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  • Home > Samantha Young > On Dublin Street Series > Before Jamaica Lane (Page 21)     
    Before Jamaica Lane(On Dublin Street #3)(21) by Samantha Young
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    He shrugged. ‘You’ve got to be patient. We’ll get you there. I just wanted to know you’re at least thinking about what I said. I don’t want this to be a total waste of my time.’

    I did my best not to wince at his comment. Nate was blunt. That’s who he was. He didn’t censor his words, and if you were feeling a little sensitive it was easy to take them the wrong way. ‘You’re not wasting your time,’ I promised him.

    The corner of his lip tipped up and a dimple flashed in his right cheek. ‘No, I’m not wasting my time.’

    Trying not to become mesmerized by that dimple, I exhaled a little shakily and asked, ‘So, what’s next?’

    ‘First flirting. Then clothes.’

    Blinking rapidly, I attempted to process the words in a way that made them make sense. I couldn’t. ‘Uh … clothes?’

    Nate ran his eyes down my body pointedly. ‘Do you own a skirt? A dress? Anything that shows cle**age?’

    Suddenly I knew exactly what he was talking about. It wasn’t that I wasn’t stylish – at least I hoped not – but I was a little conservative in my clothing choices. Still, I had to have something that showed cle**age …

    I took too long to think because Nate said smugly, ‘Exactly.’

    ‘My clothes aren’t that bad.’

    ‘No, they’re not. But the only time I’ve seen you in a dress was the bridesmaid dress you wore to the wedding. I’ve never seen you in a short skirt either.’

    Watching him take another drink, my eyes were glued to the movement of his strong throat. I shrugged absentmindedly. ‘I’ve never been that confident showing skin.’

    ‘Why?’

    My eyes rose to meet his and I made a face. ‘You seriously have to ask that?’

    His answer was aggravated silence. And yes, silence could be aggravated. It bristled around Nate as he waited impatiently for me to answer the question.

    ‘Okay, okay.’ I slouched over to the counter, pushing at my own glass of cold Coke. ‘It meant the possibility of men looking at me, and if they’re looking at me, they’re judging me.’

    Nate contemplated this for a moment before replying, ‘Were you bullied as a child?’

    ‘A little. Not in a way that would cause permanent damage. Why?’

    ‘I’m just trying to work out why you’re so afraid to put yourself out there.’

    I rolled my eyes. ‘Is this a therapy session now?’

    ‘Does it need to be?’

    ‘Nate’ – my voice was stern so he’d get it – ‘there is no dramatic story here. I wish there was. Really. It would make me feel less of an idiot. I was teased at school like most kids are, but nothing major. My mom always made me feel special, and when my dad came into my life he worked his ass off to make sure I felt extraordinary.’ I gave him a small smile, feeling the emotion choke me a little. ‘I was shy. That was it. And with my mom’s cancer, and minimal opportunities, sex and romance just passed me by. The older I’ve gotten, the more of a complex I’ve gotten about it, and I guess I’ve just lost any confidence in my sexuality that I might have had. That’s it. That’s all there is to know.’

    He sighed heavily, running a hand through his messy dark hair. ‘Sorry, Liv. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. I really want you to get past this. I want you to see how gorgeous you are.’

    I grinned at him. ‘You keep saying sweet shit like that, and I might have to promote you to premier best friend.’

    Grinning back at me, Nate rounded the kitchen counter and headed for the couch. When he sat down he patted the seat beside him. ‘Come sit beside me.’

    Curious, I did as he asked.

    His smile was teasing now. ‘Closer.’

    I didn’t want to get closer. He smelled good – something that I was always vaguely aware of, but now I was extremely conscious of the fact that I was really, really aware of how good he smelled. ‘Why? I thought you were going to teach me to flirt.’

    ‘I am. Part of flirting is body language. If you sit three feet from a guy, he’s going to assume you either farted or you think he did.’ I laughed and he continued. ‘If you’re interested in a guy, start off by getting close. However, don’t get in his face – in case he’s not interested.’

    Feeling stricken and probably looking it, I asked, wide-eyed and panicked, ‘How will I know if he’s not interested?’

    ‘He’ll make it clear.’

    ‘But I don’t know anything. What if I don’t pick up on his signals?’ The telltale sign of Nate’s lips twitching made me growl with irritation. ‘Don’t you dare laugh. I’m being serious!’

    ‘Okay.’ He laughed anyway, holding his hands up. ‘Calm down. I’ll show you exactly what I mean. First, I’ll get you to flirt with me and I’ll react. You tell me if I’m interested or not.’

    My pulse had started to race, and my palms were already sweaty at the mere mention of flirting. ‘Yeah, but how do I flirt?’

    I think he heard the trembling in my voice because he stopped grinning and gave me a small, reassuring smile. ‘Babe, we’ll ease into it. Sit close to me. Start talking to me in a way that tells me you’re interested in me.’

    ‘But –’

    ‘Liv, just do it.’

    Sucking in a huge breath, I slid closer to Nate, deciding that my thigh almost touching his was a good place to stop. I looked up into his placid expression and …

    I burst out laughing.

    Shaking his head, Nate gave a huff of amusement. ‘Whatever you do, don’t do that to a guy.’

    Then I started rapidly flapping my hand in front of my face in hopes that cool air would calm me and the idiotic laughing down. ‘I’m sorry,’ I apologized around a hard swallow of giggles. ‘I’ll try again.’ With a couple more deep breaths I grew more composed.

    ‘Ready?’

    Throwing my shoulders back, I said, ‘Yes.’

    ‘Okay, go for it.’

    Taking a moment, I built the fantasy up in my head. I wasn’t at home in my apartment with Nate anymore. I was in a bar with a guy I’d never met before, and he looked an awful lot like Benjamin Livingston. ‘Hi, I’m Liv.’

    His gaze flickered over me quickly before moving off across the room. ‘Nate.’

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