Her brows furrow. “Isn’t she with you?”
Emma can’t get out of the front door without a code; Jill would have had to give it to her, which means she’s still in the castle, just not here, where Brody could still be as well.
The wind blows over the high stone wall into the open courtyard that’s right here in the middle of the castle. I hug myself against the chill that I’m not sure is from the wind, but rather, the fear that I’d felt on that landing. The fear that I can’t quite shake. Saltwater settles on my lips, teasing my tongue, reminding me of how close the ocean is to our location. In turn, I wonder how close I came to falling down on the rocks that I suspect line the oceanfront. That’s how out of my normal head I am right now. Salty air has me picturing myself broken and dead on an oceanfront. Resisting the urge to go back the way I came for fear of running into Brody, I scan another hallway and decide it might actually be the path I should have taken in the first place.
“I just can’t get rid of you, can I?”
At the sound of Brody’s voice, I freeze, adrenaline surging through me, my options punching at my mind. I could run down the hallway in front of me, trying to escape another near-death experience, but I don’t even know where it leads me. I could end up cornered. And what does running do for me? Brody is Jax’s brother. I can’t leave Brody behind unless I leave Jax behind. And this family has a connection to my family that clearly has them screaming accusations of murder, while Brody seems to be willing to commit one himself. My father’s words scream in my head, demanding I listen. I have secrets, but his journal says that they’re nothing compared to my his own secrets. What about my brother? I’m not running. I’m facing this, starting with Brody’s threats.
I rotate and bring him into view, and he’s close, way too close for comfort, not more than a foot, but I don’t back away. I stare at him, tormented by his uncanny resemblance to Jax, a reminder that this man is his brother. And brothers matter, they do, but that only stokes my fury. At Brody for being an asshole and a potential killer. At my father for putting me in this position, for making me a target.
“I already told you I didn’t know who my father really was until he died,” I bite out, my voice vibrating with anger and that steady stream of adrenaline. “He’s dead, and he barely tolerated me when he was alive. Killing me would ruin your life and get you what? Revenge on a dead man?”
His lips thin. “I don’t believe for a minute you’re innocent.”
That does it. I’ve had enough of this man. Fear fades fully now, and I step toward him. I push that space limit I’d wanted to set only moments before, glaring up at him. “You know what I think?” I demand and don’t wait for an answer. “If killing me was your answer to Hunter’s death, then you’re the one who is like my father, not me.”
“Don’t even say his name,” he replies. “Because if I hear it on your lips, one more time—”
“Hey, asshole!” A male voice shouts out from behind Brody.
I don’t have to see the man who owns it to know who it is. It’s Savage, the big brute of a security person who Jax hired and who flew in with us and then left us at the airport to pick up a contractor who’s now working for him. Savage, who is a force of nature. Brody whirls around to face him. Savage steps just enough to the side to bring me into view, telling me he’s aware of my position, but his focus is on Brody.
“Why don’t you try and push me off a fucking landing,” Savage taunts. “I betcha you’re the one who falls.” He glances at me. “Go now, Emma, before this gets bloody.”
“Who the fuck are you?” Brody demands. “And what are you doing in my family home?”
“Apparently beating your ass,” Savage replies.
Aware that a fight will only make matters worse for Jax, I react instantly. “Damn it, Savage. That solves nothing.”
“I beg to differ, darling,” Savage drawls. “It solves a whole hell of a lot.” He glances up at me. “Go now.”
Suddenly, I’m grabbed from behind and pulled into a hallway, only to find myself pressed against a wall, Jax’s big body crowding mine. “What the hell are you doing, woman?” he demands. “You were on the ledge about to fall to the ground. Get away from my brother before he comes at you again.”