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|Resist Me(Men of Inked #5) by Chelle Bliss|
“I like James,” he said, causing me to stand up and look at him.
“You’ve got to be shitting me,” I said, completely in shock.
“He’s not a shithead. He’s a solid guy. Works hard, likes your brothers, and seems to adore you. Fuck, he fit right in with the family too.”
“He adores me?” I shook my head. “Clearly you saw something else than I did.”
“I saw the way he looks at you, Iz,” Mike agreed, getting up from his chair and coming over to my workstation.
“Like a piece of meat he can control.” I knew my brothers didn’t want to hear about my sex life, and I sure as f**k didn’t want to tell them, but I thought my words could be taken many ways.
“I’m going to talk to you as a friend and not my sister,” Mike said, looking down at me with a smile. “Shit’s going to be hard to swallow, but I’m going to say my piece.”
“Here we go,” I whispered, sitting back down and waiting to hear his pearls of wisdom.
“He looks at you like I look at Mia and Joe looks at Suzy. He looks at you like he worships the very ground you walk on, Iz. Men are bossy creatures—it’s in our nature. If you find one who isn’t, then they don’t have a set of balls,” Mike explained, shaking his head. “Every boy you liked was a total pu**y and not worthy of your time. They wanted in your pants and that’s why we ran them off. James is an entirely different animal.”
I sighed, knowing that my brother was right. I knew the look on his face when he stared at me. I was sure it was a reflection of how I looked at him, but it didn’t mean I liked it.
“He’s bossy, Mike. I don’t think I can deal with that caveman bullshit.”
“You deal with ours just fine.” Anthony laughed across the room as he walked toward his seat.
“You guys are different. You’re my brothers and you do things to protect me and make me happy.”
“Who’s to say James isn’t the same?” Joe asked, swiveling his chair around to face me.
“I have to love you because we’re blood,” I said, avoiding his question.
“I try to stay the f**k out of your business, sister, but for once, you’re wrong,” Anthony interrupted.
“When you guys need help, I’m the first person you run to, and now you think you know what’s best for me?”
“We come to you for help because you’re the toughest chick we know. You’re always one step ahead of everyone and everything. You’re a force to be reckoned with, Isabella,” Joe said.
I hated when they dropped my full name. It showed that they were serious. Where the f**k was Terri? I wanted him to get the f**k back in here so this conversation would be put on the back burner.
“Listen, boys, I don’t need a man in my life to complete me. I’m not weak.” Fuck it. I was the fiercest bitch I knew. People didn’t f**k with me unless I let them. Many men had been brought to their knees by a swift kick to the balls by me. The only people in the world I let talk to me this way were in this room.
“Weakness is walking away,” Mike muttered, grabbing his chair and pushing it close to my station. “It takes strength to face the unknown and do it in the name of love.”
“You’ve been listening to too much Barry Manilow or Lionel Richie or some bullshit. Who’s filling your head with this nonsense?” Where had my tough-ass brother gone? I mean, a year ago he wouldn’t have been telling me that it took strength to take a chance on love.
“Listen here, smartass. Love doesn’t make you weak. You’re stronger as a couple than you are apart. If he’s the right man, he’ll know how to bring out your strengths. He’ll make you a better person. If you lose yourself, then you weren’t strong to begin with. Man the f**k up and take a chance for once. Prove you got a set of balls on you like you always claim.”
Mike was challenging me and being all philosophical and shit. I turned toward Joe, hoping he’d have something better to say. “And you?” I challenged.
“What he said,” Joe replied with a smile and a wink.
I looked over at Anthony, who was staring at the ceiling, avoiding eye contact with me. “Anth, I know you have something to say. Tell them they’re wrong.”
Slowly, he brought his eyes to mine and shrugged. “You know I think relationships are bullshit, Iz, but I think James is a great guy.”
“When did everyone jump off team Izzy and hop on the James train?” I asked, ready to pull my hair out.
Before anyone could answer, Terri walked back into the work area. “Sorry,” he coughed, plopping his ass back in the chair.
“No worries, Ter. You rescued me,” I said as I picked up the gun and got back to work.
Terri was a big-ass biker around fifty, and he had an old lady at home. He’d been coming to the shop for a couple of years and I knew some things about him, but we didn’t spend much time chatting like two old friends.
“Ter, let me ask you something before you disappear into your Led Zeppelin haze.”
He placed the headphones around his neck and leaned forward, displaying his back. “Sure thing, kid. Shoot.”
“You’re married, right?”
“Well, yeah, or I wouldn’t be married anymore.”
“She a pushover?”