|Home > Samantha Young > On Dublin Street Series > Valentine (Page 23)|
|Valentine(On Dublin Street #5.5)(23) by Samantha Young|
The brunette’s cheeks were flushed with embarrassment as she paid and I actually started to feel bad for her. Once she’d left I wandered back into Cole’s room and leaned against the doorway.
He turned around, giving me a thorough once over that made me instantly overheated.
“You really need to make it clear to them that you’re not single.”
Cole grimaced. “Shannon, I wasn’t flirting back with her.”
“I know that. But you should have seen her face when she was paying.” I winced. “I actually felt sorry for her. She was mortified.”
“What can I do?” he shrugged. “If a woman didn’t flirt back with me I would take it to mean she wasn’t interested. You’d think any sane person would get the hint.”
“Oh really.” I stepped into the room, my arms crossed over my chest. “Because I distinctly remember not flirting back with you and you still coming on to me.”
Cole raised an eyebrow. “Shortcake, you didn’t need to flirt back with your words. You were practically panting.”
“Ugh. You are so arrogant. I was not panting.”
“You were panting.” He nodded, still grinning that ridiculous but sexy as sin grin.
I narrowed my eyes on him, ignoring the tingles of arousal between my legs and in the swell of my breasts.
This made him grin harder and then he raised both eyebrows suggestively. “I’m making you hot right now, aren’t I?”
“Yes, but that’s beside the point.” I turned on my heels and walked out.
“Where are you going?”
“To get your Valentine’s Day gift. Perhaps it will distract you from your ego.”
I heard his laughter as he followed me out into the main studio.
Unlocking the cabinet drawer behind the desk I pulled out his present and handed it to him.
Cole took it with a curious smile on his face. “What is it?”
“Open it and see.”
My stomach fluttered with excited nervousness as he carefully tore the wrapping off. He raised his eyebrows as he stared down at the gift in his hands and I had to stop myself from crying out, ‘Well?’
He looked up from the photograph I’d had framed. “How?”
Cole had these really cool black and white photographs in his flat. The one above his bed was my favorite. It was taken from the backseat of a classic American convertible. The driver was turned in profile. He wore dark aviators and smoke billowed from his lips as he seemed to stare out at the world in boredom, and beyond the car was a deep canyon, giving the impression that the car was mere inches from the edge.
As cool as Cole’s photographs were, none of them were personal.
The one in Cole’s hands was.
It was a candid shot of the two of us at a beach in Longniddry, a coastal village just outside of the city. We’d visited there last autumn with Cole’s sister Jo, her husband Cam, their daughter Belle, and their best friend Nate and his wife Olivia and their kids. Cam and Nate grew up there and their parents still lived there. It was a gorgeous place.
Anyhow, Nate was a photo journalist and a bit of a camera nut. He’d taken lots of pictures that weekend and when I was scrolling through them I found one of Cole and me that was so cool I asked him to save it for me. He’d gone one further and printed it out and had it professionally framed.
I’d kept it for a special occasion to give to Cole.
“How?” he said again, his eyes filled with tenderness.
“Of course,” he murmured and looked back at the photograph, stroking the image of me with his fingers.
I shivered. “You like it then?”
“I love it,” he said, his voice hoarse with emotion.
The image wasn’t your typical cheesy, lovey-dovey shot of us cuddling or kissing or anything like that. Instead I was sitting on a stone-built wall that ran along part of the beach, my legs dangling, my hands gripping lightly at the stone at either side of my hips. My coat was open and billowing slightly in the wind and my hair was billowing more than slightly behind me, wild and free like always. I was staring up at Cole, my expression soft, curious.
Cole was standing on the sand, just a little in front of me, his hands burrowed in the pockets of his jeans as the light jacket he wore didn’t have any. He wore a beanie cap that Nate had given him to borrow and he was staring contentedly off past the camera at what I knew was the water.
We looked young and cool and interesting and if I may so myself… kind of hot.
“I thought you could hang it in the flat.”
“Definitely.” Cole looked up at me and grinned. “This is fucking cool.”
I giggled and nodded as he pulled me into him with his free arm. “I thought so. I thought it would be nice to have it so when we’re old and gray we can look back and remember how we were.”
He kissed me softly and pulled back to say something just as the studio door opened.
I frowned, turning around to tell the intruder we were closed when I stopped short at the sight of our boss, Stu.
“Right on time,” Cole said.
On time for what? “Stu?” I looked from him to Cole and then back to him. “What are you doing here?”
“Wee fairy.” Stu grinned. “How are you doing, lass?”
“I’m fine. Confused but fine. You?”
“Glad my wife hates Valentine’s Day as much as me.” He chuckled to himself and looked past me to Cole. “Ready?”
“For what?” I pulled out of Cole’s arms, hoping my Valentine’s Day wasn’t about to be ruined.
“Your present.” Cole carefully placed the photograph on the reception desk. “Stu is tattooing your name on my chest.”
At that grand announcement he and Stu started striding toward the back rooms.
My name? Across his chest?
“Are you crazy?” I hurried after him, trying not to slip on the smooth tiles in my heels. “Cole!” I caught up with them just as they were getting organized in Cole’s room. “Can we please talk? Just for a minute. In private.”
“Please.” I pleaded.
He sighed. “Stu, I’ll be a minute.”
Stu grinned at us knowingly. “That’s right. You talk some sense into him, wee fairy.”
Ignoring that I grabbed Cole’s hand and dragged him back out into the main studio. “You’re not doing this.”