I recoil as if punched and then punch back. “Get away?” I demand this time. “Did you really just say that to me?”
“Until I get him the hell away. That’s all I meant. You have to know that’s what I meant.”
I suck in a breath and breathe it out. God. I’m losing it. I’m out of control. I’m shaking. “Yes. I do. I do, I just—”
His hands come down on my arms, and he pulls me to him. “I’m crazy about you, Emma. I don’t want you hurt.”
He says those words with low, guttural passion in his voice, and I grab his arms, holding him, holding him with all my might. “Come with me. Just come with me. We need out of here, Jax. Let Brody cool off and—”
Brody starts cursing at Savage. Jax curses in response. “I need to deal with this before they come to blows. You know I have to do this.”
Savage lets out a taunting chuckle that is long and drawn out. It’s a dare. He wants Brody to come at him, to throw a punch. I don’t even want to know what Savage would do to Brody if that happens, and my mother’s words come to me hard and fast. “Those who act swiftly, often act foolishly,” but contrary to her advice, I do act swiftly. “Don’t let them fight,” I say, grabbing the lapels of the suit jacket Jax still wears. “You might think you want Savage to beat some sense into him right now, and lord knows, I do, too, but that will draw a thicker line between you and Brody. Tomorrow, you’ll wish that you stopped this.”
His eyes narrow. “You’d protect him after what he did to you?”
“Emotionally based decisions feed regret,” I say, using my father’s words this time, but I would never speak that source name to Jax. “Maybe Brody will have regrets tomorrow,” I add. “Maybe he won’t, but I don’t want you to have regrets with Brody that I inspired. That’s not good for you, me, or us.”
“Us?” he asks, jumping on that usage instantly.
I swallow hard, wondering if there is an us. Can there even be an us after tonight? And, why does the idea of losing this man already hurt so damn badly? I never get the chance to voice those thoughts because Brody starts yelling again, and the rising conflict between him and Savage is evident.
“Jax, please. Go now.”
Jax reacts by turning me to face the long hallway that leads further into the castle, back the way I came, I think. He steps behind me, leans in close, his breath a warm fan at my ear. “You go now. Turn right and meet me in the lobby.” He cups my head and leans around me, pulling my mouth to his. “I’ll be right there. I promise.” He presses his mouth to mine in a quick, hot kiss before he sets me away from him. I start walking, and when I look over my shoulder, he’s already rounding the corner, headed into the fire that is his brother’s anger, his fury, that became his willingness to kill.
I need to be clear and take that a step further.
His willingness to kill me.
I tell myself to leave, but the idea that I’m the reason Jax and his brother are coming to blows is not a good one. I fret and then give into temptation. Hurrying back down the hallway, I stop at the edge of my path, but all I hear now is silence. I ease around the corner and find that all three men are gone. I’m not sure how that happened or where they are, but a weird jolt of foreboding has me running toward the hallway again, and I can’t help it. Fight or flight kicks in when there is no one to fight at the moment.
I start to run.
The hallway is a long and winding path. I think that description is from a movie or book, I don’t know, but it fits. It’s also why I’m breathing hard when I step into a big round room with the several arched doors. In hindsight, all those doors remind me of a haunted house in a horror movie. With no one in sight, I race into the actual foyer to find it barren of people as well. I start to pace, waiting on Jax, willing his return, and the replay of me on that ledge, of the hate radiating through Brody’s voice, his eyes, suffocates me. I can’t breathe. I need air. I need to think. I charge toward the massive dungeon-style door and try to open it. It won’t budge. I let out a growl of frustration as I hear, “Problem?”
At the sound of Jax’s operations manager’s voice, I whirl around to find the pretty blonde looking down her straight perfect nose at me. Jill doesn’t like me, but then why would she? She was Jax’s dead brother’s fiancée. I now get it with crystal clear clarity. They all think my family killed Hunter. If I burned in hell, they’d all be happy. “How do I open this door?” I demand.