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|Echoes of Scotland Street(On Dublin Street #5)(59) by Samantha Young|
Once we had our cones we dug into them right away, moaning at the creamy flavors that cooled us down temporarily.
“Here.” Cole tipped his cone down to me. “Try the strawberry.”
I took a lick and instantly wished I’d chosen it. “Gorgeous.” I held my cone up to him and he bent down to take a lick and ended up getting chocolate all over his nose. I giggled and gestured with my free hand for him to bend his head. As soon as he did I licked his nose, laughing while he tried to take another taste of my cone and got more around his lips rather than in his mouth.
We stood on the pavement, laughing and kissing ice cream off each other, uncaring we were acting like teenagers in public. We had such a carry-on with those cones we almost missed the ferry.
Running down the gangway, we caught up with the rest of the tourists and residents who were shuffling across the iron plank to get onto the ferry.
“I wish we could stay here forever,” I said, filled with longing.
Cole squeezed my hand in answer and I realized as I looked up at him standing next to me that I’d never been so happy in my whole entire life.
Somehow I managed to swallow the sound of my indrawn breath at that startling revelation. Dazed, I absentmindedly held out my ticket to a guy dressed in a crisp white ferry uniform.
“Inglese, yes?” he suddenly said.
I blinked up at him, distantly taking in his handsome dark looks. “Scottish.”
“Scozzese.” He grinned, his dark eyes glittering appreciatively. “All such beautiful women, yes?”
Cole’s hand tightened on mine and I was tugged none too gently into his side. The ferry worker gave Cole a taunting smile and waved us onto the ferry. I could feel the Italian’s eyes burning into my back while the hand Cole was gripping was almost numb from his fierce hold.
“You can ease up there,” I said as we took our seat in the back of the ferry. Unfortunately all the seats outside were taken, so we were trapped inside. It was like an oven.
“Fucking Italians,” Cole muttered under his breath.
“Tony’s Italian,” I reminded him. “He’s always coming on to me.”
The muscle in his jaw ticked. “Yeah, with no intention of ever trying to fuck you. If that prick could have fucked you with his eyes, he would have.”
“It’s not a big deal.” I frowned, surprised by how pissed off he was.
At my placating tone, Cole shoved his sunglasses up onto his head and glowered at me. “It’s always a big deal when a man comes on to a woman in front of the man she’s clearly with. It’s like asking for a fist in his face.”
“Which we all know you could land quite easily.” I brushed my fingers over the fist he’d made subconsciously. “But there wouldn’t be any point since a million men could come on to me and I’d still only want you.” I rubbed his hand soothingly. “It’s not like you to take these things to heart.”
It was Cole’s turn to frown as he realized the truth in my words. It wasn’t like him to get worked up over something that was really trivial at the end of the day. He looked away from me, but not before I saw the muscle in his jaw flex.
The ferry had begun moving away from the dock when Cole said so softly I almost didn’t hear him, “It’s because it was you.” He turned to meet my gaze, his heated. “What are you doing to me, Shannon?”
My breath caught.
Finally I whispered, “Exactly what you’re doing to me.”
* * *
That evening we returned to the villa to shower and dress for the evening. Joss and Braden had recommended a restaurant up in the hills of the neighboring town of Tremezzo. They knew the owners and had booked a table for us in advance. They’d also left us with the number of a taxi driver since they were few and far between in the area.
Dressed in a cool, flowing turquoise blue maxi dress that contrasted nicely against my hair, I felt that feeling of utter contentment come over me as I clasped Cole’s hand and let him lead me up the stone slab steps to the restaurant. He was dressed in a white dress shirt and black trousers—effortlessly stylish. He also smelled amazing. The restaurant was beautiful, built in the style of a Swiss chalet, and as the friendly owner led us out into the garden to a table that had the most breathtaking view of the lake, I almost felt like crying.
This place, with this man at my side, was all too good to be true.
In the romantic setting, as I watched the sun slowly lower behind the mountains, my skin prickled—and not with growing chill. The air around Cole and me was electric, and I knew he was feeling all that I’d been feeling today. Despite the headiness between us, we managed to have a fun—and thick with innuendos—conversation while we indulged in the most astounding food I’d ever eaten. Everything just tasted so much more delicious here than it did back home. The vegetables, the fruit . . . all of it was bursting with flavor.
Allowing our food to settle, we sipped at our wine and looked out over the lake.
“Thank you for bringing me here. It’s beyond anything I’ve ever experienced before.”
Cole reached for my hand. “Thank you for coming with me.”
Our eyes met and the electricity that had been sparking between us all night crackled.
“Let’s go back to the villa,” I said, the words coming out thick.
On the return trip I forced myself to try to find my equilibrium. I was likely to explode into a million different pieces if I didn’t try to control what I was feeling for Cole.
As soon as we walked into the villa, my gaze locked on the pool glittering in the moonlight outside the sitting room. “Let’s go for a swim,” I suggested, thinking it might cool me down. I half suspected it was the heat that was making me feel so discombobulated.
“A swim?” Cole sounded confused, but I was already heading into the bedroom to grab a bikini. Cole had disappeared while I changed and I was out in the pool by the time he appeared in his swim shorts, carrying two cold beers.
I smiled at him as he lowered himself into the pool. “Good thinking,” I said, taking the proffered beer.
We sipped in silence for a while, gazing up at the starry sky.
“Why are we in the pool?” Cole asked, amusement in his voice.
I swallowed hard, unable to look at him. “Because I needed to cool down before I injured either you or myself tackling you to the ground.”