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|Before Jamaica Lane(On Dublin Street #3)(76) by Samantha Young|
I gave her a sly look. ‘Are you using your pregnancy to extort irrational favors from your husband?’
‘I wouldn’t call making him get up at two o’clock in the morning to find a twenty-four-hour supermarket that stocks chocolate peanut butter Häagen-Dazs ice cream irrational.’
My eyes bugged out. ‘You didn’t do that to him?’
Joss snorted. ‘No.’ She took a sip of her water, her eyes twinkling with mischief. ‘But I’m going to.’
I burst out laughing, drawing the gazes of several people in the room, and one of those gazes turned me to stone.
Nate had arrived. And he looked good. His hair had been trimmed a little and he was sporting stubble. He wore a dark red T-shirt and black jeans. Nothing special, yet still he managed to look good enough to eat. I really hated that about him.
Seconds after our eyes locked across the room, his expression grew blank and he quickly turned back to Cam and Jo.
What? My eyes narrowed in heated indignation. He was ignoring me?
Joss hissed in her breath. ‘Did we forget to mention Nate was coming?’
Attempting to control my anger, I turned back to Joss, smoothing out my own expression. ‘He is your friend. I can’t expect you guys to not talk to him.’
‘Still … it’s awkward. I should have told you.’
‘It’s fine. We’re ignoring each other.’ I swallowed past the lump in my throat. ‘There’s no reason why we can’t both enjoy our friends’ happiness without one of us wanting to stick a fork in the other’s eye!’ I snapped, and gulped down the entire glass of champagne.
Joss stared at me for a second. ‘Okay then. I’ll just leave you to … your violent musings.’
She was gone before I could apologize for my insanity.
‘Fuck,’ I muttered.
I spun around at Ellie’s wide-eyed, smiling regard. ‘Hey, Els. Sorry about dropping the f-bomb. I forgot to check my bitterness at the door and Joss got whiplash from it.’
Ellie waved me off. ‘Oh, Joss won’t care. She knows all about it. She’s just in this little happy bubble at the moment and it deflects all misery.’
‘She shouldn’t have to deflect my misery. My misery should have been checked at the door along with my bitterness.’
Ellie took a step closer, her expression conspiratorial and yet still sympathetic. ‘So you’re still miserable?’
I just blinked at her.
‘I’ll take that as a yes.’ Without another word she scurried off.
‘Oh, God,’ I mumbled under my breath, as I realized I was successfully driving my friends away with my attitude. ‘I’m that cousin who stinks of pee.’
I was more than grateful, then, when I saw my dad striding through the party toward me. However, as soon as I caught sight of his grim countenance, the gratitude was quickly replaced by concern.
‘What’s going on?’ I asked softly, as he gently took hold of my elbow.
‘I need to speak to you,’ he replied gruffly.
Mystified and troubled, I let him lead me out of the sitting room and all the way upstairs. To my surprise he opened the door to Hannah’s room and gestured for me to go in ahead of him.
Throwing him an inquiring look as I passed, I walked inside, only to come to an abrupt halt at the sight of Nate standing with his back to me. I swung around, wide-eyed, to question my dad, but the door was already slamming shut behind me.
My mouth agape, I whirled around to find Nate frowning at me.
‘You’re not Cam,’ he observed quietly.
‘You think?’ I snapped. ‘We’ve been had. My dad led me up here on false pretenses.’
He raised an eyebrow, amusement glittering in his dark eyes. ‘Mick was in on it? When did he take my side?’
I knew exactly when my dad had switched to the dark side, and it was all my fault. Idiot child. ‘Before you turned into a total asshat, I made the mistake of convincing him that you’re a good guy. Unfortunately, what I told him seems to have overridden the fact that you stop being a good guy once your dick is involved.’
Instead of being offended, Nate laughed. ‘I remember a time not too long ago when you would have blushed from head to toe saying that.’
‘I remember a time when I thought there was no one else like you.’
That bled the amusement right out of him. We stared at each other in tense silence for a moment until Nate shook his head sadly. ‘I hate that I’m the one who’s done this to you. The Liv I fell for is the kindest, most compassionate and understanding woman I’ve ever met. I’ve made you lose her.’
Although I don’t think he intended it as a barb, it hurt like one and I couldn’t hide the tears that sprang to my eyes. Choking on the crushing sensation around my throat, I turned away, heading for the door.
I heard the sound of his quick movement behind me as I pulled the door open and suddenly his heat was flush against my back, and his hand was above my head, forcing the door shut again. I froze as Nate pressed against me, his hard body so achingly familiar.
‘I know you think I’ve given up, babe,’ he whispered against my ear, and I closed my eyes against the feel of him. ‘But I haven’t. I’m just giving you time to find her again.’
It came to me on swift feet – the knowledge that I would never move on as long as Nate held out hope of a reconciliation. I needed this to be final and yet I wanted just one more taste, so I spun around in his arms, cupped his nape in my hand, and pulled him down to my mouth. I’d forgotten what the taste of him could do to me – I was lost for a moment, drowning in sensation. Nate instantly wrapped his arms around me, hauling me tight against him as he kissed me back, desperate, a little rough, the wet, hot, deepness of our kiss like a euphoric drug taking effect.
I suddenly found myself pushed against the door, Nate’s hands roaming my body like he didn’t know where he wanted to touch me first. When he took hold of the back of my thigh and lifted my leg around him so he could press his erection against me, the heat roared through me. I growled into his mouth and his grip grew bruising.
It was a good thing too, because that slight nip of pain wheedled its way into my consciousness and I somehow found the strength to pull away from him.
Pressing hard against his chest, I forced him back and he released his hold on me.