He stares at me like he’s repentant. Like he’d change it if he could, although I don’t believe him. All I can tell him back is, “I didn’t ask you to.”
I’m the last to enter the kitchen and as I make my way to the counter, Carter pushes a tumbler with ice and whiskey my way.
“You want to meet her, huh?” I ask Carter, looking him in his eyes as I bring the glass to my lips and let the liquor settle on my tongue to burn.
Carter only lets a smirk show, filling the empty tumbler in front of him and then asking Declan if he wants a glass too.
“I’ll have beer,” Declan announces and Daniel looks over his shoulder at Declan, a grin on his face too before reaching into the fridge. The bottles clink together and the telltale sound of the beer fizzing fills up the silence as I wait for my answer.
“You told her not to come in here, didn’t you?” he asks, the smile only widening.
“You’re a prick,” I tell my oldest brother and when they all chuckle, I finally let myself smile and pull out the barstool. I’m a prick for lying to her too, but they don’t need to know that.
“If she met us, if she knew what was going on, maybe she’d feel a little differently,” Sebastian says as he enters the room, touching his elbow to Carter’s in greeting and taking the last tumbler of whiskey.
“Maybe,” I agree although I’m quick to take another swig of the whiskey.
“What’s the update on Addison?” Sebastian asks Daniel. His response is to share a look with Carter first. They’re going through the next stage of life together. All three of the men although Sebastian’s wife is furthest along. Daniel and Carter just found out about the pregnancies.
Daniel picks at the label on his beer bottle as he answers, “They said it’s just high blood pressure. She just needs to take it easy.”
A moment passes where no one knows what to say. Addison never thought she could get pregnant and for good reason. She went through a rough life as a child.
“Aria’s happy that she gets to pick out everything with a friend,” Carter says to break up the tension.
Sebastian contributes to the easy feeling by remarking, “Chloe’s happy she won’t be the only fat one.” He adds quickly, “Or so she said,” which gets a good laugh and a clink of beers and glass tumblers.
“It feels good having all five of us in here, doesn’t it? Like old times,” Declan comments.
All four of my brothers and the one man, Sebastian, who sticks out because he’s older.
“We do have a real reason to meet,” Carter says and glances at the closed door behind me. She can place her hand to the panel and enter, or simply try to listen from the other side of the door.
“Romano.” Daniel and I say our enemy’s name at once.
Carter nods. “He’s scattered. There’s no doubt.”
“What made him run?” Sebastian asks.
“He’s outnumbered. It’s not just Talvery men looking to settle a vendetta, but us too. It’s quiet with Officer Walsh and the FBI leaning hard on the local cops,” Daniel answers and Carter nods along with him. “If he was ever going to leave, now is the time to do so.”
“If he comes back, which he has to in order to get everything out of his warehouses, all of his supply and the stashed guns are on Fourth. If he comes back, there are only two roads he can use to come into town,” I comment, knowing if he comes back, I don’t want to give him another chance to leave.
“You think he’ll come back for it?” Sebastian asks.
“He’s got money hidden away in the warehouse on Fourth, we’ve staked out that street and he knows, but he doesn’t know that we’re aware his money’s there. Maybe he thinks with him gone, we’ll forget about him,” Carter answers him.
“Forget about him?” There’s a tension in Daniel’s voice, akin to outrage. “We aren’t going to let him run.”
Daniel’s comment goes unanswered.
“I say we blow up his estate and the warehouse too. Destroy everything.”
“He left men behind.” Carter’s quick to rebut my suggestion.
“Not enough,” I answer him, staring into his eyes.
“With the FBI and former agent on our asses, do we really want to risk it?” Declan asks, wanting to be safe.
“Yes. We do. We can’t let what he did go unanswered. We can’t let anyone think they can run from us,” Daniel says, his body tense and the beer he has in his hand tapping against the granite.
“Calm down,” Carter tells our brother, but I’m with Daniel.
“He’s right,” I say to voice my opinion.
“Destroy everything in his name and send Nikolai after him,” Daniel suggests.
“Nikolai?” A tension coils in my stomach. “He tried to kill me; he tried to take Addison, your soon-to-be wife.” I can’t help that my voice rises, the same outrage Daniel had a moment ago slipping into my cadence.