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|Throttle Me(Men of Inked #1) by Chelle Bliss|
“Sorry about that. It’s not what I meant.” My father looked down at his plate concentrating on his food but I could see the smile on his face. He loved a good punch to the gut and ego whenever possible.
“I have a big fight coming up after the first of the year,” Mikey piped in to show my dad how far he’d risen.
“New York. I got the call yesterday. I’ve been training for months for this opportunity.”
“That’s fantastic, son. Wish your mother and I could see it.”
My mother looked green at the thought of her son being in a closed ring beating the piss out of someone or getting the shit beat out of him. I’d put my money on Mikey in any fight, but I know my mother still thought of him as her baby. Fuck, we were all her ‘babies’.
“Michael, why can’t you be like your brother? Go into music or something without violence and bloodshed?” She dabbed her lips with her napkin and placed it on the table.
“Ma, I’m great at it and I love it. It’s my dream to be a well-known ass kicker.”
Pop reached over and slapped him on the back. I’m surprised he didn’t start beating on his chest at how proud he was of his ass-kicking son.
“I just don’t like the whole idea. Become a musician or something else.”
“Tone deaf,” Mikey mumbled as he placed more food in his mouth.
My mother sighed and fidgeted with her fork on the table. “I was fine with it when I thought it was just a hobby or a passing phase, but now, I’m scared for you, Michael.”
“No worries, Ma. I got this shit. You’ll see.” He grinned at her and flexed his muscles. “It’s going to be on Pay Per View so you’ll be able to watch, Pop. I’m not the headliner, but they show all the opening fights before the main event.”
“I’ll have to have the guys over to watch my son kick some ass.”
I rolled my eyes and hoped someone would change the conversation.
“Anyone talk to Thomas this week?” Mom asked.
Not the topic I would’ve liked, but anything to not hear about Mr. Badass and his upcoming match. “I did, Ma, he texted me. It’s hard for him to call with work,” Anthony said.
She sighed and closed her eyes, pinching the bridge of her nose. “I worry most about him. He’s in such danger every day and I don’t like him being so far. I need all my children around this table every week.”
I could see the pain on her face. She worried about my brother. He’d been an undercover cop for the last year. He was trying to infiltrate a motorcycle group notorious in Florida for drug trafficking and gun smuggling. He rarely called or texted in order to keep his cover, otherwise his life would end.
Why the f**k my brother risked his life was beyond me. It’s one thing to work the streets every day walking a beat, but to go undercover and be discovered was something cops rarely f**king came back from. If something happened to him, my mother would never recover. Tommy had always been an adrenaline junky, but this was extreme. Jump off a f**king bridge or skydiving like normal people; don’t risk being shot in the f**king head when they realize you’re there to help bring them down.
“He said he’s fine, Ma. He said not to worry and he’s well and living the life. You know, Tommy would have made a great actor. He can bullshit the best of them.” Izzy always tried to console my mother about Tommy’s work, but it was always there – the worry. We all felt it like a ton of bricks waiting for the phone call that he was missing, but thankfully it hadn’t happened.
“I know, baby girl.” My mom smiled at Izzy. “He could always charm the ladies.”
“Speaking of charmer, Ma, Joey’s girl was at the shop yesterday and I missed it.” Izzy pouted and winked at me. She knew she just threw me under the goddamn bus and my mom would have a shitload of questions…again.
“Still seeing her, Joseph?” Her face lit up. I knew she was already picking out the baby names, but f**king hell I wasn’t ready for that shit.
“Yes, Ma.” I hated talking about this shit with anyone, especially my mother.
“Is she your girlfriend?”
I sighed wanting to reach over and choke that shit eatin’ grin off Isabella’s face. “Yes.”
“Don’t chase her away because she isn’t Joni. You hear me?”
“I met her, Ma.” Fucking Mickey.
“What’s she like, Michael?” My mom knew she wasn’t going to get much more out of me than she had last week in the kitchen. She knew to ask the blabbermouth of the group.
“She’s beautiful and deserves so much better than that punk.” His head moved in my direction and I wanted to bitch slap him.
“Better as in you, Mikey?” I eyed him.
“Calm down, bro. She’s a nice girl, Ma. Reminds me a bit of Joni. Innocent and her laughter is infectious. You’ll like her.” He grinned at me.
What a f**king ass**le. “You’ll have to bring her for Sunday dinner soon, Joseph.” Exactly what I didn’t want to f**kin’ do. I didn’t want her to be around my crazy ass siblings, especially Izzy. Iz was dying for another girl since the testosterone to estrogen level was off balance.
“Maybe soon. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.”
“The holidays are coming up. Christmas, maybe. Is she a catholic girl?”