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|Uncover Me(Men of Inked #6) by Chelle Bliss|
“Michael, the girl loves you. If you don’t ask her soon, she may not wait around for you to ask,” Ma said, reaching across the table and touching his hand. “Sometimes, you have to have faith in your love and stop being a pussy.” Ma burst into laughter and slapped the back of his hand.
“I will. I have it planned out.”
“Jesus, you and your plans. Whatever happened to spontaneity?” I asked, squeezing Angel and pulling her against my chest.
“I want it to be romantic. Something she’ll remember for a lifetime.”
“At this point, she’ll remember it forever since she thinks it’s never going to happen,” Izzy said, smacking him on the back of the head. “Just ask her already. She’s getting pissed.”
“She is?” Mike asked, his mouth hanging open.
“She is, brother. What’s the plan?” Izzy asked, taking a seat in James’s lap.
“I want to recreate our first date. Take her to the beach and ask her where we began.”
“That’s so romantic,” Angel said, sagging against me.
“See?” Mike said, motioning toward Angel. “I want her to be surprised. A romantic dinner under the stars, waves crashing around us as I ask her and she says yes. It’s the only place that makes sense to me.” Mike stared at Izzy, pausing as he waited for their eyes to connect. “When are you getting married, Izzy?” he asked.
“I’m not ready for that yet,” she said, biting her lip as she avoided James’s gaze.
“One step at a time,” James replied, moving the hair off her shoulders before kissing her skin.
“I’m taking my girl home to start on this baby problem,” I said, moving Angel off my lap and standing.
“Thomas!” she yelled, slapping me on the chest as she stood.
Everyone burst into laughter as I swung her over my shoulder, waved goodbye, and headed for the door.
Things had seemed easier the last week since I’d brought Angel home. I felt like a member of the family again. Maybe it was everyone coming together to help me find her, or just the time that had passed since I’d left the MC.
“Thomas!” Angel screeched, kicking her feet as I carried her out the front door.
“Shut it, woman,” I said, slapping her on the ass as I descended the first step. “Ma wants babies, and by God, we’re going to give it a shot.” I laughed, feeling her body sag against my shoulder.
“I’m all about practice, but motherhood…”
“Baby,” I said, stopping and pulling her down my chest. Capturing her face in my hands, I looked into her eyes. “You’re not your mother. You have so much love to give, Angel. You’re going to be an amazing mother someday.”
“You think?” she asked, her eyebrows shooting up as she held her breath.
“I know,” I replied, rubbing my nose against hers. “But for now, we’re going to just practice. I need to be alone with you before we have little ones running around the house.”
“Thank God,” she whispered, drawing air into her lungs and closing her eyes.
“Now get that beautiful ass of yours in the car, Angel. I have plans for you tonight.”
She screeched, running toward the car and sliding into the front seat.
The woman made me laugh, which was something I hadn’t done in years. While I’d been with the MC, there hadn’t been much laughter. She’d brought it back into my life, filling it with so much joy that I couldn’t fathom how I’d been so damn lucky.
For the first time in a long time, I could honestly say that the future looked bright. I was ready for whatever might come my way, as long as Angel was by my side.
Thomas had rescued me from my mother and a life of despair.
I had very few happy memories from when I’d been growing up. I didn’t have visions of laughter and hugs. Nothing had filled my childhood but bitterness and resentment. My mother blamed me for everything: her fucked-up life, not being wanted by men, her addictions, even losing my father. I was the bane of her existence, and she had no qualms with telling me exactly how she felt.
The Gallo family had taken me in, made me feel welcome, and loved me. Never in my life had I felt part of anything, let alone a family, but the Gallos made me feel at home. I’d grown attached to Ma Gallo over the last two months. She took time out of her day to call and check in on me, she invited me to lunch, and she even gave me cooking lessons. She did motherly things with me that I hadn’t had as a child.
If I had grown up differently, I wouldn’t be with Thomas, living an amazing life, and calling the Gallos my family. I looked to the future, shutting out the past to move forward into a new chapter in my life.
Looking around the table, I couldn’t help but smile. My cheeks hurt from the perpetual grin that had been on my face since the day my new life had begun and my mother had been placed behind bars. Tonight, all the Gallo women, those born into the family and the rest like me—taken in and made to feel like a family member—surrounded me.
Before my abduction, we’d talked about having a girls’ night out, but it hadn’t happened. Afterward, the guys had been too paranoid to let us out alone. Sometimes they got a little carried away with their macho authority. But finally, after two months, we had been granted a reprieve. Mainly because Suzy had finally given birth and she’d demanded a night out.
Joe, being the man he was, had said yes and made sure to make it happen. He’d wanted to give Suzy a night to “let loose.” The men were having their poker night at Joe’s, but I imagined it wasn’t like the games in the past. All the Gallo men would pitch in and take care of one tiny human being for a night. It had been tempting to stay behind and watch five grown men babysit one small baby girl, but I had given it up to spend a night laughing with my sisters.