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Home > On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street #1)(17)

On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street #1)(17)
Author: Samantha Young

No it wasn’t. You’re playing games with me. And if we’re going to be around each other all the time, I want it to stop. “Was it? Do you talk to everyone the way you talk to me?”

“And what way is that?”

“Like you’ve seen me naked.”

Grinning, Braden’s eyes glittered with heat. “No. But then I haven’t seen everyone naked.”

Frustrated, I shook my head. “You know what I mean.”

I almost jumped at the warm whisper of his breath on my ear as he leaned down to murmur quietly into it, “I like the reaction I get out of you.”

I pulled back. So I was a challenge? Right. I got it now. “Just stop. You’re Ellie’s brother and we’re probably going to have to see one another, so I’d prefer it if you wouldn’t try to make me uncomfortable around you.”

A scowl formed between his eyes. “I don’t want you uncomfortable.” His gaze was searching again but this time I was giving nothing away. With a deep sigh, Braden nodded. “Fine. Look, I’m sorry. I want us to get along. I like you. Ellie likes you. And I’d like us to be friends. From now on I’ll stop flirting with you and I’ll try really hard to forget what you look like naked.”

He put the drinks on the bar and held out his hand for me to shake. The look in his eyes was a new one. It was pleading, boyish and totally endearing. I didn’t trust that look at all, but I found myself shaking my head, smiling despite myself as I reached out to clasp his hand. As soon as my fingers slid along his palm, the hair on my arms rose.

I’d thought that spark that people apparently felt when they touched someone they were attracted to was a myth reserved for chick-lit and Hollywood.

But no.

Our eyes collided as heat rushed up my arm. The tingling between my legs intensified, the need in my gut moaned with want. All I could see was Braden, all I could smell was Braden, and his body was so close I imagined I could almost feel all his hard strength pressing against me. Right then I wanted nothing more than to pull him into the ladies restroom and let him screw me hard against the wall.

Braden’s hand tightened around mine, his pale eyes darkened, and I knew… he wanted me too. “Fine,” he muttered, a dangerous quality entering his expression as he leaned down, his words puffing against my mouth he was so close. “I can do this. If you can pretend, I can pretend.”

I jerked my hand out of his, trying not to tremble as I reached to collect the rest of the drinks. Braden picked up the ones he’d laid down when he’d reached for that godforsaken handshake. I hated that he was right. Our attraction was nuclear. I had never known anything like it.

It made Braden Carmichael extremely dangerous to me.

And I had to dissemble. I shot him a careless smile. “I’m not pretending.” I walked away before he could say anything, glad for the wall that had obscured our table’s view from us. I’d have been mortified if anyone had borne witness to our interlude.

Braden sat down next to Holly, handing her a drink and Adam his. Our eyes collided for a brief second and he gave me a mockingly polite smile before leaning back and sliding his arm around the back of Holly’s chair. His girlfriend smiled at him, a manicured hand moving to rest intimately on his thigh.

“Babe, I was just telling Ellie about this Gucci dress I saw online. I was thinking you could take me to Glasgow to try it on. You’ll like it. It’ll be worth the money.” She fluttered her fake lashes at him.

No one needed to tell me that she meant it would be worth Braden’s money.

Disgusted, I threw back my drink and tried to ignore them. Holly wasn’t for it.

“So, Josh, how can you afford that gorgeous flat with Ellie?”

All eyes fell on me. “It’s Joss, actually.”

She gave me a shrug and a narrowed-eyed smile and suddenly I wondered if maybe she’d caught the looks between me and Braden.

Shit.

“So?” she insisted, a little cattily.

Yeah. She’d seen ‘em alright.

“My parents.” I threw back another drink and turned to Jenna to ask about her part-time job with the Scottish tourist industry.

Holly’s voice cut through my question. “What do you mean ‘your parents’?”

Stick a sock in it, lady! I looked at her with veiled annoyance. “Their money.”

“Oh.” She wrinkled her nose as though she suddenly smelled something very, very bad. “You’re living off your parent’s money? At your age?”

Oh no she didn’t. I took another drink and then smiled at her in warning as if to say, ‘don’t play this game with me, sweetheart, you won’t win.’

She didn’t heed the warning. “So they pay for everything? Doesn’t that make you feel guilty?”

Every f**king day. “Was it your money that bought those Louboutin’s… or Braden’s?”

Ellie choked on her laughter, smothering the sound quickly in a gulp of her drink. I patted her on the back, aiding her in her pretense. When I looked back at Holly she was glaring at me, her face flushed red to her hairline.

Point made. Question deflected. Spoiled bitch put in her place.

“So people can get married at Stirling Castle, huh?” I turned back to Jenna and our earlier conversation. “I’ve only visited it once, but it’s a beautiful venue…”

~5~

Two nights later I was soaking in the tub after a strenuous workout at the gym when I heard Ellie’s whoop of joy. Raising an eyebrow at the door, I wasn’t surprised by the knock that sounded on it two seconds later.

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