Echoes of Scotland Street

Page 7


He waited for me to respond.
I could tell him I remembered him, but surely that would only encourage the flirtiness I saw glittering in his gaze. I remembered he liked my hair and my eyes. Who was to say he didn’t still like my hair and my eyes, and moreover would like a chance to see said hair spilled across his pillow as he screwed me? A screwing that he would most likely promptly follow up with screwing me over.
Keeping my face perfectly blank, I shook my head. “Sorry. I don’t remember.”
Disappointment caused his smile to wilt. “Really? We talked about bands and zombies and stuff. Your boyfriend picked you up. You’re from Glasgow.”
Christ, did he have a photographic memory?
I only just managed to stop myself from wrinkling my nose in annoyance. “I am from Glasgow,” I answered calmly, not unfriendly but not friendly either. “And my gran lived on Scotland Street, but I don’t remember you. Sorry.”
Simon tried to muffle a snort of laughter behind Cole.
Cole shot him a displeased look over his shoulder and Simon turned around with an innocent whistle and casually walked into the back.
Sighing, my new manager turned to me with a frown puckering his brow. “You really don’t remember me?”
“Sorry.” I shrugged apathetically, which only caused his frown to deepen.
“Long time ago, I suppose.” He continued to stare at me in an assessing way and I began to squirm uncomfortably. The more he stared, the more I stared, and the more I stared, the more I noticed how deliciously lickable he was.
The tattoos only made him more so.
I blamed the artist in me for my weakness for a man with great tattoos. There was what looked like initials worked into a tribal design tattooed on the left side of his neck. On his left arm was a sleeve tattoo in black ink of a wolf standing on a rocky precipice. It sketched upward into his biceps, and the upper body of a woman in profile appeared to transform out of the top of the wolf’s head—her face was upturned; her hair billowed in the wind and disappeared under the fabric of his T-shirt. On his right arm in a reddish brown and black ink was a flying eagle, the tips of its wings disappearing under his T-shirt too. Dangling from the eagle’s talons was an old-fashioned pocket watch, but I couldn’t make out what time was set on it.
“You like what you see?”
I blinked at the innuendo in Cole’s voice, dragging my eyes from his tattoos to his face. He was wearing this sexy little smirk that would have worked like a charm on me a few months ago.
But a lot had happened since then. I raised an eyebrow. “Do you flirt with all your new employees?” I said, unamused and pretending to be unimpressed.
Cole’s smirk turned into a grin as his eyes roamed over my hair. “I’ve never had one like you before,” he murmured.
“Efficient, smart, responsible, reliable?” I said through gritted teeth.
Laughter danced in his eyes. “Well, I hope you’re all those things too.” Clearly pleased with himself, he chuckled and turned around to head toward the reception desk. “Good hair, by the way,” he shot over his shoulder.
For the first time in years I cursed my bloody hair.
“I’m thinking about dyeing it pink,” I lied as I followed him behind the desk.
Clicking the mouse on the computer, Cole muttered, “And I’m really a tattooist by day and a time-traveling immortal highlander by night.”
Before I could respond, he threw me a wry smile and gestured to the computer with a nod of his head. “Desktop.” The mouse moved over the screen as he showed me the digital appointment book, the spreadsheet on which they kept their supplies updated, a list of their suppliers’ contact details, and a folder with information on regular clients.
“Now.” He sighed and threw me an apologetic look. “We have an issue with filing.” He turned around, his arm brushing mine as he did so, and unfortunately I couldn’t stop my body from reacting to the touch. The hairs on my arms stood on end, and the blood heated in my cheeks. Cole didn’t seem to notice as he waved an arm at the huge closet in front of us—the one with the masses of paper files. “Our last assistant was completely inept—”
“And a fucking homophobe,” Simon’s voice snarled in my ear, and I jumped in fright to discover he was standing at my shoulder.
“Which was why our last assistant was canned,” Cole informed me. When I looked back at him he was studying me warily. “You’re not a homophobe, are you, Shannon?”
I barely registered the question. He had a lovely accent—it was refined and lilting and it did gorgeous things to the sound of my name.
Realizing they were both now tensely waiting on an answer, I hurried to assure Simon, “Definitely not. Love’s just love, right?”
Simon relaxed and smiled at me. “Love’s just love, sweetheart,” he agreed.
I smiled back at him, but when my gaze returned to Cole, my smile wilted. He had been staring at me with this disarming look in his eyes, a soft look that made me feel things I had no right feeling. At the sudden change in my demeanor, Cole frowned, clearly confused by my reaction to him.
“So, the files . . . ?” I urged.
Cole blinked. “Files? Oh, right, files.” He cleared his throat and gestured back to the closet. “These are Stu’s files before he went digital. We don’t need them—they date back to when the studio first opened—but Stu wants to keep them. Our boss can be a bit stubborn sometimes.” He said it with such affection I knew Stu’s stubbornness didn’t bother Cole in the least. “The files were moved when a pipe burst in Stu’s office, but the assistant who moved them turned them into a disorganized mess. Accounting files have been mixed up with art files and they’re all out of chronological order. I’d like you to reorganize it whenever you’re not needed on reception.”
I took a step toward the mess. “Why don’t I digitize them instead? It’ll free up the space in here. The mess doesn’t exactly give the greatest impression to your customers.”
Cole seemed to consider it. “It’ll take you longer . . .”
I shrugged. “I like to keep busy.”
His eyes moved over the top of my head to Simon. “Can it be? We finally hired a receptionist who knows what she’s doing and actually wants to work?”
“Bigger miracles have occurred,” Simon said, a smile in his voice.