Resist me, p.13
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       Resist Me, p.13
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         Part #3 of Men of Inked series by Chelle Bliss
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  I waited a moment, but there was no quick response. I turned my attention back toward the screen, watching as the prospects, including Flash, exchanged a duffel bag with an unknown man for a package. I didn’t know what was inside, but the group was heavy in the drug trade in the central Florida region. Most likely it was heroin or meth.

  Sexy Fugitive: You scare me, James.

  I knew I’d come on strong, but fuck. I didn’t want to waste time playing a bullshit game. I’d laid my feelings out for her, made my intentions known. Izzy wasn’t just another easy fuck to me.

  Me: Nothing to be scared of, doll. I’m not the boogeyman.

  Sexy Fugitive: You’re scarier.

  I paused the video, Izzy taking precedence over the grainy images on my laptop.

  Me: Why?

  Sexy Fugitive: I don’t want to like you.

  I deconstructed her words. She didn’t want to, but she did. I smiled, rubbing my lips as I chose my next words carefully.

  Me: What scares you most?

  I needed to cut off the head of the beast. Face her fear head on and alter her perception. The last thing in the world I wanted was a scared Izzy Gallo. She needed to know that I wasn’t the enemy.

  Sexy Fugitive: I swore off men like you.

  Men like me? What the fuck did that mean? I knew I could be demanding in the bedroom, but besides that, I was like every other red-blooded American man. She wanted easy, someone she could control. That shit I was not down for. Just like her, no one told me what to do.

  Me: Men like me?

  I wanted her thoughts. She needed to voice her fears to me. Maybe it wasn’t my demanding ways in the bedroom. I didn’t want to expand until I knew her reasoning. I always believed in not giving too much information without knowing the enemy you faced. My enemy in this battle was Izzy’s fear.

  Sexy Fugitive: You’re demanding and bossy.

  I laughed when I read her message. Izzy wasn’t a fucking cream puff. Those exact words could be used to describe her.

  Me: The only time I’m bossy and demanding is when we’re fucking, doll. I like things done my way in the bedroom.

  I had particular tastes. Most people do. I didn’t do missionary style with rose petals spread across the bed. I liked shit raw and rough, and I wanted to be in total control. That’s not to say I wouldn’t hand over the reins from time to time, but I was a man, after all, and the bedroom was my domain.

  Sexy Fugitive: You want shit done your way all the time.

  Me: That’s bullshit. I like you because you’re the most aggressive and strongest woman I’ve ever met. I don’t want a pushover who’s going to do everything I ask.

  Sexy Fugitive: You want me to fight back?

  Me: Outside of the bedroom, yes. I love that fucking smartass mouth of yours. When you get mouthy, it makes me rock fucking hard.

  Sexy Fugitive: And inside the bedroom?

  Would Izzy understand the difference? Would she be able to give herself willingly during sex? She’d seemed to enjoy herself this weekend when I’d told her to strip. She’d had me by the balls during her striptease.

  Me: I’m the boss in the bedroom.

  Sexy Fugitive: I don’t know if I can deal with that.

  Me: Did you like when I told you to strip?

  Sexy Fugitive: Not at first.

  Me: And then?

  Sexy Fugitive: I liked teasing you as I danced.

  Sitting there, I thought of her naked, shaking her ass and hips as she took off her clothes. Her dark olive skin and brown hair had made me hard in the dim lighting of the room. It had taken everything in me not to throw her to the ground immediately and fuck her brains out.

  Me: Did you like when I fucked you?

  Sexy Fugitive: Yes…

  The dot dot dot told me that she wasn’t happy with admitting it, but she had nonetheless.

  Me: Was there anything I did that you didn’t like?

  I wanted to know where her head was with what I did to her. Maybe I moved too fast, but I wouldn’t apologize for who or what I was.

  I started the video again, needing to get my head in the game. I wanted to nail these motherfuckers as soon as possible so I could get the fuck out of this town. Five minutes later, there still wasn’t a reply from Izzy, but I knew we weren’t over.

  Chapter 13 - Opinions Are Like Assholes

  “Hey, Terri,” I said as he walked through the door, interrupting my conversation with James. I knew it was shitty spot to leave him hanging, but I didn’t have a choice. It would be hours until I could answer the question.

  “Hey, babe. I’m ready,” he said, cracking his neck.

  I winced and patted the chair in front of me. The piece was a monster—an entire back design. I had done the outline previously, and today¸ we’d finish it. The dude, although not a pussy, didn’t like to talk while he got inked. He put on his headphones and blocked out the world while I worked.

  My workstation was set with everything I needed, so I was ready to go when he arrived. After a few kind words, I got down to business. I shaded the massive design while he faced the opposite direction.

  Since I’d kicked James out on Sunday, I hadn’t given myself much time to reflect on what had happened. I’d kept myself busy with work, friends, and family. The last thing I’d wanted to do was linger on my epic fuck-up. I hadn’t meant to be such a bitch to him, but I hadn’t known how else to handle the situation.

  I hadn’t been able to even face him when I told him to leave. I hadn’t wanted to see his face—I couldn’t see it. I would’ve taken the words back if I’d seen the hurt I’d inflicted. The rub of the entire situation was that I did like James—maybe more than I was willing to admit.

  Even when he was a bossy asshole, I liked having him around. The banter between us was wicked fast, and his ability to call me on bullshit was matched by no one outside my own family. Maybe it was his ability to read me that unnerved me the most.

  No one in my family, especially my brothers, had ever liked any man I spent time with. James was the exception. He had been welcomed with open arms, treated as family, and invited back.

  Would I be willing to let him in my life? Would I still be me after he invaded my world?

  I didn’t like weak women. They drove me fucking insane. The girls who changed and made themselves the perfect woman for their man. I wanted to be me, and would do everything in my power not to lose myself. I saw it happen all the time with my friends as they settled down, and although I loved them dearly, it pissed me the fuck off.

  Would James try and change me? Did he want a meek woman who would agree to everything he wanted? He said that he loved my smartass mouth, but would he feel that way later? Was he just saying the words I wanted to hear to get back into my bed?

  I took a page out of Suzy’s playbook as I worked on Terri’s back. I needed to figure shit out about James. I needed to go through the pros and cons and see which side won. I mean, that’s a rational way to make a decision, right?

  James had a lot of pros. He was funny, smart, kind, and respectful to my family. He loved my brother, and he was handsome and sexy as hell. He had a dirty-ass mouth, and he was an amazing lover, Plus he made me feel good about myself.

  His cons were a mixed bag. He pissed me off…a lot. He was bossy (although that could be a pro in the bedroom—fuck, I did like it). He was too smart for his own good, knew my game before I could play my hand, and didn’t put up with my bullshit. He was a arrogant prick, he knew how sexy he was, and I liked him too much.

  The list of reasons not to be with James was longer than why I should give him another shot. In all fairness, the list of bad qualities weren’t truly bad. I remembered him saying that I wanted a man I could control, and based off the cons, I’d say his words were true.

  Flash was an example of a man who didn’t know how to handle me, and for that, I let him hang around and come back for seconds. I didn’t have to worry about him overtaking my life and losing myself. Flash didn’t a
sk for much, just a fuck every once in a while and nothing more. He’d tried once and I’d shut that shit down quick. He’d accepted it and we’d continued as friends with benefits.

  I’d tried to steer clear of men like my brothers my entire life. Suzy had changed since she’d met Joe, but she hadn’t lost herself. It was the opposite, actually. She was stronger than she had been the first time I met her. She spoke her mind, slung profanity like a true Gallo, and seemed more confident. A strong man like Joe helped the real Suzy shine.

  Mia was just Mia. Mike hadn’t changed her at all. She had still been the same sassy, no-nonsense chick since the day I met her. She didn’t put up with his bullshit. She called his ass on the carpet and met him head on in every situation.

  Mike and Joe had enough testosterone and bossiness in them that they could rule the fucking world if they put their minds together. The fact that I’d never thought about their inability to change the women in their lives was surprising. I’d thought it happened in every relationship, but maybe I’d just focused on the people I knew who had lost themselves instead of those who had become stronger with the love of a good man by their side.

  “I need a piss break,” Terri uttered, pulling of his headphones.

  I almost didn’t hear him, lost so deep in my thoughts as I dissected everything I knew about love and all of my fucked-up theories.

  Moving my hand away, I set down the ink gun. “Sure, Ter. Take as long as you need.” I leaned back, stretching my muscles. I felt stiff after sitting for a couple of hours hunched over his back.

  I felt like a doormat—totally used and exhausted after not having slept well for three nights. I hadn’t felt like I’d slept when I woke in the morning. It was like I had lain there in a trance as the night had passed, haunted by the words that had been thrown around before James left. I felt guilty, and it wasn’t an emotion I knew how to deal with.

  “What’s wrong, Iz?” Joe asked as I stood to stretch.

  “I just haven’t been sleeping well.” I rolled my neck on my shoulders, trying to relieve a headache I felt building.

  “Is this about James?” Mike piped in, leaning back in his chair and watching me.

  “I don’t know. I’m just a fucking mess.”

  “Izzy, you know I hate any man who is with you or wants to be with you. Yes?” Joe asked, placing dollops of Vaseline on the plastic wrap laid out on his station. “I mean every fucking one of them.” He set the small, round inkwells on top, prepping his workstation for his next client.

  “I know, Joe. I remember you threatening the lives of more than a few.” I laughed, bending over the stretch my lower back.

  “I like James,” he said, causing me to stand up and look at him.

  “You’ve got to be shitting me,” I said, completely in shock.

  “He’s not a shithead. He’s a solid guy. Works hard, likes your brothers, and seems to adore you. Fuck, he fit right in with the family too.”

  “He adores me?” I shook my head. “Clearly you saw something else than I did.”

  “I saw the way he looks at you, Iz,” Mike agreed, getting up from his chair and coming over to my workstation.

  “Like a piece of meat he can control.” I knew my brothers didn’t want to hear about my sex life, and I sure as fuck didn’t want to tell them, but I thought my words could be taken many ways.

  “I’m going to talk to you as a friend and not my sister,” Mike said, looking down at me with a smile. “Shit’s going to be hard to swallow, but I’m going to say my piece.”

  “Here we go,” I whispered, sitting back down and waiting to hear his pearls of wisdom.

  “He looks at you like I look at Mia and Joe looks at Suzy. He looks at you like he worships the very ground you walk on, Iz. Men are bossy creatures—it’s in our nature. If you find one who isn’t, then they don’t have a set of balls,” Mike explained, shaking his head. “Every boy you liked was a total pussy and not worthy of your time. They wanted in your pants and that’s why we ran them off. James is an entirely different animal.”

  I sighed, knowing that my brother was right. I knew the look on his face when he stared at me. I was sure it was a reflection of how I looked at him, but it didn’t mean I liked it.

  “He’s bossy, Mike. I don’t think I can deal with that caveman bullshit.”

  “You deal with ours just fine.” Anthony laughed across the room as he walked toward his seat.

  “You guys are different. You’re my brothers and you do things to protect me and make me happy.”

  “Who’s to say James isn’t the same?” Joe asked, swiveling his chair around to face me.

  “I have to love you because we’re blood,” I said, avoiding his question.

  “I try to stay the fuck out of your business, sister, but for once, you’re wrong,” Anthony interrupted.

  “When you guys need help, I’m the first person you run to, and now you think you know what’s best for me?”

  “We come to you for help because you’re the toughest chick we know. You’re always one step ahead of everyone and everything. You’re a force to be reckoned with, Isabella,” Joe said.

  I hated when they dropped my full name. It showed that they were serious. Where the fuck was Terri? I wanted him to get the fuck back in here so this conversation would be put on the back burner.

  “Listen, boys, I don’t need a man in my life to complete me. I’m not weak.” Fuck it. I was the fiercest bitch I knew. People didn’t fuck with me unless I let them. Many men had been brought to their knees by a swift kick to the balls by me. The only people in the world I let talk to me this way were in this room.

  “Weakness is walking away,” Mike muttered, grabbing his chair and pushing it close to my station. “It takes strength to face the unknown and do it in the name of love.”

  “You’ve been listening to too much Barry Manilow or Lionel Richie or some bullshit. Who’s filling your head with this nonsense?” Where had my tough-ass brother gone? I mean, a year ago he wouldn’t have been telling me that it took strength to take a chance on love.

  “Listen here, smartass. Love doesn’t make you weak. You’re stronger as a couple than you are apart. If he’s the right man, he’ll know how to bring out your strengths. He’ll make you a better person. If you lose yourself, then you weren’t strong to begin with. Man the fuck up and take a chance for once. Prove you got a set of balls on you like you always claim.”

  Mike was challenging me and being all philosophical and shit. I turned toward Joe, hoping he’d have something better to say. “And you?” I challenged.

  “What he said,” Joe replied with a smile and a wink.

  I looked over at Anthony, who was staring at the ceiling, avoiding eye contact with me. “Anth, I know you have something to say. Tell them they’re wrong.”

  Slowly, he brought his eyes to mine and shrugged. “You know I think relationships are bullshit, Iz, but I think James is a great guy.”

  “When did everyone jump off team Izzy and hop on the James train?” I asked, ready to pull my hair out.

  Before anyone could answer, Terri walked back into the work area. “Sorry,” he coughed, plopping his ass back in the chair.

  “No worries, Ter. You rescued me,” I said as I picked up the gun and got back to work.

  Terri was a big-ass biker around fifty, and he had an old lady at home. He’d been coming to the shop for a couple of years and I knew some things about him, but we didn’t spend much time chatting like two old friends.

  “Ter, let me ask you something before you disappear into your Led Zeppelin haze.”

  He placed the headphones around his neck and leaned forward, displaying his back. “Sure thing, kid. Shoot.”

  “You’re married, right?”

  “Twenty years.”

  “You happy?”

  “Well, yeah, or I wouldn’t be married anymore.”

  “She a pushover?”

  “What?”

  “You like your woman we
ak?”

  He shook his head, turning slightly to look over his shoulder at me with his unibrow arched inward. “Babe, I don’t do weak.”

  “Is your wife a ‘yes, sir’ kind of woman?”

  “She’s the toughest woman I know.”

  “You seem like a badass dude, yet you’re with a tough chick. Why?”

  “I said that I don’t do weak. I wanted a partner. If I just wanted someone who would fill my bed, I would’ve stuck with club whores, kid.”

  “I thought tough guys liked weak,” I said, placing the needle against his skin and starting on the heart I’d woven with the skull.

  “Weak pricks like weak chicks. I want someone to keep me on my toes. You have some fucked-up thoughts on men, babe.”

  I thought about his words, letting them sink in before I spoke. “I have four brothers who act like the missing link between modern-day man and cavemen,” I said, laughing to myself as I pictured them beating on their chests.

  “They’re men and not pussies like boys are today. Video games, manscaping, and metrosexuals have fucked up society. We’re raising a generation of pansy-ass motherfuckers. Your brothers are solid dudes. I’d want them at my back when shit went down.”

  “Huh,” I said, knowing that his words were true. My brothers always had my back and were there when I needed them. I’d never feared shit because of them.

  “We done?” he asked, holding his headphones in his hand.

  “Yep,” I answered, not looking at my brothers as I continued to work. I knew they were all smiles with shitty “I told you so” looks on their faces.

  Opinions were like assholes—everybody had one.

  Chapter 14 - Playing Dirty

  Four hours had passed since I’d sent Izzy the message asking her what she didn’t like. She could’ve been writing a goddamn novel to describe everything that drove her ass crazy. Just when I was about to lose my shit, my phone beeped.

  Sexy Fugitive: Sorry. I had an early client and it took for fucking ever… HUGE piece of work covering his entire back.

  At least I knew her quietness hadn’t been intentional.

  Me: I thought you were giving me the brush-off… again.

  Sexy Fugitive: I don’t even know where to start, James.

  Me: Anywhere you want, beautiful. Tell me one thing you didn’t like.

  I was possibly inviting disaster.

  Sexy Fugitive: You’re bossy.

  I laughed as I read her words. Izzy was a bossy little thing too. She wasn’t a patsy for anyone, especially someone with a dick between their legs.

  Me: Only when I need to be.

  Sexy Fugitive: So all the time basically you feel the need.

  She was a ball buster. Her brothers had raised her right and hadn’t sheltered her.

  Me: When I feel the need to protect something important, then yes.

  Sexy Fugitive: I’m capable of protecting myself, James.

  Me: Never said you couldn’t, but I’d rather be your shield and take the brunt of anything thrown your way.

 
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