“You can’t live here with me if you’re afraid to leave me alone. And as I told Savage, Brody isn’t suddenly going to like me.”
“You’re right,” I conclude. “We need to just get a house away from here.”
“I love both the castle and the beach house, and I haven’t even met the woman in red yet. I vote we stay here.”
“If that means you’re going to move in with me, we’ll talk tonight.”
“About a lot of things,” she says, “but, right now, go. Work your North magic on your clients. Go. Get it over with. Goodbye.”
“For now,” I say, and I have no idea why I add those words. I just know that she’s hard as hell to leave behind. Perhaps it’s all the talk of Hunter’s death, but I can’t shake the feeling that leaving her behind is a mistake.
The wind gusts across the private airfield, forcing Grayson Bennett’s private jet to remain on the runway. While inconvenient for him, it allows me the opportunity to join him and Eric in the luxury plane to talk about the Knight empire. Eric gets right to the crux of the matter. “You’re in love with her,” he says, sipping North Whiskey from a fine crystal glass, across from me in a booth. “Which makes sense since you lobbied for her interest.”
I don’t ask who “her” is. The man witnessed the force of will that is Emma Knight. We both know who he’s talking about. Grayson, who sits between us, arches a brow, waiting for my answer. And I give it to him. “Yes,” I say, no hesitation in me with good reason. She came into my life. She owned me that easily. And there was never any chance I’d look back. “It wasn’t exactly my plan considering who she is,” I add, “but I’m beyond resistance. In fact, I’m all in which means—”
“Your agenda has changed,” Grayson says, clinking the ice in his glass. “The quality of your whiskey has not. Your father would be pleased. It’s damn good. He was a damn good man, an honorable man. That’s the kind of man I like to do business with. I believe you are one of those men.”
“I assure you I am, though I will admit to a hunger for revenge against the Knight family, and sins I believe they committed against my brother. But Emma brought me back to me.”
“I’m glad to hear it,” he says. “That’s a trek to make but one that we’ve all had to resist at some point in life.”
“We talked about getting a look at Chance Knight’s true colors,” Eric interjects. “Which were on board with considering our potential business partnership.”
I know what he’s made of but I don’t say that. I promised Emma a fair shot for Chance. I told her, in not so many words, that I wanted Chance to prove me wrong. I owe it to her to give him that chance.
“I’ve got just the shady deal that we’re walking away from to get the job done,” Eric continues. “We can offer it to Chance. If he runs with it, he’s just like his father.”
“And his father was not your father,” Grayson says. “That man was brutally cold-hearted.”
I think of that note he’d written to my mother and left inside the bottom of the hourglass, not to mention the way he cut Emma out of the family fortune. I didn’t have to have known the man well to know that’s true. “Emma is nothing like her father,” I say. “We all need to know which side of the line, Chance falls on—hers or her father’s.”
“Agreed,” Eric says.
“And if he proves he’s dirty,” Grayson adds, “we’ll force the merger with Emma in the driver’s seat as we promised back at the castle before I had to cut us short.”
Indeed, it had been a short meeting, just long enough for me to state the importance to me of Emma’s interest. I made that point, obviously, but I drive home her value. “Emma negotiated a potential truce and partnership with the Sawyer brand. A merger would make it unnecessary but my point in this is that she did what me and her brother could not. She found a path to peace.”
“Partnerships not war,” Grayson says. “That’s what I want. That’s the kind of people I want aligned with us. And that’s not an easy task she achieved. Not with that man.”
“Which leads me back to war,” I say. “The ones you want to avoid and the ones I might not be able to avoid. You need to know that through his right-hand man, Randall, Chance is threatening to come after me if Emma doesn’t return to San Francisco in the next few days. Before you ask, how he plans to come at me, it would have to be with lies. The only dirt there is out there on me is the dirty boxing in the boxing ring, I used to fight, but that was a long time ago.”