“Thornton.” His voice came out in a breathless moan, but then his tongue dove into her mouth, and she was once more unable to speak. All she could do was kiss him back, and oh God, it was just as good, maybe better, she didn’t really know…it was just so, so, so—
Blake blinked when she suddenly found herself back in her seat. “Uh…”
“Getting you out of the library lounge would’ve been for nothing,” Thornton said roughly as he fastened her seatbelt, “if I ended up taking your virginity in my car.”
He felt her gaze on him as he started the engine. “What?”
“You’re perfect,” she told him in a rush, and because she knew he’d only argue about it, she didn’t bother giving him a chance to speak. “I’m not being biased, I swear. And even though you have this beautiful thug look going on—”
Although Thornton kept his gaze on the road, he was almost tempted to smile at this. Only Blake could say such words to him, and in a gushing tone to boot.
It was only when they made it to Laramie that Blake remembered to pause for breath and realized with horror she had talked the entire ride. Cheeks flushed with embarrassment, she could only wait until he helped her out of the car before quickly apologizing. “I’m so sorry for talking you to death.”
Thornton glanced at him oddly. “You didn’t.”
“I did. We both know I did. I talked way, way too much—”
“Did you?” Thornton was genuinely curious.
“Well…” Blake was temporarily distracted at the way Thornton easily took hold of her hand after locking the car.
“It didn’t seem like you talked any more than you usually do at home.”
“Oh?” Blake had a hard time remembering what they were talking about. She just couldn’t stop staring at their hands. They were holding hands. While walking! Who could’ve imagined that Hartland’s John Wick would be willing to do this?
And that was just the start.
When he asked her where she wanted to eat, she asked him to take her to his favorite restaurant, which turned out to be a cozy Italian restaurant right in the middle of the city. The manager knew Thornton by name, and Blake almost had to pinch herself when Thornton introduced her as his girlfriend.
The food they had served was delicious as she had expected, but what she found particularly unforgettable was how when the waiter asked if they wanted dessert. She had opted for dessert while Thornton had simply said he would just sample hers. When the ice cream arrived and it had only come with a single spoon, she had been about to ask for another when Thornton had raised a brow at her, asking, “Aren’t you going to feed me?”
Just remembering this made her feel giddy inside. Who knew? Just…who knew Thornton could so easily take all these romantic things in stride or instigate them even?
The drive back to Hartland was comfortably silent but no less eventful, with Thornton reduced to shaking his head when he caught her trying to take candid shots of him on her phone. He also noticed the way she seemed to open and close her mouth as if dying to say something, and in the end, he finally took pity and asked, “Do you have something to say?”
“Oodles,” she confessed, “but I don’t want you to think you have a magpie for a girlfriend.”
“Um, actually—” She gave him a shamefaced look. “You kinda do.”
Blake couldn’t help smiling at the genuine skepticism in his tone. “I can’t believe you never realized what a chatterbox I am. I mean, even Curt sometimes wishes I’d shut up, and—” She stopped speaking.
Thornton’s expression remained bland even as he caught sight of the flash of panic in her eyes. “Is that his name?”
The evasiveness in her voice didn’t sit well with him. Blake was usually an open book in every way, and yet it seemed she had at least one secret to hide, and it just had to fucking do with another man.
A childhood friend, that was what how Blake had described the other man. But based on the data Aidan’s security team was able to retrieve, Curt Teller had grown up in Queens, New York and not Laramie, Wyoming, like Frankie and Blake did.
Moreover, Teller’s first documented visit to Laramie had been six years ago. That would make Blake about eighteen, Thornton considered pensively. Was that enough for the man to qualify as a childhood friend?
He skimmed the rest of the report, which included a list of Teller’s flights to Laramie. It averaged about two or three times a year, and this presented another puzzle. He could still (unfortunately) recall everything he had seen from the CCTVs. Those two had been inordinately close, and if he hadn’t instinctively known that Blake was still a virgin, their familiarity with each other would’ve made him think they were lovers.