|Home > Samantha Young > On Dublin Street Series > Echoes of Scotland Street (Page 58)|
|Echoes of Scotland Street(On Dublin Street #5)(58) by Samantha Young|
I bit my lip, wanting to do nothing more, but I was anxious to get work done. “I only have a few days to put together a couple of pieces.”
“Why don’t you put together the bare bones and when we get home you can fill in the rest with that gorgeous imagination of yours?” He stopped where I’d set up my easel and stool. “It looks wonderful.”
“Thank you.” My eyes traveled up his stomach, taking their time until they reached his face. A small smug smile played on his lips. “Shut up.”
He laughed. “I didn’t say anything.”
“You know you’re good-looking and you’re using it to distract me.”
Cole scratched his brow, appearing to struggle not to laugh again. “All I did was ask you if you wanted to take a break.”
“And then you put those in my face.” I pointed the end of my paintbrush at his abs.
“Welcome to my world,” he said, his voice suddenly gruff. “That bikini . . .”
I glanced down at the white bikini I was wearing. It was a hot bikini. I’d spent the last two weeks shopping for clothes for this holiday and that included a couple of skimpy bikinis. I knew Cole would look good in Saran Wrap, so I was determined to feel sexy at his side.
I felt sexy in this bikini.
It was my turn to smile smugly.
Chuckling, Cole slid his hand across the back of my bare neck and gently squeezed. My hair was piled haphazardly on top of my head. Its length and thickness were a bit of a bother in warm weather. “Come exploring with me?” he said, pressing a sweet kiss to my mouth.
There really was no way to say no to that.
* * *
“Okay, we’re doing this every day,” I said, closing my eyes beneath my sunglasses against the breeze that blew over us. The ferry slowly made its way across the lake. The relief the lake breeze brought from the heat was beyond delightful.
“And you wanted to stay at the villa and paint,” Cole teased.
I opened my eyes to look at his smiling, handsome face. I imagined his green eyes were laughing at me underneath his Ray-Ban shades. “I still can’t believe you brought me to Italy for my birthday.” I gestured across the water. “We can see the Alps.”
I shrugged, looking away, pretending to peruse the massive villa near the town of Bellagio, which was our destination. “Nothing . . . I just . . . It’s a big deal for a couple who have only been dating a few months and yet . . .” I trailed off on another shrug.
“And yet?” Cole prompted.
I glanced back at him, my heart quickening. “It feels like some kind of dream and yet at the same time . . .” The blood beneath my cheeks grew hot despite the breeze. “I don’t remember anything ever feeling more real.”
Cole was quiet, which only made my heart elevate from a quickening pace to pounding.
“Jesus, Shannon,” he finally said, his voice thick, “I wish you would say these things in private.”
Hurt and confused, I looked out at the water.
“In private.” He grabbed my hand and pulled my body toward his as he leaned down to whisper in my ear, “I can show my appreciation the way I really want to.”
Reassured, I sagged into him. “You can always give me a taste of that appreciation. I doubt the Italians will be shocked by a little PDA.”
Cole accepted that invitation . . . for the rest of the day. While we walked up the steep, cobbled steps and lanes in Bellagio, while we sauntered along the lakeside in the gardens of the Villa Melzi, and even when I spent most of my time balking at the prices of designer clothes and handbags, Cole showed me his appreciation. Holding me, kissing me, cuddling me—the guy was feeling mighty tactile. I didn’t mind a bit.
“You should have bought that dress if you liked it,” Cole said, swinging my hand playfully as we walked across the street toward the ferry dock. It was nearing the end of the afternoon and we were all Bellagio-ed out for the day.
“It cost half my monthly wage.” I shook my head. “I’d have to be head over heels in love with a dress before I’d spend that kind of money. Even then . . .”
“You don’t need it anyway,” he assured me, his eyes running the length of me. “What you’re wearing is working just fine.”
I had on a white cotton sundress over my white bikini.
He let go of my hand to brush his fingers over my shoulder. “You got a lot of color today. We better put after-sun on you when we get back.”
Always taking care of me.
I beamed at him and he blinked in surprise.
“What? What did I do?”
I shook my head, my smile turning secretive. Cole shook his head too, amused by my girlishness.
“Looks like the ferry is going to be another five or so minutes,” he said as he stopped at the end of a long line of people who were waiting on the dock. He looked over his shoulder and grinned like a little boy. “There’s an ice cream parlor.”
“Then let’s get ice cream.”
He tugged on my hand and we hurried across the street before two guys on mopeds hit us. Inside the heavenly air-conditioned ice cream parlor, I studied Cole in growing delight as he bit down on his thumb and stared at all the ice cream flavors with this studious pinch between his eyebrows.
I struggled not to laugh at his adorableness. “Having trouble choosing?”
Expression still serious, he nodded, eyes not leaving the ice cream for one second. “Do you know what you want?”
You, you, you!
I choked back the desire to yell that and throw my arms around him. “I’m thinking chocolate and caramel.”
“Hmm . . . why don’t we get a three-scoop cone?”
My lips twitched. “Okay. What would you like?” My eyes rose to the older woman behind the counter, who was smiling at Cole like she found him just as charming as I did. The endearing guy who was excited about eating ice cream on a hot day was so at odds with his looks. He was wearing a white T-shirt that showed off his muscular, tattooed arms and neck, and a pair of long shorts with flip-flops. For once he was clean-shaven, but his hair was as messy as ever. He looked less bad boy than he normally did, but still . . .
“I’m thinking lemon and lime, watermelon, and strawberry.”
“You keep your fruits.” I nudged him with my hip. “I’ll have the chocolate and caramel, the mint chocolate chip, and the double chocolate chip.”