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|Uncover Me(Men of Inked #6) by Chelle Bliss|
Stopping when I reached the street, I faced the house and whispered, “I’m sorry.” I knew he’d be torn up wondering what the hell happened to me. I hoped the note would be enough to stop him from looking for me. I didn’t want this all to be in vain.
Looking over my shoulder, I watched the house as it grew smaller until it faded away. The farther I walked, the more I cried. The thought that I’d never see Thomas again made me feel dead inside. What was the use of going on if he wasn’t the one I’d be spending my days with?
A car approached from behind, driving slowly and following me. I wasn’t a paranoid person, but they were going at almost a snail’s pace. Refusing to look back, I kept my eyes forward, watching the light of the gas station grow brighter. The squeak of the brakes sent my mind into overdrive. As I turned to look back, an arm wrapped around my body as a cloth covered my mouth. I screamed, feeling a burn in my throat as I kicked and fought back. My attacker was pulling me backward toward the car as I screamed, flailed, and tried to claw at his hands but failed miserably.
My eyes grew blurry from tears, my throat started to close, and the world around me turned gray. Before I blacked out, I saw the person responsible for this—the person I’d least expected.
Without opening my eyes, I felt for her, needing to touch her skin. Sliding over, I searched for her in the darkness, but I found nothing. There wasn’t a night that had passed where I hadn’t been able to pull her against me. Startled, I sat up and looked around the room. Nothing seemed out of place, and the bathroom light was off.
“Angel!” I yelled, waiting for her to respond, but again only silence.
After climbing out of bed, I headed out the door and down the hallway. All the lights in the house were off. Hoping she was in the kitchen, I ran down the steps two at a time and then rounded the corner in the foyer. Darkness everywhere. Flipping on the light, I glanced at the kitchen and saw a scrap of paper sitting out where I hadn’t left it.
As I walked up to it, I could see my name scribbled across the top. “Damn it,” I said, picking up the piece of paper and reading each word carefully. I had to read it twice because there wasn’t a word on the goddamn piece of paper that I believed. My heart pounded erratically in my chest as I tried to pull in breaths.
What the fuck was I missing?
Once I’d jogged into the foyer, I checked the coat rack—her purse was missing. Then I turned toward the steps and took them three at a time. When I made it to the bedroom, I ran to the closet and found half of her clothes missing.
I walked out, sat on the bed, and grabbed my phone. Hitting it against my forehead, I tried to think of my next step. First, I’d send her a message and beg her to come back. She never could say no to me. That’s why she’d had to leave while I couldn’t stop her.
Me: Angel, come back. We can fix whatever is going on. I love you too much to say goodbye. Give me another chance. Give us another chance.
As I stared at the screen, I held my breath, waiting for a reply. A few moments later, the message showed “read” before she started to type a response.
Thank you, Jesus. She wasn’t ignoring me.
Angel: Ur Angel is busy. If you want to see her again and keep your identity to yourself, I want 1 million dollars.
I blinked, shaking my head as I looked down at the screen. Then I blinked again. I’d thought I’d read it wrong, but I hadn’t. My heart, which already felt like it would burst, started to beat out of rhythm as my chest began to feel tight. Sucking in a sharp breath, I swallowed hard, trying to let the message sink in.
Me: When and where?
As I waited for a response, I paced back and forth in the kitchen like a lion in a cage. If they so much as hurt a hair on her head, I’d fucking torture them. Either way, they were dying, but it was up to them if it was quick or prolonged agony as they met their maker.
Angel: 48 hours. We’ll be in touch.
Without wasting a moment, I opened up my text messages send out a mass text to my brothers, including James.
Me: Emergency! Be at my house ASAP. Joe – grab Pop.
This was a declaration of war. I couldn’t go to the DEA or the cops for help. They would say, “I told you so,” and just complicate the shit out of everything. I needed to keep it on the down low, and I knew my brothers would always have my back.
I ran upstairs, needing to get dressed and be ready when everyone arrived. There was a ton of work to do. Gather intel on her location and possible suspects, get as much ammo and as many weapons as possible on short notice, and come up with a plan.
In the spare bedroom, I went straight for the closet. I had boxes of weapons in there, all secured with locks. I stockpiled anything I could get my hands on. Florida didn’t have stringent laws when it came to guns, so anything was possible and available at a price.
After laying each item out on the bed, I checked to make sure they were in working order and empty of any rounds. I knew James had a cache of weapons at his disposal, and I was pretty sure my brothers did as well, even if they were dusty and hadn’t been used in a while.
I studied the inventory, staring at the mass of guns on the bed: Five AR-15s, three Smith & Wesson .44s, two 9mms, a sawed-off shotgun, and a brand-new Sig Sauer P320 pistol. I pulled out the five bulletproof vests I had amassed while in training and kept on hand for future use, and added them to the collection.
The front door opened and closed before heavy footsteps moved through the house. When I placed my hand on the pistol, I heard Mike yell, “Yo!”