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|Uncover Me(Men of Inked #6) by Chelle Bliss|
I kept eating forkful after forkful as they discussed marriage. Joe and Suzy were happily married, along with my parents, but half of the single people at the table didn’t think it was all it was cracked up to be.
“Do you ever want to get married?” Mia asked, turning to Mike and staring at him with crinkles in her forehead. “Like, ever?”
“Well, yeah. Eventually. We’re young, doc. I want to enjoy life a little bit.”
“Um, I’m not asking you to have a baby, you big pansy. Marriage doesn’t equal a fun killer,” she hissed, pushing back from the table and storming off.
Everyone was totally stunned and in shock.
“This shit happen a lot?” I asked, looking around and wondering if the estrogen was a little too much in the room.
“No,” Mike answered, scratching his head. “I don’t know what the hell has gotten into her lately.”
“You’re such a dumbass,” Izzy groaned, and rolled her eyes. “Really? She loves you and you love her. What’s your issue with marriage?”
“Hey, pot. Meet kettle,” James muttered before a hearty laugh burst from his lips.
I laughed, knowing that the man was going to have his balls handed to him later for that little comment.
She looked at him, moving in close enough that their noses were touching. “You watch it, Jimmy,” she hissed.
Before she could continue, James’s hand wrapped around the back of her neck. Then he pulled her face to his and planted an enormous kiss on her lips. She groaned, pushing him away as he gave her a deeper kiss, holding her body to his. When they separated, a popping sound filled the room. Everyone had been quiet while watching James handle Izzy.
“As I was saying,” she said, wiping the corner of her lips like nothing had happened. “The woman wants to be your wife. We want her to be our sister. What the hell are you waiting for?”
“I don’t know,” Mike replied, and shrugged.
“Brother, we don’t know how long we have in this world,” Joey said. “My accident taught me that shit. I didn’t waste another minute without making Suzy my wife. Don’t fuck this up.” He shook his head. “You’re not good enough for her anyway. She deserves better.”
“Fuck you, Joe. I’m the only man for her. I’d give my life for Mia. I quit fighting for her and the clinic. I couldn’t imagine being apart from her.”
“Um, again, what the hell are you waiting for?” Izzy said, throwing a piece of bread at Mike.
“Fuck,” he growled, pushing back from the table and leaving to go after Mia—hopefully.
“I see that the drama around here has died down,” I said, and immediately smiled as I looked around the table.
“Boobs: they’re always the problem,” Anthony piped in, still shoveling forkfuls of food in his mouth.
I didn’t know how the guy stayed so damn thin with the amount of food he consumed. Since we’d been little, he could eat us all under the table, yet he was the thinnest of us all. I didn’t even think the fucker worked out.
“I see your grumpy ass is the same. What’s got your willy in knots?” I asked, glancing at Ma to make sure I wasn’t overstepping my bounds.
She smiled, hiding a laugh behind her napkin.
“Women are a pain in the ass, Tommy,” Anthony said. “When they aren’t breaking your heart, they’re mixing up your head. Nothing but trouble, in my opinion.”
“What, or shall I say who, have you been hiding, Anth?” Suzy asked, touching his hand.
He quickly jerked it away like her hand was fire. “No one. I’m just saying. It’s best if I just steer clear of relationships.”
“You doth protest too much,” Suzy said in her best British accent, which was terrible. “You’re hiding something. I feel it in my bones.”
“Don’t start with your pregnancy ESP nonsense again, Suzy.”
She smiled, making a tsk tsk sound with her tongue before diving back into the giant hunk of lasagna my mother had placed on her plate when she’d finished first.
“Damn, we forgot the champagne. Hand me the bottles, Izzy darling,” Pop said, beckoning them down to his end.
“Let me run and grab glasses,” Ma replied, hurrying from the table and quickly returning with both hands filled with flutes.
“We should wait for Mike and Mia,” I interrupted as Pop released the first cork and it bounced off the ceiling.
“They could be a while,” James replied with a small grin.
While Pop handed each glass down the table as he filled them, I stared at him. He hadn’t aged much in the time I’d been gone. Not as much as my mother, anyway. He still looked the same, happier than ever. This was his thing—family dinners and bullshitting. He had his boys all under one roof, but we all knew his favorite was Izzy. She’d always be daddy’s little girl.
My pop stood, holding up his glass. “I’d like to propose a toast.” He paused until all of our champagne glasses were high in the air. “To my family. This house is filled with more love than your ma and I could’ve ever imagined. You kids—”
With those words, we all blanched, hating the sound of it, and he laughed.
“You have made us proud. We hope the family expands someday. More babies and more wives would be nice. It’s great to have Tommy back and in his rightful spot. To love and family. Salute.”