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  • Echoes of Scotland Street(On Dublin Street #5)(44) by Samantha Young
  • “I can cheer you up.”

    “I’m not sad . . . It’s just . . .” I shook my head and shrugged because I honestly didn’t know what I was feeling.

    “Well, I can get rid of those tears . . . Joss invited you to her book launch on Thursday night.”

    I drew in a breath, feeling a mixture of surprise, gratitude, and excitement. “Really?”

    Cole’s whole face warmed with affection. “What do you say? Fancy being my date to it?”

    “Do you even need to ask?”

    He laughed and lay back down, easing me against him. “Apparently not.”

    Smiling now, I wrapped my arms around him, snuggled my face into the crook of his neck, and tried to envision a real, honest-to-goodness book launch. Would it be swish and sophisticated? Wine and cocktails and fun literary chats?

    Ooh, I’d have to dress up for something like that.

    Ooh, and I’d also get my books signed by Joss.

    Giddy now, I let the happy thoughts pull me into a deep, contented sleep.

    CHAPTER 15

    T he atmosphere at the bookstore on George Street was welcoming and relaxed. Although there were glasses of wine and champagne, there were also glasses of orange juice and water. The dress code was casual-smart, which kind of shot a hole in my plans to buy something a little fancier to wear, but it didn’t detract from the excitement of being at a book launch for one of my favorite authors.

    Everyone was there except for the kids, Nate, Mick, his wife, and Hannah’s brother, Declan. Among the familiar faces were twenty or so strangers—all J. B. Carmichael fans. Joss’s readership was growing since her last book hit the e-book top one hundred. Cole had told me that there were only a handful of people at her last book launch, and it read on her face that she was a little taken aback by the fact that her popularity had quadrupled since last time.

    Her husband stood at her side while readers came up to chat to her, and anytime he tried to give her space, she’d grip his arm and not so subtly jerk him back to her.

    I snorted and Cole followed my gaze. “She never crossed me as the shy type.”

    “She’s not. But she also hates being center of attention, so this sort of thing is her least favorite part of being an author.”

    I grimaced. “I have to admit I’d probably feel the same way. I’m not a shy person, but that would make me shy.”

    “Me too.”

    “Really?” I said, eyeing him in surprise. “You? Shy?”

    Cole grinned. “There is so much you don’t know about me.”

    Before I could question him further, my curiosity was put on hold when Joss’s publicist cleared her throat and introduced Joss. Braden squeezed her hand and gently nudged her toward the center of the room where everyone was now gathering in a semicircle around her.

    “Hey, folks.” She smiled at everyone, the natural coolness in her tip-tilted eyes warming anytime she made eye contact with one of her friends and family. “I want to thank you all for being here for the launch of my fifth book.” She appeared to relax somewhat as she continued on less formally. “You know, I’m extremely blessed to be surrounded by family and friends who all inspire me. Believe me when I tell you there is never a dull year in the Carmichael-Clark-Sutherland-MacCabe-Sawyer-Walker tribe.”

    At that, said tribe all tittered, acknowledging the truth in her words. I knew there was truth in them because I had spent the last week asking Cole about these colorful, gorgeous people he was lucky enough to have in his life. Each one of them had a story to tell, and although he’d only given me the bare bones of them, I read between the lines and deduced their stories involved a lot of drama and plenty of heartache.

    “That’s why the plot for this book came to me so easily—it’s inspired by one of my best friends. She knows who she is and I just wanted to say thank you for being you. You’re a true heroine . . . and your tale makes one hell of a story.” She grinned teasingly at the crowd and they laughed.

    I looked around at all the women in Joss’s life, wondering who she was talking about.

    “I’m not going to say much, because my husband will tell you I’m not much for speeches, but I want to thank my publisher, my editor, Audrey, who flew all the way from London to be here, my publicist, Bill, my friends, and most important, my husband, Braden, who after a long day at work will find ways to keep the kids entertained while I hole up in my writing cave. I like you.” She smiled at him. “A whole lot.”

    Braden laughed and I knew instantly what Joss saw in him.


    While Joss walked over to him and the crowds began mingling, Cole squeezed my waist. Gazing up at him, I found he had his eyebrows raised. “Braden’s forty-two,” he whispered.

    Damn. He’d caught me ogling.

    I shrugged, going for nonchalant. “A hot forty-two.”

    He groaned as if in pain. “He’s like a big brother, as is Cam. Don’t call them hot.”

    “I won’t.” I shook my head. “Besides, Cam is more sexy than hot.”

    Cole made a gagging sound.

    “And let’s not leave out Adam, and my gosh, definitely not Nate and Marco. Those two are smok—”

    His large hand clamped over my mouth and I looked up at him from under my eyelashes, my gaze mischievous.

    “Don’t say it.”

    I promised him with my eyes that I wouldn’t.

    Cautiously Cole removed his hand from over my mouth. I grinned. “I don’t see the problem with me admitting they’re all attractive. It’s not like you didn’t have a huge crush on Olivia.”

    “That reminds me. I need to speak to Rae.”

    “She’s been very forthcoming.”

    “Stay here while I go find her and kill her.”

    “She’s here?” I said, looking around the store for her.

    “She came in while Joss was talking.” He stilled and I followed his gaze to see Rae in the corner laughing with Ellie and her mum. “I’ll be right back.”

    “Cole,” I protested, but he was already striding off.

    “Uh-oh, someone’s in trouble.”

    I turned at Hannah’s teasing voice. “Rae. Rae’s in trouble.”

    Hannah smirked. “Why does that not surprise me?”

    “She told me about Cole’s crush on Olivia.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire