Savage Rhythm

By: Chloe Cox


But she never got the chance. The voice came rumbling from behind her, a voice she would have recognized anywhere, deep and resonant, the kind of voice that could have gotten rocks to get up and move out of its way.

“You really want to find out?” it growled.

And if she hadn’t been a fan of Savage Heart back in the day, the look on the frat boy’s face would have confirmed it. Declan Donovan was standing right behind her.

Declan Donovan was threatening the frat boy. For her.

“Dude, you’re Declan Donovan!” the frat boy shouted. He looked back at his friends like he was going to share the incredible news when a giant hand encircled his wrist. A giant hand attached to an equally giant forearm. Molly stared at the tattoos swirling around the cords of muscle and watched them all flex as Declan squeezed. Hard.

“Get your hands off of her,” he said.

The frat boy winced and dropped her arm like it was on fire.

“Hey, it wasn’t like that,” the frat boy said, all eager to be buddies. “Just a mis—”

“Get the fuck off my dock.”

The frat boy blinked. Molly couldn’t help it: she turned to look up at the man who was coming to her rescue, and only then did she realize that she’d been avoiding looking directly at him.

For good reason.

Her mind went blank, confronted with that chest. Donovan was huge in real life, his tight black tank top clinging to muscles she could see even through the fabric, his arms knotted up in hard ridges of muscle, his skin covered in mesmerizing ink. He’d cut his black hair short in rehab, and it showed off his square jaw and angular cheekbones, while his black eyes glowed with anger at the cowering frat boy. She remembered that Donovan had never been one of those wilting, skinny rock guys; he’d always been the physical embodiment of the powerful music he made. But now? Had he actually gotten bigger in rehab? Or was that just the sheer fucking magnetism of the man?

It was impossible not to stare at him once you got sucked in. Molly was already gone.

“Oh, shit,” she whispered.

Then she felt his hand on her arm, burning hot, and he gently pulled her toward him, away from the frat boy. “I said leave,” Declan snarled, his eyes boring holes in the smaller man.

The frat boy left.

Molly felt a thrill, watching the asshole leave with his tail between his legs, and that thrill embarrassed her thoroughly. How had she already lost her head just being this close to Declan Donovan? The more she thought about it, the more annoyed she was. She could have taken that guy. She wanted to be able to take that guy. To be the one to stand up for herself, to prove that she wasn’t helpless, that she wasn’t anything like Robbie or anyone else had said she was. To take back control. Molly felt like she constantly had to prove herself, and no one was quite as harsh a critic as Molly Ward herself.

But worst of all, now Declan Donovan thought she was weak, too. The one guy she needed to take her seriously. The one guy who…

Oh God. He was looking at her. They were so close she could practically feel the heat coming off of him, and she knew it was crazy, but she would have sworn, sworn, that she could feel those eyes leaving a hot trail up and down her body.

“Are you ok?” he asked her.

That voice. God.

If she thought she’d felt weak before, she had no idea what weak was.

Suddenly she was furious. Not really with anyone in particular, but with the world, the universe, whoever. This was so manifestly unfair—she had worked so hard, had struggled so much, and now she was just another damsel in distress? Bullshit.

“Is this your dock?” she asked him.

“What?”

“You told him to get the fuck off your dock. It’s yours?”

Declan’s hand had migrated from her arm to her lower back while he scared off the frat boy and he hadn’t moved it, not even as she turned to him so that it rested on her hip. Now his eyes met hers and it became very, very clear to her that he wasn’t going to move it, unless maybe she asked. Molly considered herself a strong woman, but not quite strong enough to do that. Not just yet. In a minute, maybe.

“It’s mine while I’m on it,” Declan said.

Molly licked her lips and rallied. This was stupid. Silly. “Like a territorial thing?” she asked, one incredulous eyebrow raised.