Honor me, p.8
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       Honor Me, p.8

         Part #6 of Men of Inked series by Chelle Bliss
 
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  “Fucker,” he muttered.

  “Sit. We have some shit to talk about,” Thomas said before the door closed.

  As I walked to my car, I took in my surroundings and looked for anything or anyone that didn’t belong. Nothing seemed out of place. I chalked up this morning to an overactive imagination and fear.

  Nothing usually scared me… But the thought of the Sun Devils coming for the people I loved had me on edge. By the time I pulled into Inked, my nerves had calmed and I felt more at ease than I had since I saw movement in the woods.

  “Yo!” Mike greeted me at the door. “Where have you been?”

  “I ran to ALFA for a bit to talk with Thomas.”

  Mike’s face morphed and grew serious. “What’s up?”

  I placed my hand on his shoulder, giving it a light squeeze. “I don’t want to talk about it here, but we’re meeting tonight at seven.”

  “I’ll be there and I’ll text Anthony to let him know too.”

  “Where’s the lazy bastard?”

  “With Max at the doctor. It’s her yearly checkup and ataxia evaluation. Dumb fuck,” he said before punching me in the shoulder hard enough that my body rocked backward.

  Guilt flooded me. “Shit, I forgot.”

  “Way to go, champ. Way to be a douche.”

  “Who’s a douche?” Izzy asked as she walked into the front of Inked, wiping her hands with a paper towel.

  Mike thumbed toward me over his shoulder. “Joe.”

  “Usually, it’s you being a douche, Mikey. It’s nice to have someone else at the helm for a bit, isn’t it?”

  I pushed past Mike, shoving him off-kilter in the process. “Fuck off, Iz. I don’t need your shit today.”

  “Someone pissed in your Wheaties this morning, didn’t they?” Izzy laughed, tossing her hair over her shoulder and following me toward the back.

  “I just have a lot of shit on my mind.”

  “It seems to be the norm around here. If I didn’t know better, I’d think your cycles are in sync.”

  “Cycles?” Mike plopped down in Anthony’s chair and started to leaf through the latest issue of Tattoo magazine.

  “You’re like a bunch of chicks…all PMS’ing at the same time.”

  “That’s sick, little sister.”

  “All of you have been grouchy as fuck for a week now. I want to gouge your little eyes out and sew your lips shut.” She closed one eye and pretended to be doing just that from a distance.

  “We put up with your cranky ass our entire lives. We’re entitled to a few days out of the year.” I started to prep my station for my first appointment of the day. It was a back piece and would suck up most of my shift, but it was completely worth it to see the finished product.

  “I know something’s going on. Even James is acting weird. Suzy called me the other day and asked me a few things that had me curious too. So, what gives? Spit it out, boys.” Her eyes moved between us while she waited without saying a word.

  When neither of us replied, she said, “I’m talking to both of you. I want answers.”

  “There’s nothing going on, Izzy,” I told her with the straightest face I could because she always seemed to know when we were bullshitting her.

  “Michael?”

  He cleared his throat and hunkered down below the top of the magazine. “Nothing at all.”

  “You bitches are hiding something, and I’m going to figure it out. When I do…you’re going to be sorry.”

  I turned my back to her, grinding my teeth together. I hated hiding stuff from her. I hated doing it to anyone in the inner circle. But knowing Izzy like I did, she’d go off half-cocked and get all the ladies riled up and cause more problems than she’d solve.

  * * *

  When we finally sat down at the conference table at ALFA that night, I heard the words I’d been dreading come from Thomas’s mouth. “They’re in town and they’re looking for us.”

  I no longer believed it was an animal in the woods outside my house, but someone watching us—someone lurking in the shadows, waiting to strike.

  “Goddamn it,” I growled.

  “They’re not getting through us,” Morgan said, slamming his hand down on the conference table.

  “We need to come up with a plan to keep everyone safe.” Bear put his hands together and rested them against his lips. “One that requires killing anyone who gets near them.”

  “We have to tell the girls,” James groaned and dragged his hands down his face. “They’re gonna flip.”

  “Break it gently.” Thomas stood and paced in front of the table. “We need to have protection on the women at all times. From here on out, our lives change until we’re in the clear.”

  “You need to stay out of sight, brother,” I said with my jaw clenched tightly.

  “I’ll do no such thing.” He shook his head and picked up the pace. “I’m the bait. We have to draw them out. If I stay hidden, this may never be over.”

  “You’re right.” I grimaced at the though of dangling him out there as the sacrificial lamb. But he was right, he was the only way to get them to show themselves.

  By the time we left ALFA, we had a plan in place. It was time to alert everyone to keep them safe. We spent all night forming a plan to do just that…for us all to get out alive.

  Never a Dull Moment

  Suzy

  I sat down on the lanai, holding homemade lemonade¸ and put the phone on speaker. “I just don’t understand how you let him lead you around like that.” It was my favorite spot to do some thinking when the house was quiet and I was alone.

  “I know you’ve read books about it, Suzy. Come on. You know how it works.”

  “Oh, I know exactly how it works. But my question is, how do you do it? I mean, you’re so damn bossy, I can’t imagine you taking any shit from James.” The sound of the animals moving through the woods drew my attention. They were more active tonight than usual.

  She laughed. “I top from the bottom all the time.”

  “I’m sure you get your ass beat for doing it, too.”

  “Ahh. I do. That’s half the fun.”

  “But aren’t you embarrassed being led around on a leash? I don’t know if I could do it.”

  “I’m not embarrassed. I would be if we walked around the grocery store like that, but at the club, it’s normal. I like being his and letting everyone know it.”

  “I don’t know if I’ll ever get that image of you out of my head.”

  “Girl, you know I could bring that man to his knees in a heartbeat.”

  “Kicking him in the balls doesn’t count.” I chuckled because I knew James loved her, but he was the boss in the household. He was the only man I’d ever seen “handle” Izzy.

  She started to laugh. “Fuck, I have to go. Trace’s awake and crying for me.”

  “Love you, Iz.”

  “Love you too, Suz.” The phone went dead.

  I stared off into the darkness, listening to the twigs snapping, and my stomach began to knot. Whatever was creeping in the woods wasn’t small. Maybe it was already gator-mating season, something I had come to learn was really a thing in Florida. They were more active, walking farther to find a mate. It was the only time of year that I’d sometimes check under my car before daring to get inside.

  After I finished my lemonade, I went back inside and headed upstairs to check on the kids. Lu and Ro were sound asleep, each in her own crib as stars moved across their ceiling and soft music played. For the first few months of their lives, we kept them in the same crib, not wanting to separate them after being smooshed together in my womb. They had grown fast, in true Gallo style, and could no longer fit comfortably in one. Plus, they were waking each other up, and I couldn’t take any more sleepless nights.

  I brushed Ro’s hair back and whispered, “Mommy loves you,” before heading to Lu’s crib and doing the same. I walked backward quietly on tiptoes out the door, before closing it and heading straight for Gigi.

&nb
sp; She’d been a trooper. Since the babies arrived, she’d become the best big sister. She loved helping me take care of the babies. She’d often say they were “hers.”

  “Mommy,” Gigi said in the cutest little girl groggy voice as I sat down on her bed.

  “Go back to sleep, baby girl.” I rubbed her cheek with the back of my fingers. She still hadn’t lost that baby softness to her skin. “I love you, buttercup.”

  “Love you too.” She rolled over, facing away from me. Softly, I rubbed her back and hummed her favorite lullaby until she drifted back to sleep.

  I couldn’t believe I’d been so lucky. My life was blessed and perfect. When I thought back to the time I met Joe, I’d never imagined my life would turn out this way. I almost didn’t give him a chance. The very thought of not having him or my girls in my life made my heart ache. They were everything to me.

  * * *

  “Take a seat, sugar.” Joe rubbed the back of his neck, pacing around the living room like a caged animal after he arrived home from a secret meeting at ALFA PI.

  “Okay,” I said, my voice drawn out and light. He never acted like this, never talked to me in that tone, unless something was wrong. “What’s wrong, babe?” When my bottom touched the couch, I put my hands in my lap and tried to ready myself for whatever was coming next.

  “There’s no easy way to say this.” His eyes were filled with fear as he ran his hands through his hair. “But I don’t want you to freak out.”

  My belly plummeted. He couldn’t honestly be serious. “I’m already freaked out.”

  Every horrible scenario started to go through my mind. Was he having an affair? Maybe he was leaving me.

  “You’re in danger.”

  I hoped he didn’t want a divorce. I couldn’t imagine being a single mom to three kids.

  “We’re all in danger.”

  My head snapped back, his words finally making it past my wild imagination. “What?” I looked up at him, confused and caught completely off guard.

  He sat down next to me, holding my hands in his as our knees touched. “Thomas has it on very good authority that some of the members of the Sun Devils MC may be looking for him.”

  “Oh, God,” I whispered and closed my eyes. “I thought they were in prison.” My eyes fluttered open and I looked at my husband, trying to hide my terror.

  “They were, but some of them have recently been released, and they’re looking for Thomas. They’re probably looking for Sam and James too, but Thomas for sure.”

  “I can’t believe this.” My voice cracked and the words lodged in my throat. “How is this possible?”

  “It’s fucked up.” His thumb stroked the soft skin on top of my hand, rubbing the same spot over and over again.

  “Do they know who he is?”

  “It seems they do.” He glanced up at the ceiling before his cheeks filled with air, puffing out before he exhaled.

  “But how? I thought the government would protect him.”

  “Everything can be bought for a price, sugar, even names.”

  My eyes began to fill with tears. I never thought we would be in danger. My naïveté over how the government worked had me walking through each day with blinders. “So they’re coming after all of us?”

  “I don’t know.” His body reclined into the couch, and I took the opportunity to crawl into his lap.

  “What do we do now?” I said, tucking my head under his chin and resting my cheek on his chest.

  His hand stroked my back. “We need to be very careful for now.”

  “Am I going to be a prisoner in this house?” My fingers traced the outline of his pec.

  “No, sugar. You won’t. We just need to make sure the doors are locked at all times, the kids aren’t outside alone, and that we keep our eye out for anyone near the house. When you aren’t home, just be conscious of your surroundings. If someone looks out of the ordinary, you need to let me know and make sure not to be alone.”

  My finger found its way to his nipple, toying with his piercing underneath his shirt. “Maybe it’s time I learn to shoot a gun.”

  “Fuck,” he muttered into my hair.

  Pressing my palm flat on his chest, I pushed myself up to look him straight in the eyes. “You’re not always home, Joe. I want to know that I can protect the girls if someone comes in the house.”

  His hand snaked around my neck and his thumb rested on my cheek. “You’re right. We’ll go to the range tomorrow.”

  “I’ll never let anything happen to the girls, baby.”

  “That’s what I’m worried about.” He blew out a breath and shook his head slowly. “I never want you to be in a situation where you have to shoot someone.”

  “Joe,” I said, nuzzling my nose against his. “I know you worry, but it’s best that I can defend our family if need be. You can’t be here all the time. I want to know that I can handle any situation on my own. I’ll feel better about being here during the day when you’re out or at night if you stop by the Neon Cowboy.”

  “I’ll be going to work and coming straight home. I don’t want you to be alone longer than necessary. No more Neon Cowboy unless you’re with me. No more guys’ nights out.”

  “No?”

  His eyes shifted. “There will be no more girls’ nights either.”

  “Hold up there, buddy.” I placed his face in my hands, much in the same manner Gigi did when she wanted to get her way. “We’re not allowed to have a girls’ night out?”

  “Not out. You girls can meet at one of the houses where it’s safer.” His eyes came back to mine. “Okay?”

  Resting my forehead against his, I caressed his cheeks with my fingertips, feeling the scruff that had formed throughout the day. “We’ll figure something out.”

  “No harebrained schemes either. It’s too dangerous right now.”

  “Fine,” I whispered.

  “Suzy, I’m serious.”

  “I know.” I wouldn’t go against his wishes, especially if our lives were in danger. Izzy, I wasn’t so sure about. She’d be harder to control. The image of her with the leash and James spanking her ass popped into my head, and I started to laugh.

  “What’s so funny?”

  “Nothing.”

  “Suzette, you can’t keep things from me. Not now.”

  “Well…” I sat up and smiled. “I was thinking about how James was going to control Izzy through this. I thought about her at the club with the leash—”

  He put his hand over my face. “Do not ever speak of that night again,” he said with wild eyes. “I’ve wiped it from my mind.”

  “It was sexy, though,” I mumbled into the palm of his hand.

  “It’s my baby sister. If I didn’t know her so well or like James so much, I would’ve knocked his lights out.” He pulled his hand away, and I bit my lip to stop from smiling again.

  “You wanna play slave and Master?” I asked, quirking an eyebrow.

  “As long as I get to be the Master.” He grinned and my belly flipped.

  I squealed and bounced in his lap, feeling his cock harden underneath me. “I’ll never say no to that.” My husband needed to get his mind off things. I wanted to get lost in him and not think about the people who might be after us. I’d do anything to give his mind a moment’s peace.

  After I climbed off his lap, I turned around and wiggled my behind in his face, which earned me a slap on the ass.

  “Strip,” he commanded before I could take another step.

  I froze, glancing up the stairs. “But the kids.”

  “Are they sleeping?” he asked as he stood.

  “They are.”

  He crossed his arms over his wide chest, placing his feet shoulder-width apart. “I didn’t think slaves were allowed to speak.”

  “We haven’t started yet.”

  “I’ll give you one reprieve. As soon as the bedroom door closes, you’re mine, sugar.”

  “You got it,” I said as I dashed up the steps before he could cat
ch me.

  “I’m waiting,” I whisper-yelled into the hallway from the bedroom door. “Are you man enough for all this?” My hands traveled up my body as I swayed my hips. I probably looked like a moron, but to Joe, I was the most beautiful girl in the world.

  “I’m ready for everything I plan to take.” He closed the bedroom door, grabbing me by the waist and carrying me to the bed. “Where do I begin?”

  “I’ve been a bad girl.” I smirked, knowing I was in for it, and I couldn’t have been more excited. Joe Gallo was all mine.

  It’s All in the Wrist

  Joe

  “That’s it, sugar.” The thought of her having to use it on someone made my skin crawl. “Just point, aim, shoot.”

  “That was fun,” she said with her earmuffs still in place. They had pink ones at the range for the ladies, and she looked cute as a button and scary as fuck all at once.

  “It’s not supposed to be fun.”

  “You’re such a Debbie Downer,” she said when she set down the Glock 19.

  I placed my hands on her shoulders. “It won’t be fun if you have to kill someone.”

  She wrinkled her nose. “No, that would be horrible. But I’d do it if I needed to, Joe.”

  “Always aim for the chest. It’s easier to hit.”

  “Gotcha.” She nodded and removed her earmuffs. “Last resort. Point, aim, and shoot at their chest.”

 
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