“I’m fine. I just feel so free, you know. Look at everybody.” She held her hand out to the dance floor. “You’d hardly know there was a war on if it wasn’t for the . . .”
“Uniforms?” Liz attempted to finish Faye’s sentence.
Staring at a group of soldiers, Faye nodded slowly. A group of five men in khaki uniforms and garrison caps, which she couldn’t help wondering if they would fall off as they danced, caught her attention. She admired the broad back of one of the men. He seemed to be holding a drink in one hand and the short, buzzed hair that stuck out from under his cap appeared to be blonde.
Out of Faye’s periphery, Darla elbowed Liz. “I think she sees something she likes.” She raised a brow just as Faye turned toward her.
“Maybe I do.”
“Dare you to plant a big wet one on him,” Darla challenged.
“Ha!” Faye was already thinking something similar.
“Darla,” Liz started, but whatever she said, Faye didn’t hear the rest of it. She was already marching toward the group, keeping pace with the song. Her hips swinging to the rhythm of the drums, the brass section filling her with confidence.
She stepped up to the soldier, his friends peering at her over his shoulder. When he turned around, she stood there for a second, their eyes locked.
“Hello, soldier.” Her eyes didn’t wander from his. His face was even more stunning than his backside. A chiseled jawline, bright blue eyes, and a plump, kissable mouth. She touched her lips with her tongue and bit the bottom one.
He reached up to remove his hat, but before he could say anything, Faye pressed her lips to his, catching the soldier by surprise and throwing him off balance.
She wasn’t sure if it was because he was off balance and he had to grab her to stay upright, but he squeezed his arm around her—the one that held his hat—and deepened the kiss.
When they pulled apart, all Faye could do was stare at the man who’d just given her the best kiss of her life.
“Well, hello to you too.”
Faye blinked and a smirk broke out across her face.
“Well . . .” The group of soldiers parted as a haughty woman in a WAVES uniform stepped up to Faye.
“You sure got a lotta nerve, missy.” She stood, hands on hips, her face inches from Faye’s.
“Oh, I’m . . .” Faye took in a breath, considering an apology. She hadn’t realized the soldiers already had women with them. If she had, that kiss would never have happened. The distinctive smell of hard liquor filled Faye’s nose. Rita had clearly been enjoying a few stiff ones. Was that a good idea while wearing a uniform?
“Moxie,” said the soldier. Had someone called him Will? “It’s called moxie, Rita.” He refused to take his eyes off Faye as he spoke, stepping between the two women.
“It’s Ensign Johnson,” she barked then spun on her heel and stomped off.
Faye suppressed another smirk at the sight of her bright red lipstick smeared haphazardly round the soldier’s lips.
He shoved his hat in his pocket then took her hand and pressed his lips to the back of it, eyeing her intently all the while. The music faded into the background. “Will Burke,” he said, handing his drink to the soldier next to him, still holding her hand.
“Faye Brownlee.” She pulled a tissue from her purse and fixed the soldier’s face. “Sorry about that.”
“Don’t be.” He still stared so intently at her, but she wasn’t uncomfortable. She turned to introduce Darla and Liz, sensing they were behind her. Their mouths gaped back at her. Darla would know better than to challenge her again. Unless she was prepared to lose. Faye never lost a bet. Her brother had taunted her enough growing up that losing was never an option.