Filthy Hot (Five Points' Mob Collection #5) - Serena Akeroyd
Twenty-seven years ago
"Did you think Conor was being weird?"
I frowned at Aidan Jr. "Huh?"
"You really need me to repeat myself?"
"Not my fault you mumble," I groused. "But Conor's weird all the time. How can you tell the difference?"
"This was more different than normal."
I rolled my eyes but, still, I’d bite. "How do you judge between regular weird and different weird?"
"I don't know," he mused as he threw his hacky sack against the ceiling, the rhythmic bang-bang-bang was almost enough to make me zone out.
Aidan Sr. said that Junior had hand-eye coordination issues, ones that meant he could never hit a target no matter how many hours they spent at the gun range.
Of course, Junior didn't have diddly-squat wrong with his eyes, he just didn't have his father's hunger for blood.
But how the hell did you explain that to one of the most feared men on the East Coast?
It was a surprisingly easy question to answer—you didn't.
As a result, Aidan had gone to no less than three eye specialists, with each one telling his father that Aidan's eyesight wasn't just twenty-twenty—he could have flown a fucking jet plane if he wanted.
When the eye tests hadn't worked, then had come therapeutic techniques—throwing the hacky sack against the ceiling with one eye closed, and catching it with the opposite hand.
It wasn't working.
Junior had the mafia equivalent of the yips.
"He looked like he was going to puke."
I frowned, thinking about Aidan's words, and trying to judge if he was overreacting or not. Trouble was, Aidan wasn't that kind of guy. Just because he hadn't killed someone yet didn't mean his instincts weren't spot on.
"I guess he looked a little shaky," I murmured, rolling onto my side to peer at him.
Aidan's bedroom was the size of my old apartment. I'd always loved hanging out here, and not just because he had cool shit, like that Super Mario Bros. game and the Nintendo console that I’d been dying to get my hands on for ages, but because Lena was nice and always had plenty of food on the table for us to eat, and though Aidan Sr. was certifiable, he was really cool with me.
Junior had a TV of his own, as well as cable, and a mini fridge—why the hell wouldn’t I want to live here?
More than that though, he was here.
Was it whacked to think of him as more than a friend?
I wasn't a guy he'd picked to be on his crew when he grew up. That first day of school all those years back, we'd gravitated toward each other and had stuck together ever since. It wasn't like we were gay or anything. It was... Well, I guessed it was odd. He felt like he was my brother.
Which meant his kid brothers were mine too.
He and I had always been close, but since I'd moved in, it cemented things.
The O'Donnellys might be crazy, they might be more infamous than Capone in the area, might terrify most people, but they were family. They'd taken me in when I was at my lowest and they'd saved my ass. I really fucking wished that wasn’t literally.
"He's going to choir practice, right?" I asked, trying to think back to what Conor had said when he'd come to Aidan's room earlier.
"Yeah," Aidan confirmed.
An uneasy feeling settled in my gut and though I knew it might open a can of worms, I muttered, "I don't like that priest."
"Father McKenna? What's not to like? He gives us fewer Hail Marys than Father Doyle. Plus, his sermons don’t drone on for-fucking-ever.
"Shit, I almost wish he’d take over full time. Does Father Doyle really need to come back from the Vatican?"
There was no denying the sermons were shorter, and the confessional ‘punishments’ weren’t as taxing, but some guys just gave off a vibe, didn't they? A creep factor. I knew how that worked. My dad had that in fucking spades.
Nerves hit me, even though it was stupid to feel anything other than stuffed full after Lena had crammed roast pork down my stomach like it was going out of fashion. It wasn't like Mom hadn't fed me, but food just tasted better here.
Maybe because I was safe?
Because I knew nothing could touch me inside these walls?
I knew how it felt to feel vulnerable inside your own home, even worse I knew how it felt to see a man look at me like that.
Like I wasn't some kid, a nuisance, but as if I were tasty.
Conor was a weirdo, and he definitely did unusual