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  • Home > Chelle Bliss > Men of Inked > Without Me (Page 21)     
  • Without Me(Men of Inked #7)(21) by Chelle Bliss
  • As soon as I cleared my plate, I excused myself from the table. I needed to get back to my scavenger hunt to find Max. If I could make contact, maybe I could avoid a crowded weekend in Ybor City, prowling the neighborhood like a creep.

    Not that internet stalking wasn’t creepy, but it was the only thing I had to go on without showing up at her door. Before I plopped down in my chair, I pulled my phone out and checked my messages. I didn’t know what I was hoping for, but the blankness of my screen made me scowl.

    I searched Facebook for King Corona and started to scroll through their page. There were hundreds of posts, but I checked each one. I looked for Malia, Nita, or Max as I read each post one by one. As my eyes began to burn and I thought about giving up, I saw it. Malia. Even though I’d hoped to see a comment from Max, I’d take any lifeline to finding her.

    I viewed Malia’s profile page, but it was private. I pressed every button, hoping to find Max, but everything was blocked. The only choice I had was to send her a message and hope she didn’t ignore me.

    The cursor blinked at me as the screen read Type a message while I thought about what I wanted to type. If she ignored me, I didn’t know what I’d fucking do. My mind was already fucked up, and every minute had been consumed by thoughts of Max.

    Very slowly, I started to type the message. Then I kept erasing the dumb shit I had written. My words sounded like I was desperate. After another message and a quick erase, I set my phone down and stared out the sliding glass door into my parents’ lanai. I needed to stop being a pussy and just send something or I’d kick myself later.

    Malia, it’s Anthony, Max’s friend. Well, she wouldn’t call me that, but since I fucked her, I thought it fit.

    I erased the message again. Then I shook my head and felt like an idiot. I mean, what the hell do you say when you’re trying to track someone down through another person?

    Malia, hey. I looked for you ladies last weekend in Ybor but couldn’t find you. How are you?

    Just when I started to erase the message, Izzy walked in.

    “Hey!” she yelled.

    I jumped, hitting send by accident. Oh no. No. No. No.

    That wasn’t the message I’d wanted to send. I sounded like an idiot.

    “Fuck!” I hissed as I shot a glare at Izzy. “Why the fuck did you have to scare me to death? Shit!”

    “What’s your problem today?” She sat down on the floor in front of me. She crossed her legs, sat Indian-style, and stared. “Tell me,” she demanded.

    I blew out a long breath of air and silently debated if I should tell her. Maybe she’d be able to give me some insight. More than likely, I’d get some shitty comments before she finally had some real advice.

    “Are they almost done in there?” I asked, glancing toward the dining room.

    She shook her head and rolled her eyes. “Nope. Suzy’s still eating and everyone is talking.” She exhaled, blowing her bangs in the air.

    “James?”

    “Him too. He’s talking to Joe about some shit.”

    “Fine. I’ll tell you, but you can’t tell anyone, Izzy. Not a soul. Understand?”

    She rubbed her hands together and said, “Ooooh, okay,” as she grinned.

    “Seriously, Iz. No one.”

    She nodded and set her lips in a firm line. “Lips are sealed.” She ran her fingers across her lips, pretending to zip them, and tossed the imaginary key over her shoulder.

    “I met someone,” I said, closing my eyes as I felt my face flush.

    “Oh my God,” she whispered, scooting across the carpet to sit at my feet.

    I hung my head. “It’s not what you think.”

    “I’m not thinking anything,” she replied as she touched my leg. “What happened?”

    I raised my head enough to look her in the eyes. “I met this amazing girl. We had sex and she kicked me out the next morning.”

    She burst out laughing. “I’m sorry.” She waved her hands in the air and fell backward. “Wait.” Her laughter grew loud. “Someone treated you the way you have treated women for years.” Her hands slapped the carpet with a dull thud.

    “Izzy. Be serious.”

    “I am. Oh God.” She kicked her legs, stomping them on the floor. “Anth, look at it from my perspective. That’s some funny shit.”

    I gritted my teeth, not finding the humor in the situation. “Fuck you. I knew you couldn’t listen without being a jackass.”

    Her body stilled as she tried to catch her breath. Wiping the tears of laughter from her face, she sat up. “I’m sorry,” she said, trying to stop the giggle that was at the tip of her tongue from escaping. “I never thought I’d hear you complain about being treated poorly.”

    “Izzy, don’t give me your Nora Roberts bullshit. I know how you treated men. They were a piece of meat to you too. Flash ring a bell?” I asked with a “choke on that” smirk.

    “Shhh,” she whispered, putting her index finger up to her mouth. Her eyes slid to the dining room. “Don’t mention him when James is here. The man goes apeshit.”

    “See what I mean?” I asked, leaning back in my chair and shaking my leg.

    “Fine. I’m really sorry.” The smile that had been on her face moments ago vanished. “Tell me what happened?”

    “I can’t find her.”

    “You didn’t even get her number?” she asked.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire