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Worship me, p.12

Worship Me, page 12

 part  #7 of  Men of Inked Series

 

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  Ret’s gaze narrowed, and his finger ticked against the trigger. He better be a damn good shot if he was going to take the chance with my head so close to Matías’s. But when my legs wobbled again, I knew I couldn’t be a passive victim in this.

  I needed to act. The only thing I could do was to use the one thing I had at my disposal. I inched my foot to the side until it touched Matías’s fancy leather shoes.

  Bringing my knees up, I smashed my six-inch Louboutin down on the top of his foot. He lurched forward just enough for me to break free of his hold and run into James’s arms.

  “Keep him alive,” James told Ret.

  “Can I shoot him at least?”

  Matías straightened, and his eyes grew colder. “You might as well kill me. I won’t talk.”

  “Orders are to bring him in unharmed unless there are extenuating circumstances.”

  “This is extenuating.” Ret smirked.

  “Just let him shoot the fucker,” I whispered into James’s chest as I tightened my grip around his back.

  James grabbed my arms, untangling me from him. “Stay here and don’t move.”

  I wanted to cry. I needed him at that moment, but I knew I couldn’t cling to him forever. If we were going to get out of here, he needed to restrain Matías.

  The men worked fast, fighting Matías as they overpowered him and put him into the very shackles he was going to put me in. He screamed, struggling the entire time, but no one outside of our room could hear him.

  Connor had told us every room was soundproof even though it was monitored by a two-way intercom at all times. No one would be coming to rescue Matías.

  “Izzy,” James said as he stalked toward me.

  I was still in a haze from everything that happened, and my heart hadn’t stopped pounding in my chest. “Yeah?” I whispered.

  “You and Alese go back to the hotel, and we’ll be back there as soon as they come to pick him up.”

  “Okay,” I said and nodded slowly and robotically.

  He wrapped his arms around me, enveloping me in his warmth and safety. “Are you okay, doll?”

  “I’m okay,” I said to him and buried my face into his shirt. “I’ll be okay. Just a little shell-shocked.”

  “We would’ve never let anything happen to you,” he said in a soft, deep voice.

  “I know. Can we wait here for you? I’d rather have a drink and wait in the common area than walk back to the hotel without you.”

  He swept his hand across my back, soothing me. “That’s fine.” He leaned forward and kissed the top of my hair. “Go wait out there. Alese, if you can hear me, meet Izzy at the bar, please.”

  “Thanks.” I hugged him tighter before breaking the embrace.

  I took one last look at Matías. Seeing him helpless and restrained made me happy, but I couldn’t just walk out. I needed to do one more thing to feel I had the power back.

  I stalked forward, my heels clicking against the cement floor.

  James turned and stared at me, but he didn’t say a word.

  I didn’t have words for how I felt about the man, but I did have one thing I wanted to do. I raised my hand and slapped him as hard as I could. My fingernails grazed his skin as they swept across his face, leaving a red mark and drops of blood.

  James looked shocked, but he didn’t say anything as I spun around on my heels and marched out of the room. Fuck Matías. If I had my way, I would’ve tortured him until the men arrived to take him into custody. I’d hook electrodes up to his junk and electrocute him until it became useless.

  Just thinking about it brought a smile to my face and gave me satisfaction. Alese was at the bar waiting for me when I walked into the public area. I slid onto the stool next to her, unhooking the leash and removing my collar.

  “Fuck, that was intense.”

  “Sounded like it.”

  “Jack straight up, and keep them coming,” I told the bartender.

  “Same,” Alese said because the girl could drink.

  We’d become fast friends over the years. BDSM and ALFA were our commonalities. That, and strong men who pushed our buttons. Like me, Alese gave as good as she got.

  “You okay?” she asked as I lifted my shaky hand, holding the freshly poured shot to my lips.

  “I will be.” I laughed. Slowly at first, but it built into a cackle.

  “I’d be crying if I were you.”

  I poured back the Jack, taking all of it before wiping my mouth with the back of my hand. Alese looked more shell-shocked than I felt after the whole Matías ordeal. But it was over, and somehow, I’d gotten out of a sticky situation again with my life.

  One thing I knew for sure—I didn’t want to see the inside of a private BDSM room for a long, long time. The memory of the look on Matías’s face and the panic that clawed at my insides wouldn’t be leaving me anytime soon.

  “Another,” I told the bartender as he passed by.

  I figured the best way to chase away the memory was with my buddy Jack.

  James

  The drive home was quieter than usual. Izzy had a massive hangover and kept her eyes closed during the four hours, for fear she’d throw up all over my car. Last night, the men took two hours to arrive to haul Matías into federal custody, and Izzy had thrown back more drinks than she had in over a decade.

  I carried her out, kicking and screaming, and back to the hotel room. I held her hair back as she emptied the contents of her stomach, and I gave her a bath to help her relax and clean her up. I felt like shit for putting her in the situation, and I promised myself I’d never let it happen again. Her life was too precious to me to get her mixed up in our cases.

  Thomas stood in our driveway, hands on his hips, and looking a little more upset that usual.

  “Hey,” I said after I parked the car and climbed out.

  “That was a clusterfuck, eh?” he asked.

  “Nothing more than usual.”

  “Tommy,” Izzy groaned, unfolding herself from the front seat of the Challenger in the most ungraceful way.

  His eyes raked over her, and he shook his head. “You look like shit.”

  “I earned this hangover.” She tried to crack a smile but winced. “I need my bed.”

  “Can we talk?” Thomas asked, rubbing the scruff on his face.

  “Sure.” I looked over at my wife who was now heading toward the door. “I’ll get everything. Go relax.”

  “Already doing it,” she said, raising her arm, holding up two fingers.

  I motioned toward the trunk with my head. The least he could do was talk while I unloaded the suitcases that barely fit in the trunk. “What’s up?”

  “I think, moving forward, we shouldn’t involve Izzy, or any of our spouses for that matter, in any more cases.”

  “Already thought about that on the way home.”

  He raked his hands through his dark hair and sighed. “My mother already chewed me a new asshole when she found out where you two were going.”

  “I’m sure that was pleasant.”

  “I don’t remember her ever being so angry with me. I swear my phone almost burst into flames.”

  I’d been on the receiving end of one of those calls in the past. It wasn’t fun. I hadn’t thought anyone could yell louder than my mother, but I was wrong. Mrs. Gallo wasn’t afraid to express herself, especially when she wasn’t happy.

  “It’ll never happen again,” I reassured him.

  “She’s going to want to hear it from both of us.”

  “I’ll make a point of seeing her this week.”

  “Your ass better be at dinner later.”

  I rubbed the back of my neck, wanting to collapse in bed next to my wife and sleep until tomorrow, but that couldn’t happen because it was Sunday.

  “We’ll be there.”

  “Good.” He started to walk toward his bike to leave. “I’ll catch you later, then.”

  “Give us a couple hours.”

  “I’ll tell Ma you’ll be
late.”

  He revved the engine, lifting the kickstand. “Bring your parents too.”

  I nodded as I lifted the first set of suitcases and carried them toward the house.

  I needed to convince Izzy that skipping dinner at her parents’ wasn’t in our best interest. Well, at least, not in mine. Her mother would have my head if she didn’t see Izzy was unharmed and safe.

  The door opened before I stepped onto the porch, and my mother greeted me. “Welcome home.” She smiled. “The kids missed you.”

  “Just the kids?” I asked as I walked past her and tossed the luggage on the floor.

  “Us too.”

  “I’ll be back, Ma.” I kissed her on the cheek. “I have a few more bags to get.”

  “I don’t know why you two travel with so much stuff.”

  That was funny. My ma didn’t travel light either. She always overpacked. It was why we made them their own suite and had enough closet space and a dresser to house her various outfits.

  After I’d carried everything inside, my ma asked me to have a cup of coffee with her and my father. I needed jet fuel to get me through the rest of the day, which my mother provided in the form of a Café Cubano.

  Ma poured me a larger than usual cup, probably noticing the bags under my eyes from the long night. “We think we found a condo.”

  “Yeah? Where?”

  “About ten miles away they’re building a new community of free-standing condominiums, and they have one ready to move in right away.”

  “That’s great news,” I told them, lifting the cup to my lips.

  “We’re going to keep both places so we can travel back and forth.”

  That was the best news of the day. I knew they couldn’t survive without our family, and this would give them the best of both worlds. Our kids would get to know them and spend quality time with them, and they’d be free to come and go as they pleased.

  “We’re excited,” my father said.

  “I can’t wait to tell the boys.”

  I yawned. The adrenaline from the trip had started to wear off, and not even my mother’s coffee could keep me awake.

  “Go rest, Jimmy. We’ll watch the babies.”

  “The Gallos would like it if you came to dinner today.”

  “We’d love to.” My father licked his lips and rubbed his stomach. “I love her cooking.”

  My mother gave him the evil eye because she didn’t like to be outdone. “I’ll whip up something to bring.”

  “They’d like that,” I said before walking out of the kitchen and heading up the staircase, making sure to bring a few of the bags upstairs with me.

  Izzy was sprawled out on top of the comforter with her mouth hanging open. I couldn’t tell if she was sleeping or passed out from the amount of alcohol still coursing through her veins.

  I locked the bedroom door and stripped every piece of clothing from my body before curling up next to her. I pulled her almost on top of me, listening to her soft snores as she slept.

  I could hear the faint voices of the boys playing in the backyard and the clanking of pots from the kitchen as my mother made something to bring to the Gallos’. There was a peacefulness to the noise that lulled me to sleep.

  “I have a bone to pick with you.”

  I wasn’t even three feet into the foyer at Izzy’s parents, and her mother was already poking me in the chest.

  “How dare you put her at risk?”

  There was nothing I could say. She was right for yelling at me, and it wasn’t anything I hadn’t already chastised myself for since last night.

  “I’m sorry,” I said. “It won’t happen again.”

  She let out a loud huff, blowing a strand of hair away from her face that had fallen free from her bun. “It better not.”

  “I promise.” I wrapped my arms around her and kissed her cheek lightly. “I love your daughter. I don’t want anything to happen to her.”

  “If something does, I’m going to hurt you worse than you ever imagined.”

  I didn’t doubt her words. One thing I knew about the Gallos, their word was gospel. None of them made idle threats. I’m sure if something happened to Izzy, they’d all slowly torture me until I died. That shit, I had no doubt.

  “Ah, Rose.” Ma Gallo turned toward my mother as soon as I let her go. “It’s so nice of you to join us.”

  “Thank you, Maria.” My ma held out a pan of flan. “I brought dessert.”

  Flan wasn’t my thing. The slimy texture of it never sat right with me, but people went gaga over the shit. My mother’s was probably the best I’d ever tasted, and I swallowed it down while smiling just for her. But only because I loved her and didn’t want to end up with a hand to the back of the head.

  “Come in. Come in.” Ma Gallo plucked the pan from my mother’s hands. “This is my favorite dessert.”

  My mother’s face brightened as she smiled at the compliment. “Thank you, Maria. I made it just for you.”

  It didn’t matter that they were both lying to each other. It was nice to see two of my favorite women in the same room together and happy. Although I married into this family, I was honored to call them both my mother.

  “I’m going to go sit outside,” Izzy said at my side with a small smile. “I need the warmth to help settle my stomach.”

  She needed a whole lot more than that, but whatever made her happy. “I’ll check on you before dinner.”

  The boys ran past us, heading to the pool and stripping their clothes off before they made it through the open sliding glass door along the back of the house. They were in the water, cannonballing in for effect, before Izzy was able to take a step.

  “You sure you want to go out there?” I asked her, laughing at the kids who looked more like a small army.

  “I need sunshine, and the kids won’t bother me.”

  I kissed her on the lips, dragging my thumb across her skin. “Love ya, doll.”

  “You too, Jimmy. Now leave me in peace for a while.”

  I laughed as she sashayed onto the lanai and practically collapsed in the lounge chair. She hadn’t even fully stretched out when the kids surrounded her like a swarm of bees.

  Izzy

  At the end of dinner, my mother stood up from the table and tapped her wineglass with her spoon. “I have an announcement,” she said, glancing around the table and waiting for everyone to be quiet.

  The kids didn’t stop outside, talking and running around the table, but she had the full attention of the adults in the dining room.

  “The doctor called yesterday—yes, on a Saturday.” She pursed her lips because I knew most of us were giving her a skeptical look. “Anyway, he wanted to give me the results of the biopsy.”

  I sat up a little straighter, and butterflies filled my stomach. Doctors didn’t call on Saturdays unless there was something really important they had to tell a patient. Right? I mean, it must be bad news if he took time out of his weekend to ring my ma. I looked around the table, and I knew my brothers well enough to know they were thinking the same damn thing. I held my breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

  James’s hand closed around mine. “Breathe, Izzy.”

  I squeezed his hand because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t. I was too panic-stricken to think, let alone breathe. My body had seized, and fear set in deep in my bones.

  “Anyhoo,” my ma said in an upbeat voice. “He said I’m all clear.”

  Jesus. She could’ve gotten to it a little quicker than she did. I nearly passed out from an anxiety attack. She should’ve just said it at dinner and not made a production out of the entire thing.

  I clutched my chest and sucked in a huge breath. “Thanks for almost giving me a heart attack, Ma.”

  Ma’s face turned a beautiful shade of red, and she laughed. “Sorry. I didn’t know how else to say it.”

  “You had me panicked,” Joe admitted, rubbing his forehead before digging his fingertips into the corners of his eyes.

&
nbsp; “Everyone just needs to be happy.” She smiled.

  I think she enjoyed busting our balls, but that was just plain mean. Cancer news wasn’t something that should be drawn out.

  “I love you, Ma,” I told her, and everyone followed suit.

  “She’s my girl. She can’t leave me yet,” Pop said, wrapping an arm around my mother’s waist.

  Dessert was served with a little more enthusiasm than usual. Everyone had been feeling the weight of the impending test results for a solid week, and now that we knew she was clear, it was like a weight had been lifted off our shoulders.

  “Who wants to join me outside to eat?” Max asked, staring straight at me.

  “I guess I do,” I said, grabbing my plate from the table.

  “Me too.” Suzy started toward the lanai and was joined by Mia.

  I knew exactly what this was about. Mike told Mia, and she made the phone calls, telling everyone that I had lied. I knew the word was out about Kat before I’d even stepped foot in the house. When I woke up in Jacksonville this morning, there were thirty-seven texts in our group message.

  I ignored every single one of them because there wasn’t a point in arguing via text. I knew I’d get my ass chewed out today anyway; why prolong the agony? They needed to get over their shit and quick. We’d already hired Kat, and her first day of work was tomorrow. There was no way in hell I’d let them derail anything.

  “So,” Max said, smacking her lips together and tapping her foot against the pavers. “Do you have something to tell us?”

  I sat down, brushing the hair from my eyes before staring straight at her. “I don’t know what you mean.”

  “About Kat. You know,” Suzy said, being her cute, innocent, and sometimes clueless self.

  “She starts tomorrow.”

  “And does she lick pussy or not?” Max got right to the point.

  I leaned back in the chair and clutched the armrests. “I didn’t ask.”

  “Mike said she doesn’t,” Mia barked out.

 
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