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|Uncover Me(Men of Inked #6) by Chelle Bliss|
I thought about it for a moment. I’d spent the last couple of days wondering what I’d do now that I didn’t have to go back to work for the DEA. Working at Inked, the family tattoo shop, didn’t hold an interest for me. I wasn’t artistic and found it to be too boring. And I didn’t want to sit around inside all day.
“I don’t have a better one. So, we’re going to be partners?” I asked, leaning back in my chair and running my hand through my hair.
“Yeah. We have to get an office and business cards and come up with a great name. There’s not much competition in the area. The ones I’ve found are jokes with no real training. We can even reach out to local law enforcement and see if they’d let us follow up on some cold cases. Think about it, man. There’s no one more qualified than we are around here for this kind of work.”
“I’ll talk to my lawyer this week and see what we need to do to first. I want this shit on the up-and-up.”
“Partners?” he asked, holding out his hand.
Sliding my palm in his, I replied, “Partners,” before shaking his hand and sealing the deal.
“Let’s get together next week after you talk with your lawyer and iron out all the details.”
Although I knew it could be cumbersome to start a new business—I’d been a part of Inked when it had begun—I knew it wasn’t too difficult. Especially an operation with few employees and very few supplies. We could have it off the ground in a matter of weeks.
We sat for about fifteen minutes, bullshitting and talking about the DEA. Everything seemed to be going smoothly with the criminal cases for the members of the Sun Devils who had been arrested. For once, it was working out as planned.
“Let’s go tell the girls the good news and celebrate,” James said, pushing back from the table.
I nodded before following him into living room. The ladies were sitting on the couch, chatting and laughing, and it was the happiest I’d seen Angel.
“It’s time to celebrate, ladies!” James exclaimed, slapping me on the back after I’d come to a stop next to him.
Fucker really wanted to be punched. He knew I hated that shit, and that was the main reason he did it.
Glaring at him, I spoke though gritted teeth. “Ready to eat?”
“What are we celebrating, Jimmy?” Izzy slurred, her smile sloppy and uneven.
They’d had almost an entire bottle of wine on empty stomachs. They were tipsy, giggling like high school girls, and Angel was sexy as fuck.
James’s smile changed when she called him Jimmy. I knew he hated that name. A few people at the agency had tried using it on him a couple of times. James’s fist had abruptly met their faces before they’d started calling him by his full legal name. Most changed to Caldo, preferring his last name to avoid any physical harm. Izzy, on the other hand, liked yanking someone’s chain.
“Izzy, you’ll pay for that later, but for now, we’re going to celebrate the future. Your brother and I are going into business together.”
“Oh God,” she whined with glassy eyes as she threw herself backward into the couch cushions. “My brother and my boyfriend—together forever.”
“Sounds like a greeting card,” Angel said, bursting into laughter before Izzy followed suit.
“Maybe I should get them that little heart charm that’s split in two and they can each wear one half.” Izzy slapped her knees, chuckling as tears began to stream down her face.
“All right, ladies. Let’s get some food into you both.”
“Drinks too,” Izzy told James as she wiped her face and stood.
James stroked her cheek, staring into her eyes with a grin. “Anything you want, Izzy. I’ll get what I want later.”
“Dude,” I said, pointing my finger at him. “Don’t say that shit about my sister. Especially in front of me.”
“Get fucking new ones,” I demanded, holding out my hand to help Angel stand.
A few times this week, I’d called her Roxy. Then I’d been quickly reminded not to use the name. Each time, I’d spend ten minutes chanting the name “Angel” over and over again inside my head to help make it flow naturally.
“Since she’s your sister, I’ll try my best.”
“Ooh, baby, I love when you try your best,” Izzy declared, jumping on James and wrapping her legs around his body.
“Fuck,” I grumbled. This type of shit was going to happen all the time. I needed to just get used to it and ignore them or Izzy would try to push my buttons every time we were together.
She kissed his face, holding his cheeks in her hands as James held her by her ass. “I love you, Jimmy,” she blurted before kissing him on the lips.
James pulled his lips away and smiled. “That’s the only time I’ll let you call me that.”
“Ready to go, Ro—” I stopped dead as my eyes grew wide. Fuck. I knew I’d do it sometime. Watching them in my living room had me a little off-kilter. “Angel.” I hated the slip-up and prayed she wasn’t pissed.
“Yeah,” she said with a small smile, stroking my arm. “It’s okay, baby,” she whispered.
“Can you two disengage long enough to leave the house and get to the restaurant?” I asked, looking over at them as they kissed.
“Uh huh,” James mumbled, his lips pressed against Izzy’s. “Come on, Iz. We have to go eat.”