“That’s great news. We’re happy to host you inside the castle if you’d like?”
“We’d love it,” he agrees. “This is a technicality really but you know Grayson is all about ethical partnering. He’s a good man, but I vouched for you.” His coffee arrives and he reaches for the creamer. “Grayson has high standards, but those standards are one of the reasons I’m by his side.”
“A savant and self-made billionaire,” I say. “You could be anywhere.”
“Grayson funded me. He gave me a future. He brought my ass in line, too. I’m not the good guy he is.”
“And yet you’re his best friend.”
He laughs. “I control myself because of him. And my new wife.”
“It was a beautiful wedding.”
“It was, wasn’t it?” He laughs. “You never think that shit will matter to you until you meet the right woman. They show up and just sideswipe the fuck out of you.”
Emma is instantly in my mind. Sideswiped. That’s an understatement. “Chance Knight.”
“What of him?”
“You vouched for him, too? Is that how this merger talk between your hotels and the Knight brand started?”
“It’s more a partnership than merger that brings them into our investment pool, but you know that from our talk yesterday.” He arches a brow. “Where are you going with this?”
“I don’t know, man. Something went down between the Knight family and my brother.”
“What kind something?” he inquires.
“Something that ended with him dead.”
He sits forward. “Look, man, his father was a bastard but Chance? That’s not him. I wouldn’t have done business with his father. He tried to get into our pool. I didn’t even think about it. Don’t convict the son for the father’s sins. I’m a perfect fucking example of that. My father was nasty personified. I’m not him.”
“But you say you’re not Grayson either,” I remind him. “Without Grayson, you might not be the man you are right now.”
His lips thin. “Yes, but maybe Chance is a better man just by way of his father leaving this world. And that sounds shitty, but it’s just an observation. I know the man. Don’t convict him for a crime his father committed.”
“We’re just talking about jumping into bed on this financial deal,” I say. “I want to make sure I’m not going to regret that decision.”
“I wouldn’t steer you wrong,” he assures me. “This is going to be good for all of us.” He softens his voice. “I get where your head is right now. My mother killed herself.”
I feel those words like a jolt. “What?”
“Yeah, man. She had cancer and she was forcing my father to take me in. She put a gun to her head and killed herself. I thought she’d want to be there for me, to fight for her life, but she was fighting for me. I don’t know why your brother did what he did, but it feels like they’re selfish at first. Look beyond that. Look for a reason that was selfless. You might find it.” He glances at his watch. “I need to go.” He knocks on the table. “Here’s to making a hell of a lot of money together.” He stands up and leaves.
I stare after him, thinking about Hunter who had the world in his hands. “Why?” I whisper. It doesn’t make sense.
The doors chime and I look up to find Savage and another man walking toward me. The stranger is tall and broad, probably six-foot-three, with dark hair tied at his nape, a cool confidence about him. I stand as they arrive. “Blake Walker,” the stranger announces, shaking my hand. “One of the founders of Walker Security. I didn’t know you knew Eric.”
“How do you know him?” I ask, giving Savage a nod and the three of us sit.
“We do contract security for Bennett Enterprises,” Blake says. “They’re good people. Knight Senior was not. And York Waters. York is not even close to a good person.”
“Blake’s the hacker I told you about,” Savage says. “People all over the world come to him to dig up secrets.”
“And the Knight family has secrets,” Blake says. “Dark, dirty secrets.”
I walk into my brother’s luxurious corner office, and thank God, his secretary is on vacation and the temp is nowhere to be found. The coast is clear and I shut the door. Not sure how long I have, I rush toward his desk and try the drawer. It’s locked. I curse and pull open the middle drawer. No key. Inhaling, I remember the survival classes my father made me take and I grab a paperclip, open it up and stick it into the lock. It’s a struggle but it works. The drawer opens. I pull my phone from my jacket pocket where I stuck it at some point, ready to take photos if needed, but telling myself that’s nuts. This is Chance. There’s nothing to find and photograph.