I could try to reach for it, but I wait.
When he peers down at me, I stare back without flinching, but the second his eyes are off of me, my gaze scatters across every inch of this place. Every window, every door. Every way out.
“You’re not getting out of here until I let you out,” Jase says absently when he catches me. So casually, as if he doesn’t care.
My lips purse as I wait for more from him. If he thinks I won’t try to get out, he’s dead fucking wrong.
“You don’t believe me?” he asks with a trace of humor lingering in his tone. I can feel my heartbeat slow, my blood getting colder with each passing second.
“There’s always a way out.” My words come out low, barely spoken, but he hears them and shakes his head before crouching in front of me again.
“Every window and door requires a fingerprint and a code, Bethany.” The way he says my name sounds sinful on his tongue. I wish he’d take it back. I don’t want him to speak my name at all.
My jaw clenches as I take in this new information and then ask him, “What do you want from me? Are you going to kill me?” The second question catches in my throat.
He runs the pad of his thumb along his stubbled jaw and then up to his lips, bringing my eyes to the movement as he says, “I went to your house with decent enough intentions. I wanted to tell you that you weren’t going to get anywhere and whatever rabbit you were chasing was only going to lead you down a dead-end road and get you hurt, or worse.”
I have to grab on to my fingers, squeezing them as tight as I can to keep from slamming my fists into his chest, to keep from slapping him or from punching him in his fucking throat as he gets closer to me.
“I don’t have the answers you’re looking for. I’m sorry about your sister,” he says and my stomach drops, it drops so quickly and so low I feel sick. “I don’t know how she died and I sure as shit didn’t play a part in her death…” He pauses and inches closer to me, a hint of sympathy playing at his lips before he adds, “She owed us far too much money for me to kill her.”
Dread is all-consuming as he stands, leaving me with a chill and turning his back to me. “I was being nice, giving you a warning and then you tried to shoot me.”
He takes three steps away, three short steps while staring down at his own shoes as if contemplating. The hard marble floors feel colder and more unforgiving as I struggle with whether or not I believe him.
He’s a bad man. Jase Cross, all of the Crosses are bad men. I don’t believe him. I believe what Jenny told me.
She’d said the name Cross over and over again. Cross and The Red Room were my only real clues to go by. At that thought, there’s a prickle at the back of my neck and I struggle to stay calm as the exhaustion, the sorrow, and the hate war with each other.
“I don’t believe you,” I whisper weakly but with his back to me, he doesn’t hear me.
“I’ll be nice again. Only because you remind me of someone I once knew.” Looking up through my lashes, I wait for him to continue.
His dark eyes pierce me, seeing through me and causing both the need to beg for mercy and the need to spit on him, simply for not having the answers I crave.
“If you’re lying to me… you’ll pay,” I utter and keep going. “I’ll… I’ll,” I attempt a threat, but my last word cracks before I can finish.
Without warning, Jase closes the distance between us in foreboding steps I both loathe and refuse to be intimidated by. So I react. All I’ve been doing is reacting. I spit in his face the second he lowers himself to tell me off.
The shock from what I did is enough to outweigh the fear as Jase wipes his face, his expression morphing into fury as he stares at my spit in his hand.
Before I can say anything, he grips my throat. His large, hot hand wraps tightly around my neck, and my own hands reach up to his in a feeble attempt to rip his fingers off of me.
The heat from his body engulfs my own as I struggle to breathe. My nails dig into his fingers. His body is heavy against me, practically burning me. His entire being overshadows mine with power.
“I’ll allow you to ask questions,” he says and pauses, letting the air leave my lungs and the panic starts to take over, thinking there’s no air to fill them, “but you will never,” he pauses again for emphasis, staring into my eyes as they burn while he concludes, “threaten me again.” Small lines form at the corners of his eyes as he narrows them, gazing at me and squeezing just a little tighter. So tight it hurts, and I struggle, scratching at my own throat in an effort to pry his grip loose.