Fighting His Desire:So Inked #4

By: Sidney Bristol
So Inked #4


Prologue




October, somewhere in God-forsaken Kentucky...

Lucas Hewitt stared into the dark, adoring eyes of the black mop with legs. Its whole body wiggled and squirmed as he held it an arms’ length from his body.

“Yeah, we should all take one home! That’s a great idea,” Kenny exclaimed.

Oh, the good ideas people had when they were drunk. The groom-to-be was a couple beers into it, and something of a lightweight.

Lucas wasn’t sold on the idea of another dog. No one could replace Morticia, but this squirmy thing was trying. When they’d found the skinny mamma dog lurking outside the backwoods cabin, he’d wholeheartedly agreed feeding her was the right thing to do. She was far too sweet and well-mannered to have been a stray her whole life, and judging by the full sway of her stomach, she’d given birth to a litter of pups somewhere.

He didn’t recall who’d suggested searching for the babies, but once the idea was out there they’d set off for a wandering hike. The mamma showed up after five minutes, as though she’d pegged them for the suckers they were, and led them back to her babies. It was at that point they’d kissed goodbye to the beer fund.

Instead of spending their time drinking, playing pool, and helping their buddy Kenny enjoy his last few days as a bachelor they’d scrubbed pups, bought dog food, and tracked down a local vet who’d make a house call for the mamma and her puppies.

One by one, the other guys laid claim to the puppies.

There were six guys.

And by some odd stroke of fate there were six puppies.

Lucas cringed, listening to the others exclaim about what a great idea it would be if they each took a puppy.

“Well, shit,” he muttered.

He didn’t want to be the stick in the mud. He didn’t have anything against this little runt of a mutt, but between Kenny’s wedding coming up and now a black dog being dumped on him, it was too much. Everything reminded him of her. The woman he’d loved and lost before he ever truly had her to begin with.

“What are you going to name it?” Kenny grinned at him, a puppy tucked up under his arm.

“Not sure yet. I reckon something’ll come to me.” Lucas set the dog down, but it only edged closer, staring up at him as though he’d hung the stars.

He should never have shared that hamburger with the mutt. It was a mistake. Mom had always said, if you feed it, you keep it, and here was proof.

“Hey, where did that sack of treats go?” Kenny glanced around.

“You know, I don’t think we brought it in. I’ll go grab it.” Lucas picked up his beer and ducked out of the cabin, a black shape darting out the door to weave through his legs, nearly tripping him.

He glared down at the bit of darker darkness, and in his mind he could see Morticia staring back up at him. His mother had named the dog. Morticia was supposed to have been Mom’s, but Morticia had adopted Lucas as her own. For most of his teen years she’d been his shadow. The day he’d gone to boot camp he’d scratched her on the head, told her to be a good girl.

He’d been more excited about his trips home to see Morticia than the humans. When he’d retired and gone into tattooing, there hadn’t been a question in anyone’s mind where Morticia was going.

They’d had many long, good years there before she’d passed of old age.

Getting a new dog felt like he was forgetting her.

“What am I going to do with you?” Lucas trudged toward the truck and slapped his thigh.

The little scamp kept up with him, never straying far. Neither of them seemed to like the woods much. Lucas wasn’t much of a country boy, regardless of his redneck upbringing. If it weren’t for the odd circumstances that brought him together with these guys, he’d probably still be in California, wondering what the hell he was doing with his life.

It was a common refrain these days.

What was he doing with his life?

What was he doing with a dog?

What was he doing on a bachelor trip?

What was he doing here?

Watching these two people so deeply in love get married was killing a bit of him.

It must be the beer. He’d drank too much of it while the others were cooing over their pups.

He opened the back seat of the SUV they’d rented for this trip and stared at his cell phone sitting on the bench seat and the treat bag on the floor board.

Huh, he’d wondered where that was, but not enough to actually look for it.

Two problems, one stone.

He grabbed the bag and ripped the package open, offering a treat to the runt. He’d felt for the little thing, and that was why he’d shared that burger, no other reason.

Lucas checked his phone, surprised by the last missed call.

Before he could think about it, he hit dial and leaned against the vehicle, staring up through the trees at the night sky.

“Hey, gray beard.”

“Hey, haven’t heard from you in a while.” He ignored the jibe. Mary was one of the most resilient women he’d ever had as an apprentice. She’d put up with his shit. She got to poke at him.

“I’m desperate, Lucas.”

“Chill, chica. What’s going on?” The seriousness of her tone set off alarms.

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