And yet…

Underneath the rage—

Oh God…

Blake could feel her throat going dry as Thornton’s black gaze kept hers captive.

So much desire in those eyes, hungry and possessive, savage and scorching…

“I can take it from here.” Thornton’s voice was a low, rough rasp, but not a single word was slurred and after exchanging glances, Ethan and Aidan slowly let go of their brother. Both of them expected Thornton to stumble right after, but instead their middle brother had no trouble remaining upright. It was as if seeing the girl he had been unwillingly obsessing over all these weeks had instantly cured him out of his intoxication—

Thornton crooked a finger at Blake. “Come to me, woman.”

Or not.

Blake didn’t know what to do. On one hand, she was absolutely, hopelessly entranced by this new side of Thorn’s, and every cell in her already-trembling bod was begging for her to submit to his command.

But on the other hand, there was the undeniable fact that he wasn’t exactly sober. What if doing what he asked, she thought anxiously, was tantamount to taking advantage of him?

Thinking that Ethan or Aidan could tell her what was best to do, she turned towards them but wasn’t even given the chance to get a single word out. The moment her gaze moved away, Thornton visibly bristled in aggression and his voice lashed out in a growl. “Don’t!”

Blake froze.

“You can only look at me,” Thornton gritted out. “Because I’m your man.”

And at this point, Ethan and Aidan could no longer keep it together. The youngest Blackwood was practically doubled over as he guffawed over his brother’s words. The police chief, on the other hand, was doing a rather poor job disguising his snickers with a continuous bout of coughs.

And throughout it, Thornton still hadn’t stopped talking—

“You’re my woman, Blake. Never forget that! My woman!”

Ethan took his phone out. This was just too good not to record, he thought with a smirk.

“I’ll kill any man who’d dare take you away from me. Fucking kill them. Fucking mean it. Gonna kill any sonuvabitch who thinks he can look at my Blake and get away with it.”

Aidan’s ears were ringing. So this was what happened when you were the strong and silent type like his twin. Getting drunk was the only time those vocal chords were finally put to work, with the way Thornton was roaring his every word out.

He was about to remark on this to Ethan when he saw his younger brother training his iPhone on a still-raging Thornton. “You know that’s illegal, right?” Aidan felt obliged to point out.

“I’m only doing this because Blake wants a copy of Thornton’s first drunken confession,” Ethan said innocently. “Right, Blake?”

Blake, who had heard what Ethan said, could only nod fervently. Yes, oh, dear Lord, yes, she totally wanted a copy of—

“Stop looking at other men,” Thornton roared. “Can’t I be enough for you?”


Blake immediately turned to face Thornton again.

“Because to me, you are.”

Blake could feel herself melting even as she heard Thornton’s brothers start laughing again.

“You’re all I can think of these days.”

In the corner of her eye, she saw Ethan’s shoulders shaking so bad, she had a feeling that the video he was recording would be as headache-inducing as a Paranormal Activity found-footage clip. She wished she could tell him to pretty please keep a steady hand while filming, but at that moment she was just a little too busy…

Thornton was finally moving towards her, and the look in his eyes…oh, she could drown herself in those dark, burning pools of passion—

Aidan noticed the purposeful way in which Thornton strode towards Blake. Damn. This was honestly the first time he and Ethan had seen their brother drunk, and they had no fucking idea what to expect. He knew Blake had some feelings for Thornton, but if she already had someone else, and Thornton ended up forcing a kiss on her—

“Thornton.” Aidan’s tone held a quiet note of warning. “What are you planning to do?”

“Remind my woman who she belongs to,” Thornton snapped. “What else?”


Aidan shot their youngest brother a look, and Ethan reluctantly stopped filming so both of them could stop Thornton before he did anything stupid. “Thornton,” he said again.

But it was as if his twin had already sensed his intention, and without warning, Thornton suddenly moved in a burst of speed.


In a blink of an eye, Thornton stood right in front of Blake, and she could only stare wide-eyed as he slowly reached down to cup her face. Her breath caught, and in the corner of her eye, she saw his brothers stiffen, both men seemingly holding their breaths as well as they waited to see what Thornton was going to do next.

If he tries to kiss her, and she’s unwilling, I’m going to have to punch him, Aidan thought grimly.

We should’ve just left him at the pub, Ethan thought gloomily. That way, he wouldn’t have to worry about (pointlessly) getting another taste of Thornton’s left hook, which had always been the meanest among them, even back when they were kids.

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