Creed's Claim(2)

By: Mina Carter


“Almost done here,” he called out, his deep voice making them look around. That’s when he saw her, his gaze colliding with warm brown eyes and his breath punching out of his lungs.

Kaitlyn Turner. Here. In his shop.

“No worries. We can wait,” the girl at her side said, and Creed had to tear his gaze away from Kaitlyn to look at her. Kacie Leroy, one the town’s human population, was already browsing through the sketchbooks on the coffee table. No stock flash for Lizard Iron and Ink, thank you very much. He drew all his own designs, both for the shop and for the clan, and refused to ink anything he hadn’t created.

“Cool.” He settled back down to finish up with Jeb but was constantly aware of the three girls talking quietly in the shop.

How long had she been back in town? How long was she staying? Was she here to get ink? At the very thought, his hands shook and he immediately lifted the needle from Jeb’s back.

Putting the iron down, he cleaned his friend’s back and taped a gauze over the newly done area. “We’ll leave it for today, mate. Let it heal for a day or two…” A shift should heal the skin up. “And then I can add the finishing touches. ‘Kay?”

Jeb hauled his shirt back on over wide shoulders, his gaze flicking to the trio sitting in front of the large window. A slow grin crawled over his face as he zeroed in on Kaitlyn and then looked back at Creed. Then the fucker waggled his eyebrows.

“Go on, get the f—hell out of here,” Creed growled, all but shoving his friend toward the door.

“Howdedodee, ladies.” Jeb took his sweet time, pausing to smile at the trio. “If you’re lookin’ for some ink, my man Creed here is the guy to see. Ain’t nobody better with a needle.”

“I’m sure he is. He has a good reputation.” Kaitlyn smiled up at him, making Creed clench his fists with jealousy. He wanted her to smile at him like that. Then her words registered. She knew about his reputation? She’d asked about him?

“That he does. Have a good evening, ladies. Creed.” Jeb doffed an imaginary hat and ambled out of the shop, closing the door behind him.



* * *



“So what can I do for you lovely ladies today?”

Creed’s thicker than molasses, deep voice sent a shiver down Kaitlyn’s spine. She couldn’t look at him, looking down into the book of designs balanced precariously in her lap. It had been four years since she’d seen him, since the day of her brother’s funeral, and he hadn’t changed a bit.

He was still built big, with solid muscles and satin skin covered in tattoos. She ached to trace them with her fingertips and tongue. With bright blue eyes that contrasted with his darker coloring, he was the stuff wet dreams were made of.

An unrepentant bad boy she shouldn’t want, couldn’t have… but that didn’t mean she couldn’t look, now did it?

“I’m looking for something like this… perhaps here?” Kacie pointed at a delicate little swirl design, then vaguely in the direction of her ribcage. She was the most forward of the three of them, and had been since they were kids, always leading them into one scrape or another.

“Hmmm.” Creed leaned forward and looked at the design but didn’t make any indication whether he was agreeing or arguing with her choice. “And you?”

He looked directly at her and Kaitlyn almost forgot to breathe. She’d always loved his eyes, but the direct look was piercing like he could see right down to her soul and view all the little secrets there. Like the fact she’d always had the hots for him despite the fact he’d been her brother’s bestie and way off limits.

But Mark is gone, the little voice in the back of her head whispered. And she was single now.

That brought it all crashing back and she wriggled the fingers on her left hand to ensure the weight of her diamond engagement ring was gone. It was and she breathed a sigh of relief. She was free, finally.

“I don’t see anything I like, sorry.” She winced a little as she realized she’d just basically said she didn’t like his work. “It’s my first. I want to be sure. You know?”

He nodded, watching her for a long moment, then turned on his heel.

“Shit, you’ve pissed him off now, Kait. We’ll never get him to agree to tattoo us,” Lilly hissed, nudging her. But almost before she’d finished speaking, he was back. Striding across the floor, he held out a single piece of paper.

Surprise filled her and she took it. As soon as she looked at the design, wonder filled her. It was a moon and a bear claw wrapped around each other in a delicate filigree with purple highlights.

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