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|Throttled(Men of Inked #3) by Chelle Bliss|
We weren’t ready for a baby, not just yet. I had too much City left to enjoy.
“No worries. I have all the faith in you, my sweet Suzy.” She released me and walked toward the gown.
My body warmed from her sincerity and love as I took in the most important women in my life, all in one spot and without our testosterone other halves.
“This is stunning,” Mrs. G said, running her fingers across the lace skirt of my wedding gown.
“Joey is not allowed in this room anymore. I can’t risk him seeing my dress.” I shook my head. He begged me to wear it for him, he wanted to dirty it—his words not mine—before I walked down the aisle. That wasn’t going to happen.
“Good idea,” Mrs. G said, smiling at me.
I watched them as they looked at every detail I laid out across the expansive space. I had a seating chart that looked more like an invasion plan for a war, tables and sticky notes everywhere in different colors to represent our two sides. Izzy eyed the party favors while Mia grabbed my wedding shoes and studied them.
“These shoes are amazing. Everything is going to be beautiful, almost magical.” Mia placed the shoe back in the box. “You’re so organized. I thought I was anal, but babe, you have me beat by a mile,” she said with a small laugh.
“What needs to be done?” Mrs. G asked, staring at the seating chart.
I stood next to her, looking over my work. “I just need to make sure I have everyone seated correctly. I don’t know most of the people on here. Joey said this person couldn’t sit near that person. I’m so confused and don’t want to mess it up.”
She touched my hand, looking at me with a smile. “I’ll inspect it, but from what I see so far it’s perfect.”
“Thanks, Mrs. G.”
She looked at me, her mouth set in a firm line.
I gulped, realizing my mistake. “Mom. Thanks, Mom,” I quickly corrected.
She smiled, her face growing soft as she turned back to the poster board.
“Let’s talk about the bachelorette party while Ma is busy.” Izzy grabbed my arm, pulling me toward the small table on the other side of the room.
“Maybe she wants to come,” I said, looking at Mrs. G.
“Nope, she’s staying home with Daddy. I have everything planned out.”
“Izzy,” I warned, my eyes snapping to her face.
She smiled, looking overly pleased with herself. “Don’t worry. I have it all under control,” she said, winking at me.
“That’s what I’m worried about.” I said, leveling her with my stare.
“As a bridesmaid it’s my duty to give you a kick ass bachelorette party. Whatever happens, just blame it on me. I can take care of those boys.”
“Give us the run down,” Mia said, not letting me respond to Izzy.
“Okay, well, we have a party bus picking up all the girls here on Friday night and the boys will have their own. We’ll be spending the evening at Shepard’s Beach Resort. I reserved the top floor where the suites are located and we’ll party our asses off. They have a dance club set up at night and we can drink till we puke and crawl to our rooms.” She bounced up and down in her chair. “This shit is going to be so kick ass.”
I looked down, twisting my fingers in my hands. “No stripper, Izzy.” I wasn’t asking. I wanted to make it clear that I didn’t want any half-naked men touching me.
“Don’t worry,” she said, her smile growing wider as my stomach turned over.
“Izzy, I’m serious.” I stared at her, holding her with my gaze.
“I’m looking forward to a girls’ night out,” Mia said, squeezing my arm. “Michael doesn’t let me out of his sight much. Well, really he doesn’t let me out of his bed.” She laughed, her face turning red.
Izzy winced. “My ears are going to bleed or my brain will explode with that image. Do not mention my brothers and sex. Ever. Ick,” she said, sticking out her tongue like she was going to throw up.
“What about Flash?” Mia asked, smirking.
“He’s just a friend.” Izzy frowned, looking to her mother.
“He looks like he wants to be more than friends,” I added. “You’ve never brought anyone around for family dinners let alone a holiday, Izzy.”
“Eh, he was in town and he doesn’t have any family in the area. We hangout sometimes but it’s nothing more than that.” She drew in a breath. “He’s not right for me and the guys, well, they’d never allow him to be part of this family.”
“What are you girls talking about?” Mrs. G asked as she sat down with us.
“The monsters that you’ve created,” Izzy said quickly, changing the subject.
“Ah,” she said, turning to me. “Suzy, everything looks perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing on that seating chart.”
I smiled, happy that I hadn’t messed it up. “So Ma,” I said, the words still foreign on my tongue. “You were going to share your pearls of wisdom with us about how to handle our boys.”
She laughed, her eyes twinkling. “Well, it’s taken me many years to hone my skills and learn how to get what I want. It’s a fine line though, ladies. You can’t let them know you’re the one silently controlling the strings from the background. They like to think they’re the puppet master when in reality we hold all the strings.”