I dig in my heels. “Stop. Stop, Jax.” We’ve just reached the beam of the property lights, and I rotate to stand in front of him, planting my hands on the solid wall of his chest. “There are things going on that we can’t discuss right this minute. Please. Call Savage. Have his men stop the woman in the red dress. Now. Before it’s too late.”

“Emma—”

“I don’t know if she’s your mother, but she’s someone who knew to wear a red dress.”

“Jill wore a red dress tonight,” he reminds me. “And you know that she isn’t happy that you’re here. She could be playing games with you.”

And right now, more than ever, I wonder why Jill hates me as much as she does. I wonder where she falls in this nightmare. “And if it’s not Jill?” I challenge, but I don’t give him time to reply. “Just call Savage. Put my mind at rest.”

His jaw flexes, his expression hard lines and shadows, unreadable, but torment radiates off of him. And this is just his reaction to the topic of his mother. He doesn’t even know the rest of the story yet. “Jax,” I whisper urgently.

He reaches into his jacket and pulls out his phone, punching a number, and placing his cell to his ear. Almost immediately he says, “I need to know if there’s a woman in a red dress who was near my castle tower or on the beach.” He listens for a moment and eyes me. “How many women in red dresses?” His expression tightens. “Find out if they were there and look at the security feed. We’ll be at the house. No. Emma is wet and do not, and I mean do not, make a smart-ass remark about that statement, Savage, or I will hurt you.” He hangs up and slides his phone into his pocket. “Four women in red dresses. He’s locating each of them. Now. Let’s go to the house.”

My feet are still set solid in the sand. “What if they find her? We need to be here.”

“You’re soaked, Emma. You’re shivering.”

I drop my shoes. “I’m not shivering, and it’s just my hose that are soaked.” I yank up my dress to mid-thigh and start peeling down the hose on one side.

“What are you doing?”

I toss the one hose away and start on dragging down the other. “Warming up and making myself acceptable again.” I toss the second hose. “Let’s go inside and wait on Savage’s update. And you need to finish attending to business.” I grab his arm and start walking, trying to drag this six-foot-two and two-hundred-plus-pound man with me.

It doesn’t work.

He catches my forearm and turns me to him, and now he’s dragging me to him. “What is going on, Emma?” he demands, his voice low, and yet, it radiates with tension. He knows there’s a real problem. He knows I’m rattled, and underneath all that cool, calm masculinity, he’s rattled, too. That DNA test has opened up more than one grave tonight and yanked out more than ghosts. It’s brought forth demons, his demons, and it scares me. For him. For my brother. For all of us. But there is no turning back now.

“Someone left me a note,” I confess, and I do so without hesitation. There is no part of me that doubts this man. I trust Jax. I need to protect him. “It wasn’t a good note. And then that woman was watching me from the edge of the beach by the castle. She was watching me, and I think that she left me that note.”

“And what did this note say?”

“Not here. Not now. I’ll tell you about it when we’re alone.”

He seems to let that go quite easily, instead asking, “Why were you on the beach, Emma? What was this woman watching you do?”

“I tore up the note and threw it in the water.”

His eyes darken and narrow. “Why, Emma? What did the note say?”

I can’t wait to tell hm. He needs to understand why the woman in red is important. “It seemed to suggest that your brother was not only murdered, but it named two people who had a motive for killing him. You were one of those two people, Jax.”

He gives me a deadpan stare. “And who was the second?”

No denial when most people would scream, “I didn’t do it!” Just “who was the second,” but I don’t see this as guilt, but rather the opposite. He’s not the one that matters in his mind. He’s not important. The real killer, who he desperately wants to locate, is important. Knowing this, knowing he sees the other name as his target, my brother’s name does not want to leave my lips.

Footsteps sound, with Savage charging toward us, and he has something in his hand that I can’t make out. Jax turns back to me, focused on that name, I have yet to offer up to him. “Who, Emma?” he demands softly.


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