18| Brothers and Bonds

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He towered over me, his vicious gaze cutting through my confidence as he closed the little distance we had left between our bodies, making sure there wasn't an ounce of air left between us. His chest was pushed against mine, every breath I took countered and coerced into something more, his malicious warmth suffocating me until all I could do was feel him pressed against every part of me. It was a tactic to keep me in my place, but unfortunately for him—I refused to be the first to back down.

It was all his fault that we had ended up like this in the first place. He had riled me up to the point that I didn't care about what I said to him, all I wanted to do was even the playing field so I clutched onto the closest thing that would give me a semblance of control, and even though I had succeeded in pissing him off, I couldn't help but think he had gotten me exactly where he wanted me.

"I'm going to give you until the count of ten to take back your words, otherwise what happens to you next will not be my fault." I squirmed under his darkened tone, the promise of his words cutting through me with a harshness I hadn't heard from him before.

I regretted my need to provoke him as soon as it had come out my mouth, but there were some mistakes you couldn't bow down to—mistakes you couldn't let the other person know you had made. Calling him a coward was one of those, but bringing his brother into this—telling him that I was sure that he wouldn't mind fucking me instead—those were a dangerous set of taunts that should never have left my mouth.

Nevertheless, this was exactly what James had warned me to stay away from.

He had warned me not to get sucked into the powerplay, to avoid the game of jealousy Freddie had initiated the moment he had walked into the pub with another woman on his arm. James might have known exactly what his brother was up to, but he underestimated how easily Freddie got under my skin.

In those moments I was always too stubborn or too scared to see sense, all I wanted to do was aggravate him the way he aggravated me, and in doing so I tended to forget who he was. He was a cold-blooded killer who didn't deal with the ways of mercy, he took what he wanted in whatever way he deemed necessary, and since I had met him he had coddled me with his desires even despite the dangers that came with them, but now that I had crossed the line he had carefully set in place, I was going to find out exactly what it meant to get on the wrong side of him.

"One." He started off slow, giving me a moment to submit to his terms—any sane person would have given into him straight away, but since the first time I had met him, it was obvious I lost all sense of sanity whenever I was in his presence.

"Two." He paused again, but I pursed my lips together even as he tried to scare me.

"Three." The higher he seemed to count the angrier we both seemed to get.

He deserved every word that came out of my mouth, and yet here he was trying to punish me for his actions.

What did he even expect was going to happen when I found him with his pants down and his dick in another woman's mouth, did he think I was going to be fine with it—that I would just settle their drinks on a table with a smile on my face and then walk out the room?

He was delusional to think I wouldn't be pissed off after the confession he had made to me this morning, and especially considering the woman he had chosen to get himself off with.

Freddie had punched the crap out of my ex-boyfriend, he had smashed a glass over someone's head for making a remark about me that he didn't like, and he had saved me from the murderous intent of his father on multiple occasions. He had been brutal when it came to those who had disrespected me in his presence, but when the woman he had brought with him for the night had pushed me to the ground over something that wasn't even my fault—he hadn't done a single thing to stop her.

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