Author: Amanda K. Byrne
Released: April 21, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
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I’m trapped by something warm and solid. Warm, solid, and smelling faintly of dish soap.
My eyes snap open as a hand brushes over my arm. “Declan?”
The hand on my arm stills. “Yeah.”
Oh. His chest rumbles under my ear, his sleep-rasped voice with that lovely lilt slinking under my skin. Tilting my head back, I meet his gaze. Sleepy, yes, edged with discomfort. His arm. He’s got me pressed to his side, caging me with the arm he dislocated. “Declan.”
“Shh. You were cold. Shaking with it. You don’t remember moving over here?”
I shake my head. “I don’t understand you,” I blurt.
His lips tip up in a wicked little smile. “I’m not that complicated.”
I scowl, which only makes him smile wider. “Why do all men say that? ‘I’m not that complicated.’ Right.”
“It’s the truth.” He tugs me back down, and because he’s warm and the flat is cool and growing cooler, I let him. “Being laid up, forced to sit around while you cluck over my injuries—”
“I do not cluck!”
“Yes, you do, although you’re trying not to. I can’t go out and get the food for you, and I can’t find a new place to stay. I don’t like the thought of you wandering around out there on your own, no matter how capable you are, because it’s not smart. I don’t like having to take care of someone else.”
“How is that not complicated?”
“It’s contradictory,” he says, nudging me a little closer. “Not complicated.”
“Why don’t you let me up so I can get us a couple of blankets? Or dinner?”
“Because I tend to go with what feels good, and having you right there feels good.”
I snort, his words making no sense but sending a shiver down my spine all the same. “I’m lying on your injured ribs and your shoulder must be killing you.”
“The ribs are on the other side.” He doesn’t say anything about his shoulder. Giving in, I settle my head on his chest, draping a leg over his thigh in an attempt to get more comfortable. It’s the closest I’ve gotten to a full body embrace in ages, and my skin sings at the contact, begs for more.
This is enough for now.
“Where are you from?”
He chuckles again, and the vibrations hum through me. “The accent and the name didn’t give me away? Ireland. Galway.”
Galway. Wild and open on the coast. Can he see the water from his house? Smell the ocean? “I wasn’t sure. Lass isn’t exactly Irish.”
“Isn’t it? You look like a lass to me.”
“Hmph.” I trail my fingers over the cabled ridges of his sweater. “How’d you end up in this godforsaken city? Why didn’t you leave when all the foreigners were evacuated?”
“Not all the foreigners. There are pockets here and there. It’s an assignment. Got here a few weeks ago. I’m a photographer.” His hand comes to rest at my hip. “You? You’re an American?”
His warmth is intoxicating. I’m drunk on touch. “Yeah. Pittsburgh. In Pennsylvania.”
“I know where Pittsburgh is.”
A giggle escapes. “Yeah, well, that’s where I’m from.” God, I haven’t felt this good since Ryan…
Since before he died. Before he was beaten to death in front of me, while I stood by and didn’t do anything other than scream and struggle against the arms holding me back.