Before jamaica lane, p.10
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       Before Jamaica Lane, p.10

         Part #3 of On Dublin Street series by Samantha Young
 
Page 10

  I gulped. Loudly. ‘Nervous over here. ’

  He shut the door behind him, grimacing. ‘What the hell for? It’s just me. ’

  I glared at him.

  ‘Okay. Be nervous. ’ He strode past me, shrugging out of his jacket. He threw it on the couch and then walked into the kitchen to take two beers out of the fridge. I caught the one that he tossed to me. Uncapping his beer, he gestured to me with the bottle. ‘To calm your nerves. ’

  When he didn’t say anything for five minutes – five very long minutes – I sat down on the arm of my couch and took a sip of beer.

  ‘Okay, talk me through it. ’ Nate suddenly spoke up and I almost coughed on my beer at the seeming loudness of his voice in my little flat. ‘What happens exactly when a guy you’re attracted to speaks to you?’

  Trying not to be any more of a dork than I already was, I fought back the blush that was determined to stain my cheeks. ‘I get tongue-tied. ’

  ‘Why?’

  ‘I’m very tempted to insert a sarcastic reply here, but I’ll just go with a simple shrug. ’ I shrugged.

  ‘Don’t give me that “I don’t know, and if I did, I wouldn’t need you” bullshit. Why do you get tongue-tied?’

  I was really attempting not to get pissed at him. That wouldn’t be a good start. Clenching my teeth, I answered as if it was obvious – which it so was – ‘I don’t have a lot of confidence. ’

  Nate considered me a moment. ‘In yourself? In your looks? In your sexual experience? What?’

  ‘Do you know how mortifying this is?’ I scowled at him.

  Clearly annoyed, Nate narrowed his eyes at me. ‘I’m not here to make fun of you. I’m here to help you. ’

  We were quiet again as I gathered together the confidence to be honest. After taking a shaky sip of my beer, I looked at the floor and told him quietly, ‘You already know I lack confidence because of my minimal sexual experience, but … I also just don’t … don’t feel sexually attractive. ’

  His silence drew my gaze to him. He was looking at me incredulously again.

  ‘What?’

  He put his beer down and planted his palms on the counter like he meant business. ‘Let’s start with how you don’t feel sexually attractive. ’

  I gulped. ‘All right. ’

  ‘Are you fucking kidding me?’

  I jerked back at his curse, confused by the angry tone of the question. ‘What?’

  ‘Get up,’ he replied sharply. ‘Come on, get up. ’ He rounded the kitchen counter and walked past me.

  I got up slowly, wondering what the hell I’d done wrong.

  ‘Follow me. ’

  Follow him … all right. My legs trembled when I realized I was following him into my bedroom. With my heartbeat pulsing in my throat, I was unable to speak as I stopped in my doorway and gazed at him.

  He stood before my full-length mirror and gestured to it. ‘Tell me what you see. ’

  I swallowed past the heartbeat. ‘Nate …’ I took a step back and my movement shot him into action. Lightning-quick, he had hold of me and was tugging me back into the room with him until he’d maneuvered me in front of the mirror, while he stood looking into it over my shoulder.

  ‘Tell me. Trust me. ’

  Taking a deep breath, I let my eyes focus on my reflection, sweeping them over my face and then down my body and back to my face again.

  ‘Liv?’

  ‘I see … I see an average-looking woman with …’ I shrugged, so embarrassed it wasn’t funny. ‘With fl-flabby arms, a belly pouch, and a fat ass. ’

  When my answer was met by silence I finally gathered the nerve to look up into the mirror to Nate’s reflection. He was glowering at me again. ‘Anything good?’

  I glanced back at my face. My eyes were, as always, the only thing I liked. They were striking eyes, inherited from my dad. Unusual, pale hazel, with so many flecks of gold they appeared golden in a certain light. We both had dark lashes that set the color off. We’d been told on more than one occasion, and by quite a few folks, that our eyes were exotic, almost feline. My dad worked his eyes. They were flinty and perceptive in his ruggedly handsome face. On my average face they were the only thing to enliven my features. ‘My eyes,’ I whispered softly.

  ‘That’s a given, babe. What else?’

  Tense, I searched for an answer and then said carefully, ‘Okay, my skin. I have good skin. ’

  Nate smiled encouragingly at me. ‘You’ve got gorgeous skin. ’ He heaved a beleaguered sigh. ‘Let’s tackle the other stuff. ’ I was pretty sure he then muttered under his breath, ‘Crazy fucking women,’ before he took hold of my arm. ‘Where are these flabby arms of yours, then?’

  Skin flushing the color of raspberries, I pushed the fat around my triceps.

  I was rewarded with a ‘what the eff?’ look from Nate. ‘That’s not flab. It’s skin. Look, you’ve not got any definition, but you’ve also not got flab. Rule number one …’

  I nodded at him to go on, my eyes wide, eager to learn.

  ‘… don’t use the word “flab” around a guy you want to shag. Now, if a guy’s like me he can get past the self-consciousness and decide to think it’s cute, but there are loads of guys out there who don’t think it’s cute. They want a confident woman in their bed. I don’t know if this library guy is one of those guys, so we’ll play it safe. No more flab talk. ’

  For some reason that really made me want to giggle, but I also wanted Nate to know I was taking this seriously, so I pinched my lips together and nodded.

  ‘Okay. Next. ’

  I blinked in confusion again. ‘Next?’

  ‘The supposed fat arse?’

  The touch of Nate’s hand on my ass caused me to jump about ten feet, but he didn’t let go, smoothing his hand over my butt and giving it a gentle squeeze.

  Whoa, okay, then.

  My skin was prickling and there was a suspicious fullness in my breasts and lower belly that I adamantly tried to ignore.

  ‘Not fat. ’ Nate leaned close to my ear, speaking in a low voice that did nothing to abate the physical response in my body. ‘Curvy. And I’ll let you in on a wee secret: There are still men out there that like a woman to be soft under their hands, to have curves, hips, tits and arse. ’ He tapped my butt gently with the palm of his hand. ‘It’s a good arse, babe. I don’t want to hear you refer to it as anything else. ’

  Shock rooted me to the floor. It wasn’t just the very cool things he was saying; it was the rush of tingles that shivered through me as he caressed my butt and moved his hand upward, sliding it under my T-shirt, and around my waist to caress my stomach. I sucked in a deep breath.

  There was no ignoring the fact that he was turning me on. I really needed him to not know he was turning me on.

  Nate unwittingly saved me. His hand dipped downward, shaking me out of the little sensual haze he’d put me in when I realized where he was heading.

  For my belly!

  I clutched at his hand to stop him, but when our eyes met in the mirror his expression was admonishing. He gave me a little shake of his head. ‘Let go, babe. ’

  I shook my head back at him.

  ‘Liv. ’

  ‘Nate …’

  His expression instantly softened at the panic in my voice. ‘Trust me. ’

  Trembling, I let go of his hand and sucked in another breath as he stepped even closer to me, the heat of his front brushing against my back. And suddenly I was sucking in my breath for an entirely different reason as the rough tips of his fingers glided slowly down my stomach.

  I had never been more thankful for a T-shirt bra than I was at that moment. Nate’s touch was turning me on so much that my nipples had hardened to little points.

  Oh, boy.

  He didn’t need to know that his lessons were causing that kind of reaction in me. For the first time since we’d met, I really wished my friend wasn’t so
goddamn sexy.

  Flattening his hand, Nate smoothed it over my belly, back and forth, learning my shape, until my cheeks could have guided a lost sailor home, they were so red.

  ‘Is this the barely there pouch?’

  I nodded, unable to speak, sure that if I did it would come out all Greta Garbo and sex. That would definitely give away my hormonally charged state.

  Nate’s hand slid back over my stomach to my hip, where it stayed. He gave me a reassuring squeeze. ‘Feels good. Soft. Sexy. ’ He murmured in my ear again, and I tried and failed not to shiver in response. ‘Your skin is like silk. ’

  In my head I was panting and in reality I was really close to panting, so when he pulled back abruptly it was almost like he’d thrown a bucket of ice water over me.

  Thank you. I needed that. I shook myself, giving my cheek an inner slap. Snap out of it!

  ‘Now,’ Nate began, his voice all controlled and back to normal, ‘I’m a man, and as you know, I don’t say shit I don’t mean. So here’s what I see. ’

  Oh, God.

  ‘Great hair, stunning eyes, gorgeous skin, fucking knockout smile, great tits, nice arse, and long, sexy legs. Fuckable. Very, very fuckable. ’

  My lips twitched with laughter, and I had to admit to feeling a rush of real pleasure sweep over me at his analysis. ‘Succinct. ’

  Nate shrugged as he took in my bright-eyed expression. ‘Just trying to get the point across that there are not very many men who wouldn’t want to fuck you. And this is from a man many women find attractive. ’ He flashed a quick, arrogant grin.

  I rolled my eyes at him. He knew damn well how good-looking he was. I imagined that when you looked like a movie star it was almost impossible not to know how good-looking you were. ‘Of course you’re attractive. ’

  ‘Really?’ He crossed his arms over his chest, leaning against the footboard of my bed as his eyebrows dipped together in consternation. ‘I thought you got tongue-tied around men you found attractive?’

  Is his vanity pricked?

  Inside I was gleefully guffawing at the idea. On the outside I was a lot nicer. ‘You cocky bastard, you know every straight woman on the planet finds you attractive. ’

  He rewarded me with another arrogant smile, his dimples popping in that delightfully sexy way that could be really distracting. ‘So you don’t get tongue-tied all the time?’

  ‘You’re different. You and I are friends, so I try not to think about you that way. ’

  ‘Back at you, babe. ’

  Hmm. Nice. I immediately plummeted from the high I’d been on. I didn’t know what to say to that.

  Nate looked like he wanted to laugh. ‘It doesn’t mean I don’t. ’

  ‘Don’t what?’ I frowned.

  His eyes drifted slowly over my body in a way that had me clamping my legs together in denial. ‘Think about you that way. ’

  My heart slammed against my chest. ‘Really?’

  He snorted. ‘Last time I checked, I’m a man and you’re an attractive woman. Just because we don’t fuck doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about it. That’s how men work. ’

  Unsuccessfully hiding a smile, I nodded casually. ‘Back at you. But,’ I hurried to explain, ‘because you’re my friend … I don’t know. I’m just comfortable with you. There’s no sexual pressure, so I can just be me around you. ’

  Nate took this in and then straightened from his position against the footboard. ‘I’m working the next few days, but on Thursday night I’ll come back over and we’ll continue. ’

  I bobbed my head in agreement.

  ‘I hope you’re feeling more confident. ’ He shot me another cocky smile.

  Sighing, I looked back at the mirror. ‘It’s nice to know there are guys out there who might think how you think, Nate. But not all guys are like you. I’ve seen you. ’ I smiled sadly back at him. ‘You find women, in general, attractive. It’s not a bad thing. It’s a great thing. I wish all men were as easy to please. ’

 
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