“That man. The blue-eyed man. Jax, he was on the beach staring at me.”

“Echo?” he asks.

“Yes. Yes, him.” My fingers curl around his shirt. “He was there and started walking toward me and then he was gone.”

“Baby, he lives up the beach. He has to use the stairs just past us to get to the castle. He wasn’t coming at you. He was going to them.”

“No.” I shake my head. “No, he stared at me like he hated me.”

His hands come down on my waist. “He was like a second father to me and my brothers. He was close to Hunter. He saw changes in him that seemed to coincide with your father visiting here. I’m sure being his daughter, and being with me, is something he doesn’t understand. I need to talk to him.”

“What visits by my father? Why do I feel like I’m missing something?”

He takes my hand. “Let’s sit.”

“So there is something I don’t know?”

“More an experience I had with your father here, that I need to tell you about.”

“Just tell me. I don’t want to sit. I can’t sit after Echo’s stare down.”

“All right,” he says, guiding me to the railing where we both rest our elbows, the ocean stretching before us. “I’d been traveling for weeks and Hunter wouldn’t return my calls. Keep in mind that I was Hunter’s next-in-charge.”

“And he just ignored you?”

“Yes. I came home and came here. It was shortly after my dad died. Hunter was in his office in a meeting and I was pissed. I walked right in.”

I turn to him. “It was my father?”

“Yes.” He rotates to face me as well. “It was your father.”

“Why didn’t you tell me this?”

“It seemed inconsequential, but last night when you were sleeping I dreamed about that night.”

“And?”

“And it’s been with me all day. My brother was pissed. He literally stood up and told me to get out. Your father was more than willing to greet me, but my brother didn’t want that to happen.”

“What did you do?”

“Walked right up to your father and asked him who the hell he was.”

“He’s not used to people treating him that way. How did he react?”

“He laughed and told me that my brother was a master negotiator and that there were big things coming between our families. I should have been happy about that news.”

“But you hated him instantly.”

“Yes. How did you know that?”

“It’s just something I felt as you told the story.”

“I didn’t want to say that to you.”

“Why?” I ask. “Because he was so good to me?”

“He was your father.”

“He was my dictator. Go on. There’s more to the meeting, right?”

“I left and he followed me out of the castle.”

“And?”

“And it was the strangest fucking encounter. He told me family was important. Family grows together. He told me that I’m family and we were going to grow together as a family.”

“He barely called me family,” I say. “That must have been some sort of head game. Maybe playing off the recent loss of your father. Did you ask your brother for more details?”

“He said he was growing our sell-in to your hotels. End of topic. I left him that night uneasy and that unease never left. And we were never the same. Echo came to me shortly after that meeting and told me that your father had been to the castle at least three times. He said that Hunter told him that your father was looking to open a hotel here and there was a partnership being negotiated.”

“Do you think he was going to sell the castle?”

“That’s when I dug into our finances, but I couldn’t find a reason why he’d do that. We were liquid, with cash on hand, and in a big way. None of it made sense then or now.”

“It’s like there’s a treasure here that my father knew about but your brother couldn’t get to without him.”

“Exactly,” Jax says. “I had that exact thought, but still, what the fuck would that treasure be?”

“I don’t know but I talked to my mother. I asked her about the castle.”

“And?”

“She got pissed. I mean furious, Jax. She told me not to ever bring it up again. She knows what this is about. My brother has to know, too. Before we go to Germany I have to corner him. We need to know what this is. How do we know it’s over if we don’t know what it was even about?”

Jax catches my hips and lowers his head near mine. “Whatever this is, we’ll deal with it together. You know that, right?”

“Yes, but that doesn’t mean we’ll deal with it well.”

“We will. Because we’re the good that comes from all of this.” He kisses my forehead. “Let’s walk to the castle and get our things. I want to get out of this monkey suit.”


Tags: Lisa Renee Jones Naked Trilogy Erotic
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