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|Uncover Me(Men of Inked #6) by Chelle Bliss|
I cried myself to sleep as exhaustion and tears carried me off to my dreams. Someplace where mine was the only name he called out and he only belonged to me.
Watching over my shoulder and studying every member in the club had become exhausting. It wasn’t that I hadn’t kept my eyes peeled before, but now that Rebel was dead and he’d found out my real identity, the need to be extra cautious and mindful of those around me had increased.
It had been two months since Rebel died, and for sixty grueling days I’d waited to be exposed. The plan with the Vipers moved forward even in Rebel’s absence, causing the list of charges to grow.
Rebel’s disappearance had people on pins and needles. His car was still safely tucked away in my storage unit, and his remains had yet to be discovered. Wild accusations had flown around the clubhouse for weeks. Cowboy had become the new president, calling the shots in place of Rebel. The mysterious disappearance had been pinned on a rival club, the Death Angels. They’d started some shit in Daytona and were the obvious scapegoat. All members of that club had been executed during a late-night raid on their compound. There was no one left in that club to deny the murder of Rebel.
After things died down, the death of Rebel behind us and a new president at the helm, James and I finally had time to talk face to face. There was no way in hell that the conversation would be pretty. I didn’t have all the facts, but I was pretty sure he was fuckin’ my sister. I considered him my best friend, my lifeline to the real world away from this club. He was the man who kept me grounded and focused even when I thought of giving up.
Our friendship had blossomed over drinks while in training—way too many most nights—and late-night talks about family and our values. It sounded a little funny, but I meant it in the manliest way possible. We’d talk about putting away the bad guys, feeling a need to keep the world safe, and we both wanted the rush that came from this type of work. There’s a danger in undercover work that can’t be found anywhere else in life. Jumping out of a plane, swimming with sharks, and all other types of adrenaline-junkie activities didn’t even come close to living undercover.
James and I had a kinship. We were cut from the same cloth. We didn’t take shit from people or give a fuck what anyone thought of us. We were both deep-seated in family. Mine was still fully intact, but his had been ripped apart by drugs. That was his driving motivation. Mine was the need to feel like I was doing something good. I could’ve sat at home with the rest of my siblings and worked in the tattoo shop, but it lacked the thrill I wanted, the need I felt.
With each day that passed while being in the Sun Devils MC, I realized how badly I missed my life before the DEA. Drugs, sex, violence, death, and general asshole behaviors were part of everyday life, and they weighed heavily on the soul. It was part of this MC, and I knew I wasn’t cut out for it.
I missed my family. Life had become boring for me, so I’d decided to try my hand at something else—something dangerous. Looking back, I knew it hadn’t been worth the risk.
I didn’t know how I could’ve ever thought that my family wouldn’t be at risk in this line of work. I should’ve known that something could go wrong and someone would find a way to get to me, especially through my family. Even if Flash hadn’t brought Izzy to Daytona, she and the rest of the Gallos would have been at risk.
I had a hard choice to make when this assignment was over. Stay in and work for the greater good of society or quit and go back to my old life. No matter how boring life seemed, at least everyone would be safe from something that had been caused by my actions. My family was everything to me.
Which brings me back to Izzy. She was my little sister. I spent my teen years chasing away boys, teaching her to be badass and not to put up with shit from assholes like my brothers and me. I knew that Izzy wasn’t being used. The girl was just too damn smart to let that shit happen.
I wasn’t even pissed that she was with James—if that were the case. I was more worried about the fallout that would occur when they ended. I assumed this because Izzy didn’t have the best track record, and James was a fuck-stick on legs.
James was like my brother from another mother. He and I were alike, and that was why we got along so well. What really fuckin’ stung was that he hadn’t told me anything was going on. That shit just isn’t cool. You can’t fuck your best friend’s sister and forget to mention that shit.
I needed to make him squirm. Have him worry a little bit about how I felt about the entire situation.
Izzy had to be with someone, but no one could ever live up to my high standards. But James was the closest thing I had to a brother who wasn’t blood. If he truly loved my sister—would give his life for her—then I’d give my blessing.
After knocking on his apartment door, I looked over my shoulder, surveying the surroundings just to be sure I hadn’t been followed. The coast was clear, and from this vantage point, I could see the street in both directions. “Hold on,” a grumpy voice called from inside.
“Let go of your dick for five seconds and open the fucking door.” I pounded on the door, not wanting to stand out here any longer than I had to and risk being seen. I was sure I could’ve given an excuse about getting some pussy, but any secret from the club would have thrown up a flag of suspicion.
“Fucker,” James said as the door opened.
I laughed, punching him in the shoulder as I walked inside. The place was dark and a fucking mess. James was always a clean freak, but the inside of his apartment looked like chaos had ensued.