Tellar quickly claims the wheel and puts the car in drive. “I need more information than I have so far, to tell Coco. Start with everything Meg said about Jared.”

I explain the entire encounter to both men in detail, fielding their questions, having no time for my own. When Tellar finally calls Coco, he keeps it short. “She says she’ll get back to us fast or slow, depending on when her contact responds.”

“That’s about as noncommittal as you can get,” Liam comments dryly.

“Yeah, well, the head honcho in this division is her ex-husband, who she occasionally sleeps with. And apparently he’s pissed off at her right now.”

I outright gape. “Ex-husband? And she still sleeps with him?”

“Yeah,” Tellar confirms. “It’s awkward, but it works for us right now.”

“Depending on how pissed off he is,” Liam comments. “We need an update from Josh.”

“He told me not to call him while he’s tracking Meg. He says we’ll just waste precious seconds that determine whether he finds her or not,” Tellar says as we pull up to the security panel at the house. “He left a meeting to handle this for us, by the way.”

We pull through the gate to Liam’s house, and that weird tingling sensation down my neck returns. I twist around to watch the gates close.

Liam squeezes my leg. “What is it?”

“Nothing,” I say, facing forward as we enter the garage. “I just feel a little antsy, I guess.”

“That makes two of us,” Tellar murmurs, the doors behind us grinding closed.

“That’s why we need to find Meg,” Liam says, popping open his door. “I’m calling Josh.” He’s out of the car in an instant, charging toward the door, though he normally hovers.

I start to follow, but hesitate. “How bad do you think the situation is?” I ask Tellar.

“I’ll let you know after Coco calls, but if we find Meg and we know where Jared is, it erases the unknowns we wanted erased. That has me feeling pretty damn good about things.”

“Liam doesn’t seem to feel that way.”

“He likes to feel in control. Right now he doesn’t, and he wants it back.”

“I like control, too.” I think of my nightmare. “I need control.”

“Exactly why he wants it. To give it to you.”

He’s right. That’s exactly what Liam is trying to do right now. “Thanks, Tellar.” I slip out of the car and hear his cell phone ring. I pop my head back inside. “Coco?”

“Derek. He wants to come welcome you home. I’ll get rid of him.”

“Nicely,” I warn, exiting the car.

He calls out, “I’m always nice to Derek,” which is completely not true. The two of them are like brothers, always at each other. Like Chad and I used to be—and never will be again. The idea twists me in knots.

I rush up the stairs and follow Liam’s voice, finding him in the living area, his back to me, spine stiff, one hand on the windowpane. “Tonight needs to change,” I hear him saying as I stop beside the couch. “Get him here to me.” He pauses. “I won’t be here after tonight. I’m taking Amy back to the safe house.”

My heart races and I feel like the ground is unstable. He wants to run and hide again, after he just convinced me that we can start a normal life. He ends the call and puts his phone in his pocket, leaning both hands on the glass now and staring out at the sun-touched Hudson River, though I have a feeling he’s not really seeing it. As if he doesn’t know I’m here when he always knows I’m here.

Knowing what I have to do, I inhale and let it out. “I’m not going to the safe house,” I state.

He turns to face me, his gaze flashing with stubborn determination, and I’m certain this is about to get tricky. Liam needs control, but so do I. And this time, I’m going to have to own the moment, not him.

PART EIGHT

The Visitor

“WE’RE GOING TO THE SAFE HOUSE,” Liam states, his tone absolute. “Pack a bag.”

“What?” I gasp. “No. We aren’t hiding, remember?”

“We’re fucking doing whatever it takes to keep you safe.”

“Meg didn’t try to hurt me,” I argue, crossing to stand in front of him. “We’ll find her. You had my dresses delivered, Liam. We just talked about our wedding.”

“And we will get married, and you will have your dresses to choose from. But I was also sure we’d get Meg on camera. We didn’t. We’re flying in the dark.”

“I’ll call her and set up a meeting.”

“That could be a trap,” he reminds me stubbornly.

“Who says I have to be the one to show up to meet her?” I retort.

He shackles my arm and turns me, pressing me against the round white pillar beside the window, his big body crowding mine. “You can ‘not show up’ from the safe house.”

“You’re being stubborn, arrogant—”

“And remarkably right,” he finishes.

“Remarkably wrong, though you really do have arrogant down to a science.”

“This isn’t a negotiation, Amy.”

“Exactly,” I concur. “It’s not.”

The sound of Tellar clearing his throat warns us we are not alone, but neither of us looks at him. We stare at each other, continuing our battle without words, with the same outcome. Total, complete disagreement. Until finally it’s Liam who blinks, his jaw clenching as he softly promises, “We’ll talk when we’re alone,” and pushes off the wall to face Tellar.

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