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|Fall From India Place(On Dublin Street #4)(36) by Samantha Young|
Suzanne’s gaze swung back to me, surprise in her pretty eyes. “No f**king way.”
“Suzanne.” I pleaded silently for her to shut the hell up.
But did she pick up on my signals?
She shot Marco a dirty look. “You’ve got a lot to answer for. My girl has so many issues because of you.”
Floor, open up and swallow me. Please.
“Suzanne,” I leaned forward, my voice thick. “Now’s not —”
“No, he should know.” Her eyes widened. “Oh, my God, is he the reason you’ve been such a complete and utter boring bitch lately?”
I was suddenly very disappointed in my taste in friends.
“Watch it,” Marco growled, and Suzanne and I both snapped to attention as if we’d been bitten by the crack of a whip. Marco’s eyes had darkened. I could feel the irritation vibrating from him. “We’re in the middle of a private conversation. You should leave.”
Affronted, Suzanne’s lips parted. Her eyes flew to mine, as if she expected me to stick up for her.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take too kindly to being called a boring bitch in public or in private. In my teacher voice I said, “I’ll speak with you later, Suzanne.”
She made a small harrumph sound, then turned sharply on her five-inch heels and marched toward her date, grabbing his arm and hauling him out of the bar.
“She’s a friend?” Marco asked quietly, incredulously.
“We met at uni. I grew up. She didn’t.”
He pushed his half-empty pint absentmindedly away from him. “Issues?”
I shrugged. “I honestly don’t know what she’s talking about.”
“Anisha told me she didn’t think there was a guy in your life and that you haven’t spoken about any from the past. Maybe that’s what she was talking about?”
My blood was suddenly hot with anger. I took a moment to calm. The last thing I wanted him to believe was that he’d done such a number on me I hadn’t been able to move on. I hadn’t been with anyone else by choice.
I exhaled slowly. “No guy at the moment.”
He appeared to relax at my reply.
I stared at him, letting my eyes connect with his and I felt the power of my attraction to him take hold. He was beautiful in a masculine way, sexy, charismatic. There had to have been many women in his life these last five years. The thought depressed me. “I’m guessing with the way you’ve been with me these last few weeks that there’s no one special in your life at the moment, right?”
Still holding my gaze, Marco’s lips turned up at the corner and I realized I wanted to kiss them right there on that seductive spot. “There’s someone. I just have to convince her of that.”
Yup. Definitely wanted to kiss him.
I narrowed my eyes on him, doing unimpressed convincingly. “I thought I told you we’re just friends.”
His eyes dropped to my mouth in a way that made me squirm. “I heard you.” His heated gaze returned to meet mine. “But I don’t think you heard me.”
That Thursday evening Marco did come over to my flat with takeout and the film Lawless and we did sit and watch the film together and it was brilliant and Marco’s company was fantastic and I was already weakening in my resolve to keep him at arm’s length.
“I don’t know.” Ellie shook her head at me. “I can see the resolve still there in your eyes. We need to chase that off.”
That following Saturday I ignored my pile of marking to hang out with my sister, Jo, and Liv at Joss and Braden’s town house on Dublin Street. They used to live in a flat downhill from the house, but when Joss fell pregnant with Luke, Braden bought and renovated a larger home a few doors up from the old place. We had the house to ourselves – Braden had taken the kids out for lunch – and I’d pretty much been ambushed with questions about Marco as soon as I walked in the door.
I grimaced at Ellie. “I’m guessing you’re on Team Marco?”
“I think we all are.” Joss handed me a cup of tea. “We haven’t heard you talking about a guy like this since… well, since Marco. That’s got to mean something.”
“He’s been back in my life three weeks. I can’t just give it to him.”
“No one is saying you have to,” Jo assured me. “But at least admit to us that you’re considering it.”
“Am I?” I argued. “Does my weakening of resolve mean that I’m considering it? No. It means I’m horny.”
“Ew.” Ellie put her hands to her ears. “Big sister still in the room.”
She really should know by now that only made me want to torment her more. “Seriously,” I continued, “I’ve worn out, like, three vibrators.”
“Meanie!” She threw me a horrified look.
“Meanie?” I snorted. “Ellie, that kid growing in your belly is depleting your brain cells.”
“Stop torturing your very pregnant sister,” Liv told me. “And answer this: Putting aside the attraction to him, would you consider really giving him a second chance?”
I gazed around at them all as they waited. Finally, I sighed. “I’ve already admitted to myself I would. But I’d be plagued with doubt every step of the way, so… it would be doomed from the start.”
“You don’t know that,” Joss replied quietly. “You’ll never know that until you take the chance. I was your age when I took the chance on Braden. And sure, there are days I want to kill him, but more often than not, I kind of like having him around. And the kids he gave me aren’t bad either. You should take the chance, Hannah.”
From the expression on Ellie’s, Jo’s, and Liv’s faces I could tell they agreed with Joss. Knowing her dry wisdom, and how she adored Braden and her kids, I didn’t doubt her or her words of experience. But still, I doubted Marco.
Thankfully we moved on to the topic of Beth and school.
We were discussing the fact that Christmas was now less than seven weeks away when the doorbell rang. Joss got up to answer the door, returning with Nate.
Liv’s eyes widened with pleased surprise at the sight of her hot husband, and, honestly, I didn’t blame her. “What are you doing here?”