Filthy Hot (Five Points' Mob Collection #5) - Serena Akeroyd Page 0,1

shit but if Aidan said he looked like he could puke, then there had to be a reason for it.

Cautiously, I asked, "Do you think he's one of them? That’s why Conor’s scared?"

The pounding of the hacky sack against the ceiling slowed. "One of them, what?"

"A perv."

"Who?" His eyes bugged as he gaped at me, and I knew then and there he'd never thought anything about the new guy other than the fact that he was better than Father Doyle because his sermons were shorter. "The priest?" he rasped. "A fucking pervert?"

I growled, and it was stupid to be pissed but I couldn't help it. I was glad he'd never been a target of a sick fuck but his disbelief grated on me—in my short life, I hadn't been so lucky. "Yeah, Aidan, the fucking priest. Not Conor. Jesus."

He rolled onto his side. "A kiddy diddler?"

"Yeah," I said gruffly.

"Shit, I just thought Conor was being picked on at choir practice or something. That's a big leap, Finn. Anyway, Da wouldn't just castrate anyone who touched his kids, he'd—"

Butting in, I countered, "Haven't you noticed?"

"Noticed what?"

"How McKenna is?" I grumbled. "He's always touching."

"He's Irish," Aidan said slowly. "You know it's their way. Da hugs and kisses me. He ain't a pedo."

"He's usually drunk when he does too," I retorted.

"True." Aidan scowled. "You've given me a bad feeling, Finn."

"You're the one who started it."

"Being bullied and being messed with are totally different things."

I just shrugged.

He wasn't wrong.

Maybe I was projecting my own experiences on this. Hunting for shadows where there were none to be found.

I didn't look at men the same anymore. I knew what they were, what they could do. What they were capable of. But just because someone was creepy didn't mean they were sick too.

Hoping Aidan didn't think my leap was too large, that he didn’t piece shit together, I didn't say anything, just waited for the hacky sack to start being tossed again because that meant Aidan thought I was overreacting.

Only, it didn't.

I really wished it would.

"What if you're right?" Aidan questioned after a couple minutes.

"I'm not. I was just thinking worst case—"

"Conor's not afraid of anyone. You know that. He's a headcase."

My lips twitched but I couldn't deny he was right. Conor was either going to turn into his father or Ted Bundy. I wasn't sure which yet. Or maybe he’d be neither. He was a cool kid, just had more energy than someone hopped up on coke, but had the ability to focus on inane shit which meant he'd have been skipping grades like they were hurdles and he was at the Olympics if his dad had allowed it.

I'd seen the little nut complete a two-thousand piece jigsaw in less than ninety minutes, and the way he could talk back to Aidan Sr. without getting slapped upside the head was genius in and of itself.

"Do you think we should check?"

"The community center is only around the corner," he pointed out.

Unease and, though I didn't like to think it—instinct—had me jumping to my feet. "Come on. It won't do any harm to check."

Aidan scampered to a standing position too, and he shoved me in the side, muttering, "You got me freaked out for no reason at all."

"I'll bet. He'll just be looking green because Brennan was talking about how pork is the closest meat to human flesh over dinner."

We shared a glance, and I had no idea why, but that look had both of us taking off at a run.

Aidan Sr. believed in living close to his territory, but also, in living near his church. Only in this part of Hell's Kitchen, Five Points, was a regular priest like the Pope. Aidan Sr. treated them as if they were the fucking second coming but everyone knew that was because he was obsessed with heaven.

Either heaven or just not going to hell, I wasn't sure which and I wasn't about to ask him.

In all honesty, as Aidan and I raced out of the apartment building, down the street to St. Patrick's and onward to the community center, I wasn't sure if I wanted to think that heaven could house people like Sr. If it did, well, that was fucked up. We all knew the shit he'd done. Whispers of it were a constant serenade in this part of the city…

Heaven needed harsher entry requirements if Aidan Sr. was in line for a penthouse overlooking St. Peter's pearly gates was all I’d say.

We made it to the center, with