So thanks.”

From somewhere over his shoulder, Dev heard a hoot of male laughter that could only have come from Pete Dale, another groomsman. Pete would have to witness Dev’s humiliation. But he’d deal with him later.

Dev slowly raised his eyes to the woman’s, heat suffusing his face. This was the worst encounter he’d had with a girl since ninth grade. “I…um. I guess I deserved that.”

Her smile dissolved into laughter and she handed him back the other champagne glass. “Admit it. Mark had nothing to do with you coming over here.”

Devon hated champagne—it tasted like sour tonic water to him—but he upended the flute and drank half the contents in one gulp. “Okay,” he said. “I do admit it. What’s your name?”

“I’m Kylie Kent. You?”

“Devon McKee.”

“Devon,” she repeated, thoughtfully.

“How do you know Mark?” he asked.

“I’m his aunt.”

“His what?”

“His aunt. Even though he’s older than I am. It’s kind of weird, but true.”

Dev digested that, working out the math. He guessed it was possible that Mark’s father or mother had a much younger sister.