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  • Home > Samantha Young > On Dublin Street Series > Echoes of Scotland Street (Page 45)     
    Echoes of Scotland Street(On Dublin Street #5)(45) by Samantha Young
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    Delighted, Hannah burst out laughing. “Oh man, I almost forgot about that.” Her eyes were bright with mirth. “She was his first big crush. It was so adorable.”

    “Yup.” I giggled. “Which is why Cole’s going to kill Rae.”

    “What are we laughing at?” Liv hurried over to us with Jo, her eyes filled with curiosity as she bestowed her freaking amazing smile on us.

    My own gaze took in all her voluptuous gorgeousness. She wasn’t beautiful like Jo, or glamorous like Joss, or stunning like Hannah. She was striking and sexy with unusual golden hazel eyes and killer curves. No wonder Cole had had a crush on her. She was a teenage boy’s wet dream.

    “Rae told Shannon about Cole’s old crush on you. He’s now killing her with words.”

    We all stared across the room where Cole was laughing with Rae.

    I snorted. “Well . . . he was . . .”

    “I hope it doesn’t bother you . . .” Liv seemed unsure. “It was years ago. He was just a teenager.”

    “Of course not.” I waved her concerns away.

    “I’m just glad to see you getting along with Hannah.” Jo took a sip of her champagne while Hannah tensed beside me.

    I reassured her with a grin. “Oh, you mean because all his ex-girlfriends were crazy people?”

    Cole’s sister looked surprised. “Cole told you?”

    “Yup. Don’t worry. I’m not blind.” I looked at Hannah now. “I can see you two are like brother and sister.”

    Relief glittered in her pretty brown eyes and it occurred to me this was obviously something she had to worry about every time Cole started seeing someone new.

    “Anyway,” I continued, “it’s not like Cole and I are anything serious.”

    Just like that the mood in our circle changed. And not for the better.

    Jo looked visibly confused and upset. “But . . . Cole doesn’t do casual.”

    I opened my mouth to explain but found I really didn’t know how.

    “Issues.”

    I spun around to find Joss standing behind us, apparently listening in.

    She waved her wineglass at me. “I can spot someone with issues a mile off.”

    “Issues?” Jo and Liv stepped closer, crowding me in. I was starting to feel a little trapped. “What issues?”

    “Yes, what issues?” I snapped, forgetting this woman was my current idol.

    Joss shrugged. “If it were my guess, I’d say the whole ‘not serious thing’ was your suggestion and it was your suggestion because of a bad breakup.”

    Hannah, Jo, and Liv looked from Joss to me, expressions all the same. I was battered by three silent questions, each one the same. Well, is she right?

    Yes, I definitely felt trapped.

    “Jesus, women.” Cole suddenly appeared, pushing past his sister and Hannah to get to me. “The four of you look like a pack of hyenas crowding baby Simba.”

    I wrapped my arm around his waist, thankful for the intrusion despite being likened to a lion cub. As much as I liked Cole’s friends and family, I wasn’t really up for sharing my past with them.

    “We’re sorry.” Hannah looked like she really meant it.

    Jo, however, wasn’t ready to let it go that easily . . . “What does she mean you’re not serious?”

    “Jo.” Cole sighed. “Don—”

    “Since when do you do casual?” She crossed her arms over her slim chest, annoyance in her eyes. Eyes that were the exact shape and shade as Cole’s.

    I relaxed against her brother, remembering how Rae had told me Jo raised him. She was just being protective.

    “Jo—”

    “I don’t think—”

    “Jo, sheathe the mother-bear claws.”

    He said it in such an authoritative tone I wasn’t surprised when she snapped her mouth shut.

    Cole’s fingers tightened their hold on my waist. “Shannon is my business, not yours.”

    “And you’re my business,” she argued, glowering at me.

    “Awkward.”

    Everyone stopped talking and looked at me.

    I blanched. “Did I say that out loud?”

    Cole nodded, shaking with amusement.

    Joss, Hannah, and Liv burst into laughter and even Jo’s scowl cleared as her lips twitched. I was embarrassed, but I could take the embarrassment if it meant Jo would stop prying into my situation with Cole.

    *   *   *

    To my relief, over the next few weeks, Cole never brought up “our situation.” I refused to call it a relationship even though very quickly I got lost in a blissful bubble with him. His attentiveness, his consideration, his cockiness and sweetness . . . it never wavered. It appeared that that was just who he was, and I had to admit it was nice.

    Okay, so it was more than nice.

    Cole didn’t hide his affection for me, although he still maintained a distant professionalism in front of customers, and he didn’t hide that he thought we were definitely going somewhere serious and that I’d eventually come to trust him. His optimism was kind of charming.

    As was his good humor and his patience and . . . and, and, and!

    I really wished I could find some kind of fault with him. But as we spent those weeks on dates at the movies, out to dinner, drinks with friends, quiet drinks alone, hanging out at his flat, and having the hottest sex of my life, I couldn’t find anything more annoying about him other than the fact that he constantly flicked the channel on the television. And sure, that was really annoying, but it was just that one thing.

    A thing I could deal with because . . .

    I was happy.

    And with the happiness came the guilt.

    Logan was in prison while I shacked up with a gorgeous tattoo artist.

    No wonder my family still hadn’t bothered to get in touch with me. I was happily living my life while my brother suffered for having tried to protect me. My sister hadn’t texted me since that last text weeks ago when she asked me to confirm I was alive.

    And so for the last few days the worry over what my family would think if they found out about Cole had overtaken my contentment. It didn’t matter if Cole wasn’t really a bad boy at all. He looked like one, and that was all that would matter to my family.

    I knew Cole could sense I was in a weird place, but thankfully he put it down to the fact that he was staying at my flat for the first time. I hadn’t invited him to stay with me, because secretly I liked the idea that I could leave Cole’s whenever I wanted. Not that I ever did, but the control was there. If Cole stayed with me . . . well, it was just much harder to kick someone out than it was to leave. But a few days ago Cole had insisted on staying the night. We’d argued. He’d won. Now he thought I was pissed off when in actuality I was neck deep in self-recrimination.

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