Blake couldn’t believe what Thornton had just called her. “Excuse me?”
“You heard me,” he snarled.
“You called me a bitch?”
“Aren’t you?” Only a bitch would dump a man and still want him to declare his fucking love for her.
“You…” Blake was momentarily speechless, unable to believe that she could feel so miserable and furious at the same time. “You’re calling me a bitch?”
“Do you want me to say it again—”
She slapped him. “How dare you?”
Thornton’s jaw clenched.
“I’m a bitch because I had enough self-respect to end things? Is that it? I’m a bitch because you could no longer play with my feelings—”
“What the fuck are you talking about? I was never playing with your feelings—”
“Stop lying,” she cried out. “I know the truth, remember?”
“I know,” he roared back. “So if anyone’s playing…”
This…wasn’t making sense at all.
“The truth…” He looked at her. “What truth are you talking about?”
“Don’t treat me like an idiot! I may be poor—”
Blake let out a gasp.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck.” Thornton’s head was reeling.
Blake couldn’t help jumping back when Thornton’s dark gaze suddenly swung towards her.
“The truth you were talking about…”
“It’s about me being…rich?”
Blake only stared at him, but the look in her eyes spoke volumes.
“Don’t call me that.”
“Why not?” Thornton’s voice was strangely uneven. “When it’s the truth?”
She started shaking her head. “Please, Thorn—”
“When you told me you knew the truth earlier, did you know what I think?” Thornton’s lips twisted into a crooked smile. “I thought you were talking about my feelings.”
Blake’s eyes widened.
“I thought you meant…you knew I loved you.”
—and found herself unable to breath.
“And that you didn’t welcome my feelings because you were choosing Teller over me.”
Blake’s knees buckled.
And she started to fall.
But her beloved was there to catch her.
“Thorn.” She was crying by the time he swept her up in his arms. “Thorn. Thorn.” She couldn’t stop saying his name. “Thorn.” She wished she could say more. Because there was so much more. So many things she wanted to say.
I’m sorry. I love you. Do you really love me?
But she couldn’t.
His arms tightened around her, and a moment later she realized it was already more than enough.
“It’s going to be fine, baby.”
His fingers stroked her hair as he carried her back into their home.
“I love you, too.”
Thornton held her hand as he walked Blake to her car. It was the same SUV she had driven over a month ago, but this time she knew the truth. Just as she suspected, it was one of his many “spare” cars parked in Laramie, and one Thornton insisted she used instead of taking the bus.
That was all the warning he got, and Thornton could only grunt as she laughingly threw herself into his arms.
Looking up at him, she said sweetly, “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
He stared at her.
“So try not to feel insecure or jealous when…”
His arms loosened its hold all of a sudden, but Blake only laughed and still managed to land on her feet.
“I love you,” she told him as she got inside the car.
She poked her head out of the window. “I said I love you.”
“You already know how I feel,” he said patiently.
Blake pouted. “But I still need to hear the words.”
“Please? Please? Pretty, pretty please?”
“If I tell you now, will you promise not to drive and text?”
Thornton suddenly bent down, and the rest of her words disappeared in a sweet, hard kiss that had her breathless and wanting more.
He sucked on her lower lip hard before pulling away. “Your promise?”
His girlfriend nodded.
“I love you.”
She squealed, and he almost smiled at the way she kept giggling as he watched her drive away.
Life was good, he thought to himself as he walked back to the shop. All the heartbreak and misunderstandings seemed to have happened an eternity ago, and that was all thanks to Blake.
He had been ready to bribe and grovel, do anything that night to make sure he would be able to keep her in his life, but instead she had smiled tearily up at him and said, It’s like what you said. Everything’s going to be fine.
And it had been.
They had made love that night and talked everything out the next day. No fuss. No drama. Because that was just how Blake was.
And after that…
Life became really, really good.
And two hours later, it became a lot better, and it all started with a phone call.
He recognized the voice right away. “Slade. You’re back from Denver?”
“Just today, and…we’ve got a problem.”
Thornton frowned. “Kady?”
“Guess again.” The cafe owner’s smirk was evident in his tone.
Ah. Thorn’s lips pressed together. “I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
“I’ll take the car if I were you,” his friend advised.
“Depends,” was all the billionaire said before hanging up.
Thornton flipped the store sign to Closed and was parking his truck outside the cafe a mere ten minutes later. He stepped inside and immediately saw what the problem was.