He shuts the door, locks it, and shrugs out of the tuxedo jacket, tossing it onto the couch as he approaches. I can’t exactly back away when I’m against the wall beneath the windows, so I do what I can do.
“Stop and talk.”
But he doesn’t stop and talk. He keeps coming.
“Stop, Jax,” I order, holding up my hand as if a hand will do anything at all.
But he does stop.
Right in front of me, the scent of him, all man and sex and spice, attacking my senses, even as his powerful legs cage my legs, his fingers diving into my hair. “Jax,” I say again, but he’s already kissing me, a crazy intense kiss like no kiss I have ever experienced. I feel it, I feel him, everywhere. A kiss that steals my breath and somehow breathes life back into me at the same time. A kiss that owns me and yet somehow in all its passion and heat, it’s not about sex. This kiss is about more, so much more, and I am losing myself to it and him.
Desperate for sanity, I shove on his chest. “Jax,” I whisper, but his mouth closes down on mine again, and I moan with the delicious assault of this man’s kiss. “Jax,” I try again, panting with the effort, and this time, he tears his mouth from mine and stares down at me, seconds ticking on eternally.
“Talk to me,” I order when he says nothing.
“You know the answer. I went to that ceremony for you.”
That’s all I need to hear. I try to scoot around him. He tightens the grip on my legs. “You know why. Do I really have to say more than I’ve already said?”
“Yes. Spell it out. If this is real, just keep it real. Say it and get it over with.”
“I was looking for the only Knight I thought might help me find out what the hell was going on with my brother in the days before he died. He loved our whiskey. He loved our castle. And yet he was in talks to sell it out from under us? Why? I need to know why.”
I want to ask how his brother died, but I’m angry right now. So very angry and that anger won’t let me focus on anything but his motives. “And you thought you’d fuck me to find out?”
“It wasn’t like that, Emma. Fuck.” He looks away and back at me. “I tried to talk to your father. He shut me down. He wouldn’t even talk to me. He also didn’t try to buy the castle after my brother died.”
I blanch and my anger spirals down a notch. “I don’t understand. Why did he want it before he died, but not after?”
“That’s a question I want answered.”
I circle back to the question I didn’t ask. “How did your brother die?”
“He killed himself.”
My gut knots just hearing those words. Suicide is not murder and yet, something feels wrong. He seems to read my mind, adding, “And nothing in his history said he’d kill himself,” he adds. “Something happened. I have to know what.”
“Something happened,” I repeat.
“Yes. Something fucking happened.”
“You think my father was blackmailing him?”
His lips thin. “If he was, why stop there? Why not bring whatever it was to me?”
He’s right. Why stop? Anything that would embarrass his brother would likely embarrass his family. I know this all too well and so does York. “And my brother? Did you ask him?”
“We talked once. He wanted to buy the castle. He knew nothing about prior negotiations to share, but claimed that his father’s will, your father’s will, required that he make an offer.”
My brow furrows. “So my father didn’t offer, but his will required my brother to offer?”
“Says your brother. I pushed him for details. He hung up on me.”
And yet, he told me Jax wouldn’t talk to him, but that is between me and my brother. This, now, this conversation, is about me and Jax. “He shut you down and you came after me,” I accuse.
“Yes, Emma. I came after you and then you sat down with me like it was kismet. But fucking Randall showed up, acting like he owned you, with his hands all over you. Suddenly, you looked like one of them.”
“I was never with Randall. I told you that.”
“I didn’t know that then. It looked like a set-up. Like you sitting down next to me was no accident at all. And so yes, I decided I’d use you. I made sure it was known that I’d be at the fireman’s charity function. I knew you’d show up, either by their direction or your own.”
I open my mouth to tell him that my brother had me go but think better of it. I settle on, “I didn’t go there for the castle. I’m not after the castle. I keep saying that, but I feel like I need to hit repeat. And I didn’t go to the fireman’s event for you.”