"No choice? You had no choice but to show up when I finally get some time off and those crazy mercs are busy??" Joseph LaFiamma stared at his cousins in disbelief. "Yeah, right guys. Try another one."
Tall with dark wavy hair, Joe had been in Houston Texas for some time and was slowly getting used to his new life.
Of course his partner and sometimes best friend, Levon Lundy, still drove him crazy at times and other things still bothered him but he had found a way to balance those.
Namely the pretty auburn haired young woman currently fiddling with the juke box in Chicken's.
Joe's eyes softened as he looked over at Morgan Harrison. His partner's cousin, the girl had quickly become very important to Joe.
Despite her being one of the wealthiest people in the world and several of her employees drove him nuts; he quickly learned to ignore them.
Recently learning that three of his cousins shared a past with her was still more than a little unnerving to him. Especially now when those cousins decided to drop in for an unexpected and totally unannounced visit.
"Joey, be nice. We weren't doing anything else and decided to come visit you." Zachary LaFiamma smiled into his beer at his cousin's reaction, hearing the low snickers of their other cousins. "You're the one complaining how you don't get to see family."
"Yeah, but you three weren't what I meant." Joe complained sourly, leaning back in his chair
Lance Duvall chose to ignore that in favor of eyeing one of the pretty waitresses employed by Chicken. "I think Joe's upset because we might be stepping on some quiet quality time with Morgan."
"There can be quiet time with Lundy around?" Aiden O'Neill grinned at his cousin.
While they were all related by blood it would be hard to tell unless one knew. Only Zach shared the shared the LaFiamma dark looks with black hair that was thick, wavy and brushed his collar. Lance had long wavy mahogany colored hair with gray eyes and his father's Cajun accent while Aiden had the fair skin, hair and eyes of his Irish father.
"Oh shut up." Joe muttered, hearing his partner laugh. "That includes you too Lundy."
Levon Lundy smiled as he came over to the table, sitting down with his beer. "Actually, Morgan has a very strict curfew and I trust LaFiamma completely with my baby cousin.
"Of course there was the time she stayed at his place all weekend and didn't answer her phone or door." He finished calmly.
Joe was swearing even as Zach was snarling and Lance was spitting beer. "Whoa, whoa." He waved his cousins down. "Damn you Lundy, tell them the truth."
"There some truth, cousin?" Aiden inquired, figuring if it was possible to keep Joe alive,
"Yes." Joe snapped, sighing. "Morgan did stay at my place for a weekend and she didn't answer the phone or door but…Zach!"
Zach had a long reach and he used it when he reached across the table to grab the Italian cop by the throat.
"Zachary Matthew LaFiamma, just what the bloody hell are you doing?" the outraged voice stopped the bloodshed that would have happened.
Morgan Harrison had finished with the jukebox and had just looked up in time to see Zach lunge for his cousin.
"Zach?" she prodded, smacking him in the head while glaring at Lance, Aiden and her own cousin. "And why are you three just sitting here?"
Not letting go of his grip Zach looked up at her, eyes flashing in anger. "Just what the hell where you doing spending the weekend at Joey's?" he demanded.
"What?" Morgan blinked then frowned, eyeing Lundy. "Let him go. It isn't like Levon made it sound."
"How was it?" Lance asked his usual laid back voice heavier with his Cajun accent that comes on with emotion.
"I was in town and came down with chicken pox. Levon's never had them so I couldn't stay at the ranch." She explained calmly, adding. "Joe had them and let me stay with him."
Joe coughed, glaring. "She didn't answer the phone or the door because she was sick and was in bed all weekend."
"Where were you?" Zach asked, a clear message in his eyes of what would happen if he didn't like the answer.
"On the couch, wise guy." Joe snapped, rolling his eyes. "Besides Lundy had people dropping in all the time and this girl is not nice when she's sick."
Morgan shot Joe a look as his cousins laughed. "Hell Joe, we could have told you that." Aiden smiled.
Chicken chose that moment to join the group with a plate of his famous ribs and a book under his arm.
"Reading on the clock Chicken?" Lundy teased his friend.
The big black man smiled and held out the book. "I just finished the latest mystery/thriller by Douglas O'Neill. I can't wait for his new one."
Aiden groaned, letting his head drop to the table. "I don't even want to see that bleedin' book."
Chicken raised his eyebrows just as a loud booming voice was heard over the music and noise.
Another groan came as Aiden looked up at the voice and swore in Irish as Lance laughed.
The new arrival was a tall, lean man in his middle ages with thick reddish blond hair and a booming Irish accent.
Lundy eyed his partner curiously as Joe laughed and stood up. "Uncle Doug, what a surprise."
It was Chicken who was staring between his book and the man slapping shoulders with Joe's cousins as Joe introduced them.
"Lundy, Chicken, this is my uncle and Aiden's father, Douglas O'Neill."
"Not the author?" Chicken was staring.
Doug O'Neill was a native of Ireland and a longtime successful author when he had been on a book tour in Chicago in met Michael LaFiamma's youngest sister.
A friendly man with a good natured sense of humor, he used any excuse to take time to be with his eldest son.
"Aye, the very same." He acknowledged, noticing the book Chicken was holding. "Ahh, finished my last, I see."
Aiden resigned himself to his father's visit and looked up. "Chicken's a big fan and was just saying he couldn't wait for your new book."
The senior O'Neill's face broke into a huge smile and he dug into a satchel he carried, pulling a book out. "Well then, let's end the suspense."
He handed the cook a hardcover book. "Fresh from my publisher. I'm starting the new tour in Houston because I heard my wayward son and nephews would be here."