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|Uncover Me(Men of Inked #6) by Chelle Bliss|
“Sounds like you’re in love.”
“Um, no.” He wrinkled his nose and shook his head. “I’m in lust.”
“You keep telling yourself that, Anth.”
“Women are impossible.”
“It never gets any easier.”
“You love her, yeah?” he asked, as a smile spread across his face.
I’d sworn off love besides my family, but she’d crept inside and become part of me. Being without her was like floating through life missing an anchor. She was my tether to a world that was filled with the possibility of happiness.
“Yes,” I confessed with a shaky voice. “I’ve never loved any woman the way I love her.”
He scrubbed his hands across his face and pulled in a breath. “Fuck women. Nothing but trouble, I tell you.”
“Yeah, you’re fucked,” I replied, laughing at the look of sickness on his face. He couldn’t deny any longer that he loved the one woman who’d tried pushing him away. “You need to decide if she’s worth the fight.”
“One thing at a time. Let’s focus on getting your woman back and then I’ll figure out how to get control of my balls again.”
I laughed, standing from my chair and slapping him on the shoulder. “You never get it back.”
“Fuck,” he hissed, grabbing his glass and finishing off the last drop of whiskey in his cup.
“I’m going to jump in the shower and try to get some sleep.” The clock said two, and I knew the crew would be here in eight hours and ready for action.
“I’m going to just crash on the couch and watch a movie until I fall asleep.”
Walking to the sink, I saw Angel’s cup still sitting next to the teakettle. I’d been unable to move it, to wipe away the last trace of her from before she’d disappeared. Placing my cup in the sink, I stared outside and thought about her.
Let her be okay.
This wasn’t the time for us to end.
She deserved better than to go out this way.
I had to step up to the plate and rescue the girl I’d dragged into this life. If I had left her behind, her life would have been shitty, but she wouldn’t have been in danger.
“Okay,” I said to Anthony, my eyes starting to sting from the tears I refused to let win. I wouldn’t cry and wallow in pity. I needed to ready myself for an assault on whoever was responsible for her abduction. I’d make sure they wouldn’t come out alive. “Night,” I said, waving as I walked out of the kitchen and climbed the steps to my bedroom.
I tossed and turned all night. My mind was a clouded and tangled mess of emotions. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I rested my elbows on my knees.
I needed to get my head on straight.
Angel deserved a clear mind and me at my best.
I couldn’t let her down. I wouldn’t let her down.
I cracked my neck, rolling it from side to side to ease some of the tension before I stood. Then I grabbed a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, put them on, and headed to the bathroom. Not bothering to shave, I stared in the mirror as I scrubbed the night from my mouth.
The circles I had under my eyes had grown darker in the last twenty-four hours. The scruff on my face matched what I felt inside—wild and raw, and I sure as fuck looked it. Spitting the toothpaste into the sink, I washed away any self-doubt I had and decided I’d face the day with a new outlook. Today, I’d get my fuckin’ woman back.
Anthony and I spent the morning carrying the weapons we’d need downstairs and placing them on the dining room table. We checked each one to make sure they were in working order. By the time we were finished, the guys had started to show up.
Joe and Mike arrived first, guns in hand and ready to kick ass. Pop showed up, cool as a cucumber, just before James strolled in the door looking like his badass self. Around the table, we devised our plan and bullshitted until the information started to roll in.
Just past ten, Bobby began texting me. He had been able to determine a location based on Angel’s phone because it had been left on and in use during her capture. Cell towers weren’t as easy to pin down as television crime shows liked to make the public believe, but with time and resources, it was possible.
She was being kept in a tiny ranch outside of Orlando.
We were able to pull up the location on Google Maps, so we studied the surrounding area. With a clear plan of attack, we loaded the guns and climbed in Pop’s Escalade. The back was loaded with some of the most kickass weaponry available to the public—along with some that might have the tracking numbers scratched off, courtesy of me.
The one thing we had going for us was the element of surprise. I watched the minutes tick by as James drove. The car remained silent, each man staring in the distance, fidgeting, or watching the world go by as we came closer to our destination. Everyone was on edge, even if they didn’t admit it.
We all had something to lose. My something was Angel, but theirs were their lives. Even with their ultimate demise possible, they had still agreed and willingly gone into battle for me. No matter what happened, they had my back. This was how a true family should operate. We were a unit.
If someone fucked with one Gallo, they fucked with us all.
As we pulled down a side street near the location we had been told Angel was being held, the tension inside the SUV had grown to a fever pitch. The air was electrified to the point where the sparks were almost visible. Everyone was humming with anticipation and fear, ready to face whatever lay inside.