Jackal stared down at the picture, wondering if Penni knew how dangerous Shade was, how dangerous he was.
“Not since she nearly killed me.” Jackal didn’t try to keep the irritation out of his voice.
Ice stopped him again. “I didn’t think there was a woman you couldn’t handle.”
Jackal studied Penni’s living room. Something was missing, but he couldn’t place his finger on what.
“Sometimes, the work isn’t worth the effort.” His hand went to his scarred cheek. “I learned a long time ago from Camy that you’re not going to steal a woman’s heart when she doesn’t have one.”
Camy had been his old lady. He had been nineteen and stupid, believing in forever. He had gone for lunch one day and found her fucking his father, who had stopped by to tell him he was out on parole. The two men had fought, and the cops had been called. When the cops had tried to stop the fight, his father had pulled a blade, cutting him from his brow to the corner of his bottom lip. He had been arrested, still trying to get away from the vicious attack.
“All the women like Penni.” Ice braced his legs apart as he leaned over to look out the window.
Jackal set the photo back down. Jackal was right; Penni had dozens of friends. Many were captured in the pictures placed around her living room. Her smile displayed evident humor as she grew older in her photos. The only thing missing from family and friends were boyfriends. None of the pictures seemed to show old love interests. Maybe he had been wrong. Maybe women didn’t want be reminded of old boyfriends.
When he had pressured Ice to find out whom Penni was dating, Grace would only tell him that she had seen several men, but she didn’t believe Penni was in an intimate relationship.
Jackal had been shocked. His jealously had fueled his imagination, picturing her with numerous one-night stands, some of them with the members of the Mouth2Mouth band she managed. According to Grace, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Penni would get all gung-ho about meeting particular men, looking forward to getting to know them, only to never see them again after the initial date.
“The women at the strip club all like her, too. Even her fucking neighbors like her. They think she’s sweet.”
Jackal snorted as he leaned next to Ice. “I bet they’ve already called the cops.” Jackal nodded his head toward where the neighbors could be seen as more of the Predators filed into the house.
None of the neighbors would think of confronting them. Hell, they’d probably have nightmares later. When Penni got home, she was going to be furious with Grace for letting the Predators inside her house.
Ice’s contemptuous gaze caught his. “I’ll get Colton to talk to them. Penni’s had him and Vida over to dinner a couple of times.”
Jackal made damn sure he stayed as far away as possible from the cops. The only ones he came into contact with were the ones he paid to turn a blind eye to the Predators’ activities.
Jackal heard Max and Stump enter the room from the flight of steps.
“She’s not upstairs.”
“No shit, Sherlock.”
Max clenched his jaw at Jackal’s sarcastic words. “Her car isn’t outside, and I didn’t see her car parked in front of her office.”
“How do you know she wasn’t parked at her office?”
Ice shook his head at Max when he took an angry step toward Jackal at his jeering comment.
Jackal shrugged, and Stump went up the stairs. He knew Stump was going to go through her things. Ice wouldn’t stop him. Despite his denials, he didn’t want the brothers snooping through Penni’s belongings.
He heard the sound of boots upstairs then the sound of opening and closing drawers. Then Max opened the refrigerator, helping himself to a beer and making himself at home.
Jackal couldn’t understand why the brothers were getting on his last nerve. He had once imagined he would be the only one to step foot into her house. He’d had it all planned out the night she had stood him up.
Jackal had planned to take her out to dinner and had even paid for a fancy bottle of wine that had been chilling, waiting for them to arrive. He had worn his best jeans, the ones he was now going to throw away, and even splurged on a haircut. The whole night had been one fuck up after another, all because Penni had decided to deceive him on a whim. Because of this, he shouldn’t care that the brothers were making themselves at home in her place.
Thank God none of the brothers could hear the thoughts going through his mind. They would laugh their heads off to know he was still pissed off for being stood up.
Jackal moved away from the window, leaned on the back of the couch, and crossed his arms against his chest to keep himself from punching out at his aggravating friends.