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|Before Jamaica Lane(On Dublin Street #3)(22) by Samantha Young|
Hmm, that seemed cold, but Nate could just be testing me.
‘Is that short for Nathaniel?’ Really? That’s the best you’ve got?
Nate just nodded, not looking at me.
‘That means you’re not interested, right?’ I winced, forgetting this was a lesson and taking it a little too personally.
As if he sensed that, Nate chuckled. ‘I told you that you’d be able to pick up on it. Guys make it fairly easy.’
‘Jesus, that would be embarrassing in real life.’
He dipped his head toward me. ‘Babe, a guy responds like that to you, he’s not worth shit, okay? You pick yourself up and go find a guy who’s not a complete arse.’
Smiling gratefully, I asked. ‘Okay. So what now?’
He smiled, wicked and seductive. ‘Now I’m going to flirt back. It gives you something to bounce off, so you’ll find it easier this time around.’
‘You optimistic person, you.’
Giving me another smile, he nudged me with his knee. ‘Start again.’
Thinking I should have practiced how to smile seductively – there was probably a ‘how to’ tutorial on YouTube – before Nate arrived, I quickly attempted to assemble that kind of expression on my lips. I had a feeling it came off weird, but Nate just went with it. ‘Hi, I’m Liv.’
The smile he gave me almost melted me into the couch. Through lowered lashes, Nate’s divine black-magic eyes traveled from my legs upward, lingering for more than a few seconds on my br**sts, then migrating up to my face. He stared into my eyes, seeming transfixed, and I was pretty sure if he threw me back against the couch and took me wildly he’d find me unbelievably ready for him. ‘Hi, Liv. I’m Nate.’
Somehow through the tingling and the sexual fog he’d cast over me I managed to smile back. I gestured to his soda and asked, ‘You drinking alone tonight?’
‘Have a drink with me and I won’t be.’
‘Ooh, that was nice.’
‘Don’t break character.’
I straightened my spine, chastened. ‘Sorry.’
‘Don’t be sorry, just keep going.’
Scrambling to think of a reply, I decided it was too much to try to imagine Nate as Benjamin, so I let that go, reminding myself that this was just me and Nate. We hung out all the time. Relaxing a little, I said, ‘I’ll have a drink with you if you can guess my favorite drink.’
‘Good. Playful.’ He grinned again, going back into character. ‘Let me think.’ His eyes roved over me. ‘American. Casual. Laid-back … I’m thinking a beer.’
I shook my head, trying not to smile, since beer was what I drank in reality. But that was too easy for him.
He told me with his eyes that he knew what I was doing, but he patiently asked, ‘What, then?’
‘Rum and Coke,’ I lied.
‘Guess my people-reading skills aren’t quite up to scratch after all.’
‘No, I think it just means you’re not psychic. For instance …’ I gave him a little smile and shuffled closer so my leg was now pressed against his. Nate’s cologne hit all my senses and my heart started to beat a little faster as I continued. ‘What are your people-reading skills telling you now?’
Nate’s eyes dipped to where our legs were pressed together, and suddenly my palms were sweating again. Was I starting off too aggressively? Was this all wrong?
Oh, crap, I was never going to be good at this.
When his gaze rose to meet mine again, I was surprised for a moment to see how much heat was in his eyes. However, when he answered, ‘That I should buy you that rum and Coke,’ I remembered he was just acting.
I relaxed and let my eyes glitter as I got into it too. ‘It seems your people-reading skills are intact.’
The right corner of his mouth tilted up in sexy amusement. ‘They’re not my only skills, you know. I’ve been told I work wonders with my hands … as well as other parts of my body.’
The blatant sexual innuendo caused a visible flush to spread across my cheeks. Nate groaned loudly, flopping back against the couch. ‘You were doing so well.’
I tried to cool my cheeks with the power of my mind. ‘Sorry. I just didn’t expect you to jump right into the sex stuff.’
‘I don’t get it.’ He rolled his head to look at me. ‘We watch crude comedies together, we all crack sex jokes – you laugh, you join in. No blushing involved.’
‘But those aren’t directed at me,’ I argued.
‘So even the thought of shagging a guy turns you shy?’
‘One, haven’t we been over that? And two, don’t say “shagging,” Nate.’
‘I have to say naughty words if we’re going to get you past this.’
‘And don’t be condescending. I’m not a prude. I just don’t like the word “shagging.” I prefer “fucking.” ’
As soon as I said it Nate’s eyes sparkled with humor. I could see the corners of his mouth tilting toward what I knew would be a massive grin. ‘Don’t even …’ I hit him with a cushion as he started to laugh really hard at me. ‘Stop being immature.’
After what felt like at least five minutes of straight-out belly-laughing at me, Nate finally pulled himself together, wiping tears from the corners of his eyes. ‘We need to work on dirty talking,’ he said, still a little hoarse from all that amusement at my expense. ‘Some guys are subtle, but some guys will tell you what they want to do to you.’
I will not blush, I will not blush. ‘Like you.’
‘I’m not exactly a subtle guy.’
‘What if I don’t like that kind of talk?’
‘If you don’t, then he’s not the guy for you. You just bow out of the conversation and find a guy who does subtle.’ Nate leaned into me, his eyes questioning. ‘But how do you know you don’t like it? After all, it’s just foreplay.’
I will not blush, I will not blush.
Damn, I’m blushing.
Nate smirked at me again.
‘Look, maybe we can just get me past blushing at innuendo before we see if I can handle dirty talking.’
He contemplated me a moment. ‘Okay. It’s your call.’