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|Echoes of Scotland Street(On Dublin Street #5)(75) by Samantha Young|
Simon pushed away from the wall, his gaze fixed on his partner, who was laughing with Rae and looking exceptionally handsome in a black open-collared shirt and black trousers. Simon couldn’t hide the way he felt about Tony. It emanated from him. He shot me a smile of thanks. “I think I’ll do that.”
I watched as he strode across the room with purpose, coming up behind Tony and placing a hand on his shoulder. He leaned in and pressed his lips to Tony’s jaw. Tony’s eyelids grew heavy and lazy as he turned to meet Simon’s mouth with his own.
“Playing matchmaker?” Cole murmured, wrapping his arms around me and drawing me back against his chest.
I relaxed against him. “Just passing along a very important lesson you taught me.”
“Hmm.” He brushed his lips over my ear. “How about we go home and I teach you a little something else?”
I shivered in anticipation. “Like?”
“Life drawing skills. If I remember correctly you promised you’d let me draw you naked.”
Grinning, I turned around in his arms. “I did, didn’t I?” I pressed closer. “Let’s make it more interesting.”
“More interesting than drawing you naked?”
“Uh-huh. Let’s make a bet.”
“I bet you that you’ll give in to temptation and score with your nude model within ten minutes.”
Cole gave me an “oh, please” look. “I’ll take that bet. I’ll last at least thirty minutes.”
“So cocky.” I was so going to win this bet. “Terms?”
“If I win I get your mouth first.” He winked.
I laughed. “Dirty boy. Fine. If I win I get your mouth first.”
I shook the hand he held out. “Deal.”
* * *
I didn’t play fair as a nude model. Let’s just say I was never very good at sitting completely still.
Cole lasted three minutes.
A week later we found ourselves back at Joss and Braden’s home. Ellie wanted us to celebrate our engagement in style. I don’t know how they managed to pull off another get-together so quickly, but the dining table was covered in buffet food, and there were decorations and cake. Everyone had carved time out of their busy schedules. They’d also brought gifts that were now piled in the hallway.
“There you are.” Hannah smiled at us. She approached carrying the tiny bundle that was Jarrod.
Cole’s family and friends lounged in the sitting room in much the same way as they had the week before. I was a little nervous being around them again after they’d witnessed my emotional proposal, but after having dinner with Jo and Cam this week, I at least felt more comfortable around Cole’s big sister.
And of course Hannah always put me at ease.
Taking in Jarrod’s beautiful little face and the blue vest that had the words “I’m so cute I must be Scottish” printed on them, I immediately let go of Cole’s hand. “Can I hold him?”
She chuckled and nodded, passing Jarrod over to me.
I took his solid, warm little weight, beaming into his now-inquiring eyes as he squirmed a little. He settled as I secured him in my arms. “Well, aren’t you the most gorgeous little thing on the planet?” He had Marco’s coloring, although his eyes were dark blue, but that might, and probably would, change as he got older. “Look at you, charming the pants off women already.”
Cole smoothed his large hand over Jarrod’s head and I swear to God my brooding levels hit an all-time high. “Learning from the best, buddy, eh?”
I stared stupidly up at my fiancé. “What?”
Hannah snorted. “She’s having a moment. Leave her.”
Cole quirked an eyebrow. “A moment? A—no.” His eyes grew comically round. “One thing at time, Shortcake. Now, hand the child over slowly.”
I giggled and passed Jarrod back to an amused Hannah. “You’d make a great dad.”
“I’m sure I will,” he said confidently. “And I look forward to it . . . in at least five years’ time.”
I was delighted he’d even thought about it. I didn’t want kids right away either. I had so much I still wanted to do. But it was nice to know Cole and I were on the same page about something so huge.
I gestured to Jarrod. “I don’t know how you get anything done with all that adorableness around you.”
“Actually, despite the distracting adorableness, Jarrod has been great. Sophia cried most nights, but Jarrod sleeps a lot. He’s an absolute angel.”
Seeing the loving look on his friend’s face, Cole said cautiously, “Not looking forward to returning to work, then?”
Hannah shrugged. “I’m looking forward to getting back into the classroom, but I’ll miss this. I’m only going back part-time to begin with. I still need more time with this little guy.” She suddenly grinned at me and stepped closer, lowering her voice. “Cole tells us you’re a talented artist and have a particular talent at landscapes.”
“Oh.” Surprised by the change in subject and the compliment, I found myself stuttering, “I’m all ri— Okay, I mean, I guess I—I’m okay.”
Cole wrapped an arm around me and jerked me into his side. “What she meant to say was ‘Yes, I’m a bloody fantastic artist, thank you.’”
I rolled my eyes. “What he said.”
Hannah laughed. “Well, good, because we were all trying to come up with the perfect gift to give the couple who have everything.” She gestured to the room around us, so I gathered she meant Joss and Braden. “And then we thought it might be a lovely idea to commission a cityscape of Edinburgh.”
“Commission?” I put my free hand to my chest. “Commission me?”
“Well, yes. We trust Cole’s eye, and if he says you’re good, then you’re good.”
Amazed, humbled, excited, all of the above, I nodded enthusiastically. “I’d love to. What are they celebrating?”
“Joss’s pregnancy, of course.”
More surprise shot through me and I looked up at Cole in question.
He winced. “With everything we had going on I forgot to tell you.”
“Tell her what?” Joss’s familiar voice queried behind us.