I look skyward, battling about ten emotions, I have to rein in before I look at him again. “I didn’t think my father could either. What happens if Chance was involved, even if he just covered up for my father? Are you going to ruin him, and me with him?”

“If you believe that, Emma, why are you even here right now?” he demands, anger pulsing off of him now.

All I hear in that question is nothing. He just said nothing that I want to hear. I try to stand up. He catches my legs, holding me in place. “Running from me now?”

“Don’t challenge me right now,” I say, jabbing his chest. “That’s not what I need from you. Just answer. Say the words I want to hear, Jax, because like it or not, we’re still fresh, we’re still new. Too new for me not to need to hear the damn words.”

“No, Emma,” he says, his jaw clenched. “I will not ruin you. I will not ruin Knight Hotels either. Because they are a part of you. That’s your blood inheritance, and unlike your father, I believe that’s your right.”

That comment punches me in the gut and I cut my stare. He’s seen too much too soon and I’m suffocating in his judgment of my family, of me. I’m suffocating in his judgment of me. His fingers catch my chin and he turns my gaze to his. “I don’t know why your father put fucking Randall above you, but I will not put my revenge above you.”

“Revenge?” I challenge. “That’s what you want? I thought you wanted answers.”

“Of course, I want answers, but there appears to be more players than I thought, as well. Do you really think York showed up when I did by coincidence?”

“That wasn’t about you, Jax. It’s about the secret he wants me to keep and if it gets out, and he ties it to me, he will lash out at me and my brother.”

He arches a brow. “Does your brother know this secret?”

“I don’t know,” I say. “I don’t think he does. I know. York thought I knew until I screamed that stupid comment about Marion at him. Now, he knows I know. Now, he’s going to think you know because of me, because I stupidly spoke about it in front of you. That means I owe you protection. And yes, I owe you a reason that he’s going to come at you. But don’t make this a mistake. Don’t make me sorry that I told you.”

His hands close around mine. “The only person I’ll make sorry is him. He might be vicious, but he has met his match in me, I promise you.”

It’s hard to feel comfort in a declaration of viciousness from a man I’m about to give a key to my future. And he promises. I’ve heard promises that meant nothing. York himself was full of promises, as was my father, but all that aside, there is something about Jax, something that makes me feel as if I’ve known him a lifetime when it’s only been days. “I’m going to tell you. I’m going to trust you.”

“And that is a good decision because I’m going to protect you, Emma.”

I don’t need a man to protect me. I don’t intend to let any man have that much control over my life ever again, but this particular vow, spoken after his prior statement of viciousness, and under these circumstances is one that offers some comfort, as much as I guess can really be possible. “Okay,” I say. “I found proof that Marion was having an affair with my father, which might seem small, but it’s not. It has a snowball effect, in so many ways, too many ways.”

“And why exactly does this worry York?” he asks cautiously.

“Marion is his aunt, and if her husband finds out, he’ll leave her, which would cost her a ton of money. Marion and her husband are investors in York’s yacht company. That means his family fortune is directly affected. And of course, I’m worried Marion’s husband would drop us as their airline’s partner should this news get out by way of our family. But more so, I’m worried about what York would do to pay me back.”

He considers this news a few beats, his expression hard, unreadable. He doesn’t speak, but he leans back and scrubs his jaw, sitting there another few moments, before he inches forward, his elbows settling on his knees. “Here’s the thing about affairs. They really are a poison that often leads nowhere good, often to revenge and nastiness. York showed up when I was at your apartment. More so than ever, I believe that was planned.”

“What are you thinking?”

“My brother was a savvy businessman. If your father came at him, he’d go after your father.”


Tags: Lisa Renee Jones Naked Trilogy Erotic
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