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|Resist Me(Men of Inked #5) by Chelle Bliss|
Since I’d kicked James out on Sunday, I hadn’t given myself much time to reflect on what had happened. I’d kept myself busy with work, friends, and family. The last thing I’d wanted to do was linger on my epic f**k-up. I hadn’t meant to be such a bitch to him, but I hadn’t known how else to handle the situation.
I hadn’t been able to even face him when I told him to leave. I hadn’t wanted to see his face—I couldn’t see it. I would’ve taken the words back if I’d seen the hurt I’d inflicted. The rub of the entire situation was that I did like James—maybe more than I was willing to admit.
Even when he was a bossy ass**le, I liked having him around. The banter between us was wicked fast, and his ability to call me on bullshit was matched by no one outside my own family. Maybe it was his ability to read me that unnerved me the most.
No one in my family, especially my brothers, had ever liked any man I spent time with. James was the exception. He had been welcomed with open arms, treated as family, and invited back.
Would I be willing to let him in my life? Would I still be me after he invaded my world?
I didn’t like weak women. They drove me f**king insane. The girls who changed and made themselves the perfect woman for their man. I wanted to be me, and would do everything in my power not to lose myself. I saw it happen all the time with my friends as they settled down, and although I loved them dearly, it pissed me the f**k off.
Would James try and change me? Did he want a meek woman who would agree to everything he wanted? He said that he loved my smartass mouth, but would he feel that way later? Was he just saying the words I wanted to hear to get back into my bed?
I took a page out of Suzy’s playbook as I worked on Terri’s back. I needed to figure shit out about James. I needed to go through the pros and cons and see which side won. I mean, that’s a rational way to make a decision, right?
James had a lot of pros. He was funny, smart, kind, and respectful to my family. He loved my brother, and he was handsome and sexy as hell. He had a dirty-ass mouth, and he was an amazing lover, Plus he made me feel good about myself.
His cons were a mixed bag. He pissed me off…a lot. He was bossy (although that could be a pro in the bedroom—fuck, I did like it). He was too smart for his own good, knew my game before I could play my hand, and didn’t put up with my bullshit. He was a arrogant prick, he knew how sexy he was, and I liked him too much.
The list of reasons not to be with James was longer than why I should give him another shot. In all fairness, the list of bad qualities weren’t truly bad. I remembered him saying that I wanted a man I could control, and based off the cons, I’d say his words were true.
Flash was an example of a man who didn’t know how to handle me, and for that, I let him hang around and come back for seconds. I didn’t have to worry about him overtaking my life and losing myself. Flash didn’t ask for much, just a f**k every once in a while and nothing more. He’d tried once and I’d shut that shit down quick. He’d accepted it and we’d continued as friends with benefits.
I’d tried to steer clear of men like my brothers my entire life. Suzy had changed since she’d met Joe, but she hadn’t lost herself. It was the opposite, actually. She was stronger than she had been the first time I met her. She spoke her mind, slung profanity like a true Gallo, and seemed more confident. A strong man like Joe helped the real Suzy shine.
Mia was just Mia. Mike hadn’t changed her at all. She had still been the same sassy, no-nonsense chick since the day I met her. She didn’t put up with his bullshit. She called his ass on the carpet and met him head on in every situation.
Mike and Joe had enough testosterone and bossiness in them that they could rule the f**king world if they put their minds together. The fact that I’d never thought about their inability to change the women in their lives was surprising. I’d thought it happened in every relationship, but maybe I’d just focused on the people I knew who had lost themselves instead of those who had become stronger with the love of a good man by their side.
“I need a piss break,” Terri uttered, pulling of his headphones.
I almost didn’t hear him, lost so deep in my thoughts as I dissected everything I knew about love and all of my f**ked-up theories.
Moving my hand away, I set down the ink gun. “Sure, Ter. Take as long as you need.” I leaned back, stretching my muscles. I felt stiff after sitting for a couple of hours hunched over his back.
I felt like a doormat—totally used and exhausted after not having slept well for three nights. I hadn’t felt like I’d slept when I woke in the morning. It was like I had lain there in a trance as the night had passed, haunted by the words that had been thrown around before James left. I felt guilty, and it wasn’t an emotion I knew how to deal with.
“What’s wrong, Iz?” Joe asked as I stood to stretch.
“I just haven’t been sleeping well.” I rolled my neck on my shoulders, trying to relieve a headache I felt building.
“Is this about James?” Mike piped in, leaning back in his chair and watching me.
“I don’t know. I’m just a f**king mess.”
“Izzy, you know I hate any man who is with you or wants to be with you. Yes?” Joe asked, placing dollops of Vaseline on the plastic wrap laid out on his station. “I mean every f**king one of them.” He set the small, round inkwells on top, prepping his workstation for his next client.
“I know, Joe. I remember you threatening the lives of more than a few.” I laughed, bending over the stretch my lower back.