“My family never did either,” she said. “Silence in my house meant someone had stopped breathing—thanks to a pillow being held over their face.”
Finn gave her a barely there smile, definitely devoid of its usual wattage. “Was there a lot of fighting?” he asked.
“My parents were high school sweethearts. They were together twenty years, most of them spent in a very tiny but homey Santa Cruz bungalow house, where we were practically on top of each other all the time.” She sighed wistfully, missing that house so much. “Great house. But seriously, half the time my mom and dad were like siblings, at each other over every little thing. And the other half of the time, they were more in love with each other every day.” The ache of losing them had faded but it still could stab at her with a white hot poker of pain out of the blue when she least expected it, like now.
“Sounds pretty good, he said.
“It was.” He’d beaten the shit out of you . . . The words were haunting her and her gaze ran over Finn’s tough, rugged features. It hurt to picture him as a helpless kid standing between a grown man and his little brother, taking whatever punishment had been meant for Sean to spare him the pain of it, and she had to close her eyes against the images that brought.
A hand closed around hers. She opened her eyes as Finn tugged her into him. He stroked the hair from her face and looked down into her eyes. “You sure you’re okay?”
He’d just had a huge blowout with Sean and he was asking about her. She swallowed hard and nodded. “It’s you—”
He set a finger to her lips. “I’m fine.”
The two women at the fountain were laughing and chatting. “Think it’s really true?” one of them asked. “If we wish for true love, it’ll happen?”
“Well, not with a penny,” the other one said, eyeing the change her friend was about to toss in. “How many times have I told you, you can’t be cheap about the important stuff.”
Her friend rolled her eyes and fished through her purse. “I’ve got a quarter. Is that better?”
“This is for love, Izzy. Love! Would you buy a guy on the clearance rack? No, you would not.”
“Um, I wouldn’t buy a guy at all.”
“It’s a metaphor! You want him new and shiny and expensive.”
Izzy went back into her purse. “A buck fifty in change,” she muttered. “That’s all I’ve got. It’s going to have to be enough.” She closed her eyes, her brow furrowed in concentration, then she opened her eyes and tossed in the money.
Both women held still a beat.
“Nothing,” Izzy said in disappointment. “Told you.” She turned away from her friend to stalk off and ran smack into Sean, who’d come out of the pub.
His hands went to her arms to catch from falling to her ass. He looked down into her face with concern. “You all right, darlin’?”
Izzy blinked up at him looking dazed. “Um . . .”
Her friend stuck her head in between them. “Yes,” she told Sean. “She’s okay. She just can’t talk in the presence of a hot guy. Especially one she wished for.”
He smiled, though it was muted. “You work at the flower shop, right?” he asked Izzy.
She nodded emphatically.
“Well come into the pub and have a drink any time,” he said.
Izzy gave another emphatic nod.
“That means yes. And thank you,” her friend translated and dragged Izzy away. “Oh-em-gee, the fountain totally works!”
Pru watched them go and had to laugh. Luck was where you made it for yourself and she knew that. She’d wished for love for Finn, and she still wanted that for him but she was realizing that would mean letting him go.
She had to let him go.
Sean looked at Finn. “Need to talk to you,” he said.
Finn, face blank, nodded.
“I’ll meet you inside,” Sean said.
Finn nodded again.
When Sean walked way, Finn turned to Pru.
“Work calls,” she said with a small smile.
“Story of my life,” he said. “About last night.”
Her heart skipped a beat.
“We were onto something.”
Her nipples went hard. “Were we?”
“Yeah. And you liked it too.”
She felt herself blush a little. “Maybe a little.”
“Just a little, huh? Because I still have your fingernail imprints in my scalp.” He was out-and-out smiling now, a naughty sort of smile that made her thighs quiver. “I wasn’t finished with you, Pru,” he said softly. “I had plans.”