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|Uncover Me(Men of Inked #6) by Chelle Bliss|
“What the fuck, dude? This shit isn’t like you.” I threw some papers that had been sitting on the chair to the floor and sat down before grabbing my smokes and setting them on the table.
“I’ve been busy.” He pulled out a chair, sat across from me, and cracked his knuckles.
“I guess so, by the looks of this shithole. Been doing a lot of traveling?” I smirked.
“Thomas,” he said, holding up his hand. “I’m sorry.” He sighed, shaking his head.
I had known him long enough that I could read his emotions. I wasn’t dumb enough to say that I could read him, because I’d fuckin’ missed he was screwing my little sister.
“I thought we were better friends than that, James. Why wouldn’t you be straight up and tell me?”
“It’s complicated.” Hanging his head, he fidgeted with his hands, balling them into fists and then releasing them.
“Fucking someone isn’t all that complicated.”
“It was more than that and it was nothing at all.”
“You better rephrase that shit.”
“I didn’t mean for it to happen, Thomas,” he said, lifting his head to meet my gaze. “You gotta understand that.”
“I do,” I responded, knowing the type of man James was. “When did it happen?”
“At your brother’s wedding.” He reached for my cigarettes, but I quickly pulled them out of his reach.
“It just happened. We drank a lot and talked most of the reception. One thing led to another and—”
“And you fucked my sister,” I deadpanned, feeling my blood start to course through my veins faster than normal.
“It’s not like that.”
“Tell me what it was like.”
He cleared his throat, running his fingers through his hair. I could see the vein in his neck pulsing as his blood pressure rose. “I listened to you talk about Izzy forever. You built her up and told me how amazing she was, and I listened to every word. I felt like I’d known her forever when I met her. Thomas, how you described her didn’t do her justice. I’ve never met anyone like her.”
“So, it’s my fault you stuck your dick in my little sister?” I growled, pulling a cigarette from the pack and lighting it.
“No!” he yelled, shaking his head vigorously. “I hung on your stories when you’d talk about her, and when I met her, it came full circle. I never believed in love at first sight, but I knew I wanted to be with her, and not in that fucking way, you prick. I wanted Izzy in my life. She has this zest for life.” He paused and hung his head again. “Jesus, I’m sounding all soft and shit. I love her. I fucking love her!” He drew in a quick breath as he finished his confession.
Letting the smoke escape through my nose, I asked, “Have you been seeing her since the wedding?” I still needed details, but the thought of James being in love with my sister didn’t piss me off—it was the lies. It was better to know the type of man she was with than the unknown and uncertainty of her being with a stranger. I knew James would never intentionally hurt her.
“No. Dude, she fucking vanished. She’d left me without even saying goodbye.” His mouth hung open. “I mean, what other woman does that shit?”
I laughed, throwing back my head and thinking of James finding that Izzy had ditched his ass in the middle of the night. There’s nothing that hurts pride more than shit like that. James was a cocky motherfucker, so it must’ve wrecked him, even if it was only for a short time.
“That sounds like Izzy.”
“I know. I’ve never met a woman and felt connected to her immediately. She’s my kryptonite, man.” He laughed, and I joined him.
“God, you’re such a pussy, James. I thought you were tougher than this shit.”
“I was, but Izzy fuckin’ ruined me.”
“Don’t mention Izzy and fuckin’ in the same sentence.”
“Oh, sorry,” he said, his face growing sober as he bit his lip to stop the laughter.
“I’m serious, fucker.”
“So am I.” He smiled, the tension between us easing as the air felt lighter.
Jesus, maybe his pansy ass had rubbed off on me, or maybe it was spending time with Roxy. I was as pussy-whipped as he was, but the big difference was I had no future with her, unlike James with my sister—if she stuck around long enough for there to be a future.
“So, you saw her at the wedding and then when did you see her again?”
Upon standing, he walked to the counter and grabbed a pack of smokes. I never knew James to smoke unless he was drinking, but I was sure the severity of the entire situation had started to wear on him much as it had on me.
“I didn’t see her again until you called from Daytona.”
It all started to click in my brain. Izzy had freaked out when she’d heard that I was calling James. I hadn’t been able to figure out why and had assumed she was just being her usual headstrong self. Man, I had been so fucking wrong.
The air was so fucking thick when James and Izzy had seen each other again. She had been panicked and not herself. I’d thought maybe it was because of the situation she’d been in, but now, I realized she’d been acting like she’d gotten caught. No one wanted to have to face the person they’d ditched without a word, but she hadn’t had a choice.
“Are you seeing her now?” I stubbed out my cigarette after having let most of it burn down without taking but a couple of drags.