“Clay. We just met.”

“That’s fast,” he said, eyeing Clay. “Even for you.”

“We just met!” she nearly shrieking. She smacked him on the arm.

“Yeah, buddy. Don’t worry. I was only warming your seat.” Clay was in such a piss-poor mood after Andrea that he added a wink for effect.

The guy glowered at him. He clearly didn’t miss what Clay was saying. Truth was, he was in such a mood he’d probably fuck Gigi if he could get her away from Small Dick. But, really, he was itching for a fight right now to burn off the adrenaline. For a little while, it might even be better than a lay with a stranger.

Anyway, he knew he could take this guy.

But, instead of reacting to Clay, he blew up on Gigi. “Great, Gi! Just fucking great!” Small Dick slammed a twenty on the bar and reached for his jacket. “I’m not dealing with this shit again. Who knew that if I’d shown up a little earlier, I’d have found you fucking someone you’d just met? What else is new?”

Gigi’s brown eyes nearly popped out of her face at the words. “Christ, Marcus! What the fuck is your deal? I legit just met him because this was the only fucking seat, and you were late.”

“So, if I’d been on time, you wouldn’t have done this shit?” he demanded. “I bet.”

“Man, you have some issues,” Clay muttered. “I’m not into your girl. I have enough trouble on my own.” And she just walked out the door.

“Seriously, nothing happened!” Gigi said.

“Nothing better have fucking happened.” Marcus turned to face Clay menacingly. He narrowed his eyes. “Have we met before?”

“Doubtful.” Clay didn’t associate with people like Marcus.

“Wait, no. I’ve seen you on TV, I think.”

Clay shrugged his shoulders. He didn’t like where this was going. He never liked when people recognized him—his face or his name. Because that meant only one thing…

“Your brother is Brady Maxwell, right?”


It meant that.

Fucking Brady.

Clay glowered. Douche had to touch on the one other subject that’d set him off.

Marcus’s smile grew as he realized he’d struck gold. “Yeah. That’s right. That’s where I know you. Brady’s the one fucking underage college students and reporters and still managing to get his slimy ass reelected to Congress.”

Clay openly glared at him. His anger had hit an inferno. All of the alcohol simmered in his veins, throwing his logic to the wind. A lot had changed between Clay and Brady since he and Liz had gotten together. Clay still thought Brady was a pompous, self-important dick, and at another time, he would have let other people call his brother on it.

But not now.

Not about Liz.

She was single-handedly the best thing that had ever happened to the Maxwells. Crazy to think about after all the shit they’d gone through to get where they were at the moment.

Clay didn’t even respond to Marcus’s comment. He just let his fist fly. It connected with the douche’s cheek with a satisfying crack. It hurt like a bitch and split Clay’s knuckles open, but damn, did it look good when Marcus rocked backward from the force of the hit. Clay followed it up with a punch to the gut. Marcus doubled over, gasping for breath, when Clay brought his knee up to connect with Marcus’s nose, which broke on contact.

“Fuck!” Gigi swore.

Clay righted the guy and grabbed him by the front of his coat. He slammed Marcus backward against the bar. “Don’t ever fucking talk about my family, you piece of shit.”

Blood was pouring from Marcus’s nose, and Clay was drawing attention to them.

“Let him go!” Gigi cried, yanking on Clay’s arms. “That’s enough. Let him go, Clay.”

“What the fuck?” Marcus wheezed. He was clutching his nose.

“Go fuck yourself,” Clay spat.

“I could press fucking assault charges, you asswipe!”

Clay laughed. “I’d just love to see that.”

“My girlfriend is a fucking attorney.”

Clay smiled, glancing at Gigi, whose olive skin had paled considerably. She looked frightened.

“Another thing we have in common, and I’m one of the best in the goddamn city. So, again, go fuck yourself.”

“Just leave,” Gigi told him. “He’s not going to press charges. Just get out of here. For your brother’s sake, if not your own.”

Clay laughed humorlessly. “Whatever.”

He stumbled out of the bar and into the cold bitter air. It immediately sobered him up some, and he shook out his hand. The fog had started to lift, and pain returned slightly with the shift.

What the fuck is wrong with me?

He shouldn’t have let Andrea upset him. Not enough to purposely pick a bar fight with a stranger. He had definitely assaulted that guy, unprovoked. He’d be fucked if Marcus did actually press charges. Didn’t matter if Clay was one of the best lawyers in the city. People were always out for blood when it came to the perfect Maxwells.

And he’d drawn first blood.

He wiped his hands down his face. He needed to just go the fuck home and sleep off this shit. Deal with it in the morning with a clear head.

He stumbled down the street, away from the bar, removing his phone from his jacket pocket. He typed out a text to Andrea as he walked in the general direction of his apartment.

Thinnkk o me as he fcks u n kno I cld b makin you cum.

He was about to send it when he got an incoming text.

Savi’s coming into town for NYE. Liz wants you to bring Andrea if you’re both free.

Clay stared at the crisp text message from his perfect older brother. He hadn’t seen their younger sister, Savannah, since the election. She was a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, majoring in journalism, and was always fucking busy. It’d be good to see her even if she and Brady would gang up on him.

Clay responded eloquently.

Fuck you.

A response came almost immediately.

Always a pleasure, Clay.

Clay nearly threw the phone, and then he remembered the text to Andrea. He pressed Send, his anger heating back up. Fuck everyone tonight.

“Stop right there.”

The cold barrel of a gun was pressed against his temple.