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|Uncover Me(Men of Inked #6) by Chelle Bliss|
Resting his hand on my hip, he stroked my cheek, staying silent. I snuggled against him and listened to his breathing.
“Feeling any better?” he asked, brushing his lips against my forehead.
“Yeah,” I lied.
“I brought you some aspirin and water.”
My body moved with his as he reached for the glass and pills he had set on the edge.
“Thanks,” I whispered before placing the two capsules on my tongue and taking tiny sips of water. I didn’t dare toss my head back to help them slide down. Movement, especially quick ones, made the entire situation worse.
After handing the glass back, I melted into him. I didn’t know how long we lay there in that position before he started to wash my skin. Without the energy to try myself, I let him and soaked in the pampering. I couldn’t even remember a time when my mother had done the simple task. I didn’t have one fond memory of her taking care of me or treating me like a child. I had been a nuisance—or, at least, she treated me like one.
“Why are you so good to me?” I asked in jest. I’d do the same for him. That was what you did for someone you loved.
“I don’t like when you don’t feel well. I should’ve told you to slow down last night, but I figured you needed to blow off some steam.”
“It felt good, but I regret it today.” I smashed my cheek against his pec. The water descending over my skin in tiny rivulets felt like dozens of fingertips grazing my flesh.
“I’m sure Izzy feels the same today. She won’t be her normal annoying self at my parents.”
“I’m sorry for last night.” Even though it was fun, I was sure we had to have embarrassed him and James in the restaurant.
“Nah, don’t be. You two were funny. It was nice to see you let your hair down and be yourself. I like the silly side of you. Don’t ever apologize for having fun.”
I smiled against his skin, letting the peacefulness of the moment sink in. Slowly, my stomach started to calm and the animal that had been trying to burrow through my brain stopped. I lost track of how long I’d been sitting in the tub. The water turned cold as I was cradled in his lap.
“Let’s go back to bed for a while. We can be a little late to my parents’.” He swept the tiny hairs off my shoulder, caressing my shoulder with the tips of his roughened fingers.
“I don’t want your mom to get mad,” I replied, even though I needed a few hours of restful sleep.
“She won’t. They don’t eat until later. They’ll be happy we’re coming even if it’s a couple of hours after everyone else.”
“Okay,” I said, pulling myself up and finding my balance before attempting to step out of the tub. While waiting for Thomas, I swayed back and forth for a moment. Then he stood and helped me out. “Thanks.”
After retrieving a towel and quickly drying us off, he scooped me into his arms and carried me back into the bedroom. Once he’d set me down, he tucked me in and said, “I’m going to go do a few things and make some calls. I’ll wake you up in a bit.”
“Don’t let me sleep too long. I don’t want to disappoint your mom,” I said through a yawn, already comfortable and ready to fall asleep.
Through half-closed eyes, I saw his beautiful smile as he nodded and kissed me on the lips. Then he grabbed a pair of workout pants and headed out the door. I didn’t even stay awake long enough to hear his feet hit the first step.
After sleeping for a couple of hours, I felt like a member of the human race again. I no longer wished to be put out of my misery. I didn’t move as quickly as I normally did, but I was able to get ready in under a half-hour, and in my state, that was a goddamn miracle.
As we pulled into his parents’ driveway, I fidgeted with the bangle bracelet I was wearing. My stomach grumbled—partially from hunger, but mostly from fear. Thomas was confident that they’d love me, but I wasn’t so sure. My own mother didn’t love me. Why would his?
“We’re here,” he said with a smile on his face as he turned off the engine.
“Yeah,” I replied, blowing out a quick puff of air. There was no turning back now.
“Look at me, Angel.”
I dragged my gaze away from the silver bracelet and stared into his eyes.
“They’re harmless. Sometimes they act like teenagers, but everyone inside will love you because I love you. Just be yourself and remember to smile. If you get overwhelmed, let me know and we can leave.”
“Okay,” I whispered, forcing a smile.
We climbed out of the car, and I walked next to him, my hand in his, until we stopped in front of the door. Pulling my body against him, he gave me a mind-numbing kiss. My toes curled from the passion, my mind swam with things to come, and my body instantly responded. When his lips left mine, I was left breathless and wanting more, but it would have to wait.
“I’m ready,” I said, lingering on his lips.
He smiled, opened the door, and yelled, “We’re here!”
People began to squeal as they gathered in the foyer. “Overwhelmed” didn’t even begin to describe how I felt. I could feel their eyes on me as they hugged Thomas. Before I could say anything, his mother pulled me into a giant hug.
“I’m so happy to meet you, Angel,” she whispered in my ear as she squeezed me tighter, making it hard to breathe.
“Ma, don’t kill her,” Thomas said, pulling her off me.