“Of course he did,” Jayce snapped. “Now go.”

He started to shut the door, but I called out, “I can’t repay you the money.”

“You don’t need to,” he muttered, still shutting the door.

My hand slapped out on it to stop the momentum. “What?”

“Jerico handled it,” he said angrily. Why he was angry, I have no idea. He got his money.

But that was something I really didn’t care about. I honestly was not put out at all by the fact I was losing the extra fifteen I owed to Jayce had I just stayed on a few more days and completed my contract. I had decided that Jayce could go fuck himself on that money. He was an asshole, and I wasn’t afraid of him.

Something else interested me. “Why does Jerico hate you? You sent me into a lion’s den to a man who had a vendetta against you, and I want to know what it was.”

Jayce’s eyes glittered with malice. He sort of leered at me as he hung onto the door for support. “Go ask him yourself. I’m sure he’d tell you all about it. You’re his girl, right? I’ve got busted ribs and I’m pissing blood because you’re his girl.”

“I’m not his girl,” I muttered.

I never was.

Jayce didn’t care though. He slammed the door in my face, and I heard the lock snick.

And that, I’m sure, was the last time I’d ever see my brother.

Sunday night, I fretted. I couldn’t sleep. A dozen times, I almost called Jerico to ask him to tell me the truth about everything. I needed someone to tell me the reason I was hurting so badly, yet I never dialed because I wasn’t sure I could handle it.

Instead, I woke up Monday morning, my eyes still gritty from intermittent crying and my inability to sleep, and decided I had to have the answers.

Unfortunately, Jerico wasn’t at The Wicked Horse. The few staff members I ran into were aloof when I walked in, but it didn’t stop me from asking if Jerico was in. No one knew, so I went to his office and knocked.

No answer.

No answer from his apartment either.

That’s when I decided to try The Jameson Group. It was the only other place I figured Jerico would be on a Monday morning.

“He’s not here,” the receptionist says smugly, and I blink my eyes to clear the haze of this weekend’s memories.

My lungs deflate with disappointment that I’m not getting my answers or the opportunity to try to mend my broken heart with the true story behind why Jerico did this.

“Trista?”

I turn to see Kynan standing just inside the entrance, having clearly just walked in. “Kynan,” I say distractedly, still immersed in the discontent welling within me. “Hey.”

He looks good, but Kynan McGrath can’t look bad in my opinion. And his eyes, which are always light with amusement and a free-spirited attitude, appraise me with a sympathetic warmth.

That means he knows what happened on Friday and probably has some answers.

“What are you doing here?” he asks causally as he walks toward me. From the corner of my eye, I see the receptionist lean forward to place her forearms on the desk, which I’m betting makes her deep cleavage deepen even further. Kynan doesn’t spare her a glance.

I can’t tell him in front of this woman why I’m here, so I go with what pops into my mind. “Jerico said I could have the receptionist job here, and I came to find out when I start.”

“What?” the receptionist screeches as she sits up straight in the chair. I don’t turn to look at her, keeping my eyes directed at Kynan. He smirks at me, knowing I did that on purpose, and then takes my elbow.

“Let’s go discuss this in my office. You can tell me why you’re really here,” he says with amusement, and then he turns to the receptionist. “Hold all my calls.”

“Kynan,” she snaps at him, and I’m shocked by the temerity of her tone. “Is my job in jeopardy?”

He gives a nonchalant shrug. “That’s Jerico’s call, not mine.”

“But… but…” she stammers.

“You can ask Jerico when he gets back,” Kynan assures her as he starts leading me to another steel door that has a security keypad on it.

“But he’s not going to be back for a few weeks,” she calls out.

“A few weeks?” I come to a halt and turn to look at Kynan. “Where is he?”

“On a plane to the Congo,” Kynan says smoothly as he punches in a code at the door.

After he opens it, he sweeps his arm toward the opening to indicate I should precede him, but I’m stunned and rooted to the floor. “The Congo?”

Kynan’s hand goes to my lower back and he gives me a soft push forward. My legs move even though my head is spinning, and I let him direct me down a maze of halls that I really don’t pay attention to until we come to a conference room that has a long table that probably seats around twenty. On the far end of the wall, there are six large monitors and I wonder what they’re used for in this line of work.

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