“Kayla,” Bram says, almost delicately. I love how they treat me like I’m a bomb they’re about to diffuse.
I slowly look up to meet his dark eyes.
“This is our cousin, Lachlan.” He steps aside slightly and gestures to the beast of a man. “Lach, this is Kayla.”
I play it cool. I nod and say, “Nice to meet you.”
What I really want to say is, “Can I please lick your face?” Because it’s a damn good face, especially up close. He’s all frowny, like he’s trying to figure out why he should care who I am, and it makes a deep line appear between his eyes and I kind of want to run my finger over it. His eyes themselves are this vivid, sharp hazel, leaning more toward green. There’s a deep hollow beneath his cheekbones, his wide jaw is lined with a perfectly scruffy beard, and his hair is brown and thick and tuggable. Then there are his lips. They’re show-stopping lips. They are lips I need between my legs.
At that thought, the heat builds in my core, and I can feel my face flushing.
It just makes him frown more.
“Kayla,” he acknowledges. His voice is very low and very rough, like he belongs in a 40s noir film, and his Scottish brogue is a million times thicker than Linden or Bram’s. My name coming from his mouth sounds like some kind of Gaelic dessert. Naturally that thought puts an image of him spreading me open on the table and eating me like a dessert.
Jesus. I need a cold shower, stat.
“We should get a bigger booth,” Nicola says, and her voice brings me back to reality. Even though I don’t want to tear my eyes away from Lachlan and all his brooding, hulking glory, this is the perfect time for me to be smart and get the hell out of here.
I quickly finish the rest of my wine before getting out of the booth. I move myself away from Lachlan, afraid that being close to him is something like orbiting around a black hole, and prepare my excuses to leave when Bram reaches out and touches my arm.
“Kayla, can I talk to you for a moment?” he asks, and I stare at him in surprise. He looks serious for once, and for some reason I feel like a little girl who’s gotten herself into trouble. Probably because I’m usually getting into trouble.
“Okay,” I say quickly and shoot Nicola a worried look. She just shrugs, seeming surprised herself, and the rest of them move over to a bigger booth.
Bram pats the table of the booth where we were just sitting. “Have a seat. I have something to ask you.”
“If you’re asking me to move in with you, the answer is no,” I tell him, reluctantly sitting back down.
“Ha ha,” he says dryly. “Actually, I wanted to ask you a favor.” He pauses, his dark brows coming together “You work for The Bay Weekly, right?”
“Yeah,” I say slowly. I think about quitting my job every day, but I don’t tell him that.
He clasps his hands in front of him, showing off a shiny silver watch that probably cost a fortune. “As you know, I’m still trying to get funding for the apartment complex. Lachlan is here to help—he’s made a lot of smart investments himself over the years, so he has money, and charity is dear to his heart as it turns out. But we’re missing more investors, and we’ve been trying to do everything to secure more.”
I nod along, not understanding how I can help at all. Even though Bram has rubbed me the wrong way a few times, the guy actually has a heart of gold and has been trying to get funding for his apartment complex in the city. He bought it all with his own money, and he’s been opening the apartments to lower income families, the sick and elderly, and other people in need. As Nicola explained it, he can only do this on his own for so long before he runs out of money, and so far the city of San Francisco hasn’t been so giving with something it so desperately needs.