𝘈𝘪𝘴𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘯 𝘒𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘨𝘪𝘳𝘭. 𝘞𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘴𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘨𝘰𝘦𝘴 𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘥𝘶𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢 𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘱 𝘵𝘰 𝘕𝘦𝘸 𝘠𝘰𝘳𝘬, 𝘈𝘪𝘴𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘯 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘩𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘵𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘋𝘶𝘣𝘭𝘪𝘯 𝘣𝘦𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘤𝘩 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘩𝘦𝘳. 𝘚𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘴 𝘴𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘶𝘯𝘤𝘭𝘦, 𝘢 𝘱𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘣𝘪𝘨𝘨𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘐𝘳𝘪𝘴𝘩-𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘪𝘤 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘴𝘩 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘧𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘰𝘳 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘐𝘳𝘪𝘴𝘩 𝘮𝘰𝘣. 𝘏𝘦𝘳 𝘪𝘯𝘷𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘨𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘴𝘰𝘰𝘯 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘳𝘪𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘪𝘵𝘴 𝘮𝘢𝘫𝘰𝘳 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘺𝘦𝘳𝘴: 𝙇𝙤𝙧𝙘𝙖𝙣 𝘿𝙚𝙫𝙖𝙣𝙚𝙮.
𝘓𝘰𝘳𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘋𝘦𝘷𝘢𝘯𝘦𝘺’𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘪𝘨𝘯 𝘪𝘴 𝘣𝘳𝘶𝘵𝘢𝘭, 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘦𝘮𝘱𝘦𝘳 𝘧𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘱𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘯-𝘦𝘹𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘵. 𝘈𝘪𝘴𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘯 𝘪𝘴 𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘩𝘦’𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘢𝘯 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘴 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘴𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳. 𝘚𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘻𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘰𝘰 𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘢 𝘮𝘢𝘯 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘓𝘰𝘳𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘩𝘰𝘳𝘳𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘢. 𝙒𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙨𝙚𝙘𝙧𝙚𝙩𝙨 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙛𝙖𝙢𝙞𝙡𝙮’𝙨 𝙥𝙖𝙨𝙩 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙧𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙖𝙡𝙚𝙙, 𝘴𝘩𝘦’𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘤𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘢𝘯 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘮𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘣𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘴𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳’𝘴 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦.
𝙒𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙨𝙝𝙚 𝙛𝙞𝙣𝙙 𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙨𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙚𝙨𝙘𝙖𝙥𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙪𝙣𝙬𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙢𝙖𝙧𝙧𝙞𝙖𝙜𝙚, 𝙤𝙧 𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙨𝙝𝙚 𝙗𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙚𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙙 𝙆𝙞𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙚𝙣 𝙩𝙤 𝙙𝙞𝙨𝙖𝙥𝙥𝙚𝙖𝙧?
My eyes trailed over the blood splatters all over Lorcan’s wifebeater and arms. There was even blood on his forehead and on his eyelids. He had the Devaney clan tattoo on his right bicep, a five-leaf clover. Every man in this warehouse displayed the same tattoo.
I fought my revulsion. Uncle Gulliver’s gaze was practically X-raying me.
“Aislinn, silence doesn’t suit you,” Lorcan drawled, flashing his white teeth at me. No blood on them, though I wouldn’t have been surprised if Lorcan later feasted on his victim.
“I say yes … to your proposal.” The last word left a bitter taste on my tongue and it felt as if I’d just signed away my life. Marriage hadn’t been part of my plan for the next couple of years, even before Patrick cheated. I’d always known Patrick was too immature for such a bond, and I was never in love enough with him to see myself at his side indefinitely, but this was something I’d only realized after his confession. Lorcan was far from immature, but a marriage to him would challenge me in ways I didn’t even want to consider at this point.
Lorcan’s answering smile was triumphant and possessive, and when his eyes dragged over my body, lingering on my thighs as if he could still see them spread apart like last night, a wave of heat rushed through me.
“That calls for a toast,” Lorcan said, then louder. “We’ve got a reason to celebrate. Aislinn Killeen agreed to become my wife.”
Howls and clapping echoed through the warehouse, sending a new chill through my body. Seamus came over with a bottle of Tealing Irish whiskey, and a stack of shot glasses. He handed one to me then to Lorcan and the men gathering around us. None of them seemed bothered by the fact that we celebrated our engagement not long after Lorcan viciously beat someone to death. This was business as usual for them.
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