There’s a flicker of something in his eyes. Relief, I think. He really doesn’t want to talk about anything that leads to his mother as I’ve suggested that passage will.
“Instead of a morning run,” he says, “how about a walk?”
“Sure. Should I shower and change?”
“Not necessary. This will be fast. Echo is on my mind. He lives down the beach. Savage’s people have been there looking around and they say everything is in order, but I want to see for myself.”
“That’s a great idea.” I take a sip of coffee and scoot off the stool, flashing back to my last encounter with Echo as I do. He’d shoved me against the castle wall and I swear I’m suddenly right there in that hallway, with him standing in front of me;
“This path you’re on, if you walk in the wrong direction with Jax, I will make you and everyone you love pay. Understand?”
“I don’t know what that means. I don’t know.”
“You know. We both know that you know. Do not test me. This is your one and only warning.”
With those words, he had pushed off the wall and walked away.
I blink Jax back into view. “Just thinking of Echo. It wasn’t him. He didn’t leave me that note for me, Jax.”
“You can’t know that, Emma.”
“I’m not the humanizer to him you claimed I might be. He threatened me. He told me if I took the wrong path with you that he’d make me and those I love pay. He was protecting you. That man would not have accused you of killing Hunter.”
“Then why leave?”
My stomach knots. “We both know he wouldn’t. Something happened to him. Something not good.”
“I wish I didn’t agree,” Jax says grimly. “That’s exactly why I want to go by his place.”
I nod, feeling the urgency of doing just that.
A few minutes later, we’ve bundled up in jackets, and we’re walking the beach on a beautiful morning with clear blue skies, the ocean crashing into the shore, seagulls flying overhead. “It’s beautiful here,” I say. “Why would we want to live anywhere else?”
He stops walking and turns to face me, his hands settling under my jacket, on my waist; his touch warming me against the chill in the air. “Are you saying what I think you’re saying?”
I stare up into beautiful blue eyes filled with hope, hope I put there, hope he would only experience if I mattered to him, the way he’s come to matter to me. I catch a strand of his blond hair blowing in the wind. How could I not want to be with this man every day of my life?
“Emma?” he prods.”
“I want to move in with you, Jax. Honestly, I can’t imagine going back to San Francisco and not being with you here, but I’m afraid of getting here, moved in and getting cozy, just to have the world explodes around us. I want us to find Echo and find a few answers to what happened to Hunter first.”
He catches my hand and laces our fingers together. “We may never know what happened to Hunter.”
“Someone knows. My family knows.”
“Or, they’re just afraid of what they think I know, baby. Move in with me. Whatever else happens, we’ll figure it out. Two together, remember?”
“Yes, but my brother—”
“Will come around.”
“He threatened to come after you.”
“I’ve got some ideas on how to handle that we can talk about tonight after the Harvest events.” He glances at his watch. “We need to get going now or we won’t have time to look around at Echo’s place.”
“Yes, of course,” I say but he doesn’t start walking.
He lifts my hand and kisses my knuckles. “Are you moving in with me?”
“Can we talk about it tonight?”
“That’s not a no. I’ll take it for now.” His hands come down on my shoulders and he drags me to him. “I’m crazy about you, woman.”
“Show me tonight.”
“With pleasure,” he promises, sliding his arm around me as we start walking again.
In what turns out to be a good mile of travel down the beach, I try to remember that entry in the journal, certain it was something like: She didn’t tell me. Did she think I wouldn’t find out? And it’s hard not to wonder if that is a reference to Hunter.
I glance up at Jax who is just as deep in thought as me. “My father came to the Harvest events, right?”
“He came to at least one that I know of, but back when we were kids, before the Harvest started, my father hosting elite weekends for his top clients. Invitations were highly sought after. There were top chefs flown in from around the world to prepare meals to complement our whiskey. I’m sure he was probably at those.” He glances over at me. “He stopped doing them after my mother left.”
“That feels connected, not random.”