Jax pulls me flush against him, all those hard muscles, all that male perfection, absorbing my smaller, softer frame, and I explode verbally and physically. “What the hell was that back there?” I demand, because the bad won’t go away. The accusations won’t go away. Death won’t go away. It’s forever, eternal, and I have to get away from it and him. “Let me go, Jax.”
“No,” he says, ocean wind gusting around us, moonlight and some sort of artificial lighting illuminating our struggle. “I’m not letting you go. Damn it, woman. I don’t want to let you go.” He catches my leg with his, molding us closer again, his hand on the back of my head. “Don’t you see that? Don’t you feel that?”
“Because you’re going to throw me off of the tower before I can leave?”
“Don’t do that. Don’t do what he’s doing. Don’t make me him, the way he’s trying to make you your father.”
That sobers me and a wicked calm comes over me. “You didn’t tell me,” I accuse, my words laced with the bitterness spiraling inside me, pulling me into the hell of my father’s creation.
He cuts his stare and then looks at me again. “It’s not an easy thing to talk about.”
“I didn’t expect him to be here. I was going to tell you all about Hunter and I was going to talk to him before he arrived.”
I stare up at Jax, searching his face, thinking about those moments with his brother on that wall, and I swear my stomach rolls all over again. “You think someone in my family, or someone close to my family pushed Hunter?”
He inhales and looks skyward, seeming to struggle with whatever it is in his mind, before his gaze returns to mine. “I’ve told you where I stand on this. You know what I think and feel. I haven’t lied to you, Emma.”
“That’s not an answer.”
He releases me, scrubbing his jaw before his hands settle under his jacket on his hips. “I don’t know what the fuck happened.”
I think of the night we met, and then the night of the boat party. “You sought me out because of your brother.”
“We’ve talked about this. I’ve never denied that fact, but ultimately, I don’t know what I would have done. You found me, Emma. You sat down with me.”
“But you were looking for me.”
He catches my hips and pulls me back to him. “In all kinds of ways that I didn’t understand, baby.”
“What does that even mean, Jax?”
His forehead settles against mine, one hand on my neck, over my hair. “We are nothing I expected.”
For just a moment, I live in the here, wanting to believe him. I do. There’s a pull between me and Jax. A strong, intense pull that is like nothing I have ever known. He’s a drug I can’t seem to resist, and yet, drugs can be deadly. Drugs can kill.
I push against him and stare up at him, the beam of the moonlight washing over his handsome face, highlighting the hard lines, the shadows that have nothing to do with the night. “You should have told me before I came here.”
“The only thing I didn’t tell you is how he died. It’s not an easy thing to talk about. And as much as I love this place, it’s not always easy to be here either.”
“And yet, you brought me here.” Accusation laces my statement.
“Because,” he closes the small space between us, his powerful legs pressed to mine, “I have to be here. I’m forced to be here now, and somehow,” he swallows hard, his lashes lower, emotions punching through my anger, his emotion, before he looks at me and tries again, “somehow, being here with you makes that tolerable. It’s not always tolerable, Emma.”
All kinds of understanding settles in my gut, and my flight instinct fades into the wind. I want to tell him that I feel the same when I walk into my father’s apartment or office, but my father’s not a good subject. I think he knows though. I think that this is one of those moments that explains why we’re so drawn to each other. Why we need each other despite every obstacle before us.
Swallowing hard against the emotion welling in my throat, I hug myself and turn in his arms to face the castle, the towering structure illuminated with tiny white lights. “It’s somehow both magnificent and scary.” I shiver with the words and the wind.
Jax shrugs out of his jacket and slides it around my shoulders, turning me to face him. “And your ability to read my mind is both magnificent and scary.”
“It’s scary for you, too?”
“My brother died here, Emma, and maybe he was murdered, or maybe he chose to take his life, but whatever the case, my damn brother is dead, and he died here. So, hell yeah, it scares me, but it’s still the closest I’m ever going to be to him or my parents ever again. I can’t lose it. I can’t leave it.” His voice is pure torment, and a tiny, dark voice in my head is whispering bad things in my mind. It wonders if my father thought Jax would let the castle go because it’s the place his brother died.