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|Echoes of Scotland Street(On Dublin Street #5)(35) by Samantha Young|
But I caught him looking at me.
There was a huge part of me that loved that he was looking again. Yet there was this other huge part of me that loved the small taste I’d gotten of being Cole’s friend, and I didn’t want to ruin that.
“Ready?” Cole greeted as I walked into his room on Thursday afternoon.
I exhaled nervously and shut his door behind me. “I’m not going to lie. I’ve got butterflies.”
He smiled. “You’re in safe hands.”
Oh God, did he have to say that? I flushed inwardly, desperately looking anywhere but at his hands.
He was still grinning as he lowered himself to his stool and nodded to the chair. “You can straddle the chair and lean on the armrests.”
I swallowed hard and moved to do just that, painfully aware that he was probably getting a good look at my butt as I did so.
“I’m just going to increase the height on the chair,” he said a second before I felt the chair rise.
Suddenly his hands were in my hair and I tensed.
“There’s a lot of it. I’m just shifting it out of the way.” He gathered my hair and draped it over my shoulders. His fingers brushed my skin. “You can either take your top off or lift the hem and hold it out of my way.”
The thought of taking my shirt off in front of Cole almost fried my brain. “I’ll . . . uh . . .” In answer I lifted the hem and clutched it tight in my grip. “Is that high enough?”
“Yeah. But if you get uncomfortable let me know.”
I nodded and tried to relax.
That was really hard to do when his fingers brushed across my lower back. “Everyone feels different levels of pain,” he said, his voice soft as his fingertips lightly stroked my skin. “I will say you’ll probably find the outlines the most uncomfortable, because as I sketch it I’m dragging more definitively on the skin.”
“Okay.” My hands turned into fists as I prepared myself for pain.
Cole chuckled. “Now you’ve tensed up. Just relax. It won’t be as bad as you think.”
I nodded again and a few seconds later the buzz of the needle filled the room. I braced myself and attempted not to flinch as Cole brought the needle to my back.
At first it stung, like a constant scratching over my skin. Soon enough it stung like a mother. However, as time wore on I got used to the pain. It wasn’t nearly as wretched as some people made it out to be.
The needle stopped buzzing. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” I said. “You?”
I could hear the amusement in his voice. “I’m good, Shortcake.”
I attempted and failed to ignore the thrill that went through me at the endearment. “How does it look?”
“Like I just started it three minutes ago.”
I giggled, trying not to shake, and he laughed. “It’s going to be pretty cute when it’s done.” I stopped giggling. Sensing why, he hurried to assure me, “Cute but fierce.” His free hand squeezed my hip. “Perfect for you.”
I laughed now, liking that. “Cute. That’s my lot in life.”
“How do you mean?”
“That’s how people describe me. ‘Oh, Shannon, you look so cute in that picture,’ et cetera. I suppose it’s better than ‘You look like you’ve been pulled through the bushes backwards,’ so I’m not complaining.”
“There’s more to you than cute. People call you cute because you’re petite . . . but you’re sexy too . . . Mostly you’re beautiful in a way that stops a man in his tracks.”
Did he just say that?
Flabbergasted, bowled over, blown away . . . I didn’t know how to respond to the best compliment in the history of compliments. In the end I went with a lame, choked “Thank you.”
Cole gave my hip another squeeze and the tattoo needle started up again, as did the pain. Thankfully he didn’t stop, because getting used to the pain all over again wasn’t fun.
About an hour from when Cole started, the needle stopped. “Done.”
“Really?” I was surprised. I’d been lost in a daydream about different things (not Cole . . . uh-uh . . . no, siree), and time had flown.
He chuckled. “Really. I’ll put some film wrap over it to protect it.”
I could feel him doing that.
“I know you’ve probably heard the aftercare speech a million times, but I have to give it to you anyway.”
“Hit me with it.” I glanced at him over my shoulder with a smile.
There was something intense in his green eyes as he proceeded to “hit me with it.” “Take the film off in four to six hours. Clean the tattoo with a mild soap—Rae will definitely have some—and warm water. Massage, don’t scrub. If you’re showering tonight or in the morning, don’t let the spray hit the tattoo at full force and keep the water lukewarm. It also helps to run the shower at ice-cold on just your tattoo before you get out—this closes any pores the warm water might have opened, allowing the tattoo to heal better and keep the ink vivid. You don’t need to rebandage, but moisturize it lightly twice a day—again, Rae has the best product to use. Do this for the next few days. Wear loose tops, low jeans, so your clothing doesn’t rub against it.” I felt him stand up from his stool seconds before his hands came to rest on my hips. Realizing he was helping me down from the chair, I stood up and stumbled a little as I tried to back off it. “I should have lowered the height on the chair,” he murmured apologetically in my ear.
I shivered at his nearness, and his fingers tensed on my hips.
“It might be better to sleep on your side tonight, and for the next few days try not to rub your tattoo against anything and . . . eh . . . missionary is probably out for the next few days as well.”
I swallowed my gasp but jerked out of his hold, turning to face him with a million questions in my eyes. His gaze was burning hot and I could barely breathe under the stifling tension. “That won’t be a problem,” I whispered.
Cole took a step toward me just as his door flew wide-open.
“Can I see it?” Rae strode in and I quickly lowered my gaze so she couldn’t see the excitement Cole’s tactility and overall sexy behavior was causing me. I turned and lifted up my shirt.
“Cool,” Rae pronounced upon inspection. “I’ll be able to see it better when the cling film comes off.” When I turned back around she grinned. “So, what did you think?” she said. “Did it hurt?”