Home > Ignite (Men of Inked : Heatwave #5)(4)

Ignite (Men of Inked : Heatwave #5)(4)
Author: Chelle Bliss

Don’t do it.

Don’t let him see you cry.

I’m not weak.

Not even for him.

“I’m sorry,” he replies softly. “I’m not used to this.”

“Me either,” I whisper, turning the knob and leaving, closing the door behind me without looking in his direction.

 

 

2

 

 

Mammoth

 

 

“You straight?” Morris asks, not even bothering with a hello.

“As straight as an arrow. It’s been hours since I’ve taken any meds.”

I wouldn’t have taken any for the pain at all, but Tamara was on my ass, losing her shit on the hour. I figured I’d let her play nurse for a few days, helping her to feel useful during a time when she felt lost and mostly afraid.

Hell, I’m not entirely fearless at this point either. I’d known I was going to live, but once again, I was faced with mortality and the possibility of death the moment the gun went off.

“Good. Now, what the fuck happened? Details are hard to come by.”

I lean over the bed, arm in a sling, holding the phone in the hand of my only functioning arm at the moment. “My bike took a shitter, so I pulled over at the Cherry Pit, figuring it was the safest place in the area. I parked around the back, staying out of sight. I called Tamara, had a short conversation with her as I waited for Pike and Jett to come and grab me and my bike. The back door opened, I saw the gun, and a second later, he shot me.”

“Fuckin’ hell. The Cherry Pit is supposed to be neutral.”

“Well, obviously, the agreement isn’t sticking. I didn’t recognize the guy or see his cut, but Pike said he was a Southern Warlord.”

“Fuck,” Morris hisses. “Why the hell are they even in this state? This isn’t their territory, and there’s no fuckin’ way I’m allowing them to get a foothold here.”

“Since I have a hole in my body, looks like they’re making their intentions known.”

“Over my dead body,” he replies quickly.

“You may get your wish.”

He grunts. “When will you be back here?”

“Tomorrow,” I tell him, knowing full well Tamara will lose her shit, but I have to be there.

I’m still a member of the club. My vote still counts; my words still have meaning. “But I can’t ride. I’ll probably have full movement back in a few weeks.”

The last thing I want is a war with the Southern Warlords, but I know there will be payback for what he did to me.

“We don’t need you on the road with us, but I want you at the table, helping figure this shit out. There needs to be a resolution, but the last thing we need right now is an all-out war with those fuckers.”

“Agreed.”

“Just keep your woman busy so she isn’t chewing my ear off. I have better shit to do than placate her. You got me?”

“Got the message, passed it along. But you know Tamara. I can’t watch her every second of the day, but I’ll do my best to keep her occupied.”

“Tie her ass up or some shit. Whatever it is you do with your woman to keep her in line. I need to concentrate on other things besides having her up my ass about letting you go out alone.”

“Noted, but I’m warning you now, she’s probably going to drive me back there tomorrow.”

“Whatever it takes to get you back here.”

“Mammoth.” Tamara’s voice carries through the small apartment. “Come eat.”

“Gotta go, brother. See you tomorrow.”

“Contain her,” he reminds me before disconnecting.

I try to pull on a pair of pants with one arm and fail. After thirty seconds, I yank the sling over my head, throwing it across the room. My shoulder is sore, but not anything worse than I’ve experienced before. I was playing by the doctor’s rules to make Tamara happy, but I’m done with the pansy-ass bullshit.

After slowly putting on my jeans, I walk out of the bedroom, surprised not to see her hanging out in the hallway, keeping watch.

Tamara and Gigi are standing at the kitchen counter, huddled together whispering when I enter the room. They look at me for a moment, neither of them saying anything before they go back to whispering about whatever those two are cooking up.

They always are, too. They never leave shit alone. It’s like they’re genetically wired to stir up trouble.

My mouth waters the moment I see the sandwich waiting for me on the counter, a glass of water next to it, and a small bag of chips. “Thanks for the lunch, princess,” I say, trying to bring my sweet back along with my patience as I slide onto the stool.

Gigi grunts, always willing to share her displeasure with me. Tamara doesn’t look my way. She doesn’t even acknowledge my words as she keeps her back to me, facing her cousin instead.

I grab the sandwich, take a bite, and close my eyes, letting the flavors explode across my tongue. She took the doctor’s directions a little too far, feeding me soup—by which I mean ramen—and soft fruit as if I were ready for the old-age home and not healing from a small wound.

I keep my eyes on the girls, and Gigi keeps her eyes on me too, never too afraid to look away. Tamara obviously told her about what happened and how I lost my patience with her right before she left the bedroom.

It was a dick move and one I think I’ll be paying for for more than a few minutes. Tamara’s forgiving, but not until she’s made the person feel the absolute worst. She’d make a great sadist, finding pleasure in watching a man, or a woman, writhe in pain.

I chew slowly, studying their body language. Both have their arms crossed. One facing me and the other still refusing to look in my direction. Both talking softly, barely audible to me even though I’m only a few feet away.

I drop the sandwich to the plate and lean back. “Can I have a minute with my woman?” I ask Gigi and not Tamara, because I know she’ll say no, shutting me out longer than necessary.

Gigi slides her eyes to Tamara, and they exchange a look. Not a good look either, based on the way Gigi’s lip curls. “I won’t be far,” she says, like she’s warning me.

“Got it,” I tell her, not moving a muscle.

She starts to walk away but moves slower than a snowbird stumbling through a parking lot.

Once I hear her bedroom door close, I move my gaze to Tamara. Actually, to her back because she hasn’t bothered to face me yet. “Princess, look at me.”

“No,” she says softly, looking straight ahead to the cupboards on the opposite wall.

“I fucked up,” I admit. “I’m sorry.”

“You did fuck up.” Her shoulder drops, but she still doesn’t turn toward me. “You made me feel like shit when all I’m trying to do is help you.”

I push away from my sandwich and make my way around the counter to stand in front of her. Raising my hand, I touch her face, and she doesn’t move away. “Listen, love,” I plead, swiping my thumb across her cheek, feeling the dampness against my skin. “I didn’t mean to be a dick. The pills make me loopy and crabby as hell too. I hate feeling like a burden and having you wait on me like I’m an invalid. I’m the one who’s supposed to be taking care of you, not the other way around.”

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