Page 10 of Happy Ending (Fisher Brothers 4)

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“Would you be upset at me for not knowing something was happening to you?”

He barked out a laugh. “No. You’re not psychic. How could you possibly know?” He stopped short and released a long breath. “Okay, I get it. Point taken.”

“But still,” Frank said, “the mention of a hospital and Sofia in the same sentence might send us off the deep end for a little while.”

“I’m sorry for that. I didn’t even think about it,” I said, and I was.

I was sorry that my brothers were still so affected by the night I tried so hard to forget, but never would. Sorry that we clearly hadn’t talked about it enough, because it still lingered in our subconscious, ready to strike at any time.

“What’s it take to get a drink in this shithole?” someone called out in a deep, gravelly voice.

We all turned to face a giant of a man who looked more out of place than an Eskimo on a sunny beach. He had to be at least six foot five, with a barrel chest and fists the size of cantaloupes. He was dressed in all black—black tee, black jacket, black slacks, and black boots, with hair and eyes to match. He looked like he was in his early fifties, age lines radiating from the corners of his eyes. Everything about this man screamed intimidation, and I wasn’t easily intimidated.

I moved down the bar toward him. “What can I get for you?”

He narrowed his eyes at me, his expression cold.

I could usually turn the sourest of customers sweet in no time. But I wasn’t sure this man had a sweet bone in his body, so I didn’t bother trying. I kept my expression neutral, not giving him my most charming smile like I normally would with a difficult customer.

“Whiskey, straight. No rocks. And nothing shitty,” he growled.

I turned around to grab our most expensive bottle. If this guy wanted to be an asshole, the least he could do was pay for it.

I set the glass on the bar in front of the stranger, who stood tall, refusing to sit. I cast a wary look at each of my brothers, who had both edged closer. This man looked like more than a little trouble, and we all knew it.

There you go, Nick, here’s where our sixth sense lies—in sensing trouble when it walks into our bar.

The man glanced around, then took his drink and moved to

the other side of the room. We all watched in silence as he reached out and touched the exposed brick here and there, almost looking like he was pushing every so often. Then he looked up for an unusual amount of time, and I wondered what he could possibly be doing since there were no ceiling tiles for him to count.

When he glanced back toward the bar, catching the three of us watching him, he let out a laugh that made chills run down my spine.

“What’s he doing?” Nick whispered.

“Losing his mind?” Frank suggested.

I stayed quiet, pretending to dry the already dry glass in my hands.

“Who owns this joint?” the man demanded, his voice commanding.

“We do,” Frank shot back, matching his tone.

“You three?” The man pointed a stubby finger at us.

When he reached inside the pocket of his jacket, my body instantly tensed, my mind racing as scenes of Sofia and Matson played in it on a loop. I assumed this man had a gun, and was about to pull it out and shoot us. I’d either seen one too many gangster movies, or I was more fucked up from Derek threatening to kill me than I realized.

When he pulled out an old piece of paper, I relaxed, even if my relief was short lived.

“What is that?” Frank asked as he leaned forward.

“Can’t you read, boy?” the man asked, his voice snide and condescending.

I glanced at the paper, noting the word Deed printed in bold letters on top. “What’s this?” I reached for it, but he slapped my hand.

“Don’t touch my shit,” he said, leveling me with a cold stare. “It’s the deed to this bar—”

“That’s impossible,” Frank said. “We own this bar. Bought it from Sam years ago.”

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