|Home > Samantha Young > On Dublin Street Series > Echoes of Scotland Street (Page 47)|
|Echoes of Scotland Street(On Dublin Street #5)(47) by Samantha Young|
My eyes and nose burned as his words prodded too closely at my raw emotions. “If you knew . . .” I shook my head, trying to pull away, but he wouldn’t let me. “Cole.” I tried to firm up my voice, but he held on tighter. “If you knew you’d know what an idiot I’ve been. You’ll look at me differently.”
“Shannon.” He gripped my chin tightly and I knew he was losing patience with my admittedly low assessment of not only myself but him. “I won’t.”
I tugged my chin from his grasp to look away, but I didn’t retreat. I gave in. At some point he was going to find out. It had always only been a matter of time. “My first boyfriend was Ewan. The guy that picked me up that day on Scotland Street. His was a typical desertion and it didn’t leave much of a scar. But Nick was next and his definitely did.” I drew in a bolstering breath. “He was the first guy I had sex with. I thought I loved him.” I rolled my eyes at my naïveté. “He was in a rock band. He was good-looking and too charming for his own good. He told me he loved me the night before I caught him screwing a blonde in a closet at one of his gigs.”
I felt Cole’s fingers dig into my waist and when I looked at him I saw turmoil in his gaze.
He hurt for me.
Something . . . something big lurched in my chest.
I wanted to wrap my arms around him and never let go, and yet at the same time I wanted to run in the opposite direction from this man who seemed too good to be true.
“I didn’t learn my lesson,” I continued, my voice now hoarse—affected by the events of the past and present. “A year or so later I started dating Bruce. He was a biker—everyone called him Bear because he was huge. He was really taken with me. At first.” I smiled unhappily. “My size made him feel protective and powerful at the same time. He was always telling me how cute and sexy I was, how funny, how smart, how lovable. He was full of compliments. So it didn’t matter to me that he was a fun-loving biker ten years my senior. I fell for him. He got me a job working in his best friend’s tattoo studio and we dated for eighteen months.
“The last four of those he spent screwing a real honest-to-goodness biker babe behind my back. He decided she was more his speed, so he dumped me and he also made his best friend fire me.”
Cole looked ready to kill someone.
“Are you sure you want me to continue?”
He nodded, his mood rapidly growing darker before my eyes.
For me . . . well, I’d thought it would be harder revealing all this to Cole. I’d gotten over my past grievances until Ollie, and these last few months the memories of what I’d allowed to happen to me had burned in my gut like acid. Yet sitting there with Cole, I realized that somehow over the past few weeks that bitterness had begun to fade.
I tensed at the realization.
I was allowing myself to forget because of Cole.
Don’t be stupid again—you need to remember, to keep your guard up. It’s when you feel safe that they hurt you. Every. Time.
Instinctually I attempted to pull away from Cole, but his hold on my waist tightened.
I exhaled, so confused, so unbelievably mixed up by all of the emotions churning through me. I should be terrified of Cole and yet . . .
“Fine,” I continued. “Then there was Rory. We were only together a few months before I started to notice that money kept going missing from my purse. Eventually I discovered Rory was stealing from me even though he had a lucrative side business as a drug dealer. I then found out he was an ex-con. I got the hell out of there and went running right into the arms of dear Ollie. And you know all about him.”
After a few seconds of loaded silence Cole said, “That’s just a series of bad luck, Shannon.”
This time I did pull away, jumping off the bed with an exasperated grunt. “Bad luck? No, Cole, that’s having terrible taste in men.”
“Present company excluded,” he grumbled, getting up off the bed.
“Don’t,” I snapped, turning on my heel and heading back to the kitchen to finish making dinner.
“Don’t what?” He followed.
“Be boyish and charming.”
“That’s kind of hard. I am boyish and charming.”
I huffed and was just about to turn on the hob when his strong arms encircled me and I found myself up in the air. I landed on Cole’s shoulder with a gasp. “What are you doing?”
“Taking you to bed. Dinner can wait.” He patted my bottom and started striding back toward the bedroom.
“Let me down,” I growled.
“Nope. First: Looking at your gorgeous artwork gave me a serious hard-on. I do love a talented woman.” He stroked my bottom before dropping me on the bed. I stared up at him, wondering how we went from heartfelt confessions, messy confusion, and irate irritation to this. My eyes dropped to his hands as he began unzipping his jeans. “Second, I’m going to fuck every bad memory of those unworthy gits out of you, even if it takes me a lifetime. Starting tonight.”
My mouth dropped open at the lifetime comment. “Cole—”
“Be quiet, Shortcake,” he murmured, crawling up the bed until he was straddling me. “Anything you say will only make me more determined.”
* * *
I shot awake, my heart pounding so hard it was all I could hear. Sweat slickened my skin and I panted for air.
As my eyes adjusted to the dark, I saw I was in my bedroom. Cole was sleeping beside me. He was exhausted after spending the entire evening screwing my brains out. I’d been exhausted too. That was why I’d fallen asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
But the nightmare had returned.
I hadn’t had it for weeks. Since I’d started seeing Cole.
I swallowed hard, running a trembling hand through my damp hair. It must have been all that talk about my exes that had spurred its return.
I had no idea what to do.
Things seemed and felt good with Cole, but hadn’t they with all the others before it went bad? I should leave him. I should . . .
Taking my time, breathing in and out, I felt my heart starting to slow, and that was when I heard a familiar grunt followed by a low wheeze. Slowly the grunts got louder and the wheeze grew higher until it was more of a squeal.
Cole shifted beside me and groaned. His eyes opened reluctantly and he squinted up at me. “What the fuck is that?” he said, his voice hoarse from sleep.