Home > Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street #3)(5)

Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street #3)(5)
Author: Samantha Young

Not me, though. Nate would never see me in a sexual way, so there was no point in even allowing my thoughts to go there. I think I knew more about the real Nate than most people did, so it wasn’t hard to put him in the friend zone. I could switch off whatever attraction I had to him because I knew it would never go anywhere. I’d rather have Nate in my life as a friend than not have him there at all. For all of his commitment issues and the unashamedly playboy mentality toward women, he was a really good guy underneath it all, and a really good friend.

‘Well, she’s a goner,’ Joss commented softly.

Turning toward her, I raised an eyebrow when I saw her smirking at Nate and the girl. ‘He never makes them any promises.’

She laughed. ‘No need to defend him. I know Nate always makes himself clear, but we’re talking girls here. Sometimes they just hear what they want to hear.’

‘Yeah, but Nate’s got this down to an art. It’s like a sixth sense or something. As soon as he feels even a slight change in their attitude toward him, he’s out of there.’

‘I can’t wait for someone to knock him on his arse,’ Ellie joined in, smiling wickedly in Nate’s direction.

‘Me neither.’ Jo flicked a pointed glance up at me before looking away, and I pretended I was too stupid to understand her meaning.

I changed the subject quickly. ‘Did you guys see Cam’s new tattoo? Cole designed it,’ I told them proudly.

Cole Walker was the best kid ever. Jo had done an amazing job raising him and the best thing that had ever happened to the both of them, other than each other, was Cameron MacCabe. He and Cole were incredibly similar – both artists, both cool nerds – and Cam had commissioned Cole to design a new tattoo for him.

It was awesome.

A stylized ‘C’ and ‘J’ were hidden in the jagged vines and sharpened curlicues of Cole’s tribal design.

‘Ooh, let’s see,’ Ellie begged with a grin.

Cam shook his head. ‘It’s on my ribs.’

‘Oh, come on, it’s not like we’re going to pass out at the sight of your abs,’ Joss teased.

‘They’re good abs.’ Jo patted Cam’s stomach proudly.

Braden took a sip of his whisky. ‘Personally, I don’t want to see his abs. They might … provoke my envy.’

Adam nodded in deadpan agreement. ‘Mine too.’

‘Fuck off,’ Cam muttered, his lips curled up in amusement.

‘Oh, if he’s going to be such a spoilsport …,’ I grumbled, digging through my handbag. Feeling the paper between my fingers, I tugged and pulled it out, unfolding it to hold up the signed drawing of Cole’s design. ‘Here, this is the tat.’

As the others looked at it, Jo smiled up at me. ‘You’re keeping that?’

‘Sure, and I got Cole to sign it too.’

She laughed. ‘You’re only going to make his crush on you worse.’

I shrugged, not caring. ‘He deserves to know how awesome he is.’

‘No arguments there.’

We smiled at each other as the others complimented Cole’s talent.

Nate soon returned to the group, and the brunette returned to her friends but kept her eyes on Nate.

‘Are you not …’ I asked curiously, pointedly looking in the woman’s direction.

‘Oh, aye.’ He grinned boyishly. ‘But I told her it was my mate’s birthday and I wanted to hang out with him for a while.’

True to his word, Nate stayed with us until closing. We were all getting ready to leave when his breath whispered across my ear. ‘I’m off.’

I turned around to stare at him, spying the curvy brunette in my peripheral vision. ‘Okay. Have fun.’

He winked at me and then kissed my cheek. ‘Always do.’

After saying good-bye to the group, Nate took the girl’s hand and departed the bar. Jealousy needled at me as I stared at the empty doorway. My friend was the master of seduction. If he wanted to get laid, he could.

Unfortunately, for some of us it wasn’t nearly so easy.

2

Edinburgh

Dad and I came to the decision to stay in Edinburgh not just because of the empty black hole Mom’s death had left for us in Arizona – although that sure was a big part of it – but because I’d lost my job, my way, and my enthusiasm for pretty much everything. Mom had been diagnosed with cancer when I was sixteen. She fought it, but it came back three years later. When I was twenty and a junior at the University of Arizona, I took a few months out from studying to go home and be with her.

She passed away two days after my twenty-first birthday.

It took a lot of persuading from my dad to get me to go back to college, but I did, graduating with a master’s in Information and Library Science a few years late. I got a job back in Phoenix at our neighborhood public library, but three months before Cam got in touch with us our small library was closed due to lack of funding and I was out of a job.

It was really crappy timing, since I was just beginning to get back on my feet after losing Mom. The trip to Edinburgh couldn’t have come at a better time.

‘Uh, excuse me.’

I blinked out of my daze and leaned across the counter of the library help desk, giving the exasperated girl in front of me a patient smile.

The library was split into two divisions – User Services and Library and Collections. I worked in User Services, on a staff of about forty-five people. Out of those forty-five people at least nine of us had a degree in library science. Only two were librarians – my manager, Angus, and my supervisor, Jill.

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