“Hey,” I say, thumbing my chest. “I talk dirty enough for the both of us.”
“You definitely do with us, anyway,” Nicola says.
I snort, pulling out Steph’s compact and peering at my face. Even without makeup I know I don’t look that bad. From my mother’s side I got high cheekbones, her dark eyes, and long, black lashes that don’t need any mascara. From my father, I got full lips and freckles. But still, I could look a lot better. My cheeks are blotchy from the alcohol, my thick mess of hair is unruly, and I’m dressed like a bag lady.
And you’re all the better for it, I remind myself. Untalkative Scottish peen is the last thing you need.
“Yeah, you’re right,” I say.
I look at Steph blankly. “Oh, sorry. I was talking to myself. I do that. You know this.”
“There they are,” Nicola says. I can hear the stupid grin in her voice.
I sigh and look back to the front door of the bar. Beneath the low lighting, amid the wood finishing, green and brass décor, and the rigged jukebox that only plays James’ music, steps in Bram, Linden, and Lachlan McGregor. The Scottish trifecta of hot guys.
But even as that thought hits my brain, I blink, my eyes trained on Lachlan because I’m finally taking him in for the first time. I realize that “hot guy” is an understatement. While Linden and Bram are stupidly good-looking in their charming, handsome ways, Lachlan is a whole other beast.
Because, he basically is a beast.
Lachlan is a good half a foot taller than Bram—and that says a lot already because Bram is pretty tall—and nearly twice as wide. Like a redwood tree, he goes up and up and he’s solid and probably unmoveable, and I already have this urge to run across the bar and slam into him, just to see how immense he is. I have a feeling I would bounce right off of him. I mean, his physique seems lifted from a superhero comic, from his thick arms that are covered in masses of dark tattoos, and his expansive, firm chest, to his mountainous shoulders and v-shaped torso. Even dressed in a plain moss-green t-shirt and dark jeans, he looks larger than life.
And I can’t stop staring. I don’t even care because everyone else in the bar is staring at the Scottish trifecta, even though I manage to glide my fingers over my mouth to make sure I’m not actually drooling. He’s probably the most stunning man I’ve ever laid eyes on, and I immediately want to rub myself all over his face. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.
While Bram nods his head in our direction and Linden waves, Lachlan’s eyes scan the crowd intently, almost like he’s a cop searching the place for suspects. Or a criminal looking for opportunity. There’s a hint of electric danger in his searching gaze, and for a moment I wonder what it would be like to be looked at the same way. I’d probably burst into flames.
Unfortunately, as they get closer and Lachlan’s eyes finally meet mine, I see nothing but indifference in them.
I quickly look away, suddenly aware of how I must appear, and curse myself once again for letting my friends drag me out here when I could be watching Damon Salvatore instead. At least I don’t care if he sees me in my pajamas.
All the better for your vow, I tell myself. I refrain from adding a shut up rebuttal. See, talking to myself again.
“Hey sweetie,” Steph says to Linden, grinning at him like an idiot, just as I called it. I ignore the pleasantries the couples make and stare down at my wine instead, waiting for the dreaded introduction. My eyes slide over to the floor and I take in their shoes—shiny dressy ones for Bram, Keds for Linden, and hiking boots for Lachlan. They look worn and beaten and oh so large.