CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

Emma…

He says that we are full of possibilities. I say that we are full of possibilities lost before they were ever found. But the only words left to speak are goodbye. Because that’s where my story leads us. “I wanted to say yes to moving in with you, even if it was a trial. It’s fast, but we have states separating us. I wanted to get to know you, Jax. I felt the possibilities, too. I did.”

“Felt? They still exist, Emma.”

“I wanted to say yes,” I repeat. I need him to know that. I need him to know that there was never a “no” for him. Ever. On anything.

“But you didn’t,” he responds this time. “You weren’t going to, you’re not going to,” he says. “We both knew that, and this is why, whatever this is.”

“Yes,” I confirm. “Well, this and your brother. This isn’t about him, by the way. No. We’re layers of complications. But back to the living situation. I had to tell you this first. It was the right thing to do because it’s that big and,” I swallow hard, “and the idea that we go to Germany before we move in together, I needed that. I needed to know that we were solid before I told you what I have to tell you. And I knew I had to tell you about this—about my past, before I moved in with you. The right time, right?”

“Tell me just what you have to tell me for me to deal with this, Emma.”

My cellphone rings, and Jax reaches around me and grabs it from the island. “Your brother.”

“I have to talk to him. Please, Jax. If he’s calling right now, it’s not a coincidence. Look, York’s threat has merit. Something is going on.”

Jax hands me the phone but doesn’t let go. “Just your brother. Not York yet. We need to talk first.”

He’s right. I hate it, but he’s right. “Yes. I agree.” He releases my phone, and I take the call. “Chance?”

“If York calls, don’t take the call.”

“Why would York call me?” I ask, sharing a look with Jax.

“Because he’s pissed at me and I don’t want him using you to get to me.” He doesn’t give me time to respond. “Marion was fucking dad.”

I swallow hard. It’s out. This is blowing up. “We talked about this,” I say, and to give Jax a heads up on what’s happening, I add, “I thought there was something going on between Marion and dad.”

“Yeah well, this shit just got heavier. Someone sent photos of them together to mom, He’s dead and they still did that shit. She called. And she heard that I was having lunch with York, and that really set her off. She’s worried about you with York. I don’t know what that freakout was all about but I told her you hate him. And of course, how he hates me, too.”

I go cold inside. “What does that mean?”

“I met with him today, for old times’ sake, I gave him a heads up about what’s to come.”

“Which is what?”

“I told mom we’ll fight for her. Marion is out. I’m going to Monroe and telling him everything, and of course, York is afraid Monroe will divorce Marion and pull his funding.”

“He will, and you can’t do this, Chance.”

“I sure as hell can and am,” he assures me. “Why do you even care? You hate York. I don’t know why, but you do.”

“What if Monroe blames us and pulls his business? I have good reason to believe the Sawyer brand is coming after us, which has to be a topic for another day, but don’t do this now. Just wait. I need to deal with this. If you value our brand, wait.”

“What the hell is this, Emma?”

I turn away from Jax. “Nothing good. York already called me. He left me a message. A coded threat. He’s got something on me, Chance. It could hurt our business. Please trust me.” I rotate and face Jax again. “I need you to back off and give me a few hours to sort this out.”

“He’s blackmailing you? Is that bastard blackmailing you? And us? Is he blackmailing us?”

Jax hears the question, I see it in his face, and he arches a brow, silently asking me the same question. “He’s got something on me, Chance. Something that could hurt you and the company. And anyone else in my life. I need to talk to Jax.”

“Jax? Are you fucking kidding me? He’s probably behind this.”

Anger stabs at me, hard and fast, and punches through my words. “Jax didn’t make our father sleep with Marion. Jax didn’t do the things to me that York did to me. If you choose to move forward, well, I’m glad I’m not the CEO who will have to fix this.”

“Damn it, Emma,” Chance says. “What the hell did that bastard do to you?”


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