|Home > Samantha Young > On Dublin Street Series > Echoes of Scotland Street (Page 73)|
|Echoes of Scotland Street(On Dublin Street #5)(73) by Samantha Young|
The gorgeous property belonged to Joss and Braden and was currently filled with the couple’s closest friends and family, who were there to celebrate the birth of baby Jarrod. I’d gate-crashed and was incredibly worried I was about to vomit all over their hardwood floors.
Joss didn’t seem too concerned I’d gate-crashed. In fact, she got this almost satisfied sparkle in her gaze when she opened her front door and found me on the stoop.
“I’m here to go big or go home,” I said without preamble.
She grinned and stepped aside. “Then by all means come in.”
The noise from the sitting room jolted me as I followed the hostess into it. Light streamed in from the huge floor-to-ceiling windows situated on opposite ends of the long room. Nate, Liv, Mick, and his wife, Dee, were chatting to Cole and Cam, who was holding Belle in his arms by the old Georgian fireplace. Dylan led Elodie across the room toward Luke, William, and Bray, who were huddled around toys on the floor. Clark, Declan, and Marco stood laughing by the nearest window at whatever Braden was telling them, while Jo sat perched on the armchair Ellie was sitting on as they ate finger food. Squeals of laughter sounded from the back of the room where Beth, Lily, and January were watching a Disney movie on the large television. Beth had little Sophia in her arms.
As if he sensed me, Cole glanced over. He stiffened at the sight of me and I braced myself. A hush fell over the room as the adults noted my presence.
“Cole, Shannon is here to see you.” Joss stared him down on my behalf until his feet started moving toward me.
“What are you doing here?” he asked, appearing a little shell-shocked to see me.
The dark circles that had been under his eyes all week hadn’t gone anywhere and his usual scruff was turning into a beard. It was selfish of me, but I was relieved he wasn’t dealing well with our separation either.
I licked my dry lips, glancing around at everyone staring at us. Finally I looked up into Cole’s handsome face. “I’m here because I love you, and I need to ask you something.” I took a deep breath. It was time to go big.
I lowered myself to one knee.
Cole’s eyes grew round and I heard a few female gasps behind him. “Shannon, what—”
“Cole Walker, I once told you in fear that you were nothing, but there has never been a day of your life that that was true and there has never been a day I’ve ever really thought that. You’ve been extraordinary to me since we were fifteen.” I smiled shakily, feeling vulnerable and frightened but hopeful too as he stared down at me with growing tenderness in his expression. “Apart from Logan I’ve never had a real family. The kind you can count on through everything. The kind that gives you second, third, fourth chances because the other option is no option at all. Because they love you and they’re there for you. Unconditionally. Logan was the only one who ever gave me that. Until you. You’re my family, Cole. I want you to be my family forever.” I laughed hoarsely. “I don’t have a ring or anything. I just have me. And I know I’m not perfect and I know you deserve perfect . . . but I love you more than anyone else in this world and I promise you I’ll never let you forget that again.” My heart slowed its rapid beating as a sense of calm came over me. A sense of rightness. It was as if I’d found the balance I’d been missing ever since I got in that car and left Cole behind on that stoop on Scotland Street all those years ago. “It’s always been you, and I always want it to be . . . Marry me, Cole.”
Everything seemed to freeze around us as Cole’s glittering gaze stayed locked on mine. He lowered himself to his knees and slid his hand over my leg while his other cupped my cheek. I leaned into his touch. “You really know how to get a guy’s attention . . . between that hair and the proposal . . .” He grinned.
I curled my fingers around his wrist. “Was that a yes?”
He tugged me toward him and I braced my hands on his chest. “Even though you stole my thunder . . .” He nodded and pressed a soft kiss to my lips. “Yes, Shannon.”
Euphoria swept over me as Cole kissed me again, this time long and hard. I kissed him back with abandon, barely even aware of the laughter and celebration of his family all around us.
* * *
My fingers curled into the bedsheet and I gasped, my head falling back against Cole’s shoulder as he moved inside me. We lay on our sides, my back to Cole’s chest.
It was intoxicating—like he was all around me, inside me, a part of me. His scent was everywhere, his heart beat at my back, and his hand caressed my breast. I was aware of everything—the roughness of the hair on his legs brushing against the soft skin of mine, the sound of his breathing as it quickened, the thick, all-encompassing sensation of him inside me.
In a way nothing ever had been before.
When I came around him my pulse throbbed so hard it reverberated in the base of my throat.
“Shannon,” Cole panted. “Oh, f-fuck,” he stuttered out as he tensed seconds before he climaxed.
Damp from sweat, I found it a small kind of relief when Cole bunched my hair in his hand and lifted it off my neck so he could kiss me there. Since our return from Joss and Braden’s and our reconciliation/engagement, we’d gone at each other like lust-starved teenagers. First he pinned me against the wall of his hallway; then he carried me to his bed, where we’d screwed each other’s brains out.
Finally our urgency eased as we silently reassured each other. We’d made love slowly, leisurely, and somehow it was the most erotic part of the whole evening.
Cole shifted as if to pull out of me and I put my hand on his hip to stop him. “Stay,” I whispered.
I nodded, grabbing his arm and tugging it around my waist.
Catching on, Cole took me with him as he moved to switch off the light. He then settled, spooning me.
My eyes were just drifting closed when he spoke into the dark. “You were right. What you said about me trusting you. I didn’t even realize it until you said it.”
Fully alert, I ran the tips of my fingers along his forearm. “It’s okay.”
“I need you to understand something. I need you to understand why I reacted the way I did, why I didn’t give myself time to think. See . . .” His voice grew low. “All those years ago on Scotland Street when I stepped out of Ellie’s door and you turned around, I thought—” He cut off abruptly, subconsciously tightening his hold on me.