Home > Catch Me (Tattoos and Temptation #4)

Catch Me (Tattoos and Temptation #4)
Author: Mia Monroe

 

One

 

 

Three’s Company

 

 

Or Luca finally takes his shot

 

 

Cairo

 

 

Luca’s been over in the other shop talking to Genesis for twelve minutes. Yes, I’m counting. I count every time he comes over, stopping here first to say hi to me, but then, heading straight for Gen. He leans over the counter, watching Genesis frost cakes or cupcakes or other pastries, batting his pretty eyes and making Gen laugh as he works. What I haven’t figured out yet is why he doesn’t just close the fucking deal already and put all of us out of the misery of anticipation. I already know I’m going to lose Gen to him, so can we just fucking get on with it?

“You good?” Tate’s voice breaks into my thoughts.

More than once, he’s offered to listen, but I’ve never felt ready to put words to how I feel about Gen. Still don’t.

I flash a fake smile. “Perfect? You?”

“I’m good.” Tate’s eyes shift to the glass between the two shops, focusing on Luca and Gen talking.

I brace myself for him to ask something, but he doesn’t, opting to smile and give me a pat on the back. I force my eyes away and get back to work, reminding myself again that Gen is my friend and nothing more. It rarely works out, crossing the line from friendship into something else, no matter what Briar always tells me.

And Saint.

And Tate.

Dammit.

“Hey, hey.” Luca’s southern drawl dances across my ears.

I didn’t notice him pop over. Must’ve decided to visit my side again. I right myself after sliding a tray of cookies into the case.

“Hey, Luca. How’s it going?”

“Nothing to complain about.” He leans on the counter with his arms crossed on the glass. Saint would shit if he saw it, but he’s in back with Briar, buried in paperwork. “I was asking Gen if he has plans on Saturday. I thought we could hang out.”

I nod, trying to ignore the jealous pang in my gut. “That's cool. Where you guys going?”

Luca chuckles. “By we, I meant the three of us. You free?”

“Oh.” It’s not the first time I’ve been invited out with them. It’s always fun, even if it is weighed down by sexual tension between the two of them. Then there’s me, pining for Genesis but weirdly jealous that Luca isn’t into me. It fucks with me every time. “I might be. What’s the plan?”

Luca moves to the side when a customer makes her way to this end of the bakery case. Luca shrugs. “Who knows. The three of us could probably come up with something good.”

“Probably.” I look up at the backlog of customers. “I gotta work, boo.”

“Yeah. Can I grab about half a dozen empanadas? I’ll take ‘em back to the shop.”

“Sure. Sweet or savory?”

“Mix.”

Grabbing a box, I fill it with three of the beef and potato, and three of the pumpkin we have as our seasonal selection. I walk Luca down to the register instead of handing it off to Xander like I usually do.

“Twelve seventy.”

Luca nods, pulling cash out of the front pocket of his tight jeans. My eyes take in his black shirt gripping his lean body, the long sleeves pushed up to his elbows showing off all his ink. It’s unbuttoned at the neck, giving a peek of the flesh underneath. He wears a black leather necklace with a silver charm on the end. I don’t know what it is, but it looks good on him. He’s so my type—brown hair so light it’s almost blond, big blue eyes, long lashes. He’s still tan from the summer, and I try hard to forget what he looked like in trunks the time we went to Saint’s house for a pool party. He’s got a strong, lean body with just enough muscle definition to be nice. And his mouth. His perfectly formed pout of a mouth, dripping words in that honey-soaked Georgian drawl. Yep, Luca is fire and kryptonite.

“Catch you later?” he asks.

“Yeah.”

Luca leaves, and I hurry back to my spot to help clear the crowd out. We’re all busy working, but when the customers finally thin, I lean back against the counter and exhale.

“Damn, it just gets crazier around here.”

Tate, Xander, and Elliot all nod in agreement.

“Our new system is working though,” Tate says. “It’s more efficient with everyone having a station.”

I nod. “Yeah. Good idea.” I nudge his arm. “You’re doing great in your new role.”

“Thanks, Cairo.” Tate and I walk to the back to grab more trays. “I saw Luca. Everything good?”

My eyes shift to Tate. “Yeah, just making plans to go out. I guess it’s the three of us now. The single pool of employees, in both shops, is drying up.”

Tate laughs. “One by one.”

“What’s it like? Settling down?”

Tate pauses, his hand resting on a tray of pastelitos. “It’s incredible. I guess it’s just nice knowing.”

“Knowing?”

“Yeah. What you’re doing that night, who you’re sleeping with, who you’re spending holidays and vacations with.” He smiles. “Who you’re making future plans with. It’s good.”

“It feels so...restrictive to me. Part of me thinks it would be cool, but I’m so free spirited, it feels foreign.”

“Maybe for you it’s all about the right situation. Sometimes we can’t see things clearly until they’re right in front of us. Nix couldn’t see what we could be for a long time. When he finally looked at me, really honestly looked at me, he realized everything he wanted was right there.”

“And you?”

“I’ve wanted to settle down and be domestic for years. I knew when I was sixteen that Nix was for me. I just had to wait for him to catch up.”

I nod, considering his words.

“Maybe Gen just needs time to catch up.”

I roll my eyes, scoffing. “Oh please. Gen and I are friends only. That’s the way it’s always been and always will be.”

Tate nods. “Got it. Didn’t mean to assume anything.”

“I know you’re trying to be helpful. I appreciate it, but I like how things are with me and Gen. I’m just not sure…” I stop myself, unsure of where I’m going. Tate watches me with his head tilted, waiting for more. After a few seconds, the answer comes to me. “I’m not sure what Luca’s up to with us.”

A smirk pulls at Tate’s lips, but he looks away, focusing on a tray.

“What?” I ask.

“Nothing.”

“Come on, Tate.”

He looks up, his eyes filled with amusement. “You’re not sure what Luca’s up to?” Tate raises an eyebrow. “It’s obvious to, I don’t know, everyone but you apparently, that he's working on you and Gen.”

“Working on us?”

Now Tate gives me a hard look. “You don’t seem the sheltered inexperienced type, Cairo, but I guess I’ll spell it out for you. He wants to fuck you. Both of you. Together. Is that clear enough?”

Maybe it’s not my imagination. “No. He’s just a flirt.”

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