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I’m In It (The Reed Brothers #10)
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What do you get when you put together one matchmaking doorman, some Reed brothers with good intentions, and five sisters, one of whom is a little lost? Get get Tammy Falkner’s newest book, I’M IN IT.
Mick fell in love with Wren at the worst possible time. She was in the midst of something wonderful, and then she wasn’t. Her life changed in the blink of an eye. And in this situation, it wasn’t a change for the better. He can still remember when she felt the first cramp. When she pressed her knees together tightly in the front seat of his car as though she could hold that life inside herself by sheer will alone. And if will were all it took, she’d have succeeded.
But she didn’t succeed, and they were over before they began. She was too hurt. She was too raw. She was wishing for what could have been, while he was wishing for what was. And what was… well, it was nothing. At least not to her.
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I push through the doors of the tattoo shop with my heart in my throat. Paul Reed looks up, and I’m stunned, just like every other woman who looks at him is immediately taken aback by all his ink, the piercings over his eyebrows, the metal in his ears, and the blue of his eyes. Startling. There’s no other word to describe him. Except for kind. Kindness seeps from Paul Reed’s pores. You just have to be willing to look past the gruff exterior to see it.
His back is bent over a client as he works on a tattoo for a man who has almost as much metal on his face as I have on my car.
Paul smiles at me. “Hey, Wren,” he says. “What’s up?” He lifts his tattoo machine for no more than a moment, and then he looks back down and keeps working.
“Hey, Paul,” I reply. I swallow hard.
“What can I do for you?” Paul asks. He’s the only one in the shop today, since it’s early in the morning.
“I was hoping Friday might be here,” I say tentatively.
He tilts his head toward the back of the shop. “She’s cursing in the office right now, trying to balance the bank account.”
I hear a filthy curse come from the back room, and I bite back a grin. “Is it okay if I go back to talk to her?”
He nods. “If you’re brave enough.” Then he lets out a heavy sigh. “She threatened to chop my dick off when I took her a cup of coffee. So, proceed at your own risk.”
“Thanks.” I walk toward the office and stop when I see the door is cracked. I rap my knuckles lightly and call out her name. “Friday?”
She looks up and blows a lock of dark hair from her eyes as the door opens just a little. I’m always startled when I see her looking like this. She doesn’t have a swipe of makeup on and she’s in jeans and a t-shirt. There are no high heels, no short skirts, no fishnet stockings, and no kissable red lips. She’s just Friday.
“Hey,” she says. She smiles at me. “Come on in.”
“Are you sure I’m not interrupting?” I step into the room and drop hesitantly into a chair across from her desk.
“I needed a break anyway.” She puts her pencil down and crosses her hands on her desk. “You doing okay?” she asks, her voice soft.
“Oh, yeah,” I say with a breezy wave. “I’m fine.”
“Good,” she says with a nod. “I’ve been worried about you.”
I bite my lips together.
“So, I’m guessing you didn’t just come here to shoot the shit.”
I scratch the tip of my nose. “I was wondering…” I heave in a breath. “I was hoping you might draw a tattoo for me.
Her brow rises. “What did you have in mind?”
“Just something simple to remember the…you know.”
“The baby?” she clarifies, her voice a lot stronger than mine.
“The miscarriage,” I say, clearing the lump that’s suddenly clogging my throat.
“The baby,” she says again, staring hard at me.
“Yeah, that.” I lift my thumbnail to my teeth and rip a piece of it off. I was almost three months pregnant when I miscarried. That was two months ago.
“Did you have something in mind?”
“Well, there’s no marker, no grave…no baby. Not really. So, I want something simple. Just something to mark that he was here. It was an early miscarriage, so some people might even argue that he never existed. Since he never took a breath and all that.”
Her eyes narrow. “He may have never taken a breath, but he existed, and you were one hundred percent pregnant. You’re allowed to feel one hundred percent of the grief.”
Tears sting my eyes and I blink them back.
“I’ll draw something up for you and let you take a look. Want me to text it to you?”
I nod. “That would be great.” I get up and start for the door.
“Hey, Wren,” Friday calls out.
I turn back and look at her, waiting for her to speak. “Yeah?”
“Why didn’t you ask one of the guys to draw something up for you?”
I look everywhere but at her. “Well,” I start. But then I stop and bite my lips together.
“Well?” she prompts. But her face is all kindness and affection.
“You’re a mom,” I say.
She nods, her head going up and down slowly. “I am.”
“And I thought you might, you know, know a little something about loss.” I play with the corner of a poster on the door.
“I do,” she says with another nod. She heaves out a sigh. “I’ll draw something up for you, okay? If you don’t like it, we can go back and forth until we find the right memorial tattoo for you.”
“Do you think it’s stupid?” I ask quickly. I want to bite the words back as soon as they leave my lips. “Never mind.”