I hurry for the front door, grab a light black jacket from the coatrack, and shrug into it before I remove the chair from the knob and exit my apartment. I don’t waste time trying to lock a broken door. I head downstairs to the lobby where people in suits and dress clothes bustle around. At the security desk, I corner a fifty-something guard named Jimmie who has been around for years. “What day of the week is it?”
He frowns and looks confused. “What?”
“Just answer, Jimmie,” I press.
“Right. That’s right. Monday would make sense. That means I was only out overnight. I need to use a phone.”
“Ah. Yeah. Sure.” He hands me his cellphone. Not what I expect but okay. “I’ll pay you five hundred dollars if I can use this for the day. Mine is broken, and I have an emergency.”
“Take it, Emma. You don’t need to pay me.”
I don’t argue. “Thank you, Jimmie. I’ll make good on the five hundred dollars. And my lock is broken on my front door. Can you replace it?”
“Of course. Right away.”
“Thank you again,” I say, already turning away from him.
I exit the building and dial Jax. He doesn’t answer, which forces me to leave a message. “It’s Emma. I don’t know what happened. I woke up in my apartment. I was drugged. Or I do know what happened. A man in a mask happened. Just—call me. My phone is missing. I paid the security guard at my apartment for this one.”
I hang up and don’t ask me how, but I remember Savage’s number. Funny thing how being nearly pushed to your death makes you remember the Jolly Green Giant bodyguard’s number. I get his voicemail, too. I leave a similar message. Next is Smith. His number was only two digits off from Savage’s and thankfully, I remember that, and thankfully, Smith answers. “This is Smith.”
“Thank God. Smith, it’s Emma.” I step under the overhang beside a coffee shop next to my building.
“Emma. Thank God is right. What is going on? Where are you?”
“San Francisco,” I say, “and not of my own free will. I can’t reach Jax. I need Jax.”
“He’s in the air. He had a feeling you were there. He’s coming for you with Savage. What the hell does not of your own free will mean?”
“Jax is coming here for me?”
“Yes. Of course. That man loves the hell out of you. He’s losing his damn mind. Now, talk to me and quickly. What does not of your own free will mean?”
He loves the hell out of me. I want to linger on that statement, but I force myself to push past it and tell Smith what I know. “A man with a mask shoved a syringe in my arm and then I woke up in my own bed. I thought York kidnapped me, because—because I was naked when I woke up. But then, my suitcase is here and that doesn’t feel like something York would bother with.” I start thinking out loud, putting together facts. “And my front door lock was broken. Like they broke in to get me inside but how did they get past security? My brother could but he wouldn’t undress me but Randall might and my brother could have gotten him past security.”
“York is in jail, Emma. He was arrested three days ago. Some of the women involved in his sex parties were underage. With the help of the police, we questioned him. We don’t think he was involved.”
A mix of relief and anger surges inside me. “I was right. It’s my brother. That bastard. That asshole. And he let Randall undress me? What kind of brother does that? I need to go.”
“Do not hang up that phone.”
“Smith. I need to see my brother. Tell Jax to call me on this phone. I don’t have my phone or my MacBook. And tell him that I really—I—I love—no. Tell him that I just want to see him. Okay?”
“Wait where you are, and I’ll have a man come to you.”
“I’m going to my office. He can meet me there.” I hang up.
Smith tries to call me back, and I want to decline, but I don’t want to worry Jax. I take the call. “I’ll stay at the office until Jax arrives. I promise.”
“Wait for one of my men to find you. We don’t know what we’re dealing with.”
“My brother is what we’re dealing with.”
“The one who might have killed Hunter?”
“We don’t know that,” I snap.
“We don’t know,” he agrees. “Exactly why you don’t need to be out there alone.”
“Have you talked to Jax?”
“Turns out my information was wrong. He was stuck circling the airport for hours because of the storms that just passed through, but apparently, he landed in Oakland, showered and changed in the airport first-class lounge, and got on a chopper there, right before you called. He’s in that chopper now. He’ll be on the ground and with you soon.”