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Half My Blood
Copyright © 2015 by Lauren Gilley
“Ooh, those go in the kitchen,” Ava said as she spied the rum box containing her new yellow dinner dishes come through the open front door in Tango’s arms. “You can set them on the table. Careful; they’re breakable.” They’d also cost her three weeks’ worth of income working part time helping her mom out at the Dartmoor office.
Tango nodded, but paused beside her, sunlight sparking off all his earrings, glimmering in his light hair. He nodded toward the sleeping lump of baby in her arms. “He can sleep through all this?”
Remy’s breath was warm, wet, and steady in the middle of her breastbone, where she had him tucked against her chest, both arms cradling him. “Like his daddy. Dead to the world.”
He grinned. “That’s a big baby.” It wasn’t the first time he’d said that to her.
She smiled. “I was sort of there when he came into the world. Yeah, he’s big.”
With a delicate ouch face he moved on, heading for the kitchen with the plates.
Aidan came tromping in next, dry caked mud falling from his boot treads onto the hardwood, a rolled-up rug slung over one shoulder. He and Tango were both down to their white wifebeaters, and those were plastered to them with sweat.
“You just had to move on a day that was hot as balls, didn’t you?”
Ava smiled sweetly at her brother. “It’s July first, bro. When do you think it’s going to stop being hot as balls?”
“Dunno. But that woulda been the time to move.”
“Right. I elect you as the one to tell Mercy he should’ve held off on buying the house.”
He made a complicated face that she wanted to laugh at. “Yeah…” He and Mercy may have been almost as close as real brothers, but Merc had drawn a line when it came to his tiny personal family. Aidan knew not to step over it too far. “Where does this go?” He hefted the rug higher on his shoulder.
“Living room, in front of the sofa.”
Which wasn’t much of a walk, because the narrow foyer led into said living room.
“Right.” Aidan headed that way, the ornate tangle of thorns and red roses clustered at the tops of his shoulders shining as the sunlight struck the fine sheen of sweat on his skin. The tats were detailed, richly colored, and expansive, his largest – trailing all the way down his triceps on both sides, a few stray petals and thorns along his ribs, under his arms. Of all his ink, those tattoos were Ava’s favorites. His mantle of roses.
The line of incoming biker moving crew kept coming. Carter and Harry toted the dressing table between them, and Ava gave them directions. As prospects, they weren’t allowed to gripe about the heat and the work, but Carter gave her a wink as he said, “Yes, ma’am, and managed a half-mocking courtly bow as he passed.
“I think you need a new sponsor,” she told him, “my brother’s going to ruin you.”