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|Uncover Me(Men of Inked #6) by Chelle Bliss|
“No,” she breathed. “I love how you kiss.”
“Iz, babe, let’s go. We can finish this in the car on the way to the restaurant.” He winked at her and she instantly jumped down, marching straight for the door.
“We’re taking two motherfuckin’ cars,” I insisted as I wrapped my arm around my girl and followed James and Izzy into the foyer.
As I grabbed my keys off the side table, they walked outside and waited until I’d turned off the lights and locked up the house. As we climbed in our cars, I thought that this might be one of the longest nights of my life.
“What’s wrong, Thomas?” Angel asked as I closed the door and started the car.
“I’m so stressed tonight. I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with me.” I gripped the steering wheel, feeling the leather slide underneath my palm.
“You need to relax,” she said, touching my bicep and giving it a quick squeeze. “Does it bother you that much that they’re a couple?”
I had to answer honestly. “Not really. I mean, it’s my sister, and I don’t need the shit thrown in my face. He’s my best friend, and I trust him with my life, so why not with my sister’s?”
“Habits die hard, baby. I’ll tell you this. She loves him.”
“She made that clear,” I said, the mental image of her body attached to him in my living room still burned into my vision.
“Not just love. She’s crazy about that man. Right before you two came in the room, she was gushing about him.”
“Gushing?” I asked, looking over at Angel. “Izzy has never been a gusher.”
“Head over heels in love with that man. I think they’re a cute couple.” She smiled, her small fingers stroking the inside of my arm.
“Yeah,” I mumbled, looking over at her. Her words were true. I couldn’t think of two people who deserved each other more than James and Izzy. They could spend a lifetime busting each other’s balls.
“If you trust him with your life, why don’t you trust him with your sister’s?”
I sighed. She was right. “I do.” It wasn’t a lie.
“It’s settled, then,” she said, releasing my arm. “Now cheer the fuck up. I really like your sister, by the way.”
“Either you love her or you hate her. She’s one of those people.” I tried to keep my eyes off the rearview mirror. When I did glance back, I saw Izzy pawing at James, and they were both smiling.
“Well, I love her.”
“Ready to meet the family yet?” I asked, hoping and praying she’d say yes.
Ma would be relentless if I didn’t bring her with me. Everyone was expecting her, especially my parents. They weren’t easy to disappoint without feeling an overwhelming sense of Italian Catholic guilt.
“Yeah,” she squeaked, catching me by surprise.
“Yes?” I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders with her agreement.
“I’ll go.” She pulled the visor down and checked her makeup in the mirror.
“You’ve made me the happiest man in the world,” I declared.
“That would be James right now, but don’t look,” she warned, pointing at something in her mirror.
“Fuck,” I muttered. Maybe going into business with James wasn’t the best idea after all.
I groaned as I rolled over. My eyes didn’t just sting from lack of sleep—they ached as I tried to open them. How much had I fucking had to drink? My head felt like my brain was trying to push its way through my skull. My stomach churned from a simple movement. I needed to make a mental note: Do not try and out-drink Izzy Gallo again. The girl was little, but fuck. She was like a goddamn bottomless pit. I had never been a heavy drinker, never developed a tolerance for it, but hell. I’d try to keep up with the best of them, and she was a fucking champion.
“Baby,” I mumbled, throwing my arm over my eyes to block out the light.
“You okay, Angel?” he asked in a smooth, sultry morning voice.
From what I remembered, he and James had talked business and watched as Izzy and I’d gotten shitfaced. They were so excited about the new venture, and Izzy and I were in a fit of giggles. The more we drank, the funnier shit got. They were trying to come up with names for their private investigator business, and Izzy and I came up with every funny name we could think of and almost got us kicked out of the restaurant in the process. We came up with Tricky Dicks, Private Dicks, Pick a Dick, and Quickie Dicks. If it had the word “dick” and rhymed, we said it. We thought we were hilarious, but the guys? Not so much.
“My head is about to explode,” I complained, speaking slowly and quietly.
“I figured you’d feel like shit today.”
“Ya think?” I asked in a snarky tone. “Fuck. How am I supposed to go to your parents’ house feeling like this?”
He rolled over, the bed dipping, which almost made my stomach’s contents empty on the spot. It had been a long time since I’d been this hung over. Why had I picked last night of all nights to do that shit?
“Stop moving!” I screeched, moving my hand to cover my mouth.
The bed shook from his deep laughter. “Sorry,” he whispered, but continued laughing. Even though the bed was barely moving, it might as well have been an earthquake with the way my stomach was being jostled.
“Baby, you really need to stop fucking moving.” I wouldn’t call myself grumpy, just ill.