I tell Uncle John where I’m going, and he tells me that he’s going to go find Owen – business to discuss. Uncle John is always working.
I follow behind Ben through the pub to a table in the back. While I’m walking, I glance around for Carrick but no sign yet.
Ben stops before the table. “Everyone, this is Andi, our new mechanic. Not that you’ll remember their names, Andi, but this is Amy, Petra, Damon, Paul, Mike, Davis, and you know Robbie.”
I follow Ben’s finger around the table.
“Hi.” I lift a hand in greeting.
A pretty girl with blonde hair and huge blue eyes, who I think is Petra, gives me a big smile. She’s shorter than me, I’d say, but it’s hard to tell with her sitting down.
“Shove over, Amy. Come and sit down with us,” she says.
I slide onto the bench beside her and put my beer on the table.
“So, you’re from Brazil?” Petra asks me.
I’m guessing Ben must have told her. “I’m from England originally, but I’ve lived in Brazil since I was ten.”
“Wow. You’re so lucky. I would love to live somewhere hot.”
“You spend more than half of the year in hot countries,” the other girl, who I think is Amy, says. “God, I can’t wait to get out to Australia. Never been before.”
“Amy’s newish, like you,” Petra tells me. “Been here a few weeks. She works front-of-house with me.”
“So, you’re the girls to see when I want some really great food.” I smile.
“For sure,” Petra says.
Amy just stares blankly at me, which she’s kind of done from the moment I came over here. I can tell she’s doing that bitchy girl assessment of me. I hate that.
I take another swig of my beer, and I’m thankful when one of the guys asks me a question.
I’m there for a while, chatting, and my beer is quickly empty. I should probably go find Uncle John.
“I’m going to the bar,” I say to no one in particular. “Can I get anyone anything?”
I get a few noes from the ones who were listening around the table. The others luck out because I’m not asking again.
Picking up my bag, I head in the direction of the bar. I’m still surprised that I haven’t seen Carrick yet. The pub doesn’t look to be that big, and he’s not exactly a guy you can miss.
I actually want to wish him a happy birthday, which I failed to do earlier. That was kind of crappy of me.
With no sign of Uncle John or Carrick, I slip into a spot at the bar and wait to be served. I decide on getting a drink and then going to look for Uncle John. He’s probably with Carrick.
I feel him before I hear him.
His heat presses up against my side. “You came.”
Turning to him, I smile. God, he looks good. His eyes are bright, and his cheeks flushed, like he just came in from outside.
“I did. I got here a while ago.”
“Hmm. Did you now?” He cocks an eyebrow. “You should have come and found me.”
“I thought maybe you were busy as you were nowhere to be seen.”
“I was cornered. Couldn’t get away.”
“But you’re free now?”
A mischievous glint appears in his eyes. “Yeah, I’m most definitely free.”
Feeling that tension run over my skin, I look back out at the bar.
“So, Amaro—that’s Brazilian, right?” He leans closer to me.
I slide a glance at him. “Right.”
“Dad told me that you just arrived in today from there.”
God, aren’t I full of the vocab tonight?
“Not to be offensive, but you don’t sound Brazilian. Your accent sounds a little diluted.”
“I’m from England originally. I was born here. My mother’s Brazilian. We moved there when I was ten.”
“Ah, right. Explains the dilution then.” He smiles.
“So, I didn’t wish you a happy birthday earlier,” I say, changing the subject from my history.
“No, you didn’t.” His stare on me is suddenly direct and intense.
“Well…happy birthday,” I say awkwardly.
His stare relaxes, and a smile lifts his eyes. “Thanks.”
“Let me buy you a drink. Beer?” I check, nodding at the bottle in his hand.
He downs his bottle, and I can’t help but watch his lips around the rim or the way his throat moves as the alcohol slides down.
“What can I get you?” That’s the bartender.
Feeling like I’ve been caught staring at Carrick, my face flames.
“Um, two beers, please.”
The bartender deposits two bottles on the bar just as Carrick puts his empty one down.
I’m digging in my bag for the money to pay when I see Carrick handing a twenty over.
“Hey, I was supposed to buy you a birthday drink.” I frown.
“Call it a welcome-to-the-team drink from me.”
“Well, thank you. But that kind of defeats the purpose of me buying you a birthday drink.”
I lift my bottle to his and chink it, and then I take a drink.
“So, Andi—what’s that short for?” he asks me.
I did tell him my full name before in the garage, but clearly, he’s forgotten. Then again, he probably has a lot of women’s names to remember.
“Andressa…” He rolls my name around his mouth.
I love the way it sounds in his Irish lilt, the way his tongue rolls on the S. It sends shivers hurtling down my spine.