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|Resist Me(Men of Inked #5) by Chelle Bliss|
“Hey, I brought someone,” she said as we walked into the back.
Mike, Joe, and Anthony stopped, looking up in unison. One by one, smiles crept across their faces as they recognized me.
“James,” Mike said, standing to shake my hand.
“Hey, Mike. Good to see you again.” I shook his hand, squeezing it firmly.
I didn’t feel out of place seeing the Gallo guys again. I’d met them all at the wedding. I’d spoken with each one of them, sharing the information about Thomas that I was able to without putting him at risk.
“Yo, James,” Anthony said, nodding to me without standing up.
I smiled, giving him a nod back.
“James, I’m surprised to see you here,” Joe said as he stood and held out his hand to me.
I smiled, taking his hand in mine and shaking it roughly. “I just wanted to see how Izzy was doing.”
“Ah.” He looked at me with squinted eyes and the corner of his mouth twitching. “I heard all about last weekend.” He released my hand, a dull throb in my joints where Joe had squeezed back as I hard as I had him. We were that type of man. We never showed weakness.
“Oh, did you?” I asked, a giant smile playing across my lips.
“Izzy never listens to us. We told her to stay the hell out of Daytona and stay the f**k away from Flash.” He sat back in his chair, looking at his sister. “She has to learn everything the hard way. Thank Christ she had four brothers to watch over her.”
I laughed as I looked at Izzy and practically saw steam coming out of her ears. No woman liked being talked about in this way, especially Izzy. She wasn’t weak and didn’t always need to be under the watchful eye of her brothers.
“Yeah, Daytona was rough. She’s home safe now and Flash is of no worry. I took care of him.”
“Good man,” Joe said, opening the drawers to his station and placing tiny cups for the ink on the perfectly laid-out paper sheet to keep the area clean.
“How’s Thomas?” Mike asked, leaning back in his chair.
“He’s well. It’s pretty quiet in the MC right now, but he’s kicking ass.”
“When the f**k will he be home, man?” Anthony asked.
I felt every eye in the place on me, waiting for the answer to a question I couldn’t give a simple answer to. “Soon. He’s so close he can taste it. You know Thomas. He won’t stop until he gets the job done.”
“Izzy said she saw him last weekend,” Joe said.
“Yeah. We both did.” I didn’t feel the need to expand upon the information. The details of which I was sure Izzy hadn’t given to them fully.
“She said he looked okay but a bit worn,” Joe prompted.
“The life he’s leading wears on a person, especially someone like Thomas.”
“I just want him home and safe,” Izzy commented as she walked up beside me and stopped.
I reached out, wrapping my arm around her, and drew her close. “He’ll be home soon, doll,” I promised, kissing her temple.
She stiffened in my arm. I looked down at her and followed her eyes to see three very curious faces.
“Want to share something?” Anthony inquired with one eyebrow reaching for the sky.
“Nope,” Izzy responded, quickly moving out of my grasp.
I grinned, happy with what had been done but knowing I’d probably catch shit for it.
“I’ll let you guys get to work. I’m going to head out for the day.” I nodded at them and turned to Izzy. “What time should I pick you up?”
“We don’t close until late,” she responded, looking up at me.
“Iz, you don’t have any appointments after six. You can take off after that,” Mike chimed in.
“Perfect,” I said, turning to him and winking.
She glared at him. “Thanks,” she hissed.
“I’ll be back at seven. Walk me out?” I asked, pulling her against my body.
“Fine,” she bit out.
“Oh hey, James,” Joe called out as we started to walk away.
“Yeah?” I asked, turning around to face him.
“My parents would love to talk with you. Mind going over there tomorrow for Sunday dinner?”
I smiled. The entire weekend was turning out perfect. I couldn’t have planned it any better if I’d tried. “I’d be more than happy to see them. I’ve heard amazing things about your ma’s cooking.”
“For the love of all that is holy,” Izzy muttered, rolling her eyes as she fisted her hands at her sides.
I laughed when her glare was now trained on me. “You okay with this?” I asked her, putting her on the spot with her brothers there for the show.
“Yep,” she barked. “Peachy.”
She was pissed off, and I loved it. When Izzy was angry, she looked even more beautiful.
“Good,” I said to her, and turned toward Joe. “I’ll be there.”
I grabbed her by the shoulders and ushered her toward the front of the shop and away from the watchful eyes of her brothers.
“Pissed off?” I asked as I stopped near the door.
“Not with you. Not entirely, at least.” She looked down and bounced on her heels.
“With them?” I motioned with my thumb over my shoulder.
“Yes.” She sighed. “They’re nosy bastards. And you.” She poked me in the chest. “What the f**k are you doing being all touchy-feely with me in front of them?”