“You are not a cry baby. You’re human and I like that about you. You’re real, Emma. The most real person that I’ve ever known. We came together because we fit each other. I professed my love to a beautiful, intelligent, honest, woman that I need in my life. And who has yet to tell me that she’s going to move in with me.”
“I’m afraid of all the things that could go wrong,” she confesses.
“And if you can imagine even one moment, going through those things without me, then you don’t love me half as much as I do you.”
“I don’t want to be without you. Ever, Jax.”
“Then don’t be without me, baby. If there is anything Hunter has taught us, it’s that life is short. Don’t let ours slip away without each other. Move in with me.”
“Yes. Yes, I would like that very much.”
“Good.” I bring her hand to mine and kiss it and I don’t miss how pale she is, how dilated her eyes. She’s still drugged, still in need of rest. “Let’s go to the fancy hotel room I rented, feed you, get naked and talk about how to make that happen.”
Her tears fade into a smile. “Yes. Let’s do all of those things now.”
“Elevator or stairs?”
“Stairs. I might have slapped Randall. And I might want to do it again.”
I laugh, and we head to the stairs, my arm sliding around her shoulders. “I can’t wait to hear that story.”
She laughs again, such a perfect fucking laugh, and starts telling me all about it, and while our mood is lighter, there is still reality to face. She was kidnapped and Hunter was murdered. We still have no idea who did either of those things. And I don’t know if I can take her back to the castle until we do.
Jax hugs me close as we exit the Knight office building into the chilly wind, by way of a side door that leads to an alleyway. Savage—looking big and intimating in jeans and a leather jacket—is leaning on the black SUV waiting for us. He opens the back door to welcome our entry, and when I arrive at his side, eager to relieve myself from the wind, Savage says, “Emma?”
I pause. “Yes?”
“I promise to beat the asshole who did this to you to a pulp so Jax doesn’t have to do it and go to jail.”
This, I decide quickly, is Savage’s way of saying “I was worried” and “Thank God you’re home.” “Thank you, Savage.” I climb inside the vehicle where a driver is already behind the wheel.
Jax doesn’t immediately join me; in fact, the door shuts while the heater blasts over the goosebumps on my skin, offering blessed relief. Of course, I know why Jax is outside, and I’m in here with a nameless driver and an impressive heater. Jax is updating Savage on all the many bombshells my brother threw our way. As angry as I am over a few of those bombshells and at Chance himself, right now, I believe he told us the truth, some of which were painful truths to share. He didn’t kill Hunter, but my mother, she might well be another story. Somehow that thought morphs into the memory of me waking up naked and knowing that a stranger undressed me and God knows what else.
I jolt with a knock on the front window and the driver gets out of the vehicle, shutting me inside alone. A moment later, Jax climbs inside with me, and the split-second of fear that he’s about to hand me another bombshell is blasted away when he pulls me into his arms, his hand on my face. “I had to do this without an audience.” His mouth closes down on mine, and with the first stroke of his tongue, there’s a waterfall of relief that washes over me. The rest of the world is shut out. I’m with Jax, and only him, folding my arms around his strong body, absorbing his warmth, his strength. Every fear, every ounce of anger, every single thing but him evaporates into how much I feel for this man. This is not just a kiss. This is coming home. To some that might be pumpkin pie, crackling fires, or the sweet smell of flowers in the garden. To me, it’s Jax. He’s the only home I’ve ever known. And God, it feels good to be home, he feels so very good. “There are so many things I want to say to you right now,” he murmurs, reluctance in the way he parts our lips.
“Me, too, to you,” I say, curling my fingers on the strong line of his jaw. “Thank you for coming for me.”
He pulls back to look at me, his eyes a deep blue sea of emotions. “You don’t ever have to thank me for coming for you. That you think you do says so damn much about your family.” He strokes a strand of hair from my face and tilts my gaze to his. “This is how it’s supposed to be. You need me, I’m there for you. I protect you. I will never let you feel alone again.”