Kynan closes the door before turning to me. Without any pretense or polite consideration, he says, “Now why don’t you tell me why you’re really here?”

“I’m here about the job,” I say stubbornly.

“You’re here about Jerico,” he counters.

“Fine,” I snap, the stress and pain causing me to be a bit cranky. “I want to know why he did what he did.”

“And what exactly did he do?” Kynan asks as he crosses his arms over his chest and leans against the door.

“You know what he did,” I tell him. “I saw the look on your face when you spotted me out in the lobby. You know.”

Kynan shrugs. “You’re hurt. I get it. But explain to me exactly what he did to cause that.”

“He… he…” I stumble over my words, because Kynan is now making me doubt Jerico did anything nefarious at all by his laid-back attitude. But then I get my bearings and hiss at him. “He recorded us having sex. To show my brother.”

“But he changed his mind,” Kynan says smoothly.

I roll my eyes. “Just stop it. Don’t try to defend him. You know the intent was wrong and deceitful—”

“And you’re very hurt and pissed off,” Kynan interjects. “You want answers.”

The air in my lungs whooshes out, and I deflate. My eyes drop to the floor—gleaming maple hardwoods—and I whisper, “I want answers.”

Next thing I know, Kynan has pushed off the door and pulls a rolling chair out from the table. “Sit. I’ll tell you why he did it.”

“You will?” I ask as my eyes snap to his.

He nods as I sit down, taking the seat beside me and turning so we face each other. “I’m telling you only because I know Jerico wanted you to know the entire story before he left, but he wanted to give you some space so you could calm down a bit.”

“So he went to the Congo?” I ask, suddenly remembering that info. “And what’s in the Congo?”

“Famine, war, and disease,” Kynan says. “Raping and pillaging. Africa is a mess.”

I cock an eyebrow at him. “And Jerico’s going to bring peace to the country?”

Kynan grins at me. “He’s taking a team to help reclaim a natural gas plant that’s been taken over by rebels.”

My breath gushes out again, this time with fear. “Is he safe?”

“Of course he’s not safe,” Kynan chastises, as if I should know better. “But he’s good at what he does. I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

I nod, swallowing hard, but the thought of Jerico dying has distracted me now.

Thankfully, Kynan gets me back on course. He doesn’t pull any punches, either. “He’s in love with you. That’s why he couldn’t go through with his plan.”

My entire body jolts. It’s the last thing I ever thought I’d hear Kynan say. My heart squeezes painfully because I doubt what he said, so I ignore it. “I want to know why he was going to do it in the first place. He said it was for revenge against Jayce. What did Jayce do to him?”

“Are you sure you want to know?” Kynan asks me bluntly. “Because this could change everything in your life. It could make you hate your brother, or it could make you get past your anger to give Jerico another chance.”

I snort at both suggestions because I don’t give a shit about Jayce, and I can’t imagine what could ever make Jerico want to do something so vicious to me just to get revenge. “I’m sure.”

“Jerico was engaged years ago,” Kynan says, and this startles me. I thought the man was relationship averse. “Her name was Michelle. They were weeks away from getting married when Jerico came off a mission to find your brother and Michelle in bed together.”

I wince, because that just sucks for Jerico, but then I flush with renewed anger at this revelation. My voice quakes with anger. “He was going to show pornographic images of me to my brother just because Jayce was bumping uglies with his fiancée?”

That asshole!

Kynan rolls his eyes at me. “Please. Jerico would never stoop so low.”

“Then what?” I ask frustrated as I lean toward him. “What in the hell happened to cause him to do this?”

“Michelle was pregnant at the time,” Kynan says softly, and my stomach turns over. I swallow the bile down and tightly clutch the armrests of the chair. “Jerico was over the moon about it. And when he and Michelle split up because of the affair, Jerico was still over the moon about it. It’s really what gave him the ability to not sink too low over losing Michelle.”

“What happened?” I ask, my voice coming out raspy.

“Jayce talked Michelle into getting an abortion,” Kynan says.

I sink back, my energy seeming to dissipate. My head hits the back of the chair, and I look up to the ceiling as tears fill my eyes.

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