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Home > On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street #1)(9)

On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street #1)(9)
Author: Samantha Young

Fuck.

I unglued my eyes from them to him. He appeared comfortable and yet totally authoritative. It suddenly occurred to me that this was the Braden with all the money and responsibilities, a vainglorious girlfriend, and a little sister he was undoubtedly overprotective of.

“Ellie likes you.”

Ellie doesn’t know me. “I like Ellie. I’m not so sure about her brother. He seems kind of rude.”

Braden flashed me those white, slightly crooked teeth. “He’s not sure of you either.”

That’s not what your eyes are saying. “Oh?”

“I’m not sure how I feel about my wee sister living with an exhibitionist.”

I made a face at him, only just resisting sticking my tongue out at him. He really brought out my mature side. “Exhibitionists get naked in public. As far as I was aware, there was no one else in the apartment and I’d forgotten a towel.”

“Thank God for small mercies.”

He was doing it again. Looking at me that way. Did he know he was so blatant about it?

“Seriously,” he continued, his eyes falling to my chest before snapping back up to my face. “You should walk around naked all the time.”

The compliment got to me. I couldn’t help it. The touch of a smile curled the corner of my lips and I shook my head at him like he was a naughty school boy.

Pleased, Braden laughed softly. A weird, unexpected fullness formed in my chest and I knew I had to break whatever weird instant attraction thing was going on between us. This had never happened to me before, so I was going to have to wing it.

I rolled my eyes. “You’re an ass.”

Braden sat up with a snort. “Usually a woman calls me that after I’ve f**ked her and called her a taxi.”

I blinked rapidly at his blunt language. Really? We were using that word already in our short acquaintance?

He noticed. “Don’t tell me you hate that word?”

No. I imagine that word can be a total turn on in the right moment. “No. I just don’t think we should be talking about f**king when we’ve just met.”

Okay. That came out all wrong.

Braden’s eyes brightened with silent laughter. “I didn’t know that’s what we were doing.”

Abruptly, I changed the subject. “If you’re here for Ellie, she’s tutoring.”

“I came to meet you, actually. Only, I didn’t know I was meeting you. Quite the coincidence. I’ve thought about you quite a bit since last week in the taxi.”

“Was that while you were out having dinner with your girlfriend?” I asked snidely, feeling like I was swimming against the tide with this guy. I wanted us out of this flirty, sexual place we’d landed in and into a normal, ‘he’s just my roommate’s brother’ kind of place.

“Holly is down south visiting her parents this week. She’s from Southampton.”

Like I give a crap. “I see. Well…” I stood up, hoping the gesture would usher him out. “I would say it was nice to meet you, but I was naked so… it wasn’t. I have a lot to do. I’ll tell Ellie you dropped by.”

Laughing, Braden shook his head and stood up to pull on his suit jacket. “You’re a hard nut to crack.”

Okay, clearly I had to lay it out clear and simple for this guy. “Hey, there will be no cracking of this nut. Now or ever.”

He was choking on laughter now as he stepped towards me, making me back into the couch. “Really, Jocelyn… Why do you have to make everything sound so dirty?”

My mouth fell open in outrage as he turned and left… with the last word.

I hated him.

I really did.

Pity my body did not.

~3~

Club 39 was less of a club and more of a bar with a small square dance floor beyond the alcove at the back. On the basement level on George street, the ceilings were low, the circular sofas and square cubes that acted as seats were low, and the bar area was actually built a few levels lower, meaning drunken people had to walk down three steps to get to us. Whoever added that little design to the architects draft had clearly been smoking something.

Thursday nights usually found the low-lit bar crowded with students but with the semester over and the Scottish summer upon us, the night was quiet and the music was turned down since there was no one on the ‘dance floor’.

I handed the guy standing across the bar his drinks and he gave me a ten pound note. “Keep the change.” He winked at me.

I ignored the wink but stuck the tip in the tips jar. We divided it at the end of the night even though Jo argued that she and I pulled the most tips in because of the low-cut white tank top we wore as a ‘uniform’ with black skinny jeans. The tank had Club 39 scrawled across the right breast in black French script. Simple, but effective. Especially when you were as blessed in the boob department as I was.

Craig was on break so Jo and I were dealing with the small crowd of customers at the bar, a crowd dwindling by the minute. Bored, I glanced down to the other end of the bar to see if Jo needed my help.

She did.

Just not in a bartending kind of way.

Reaching out to hand the customer she was serving his change, the guy grabbed Jo’s wrist and tugged her over the bar so she was inches from his face. Frowning, and biding my time to see how Jo would react, her pale skin grew flush and she wrenched on her arm to break his hold. His friends stood behind him laughing. Nice.

“Let me go, please,” Jo said between gritted teeth, pulling harder.

With no Craig around and Jo’s wrist so skinny it might break, it was left up to me. I headed down the bar towards them, pressing the button under the bar for the security guys at the door.

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