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|Uncover Me(Men of Inked #6) by Chelle Bliss|
“Izzy is—” I remembered her name that he whispered in his sleep.
“She’s my sister, babe. Don’t worry. There’s no one but you in my life. Unless you count my extremely nosy and pushy family.”
I sagged against him, a feeling of relief washing over me. “Is this your mom?” I asked, pointing at the photo I had been admiring.
“Yeah. It’s my favorite childhood photo with her. I can’t wait to see her.”
“I can see how much she loves you. She has to be excited to see you.” I stroked his arm, feeling the hairs move under my fingertips.
“She doesn’t know I’m here. I wanted to surprise her.” He slid his hands to my waist, turning me in his grasp.
“Why would you do that to her? She’s probably worried sick.” I rested my cheek against his exposed chest, nestling my face between his pecs. I could hear his heart thumping inside.
“If she knew I was coming home, there would be a house full of people. I want to spend time with my parents and my siblings. The others can wait. My mom loves to throw a party. You’ll see.”
“She’s going to have a heart attack when you walk through the door.”
“Maybe. Want to come find out?”
I bit my lip, not wanting to hurt his feelings but not ready to do the entire family thing just yet. “Not today, baby. Give me a couple of days and I promise I’ll go with you.” I brushed his back with my fingertips, feeling his body quake in my arms.
“Okay,” he said before kissing the top of my head.
“I want this day to be about you. There’s plenty of time for them to get to know me.” I hugged him, wanting to never let go.
“Will you be okay here today by yourself for a while?” he asked, holding me by the shoulders and looking down at me.
“I will,” I said with a smile. “I’m going to snoop through your shit while you’re gone. I figure that will take a couple of hours, easy.” I bit my lip to hide my laughter.
“Don’t be too naughty. I’ll have to spank you if you do.”
“Thomas, you know I love when you’re rough. I may be bad just so you give it to me good.”
“Babe,” he growled, his voice growing deeper. “I’m going to fuck you so hard later you won’t be able to walk for a week.”
“Promises, promises,” I teased. “If I don’t get coffee soon, I’m going to be real grumpy.” I pouted, batting my eyelashes.
After he made a pot of coffee, he ran around the house, getting ready before saying goodbye and heading to see his family. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little jealous that someone missed him, but I told myself that Thomas missed me when we were apart. I wasn’t alone anymore.
I stood outside the door. Cracking my neck, shaking my fingers at my side, I took a deep breath before I walked inside. My mom would lose her shit. Hell, the entire family was about to lose it when I came through the door. I had to ready myself for the ear-piercing screams and blood-curdling shrieks of happiness that only the Gallos could deliver.
The house looked the same. Life had marched on without me. Sunday dinners had gone on as planned since I had been a child, whether I’d been in my chair or not. Nothing had changed but me. I was the wild card, the different one. My life had been forever altered through my actions undercover. Didn’t matter if the shit was justified or not—I was no longer normal. I had become a criminal like the others, just as guilty for my actions as they were. The only difference was I wore a badge and they wore a cut.
Without knocking, I opened the door and walked inside.
“Hello.” I didn’t see her, but I’d know my mother’s voice anywhere. It haunted me in my dreams and comforted me in my times of self-doubt.
“Ma!” I yelled, moving toward the kitchen, where I heard her voice coming from.
“Tommy?” I could hear the shock in the single word.
She flew out of the kitchen, jumping into my arms and kissing my face. “Baby! Oh my God. You’re home!” she yelled in my ear, squeezing me so tightly that I could barely breathe.
“Ma,” I repeated, trying to pull in a breath.
She drew back and stared at me. “Is it really you?”
I chuckled, taking in the changes in her appearance. Time had passed, and my mother looked older than I remembered, with a few more lines around her eyes and cheeks. A majority of her stress had probably been caused by my absence. Then again, she had an entire family of people who would cause any normal woman to age early.
“It’s me, Ma.”
Releasing her legs from my body, she placed her feet on the floor but kept her arms wrapped around me. “You look different, Tommy.” I smiled and didn’t fucking dare say the same thing to her.
“Tommy!” my dad called out, walking into the foyer.
“Pop,” I replied, holding out my hand, since my ma was still attached to my body, squeezing me.
“Maria, let the man go. You have to share him sometime,” Pop said without moving from his spot.
“If I do, he may disappear.” Her voice was muffled, since her lips were against my skin.
Pop walked behind her, removing her arms from my body. Ma took a step back, blotting her eyes and wiping away the tears that had drifted down her cheeks.
“Son.” Pop wrapped me into a giant bear hug.
My father, brothers, and James were the only men in my life I’d shown affection to. No one else ever got that from me. That shit didn’t leave this house. It was grounds to get your ass kicked, and I didn’t need an extra fight on my hands. Italian men didn’t have an issue showing their love to one another.