“You need to talk to me.”
“I need you to let go of me, Jax,” I say, and I’m not talking about in this moment. I’m talking about forever. I now see my mistake in coming here. I see what I’ve allowed to happen.
His eyes narrow, understanding in his face. “Just that easily?”
“There is nothing easy about any of this. I need my phone.”
He pulls me closer. “No. No to the phone until you tell me what’s going on. And no to letting you go.”
“Let go, Jax,” I snap, feverish in my desperation now. “Don’t make me feel trapped right now. Not now. Not now. I need to stop this from happening.”
“We can solve this together.”
“I have resources,” Savage says. “If this is what I think it is, I can handle it.”
If this is what he thinks this is. Lord help me, Savage knows what this is about. Or he thinks he does. Of course, he thinks he does, because he’s investigating York, but he’s wrong. “You can’t begin to know anything, Savage,” I hiss at him, my emotions starting to get the best out of me. “Whatever you think you know, you don’t.” I shove on Jax. “Let go. Let go now. I can’t feel trapped like this right now.”
“Damn it,” he murmurs, and his hands fall away.
Relief and regret fill me. I’m confused and emotional in a way that I’m never confused and emotional. I needed to be free, but I want him to touch me again, and I know I can’t ever let that happen. “I need my phone,” I say, motioning for it.
I don’t have time to fight with him. I step around him, but then Savage is in my path, and he has a phone. “Get me out of here. Get me away from Jax now. If you’re supposed to protect him, this is what you need to do. Get me out of here and quickly.”
“I need you to tell me what’s happening, Emma,” he replies.
My chin lifts defiantly. “You need to get me out of here.”
“Not until you tell me what the hell is going on,” he replies.
“I’ll go myself.” I try to step around him, and he moves his big ass body right in front of me.
“For all I know, you’re in danger if you walk out of here,” Savage says. “I’m not letting you leave until I know you’re safe.”
An infuriated sound escapes my lips, and I can feel Jax step to my side. God how I feel this man in ways I never felt with York. In ways I didn’t know I could feel another human being. I care for him. Already he’s a best friend, a lover. He’s a confidant, which only makes me fight harder in this moment. I whirl around on him and do so with challenge. “You wanted to ruin my family, and you don’t know? I’m the biggest liability the Knight hotels own. I’ll be that for you, too, if you don’t let me call York and do what I have to do to pull him back. I need to make that call.”
“You are many things to me, Emma, but a liability is not one of them. Tell me what’s broken, baby. I can’t fix what I don’t know. You need to tell me now.”
“Don’t make me do this, not now. Not in front of Savage. Give me the phone.” I reach for it, and he turns me and presses me against the island, touching me again, trapping me again. He holds up a hand. “Go, Savage.”
“I’ll be on the porch,” Savage says, footsteps following.
Jax sets my phone on the island behind me and then presses his hands on the stone on either side of me. “Now it’s just you and me, baby. Please talk to me.”
That word gets to me the way he gets to me. He’s everything a man should be: strong, even dominant, but unafraid to use that word, to share a moment or even the power.
I’m trapped in every possible way. I’m trapped in the certainty that the day I met York was the day I ensured I could never be with Jax. The panic fades into something darker, calmer, and far more brutal. “He’s going to tell the world horrible things about me that will destroy the Knight name and you if you’re with me, Jax. That’s all that matters.”
“What horrible things, Emma?” Jax asks, his fingers brushing my cheek. “You can tell me anything.”
“I don’t really have a choice now, do I?”
“You do. I don’t want you to feel that with me.” He pushes off the island, no longer trapping me, no longer pinning me. “You can leave. I can tell Savage to let you leave, but don’t. We’re good, baby. And I know we’re new, but we are full of possibilities. Please don’t let York Waters take that from us.”