Home > Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street #3)(4)

Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street #3)(4)
Author: Samantha Young

As I sipped the pint of lager Nate had bought me, I looked around at my friends. Here I was, surrounded by people who had been through hell and come out the other side to find the person they wanted to spend the rest of their life with.

Besides Jo and Cam, there was Joss, my fellow half American, half Scot, who fled to Edinburgh to escape an empty life back in Virginia. When I thought about all that Joss had lost, I honestly didn’t know how she’d kept going. I knew how it felt to lose my mom when I was twenty-one, but I couldn’t imagine what it must have been like for Joss to lose her entire family when she was only fourteen years old. From all accounts she was still pretty messed up about it when she moved in with Ellie and met Ellie’s brother, Braden. Apparently they’d had their ups and downs because of Joss’s issues, but had finally gotten through it all. They were getting married in three weeks.

Then, of course, there were Ellie and Adam. I was pretty close to Ellie because we shared a similar romantic idealism, and she’d told me the entire story of her and Adam. She’d been in love with her brother’s best friend for years, but he hadn’t noticed her until her eighteenth birthday, and he didn’t make a move on her until a few years after that, and even when he did he said it was a mistake. Apparently he didn’t want to ruin his friendships with her and Braden. There was a lot of back and forth until Ellie was ready to walk away from him for good, but when my beautiful and strong friend was diagnosed with a brain tumor, Adam finally stepped up to be with her. Luckily for us all, Ellie’s tumor turned out to be benign, and luckily for Adam, he’d come to his senses just in time to win Ellie over for good. They’d been engaged for a while but had only recently told us, now that she had an engagement ring sparkling on her left hand.

I was surrounded by love, and not some cheesy, overbearing, faux in-your-face kind of love, but real, intimate, I-know-all-your-quirks-and-habits-and-still-love-you kind of love.

‘You’ve got your final dress fitting on Monday, Joss,’ Ellie suddenly said, taking a sip of her mojito.

She was sitting next to Adam, who was squashed in beside Jo and Cam in the only available booth at the back of the room. Joss, Braden, Nate, and I were standing crowded around the table, and I was cursing myself for letting Jo talk me into the four-inch heels I was wearing.

Leaning into Braden, Joss replied, ‘Thanks for the reminder. I’ll have to brace myself against Pauline’s caustic remarks.’

Cam frowned. ‘Why did you buy a dress from this woman if she’s such a cow?’

‘The dress,’ Jo, Ellie, and I answered in unison.

After having been in Edinburgh for only three months, I was honored when Joss asked me to be one of her bridesmaids. Her university friend Rhian had come up from London for the weekend, and we’d all gone on the hunt for Joss’s dress and the bridesmaids’ dresses. After a few arguments with Ellie regarding color, Joss had settled on champagne for her girls. We’d ended up in this bridal store in New Town where the owner, Pauline, made scathing remarks about our lack or overabundance of assets.

We were too busty, too flat, too skinny, or too fat …

We were about to head out of there when Joss stepped out in a dress the bitch had recommended and Ellie burst into tears.

Yup, it was that beautiful.

Clearly, Pauline knew how to dress brides – she just didn’t know how the hell to talk to them. Or to people in general, for that matter. I’m not exactly the most confident person, and have more than my fair share of insecurities regarding my body, so I came away from that store feeling like a heifer of giant proportions. Thank you, Pauline.

Joss laughed and looked up into Braden’s face. ‘Apparently the dress is good.’

‘I’m getting that,’ he murmured. ‘Still, I’m more looking forward to taking it off you than anything else that day.’

‘Braden,’ Ellie bemoaned, ‘not in front of me.’

‘Stop kissing Adam in front of me and I’ll stop making sexual comments to my wife in front of you.’

‘She’s not your wife yet,’ Nate reminded him. ‘No need to rush it.’

I snorted. ‘Nate, your commitment phobia is showing again.’

He turned to me in mock horror. ‘Where?’ He patted his cheeks anxiously. ‘Get it off me.’

Brushing my thumb across an imaginary speck on his cheekbone, I reassured him. ‘There it is. All gone.’

‘Phew.’ He took a swig of his lager and looked toward the bar. ‘I’ll never get laid with that thing on show.’

‘Charming,’ I murmured.

He grinned cheekily at me and nodded toward a group of women standing at the bar. ‘Duty calls.’

He sauntered casually across the room and came to a stop beside a girl standing with her friends. The friends shimmied to the side as Nate and the girl began flirting their asses off. The girl was gorgeous, of course – beautiful features, long dark hair, creamy skin, extremely curvy. Probably a little overweight, like me, but unlike me, she carried it well. I had to say that about Nate. He didn’t really have a type – he didn’t care if the girl was skinny, plump, busty, or athletic. As long as she was cute and a woman, he was attracted to her.

As soon as Nate smiled at the brunette she was a goner.

I wasn’t surprised in the least. At five foot eleven, Nate wasn’t exceptionally tall, but with his combination of a trim physique honed by martial arts, a gorgeous face, and the kind of charisma you just couldn’t buy, most women wouldn’t give a rat’s ass if they towered over him in heels if it meant being on his arm for the night.

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