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|Before Jamaica Lane(On Dublin Street #3)(62) by Samantha Young|
Ellie shrugged. ‘Braden mentioned you to Adam, so I think you did something.’
‘I think they were close to fixing things themselves. I just happened to be there at the right time. That is not a couple who can be mad at each other for long.’
Apparently I was wrong, because Ellie laughed. ‘Jesus, you should have seen them when they broke up. That is a couple that can do mad at each other and do it well. That’s what I was worried about. Anyway, it doesn’t matter now. They’re sorted and Joss seems tentatively excited about the pregnancy, so I’m going to seize upon that. I’m going to be an auntie!’ she squealed as if it had just suddenly hit her.
I laughed, glancing around us to find students smiling in bemusement at us. One of those students caught my eye and the laughter fell from my lips as he began to make his way across the foyer toward me.
‘Liv?’ Ellie asked.
‘Olivia?’ Benjamin stopped, towering over us. He grinned down at me, his friendly, gorgeous smile flickering to Ellie and then back to me. ‘I haven’t seen you in a while.’
There was no avoiding him.
And for the first time in weeks I wasn’t sure I should. I stood up, and Ellie did also. ‘Hi. Benjamin, this is my friend Ellie. Ellie, this is Benjamin.’
‘Call me Ben.’ He smiled at me before turning to shake Ellie’s hand. I felt the heat of Ellie’s burning curiosity on my face.
‘Have you been on holiday?’ he asked, his focus entirely on me, which was really nice considering that Ellie was a tall, stunning blonde.
‘No. I think we must just keep missing each other,’ I lied.
‘That’s a shame,’ he murmured. ‘But it’s good to see you now.’
‘You too,’ I replied with a smile.
We stared at each other a moment too long.
Ben cleared his throat. ‘I suppose I better get on,’ he said, seeming reluctant.
‘You know,’ Ellie said, ‘a group of us will be hanging out at Club 39 on Saturday night. Maybe we’ll see you there.’
Understanding flashed in his eyes and he grinned at me. ‘Yeah, maybe.’
As soon as he was gone I turned to her. ‘What was that?’
‘I’m just helping along a courtship that was going as slow as mine and Adam’s. I don’t want you to have to wait five years, Liv.’ She patted my shoulder. ‘It’s not fun.’
Ellie’s news that Joss and Braden were okay and Ben’s obvious interest in me brightened my day a little, helping me to bury the increasingly excruciating hurt and uncertainty I was feeling over the whole Nate situation.
It was understandable, then, that when I got home from work that night I didn’t know how to react to the fact that Nate was sitting on my couch, drinking my coffee and watching my TV.
I know how my body reacted.
It liked his lean, muscular form on my couch. It liked the stubble on his handsome face, and the gleam in his gorgeous, dark chocolate eyes.
I know how my heart reacted.
It loved that he was in my sitting room, waiting for me.
He sat forward, reaching for the remote to switch off the television. ‘I came by last night. You never came home.’
‘I stayed with my dad.’
Tension seemed to melt from the line of his shoulders. ‘Are you okay?’
He scratched his jaw, a question in his eyes. ‘Did we f**k up at the weekend?’
Moving toward him, I exhaled heavily. ‘I don’t know. Did we?’
Nate stood up, coming toward me. He put his hands on my waist and drew me to him. I was a goner. ‘I think it was a strange weekend. I think we should forget about it.’
What the hell does that mean? Find out!
‘Okay,’ I acquiesced, hating myself for it, but loving the feel of his lips whispering across my jaw.
His warm breath puffed against my ear as his hands pulled the back of my shirt into his fists. ‘I feel like I haven’t been inside you in forever.’
I leaned into him. ‘It’s only been a few nights,’ I reminded him softly.
‘That’s what I said.’ He pressed an open-mouth kiss to my sweet spot. ‘Fucking forever.’
At first he was rough, wild, hot. I let him kiss me. I let him undress me. I let him lead me into my room. I let him caress every part of my body.
Somewhere along the way he turned tender.
I let him slide inside me and take me slowly, beautifully. I closed my eyes.
‘Don’t,’ he said gruffly, grasping the back of my thigh to change the angle of his deep, slow thrusts. ‘Look at me. Give me those eyes.’
So I let him look into my eyes while he made love to me, until I came with tears in them.
I let him push my uncertainty aside.
I let him back in.
Nate came hard, his grip on my body almost bruising as he threw his head back and groaned his release. Once his hips stopped jerking against mine, a strange stillness came over him. An alertness. Our eyes met, and whatever Nate saw in mine had him rolling off me as if I was on fire.
Quickly he took off the used condom and threw it in the trash can. He immediately started pulling his jeans back on.
Something was very wrong.
‘You’re not staying?’
He didn’t answer, and that line of tension was back in his shoulders. I waited as he put his shirt on. Not meeting my eyes at first, he dragged a hand down his face, and then finally looked at me.
My heart pounded as I sat up. I swallowed a wave of nausea.
‘I’m ending this, Liv. I can’t do it anymore.’
I felt like my rib cage was closing in on my lungs. ‘You –’ I shook my head. ‘You make love to me and then … end it?’
‘That’s why.’ He clenched his jaw tightly. ‘Make love to you? That was never what this was about.’
Anger tore through me as I got out of the bed, reaching for a nightshirt so I wouldn’t feel so vulnerable. I yanked it on over my head and then spun around, hands on my hips. ‘Why did you come here tonight? If you were going to end it?’
‘Because I wasn’t sure it needed to be ended … but after that …’ His voice trailed off as he gestured helplessly toward the bed.
I stared at the bed, where he’d been so tender only moments before. ‘I was just following your lead.’