My heart swells. “You love me?”

“More than you can possibly know, baby, which is why I’m leaving.” He pulls away and walks to the door.

I cast Chance a desperate look. “Do something. Make this right. If not for me for Hunter. Hunter was our brother, too.”

Jax opens the door, and my brother gives me a deadpan stare. This is useless. If Jax is leaving, I’m leaving. I rush after him.

“Wait,” Chance says. “Don’t go. I’ll tell you both what I know.”



He’s going to tell us what he knows.

That statement stops my exit from Chance’s office. I halt and seal the door again but I don’t turn because I don’t know what I’ll do if Chance says one more wrong thing to me or Emma. I don’t know if staying in this office right now is a smart decision.


Emma’s touch and her voice, I can’t leave, not yet. I turn around, and she’s right there, wrapping her arms around me, tilting her chin up to look at me. “You know I love you, too, right?”

And just like that, those words soften me. She softens me in ways I never knew possible. “And baby, that makes me a hell of a lucky man and I do not want that to change. Which is why I should leave,” I say.

“No,” Chance says. “You shouldn’t. You need to hear what I have to say because I’m not your enemy, and I’ve decided to trust that you love her enough not to be ours.”

My gaze lifts sharply over Emma’s shoulder. “I’m not her enemy,” I say. “Right now, as far as I’m concerned, I might be yours.”

“I’m not.” He walks to the bar in the corner, near a seating area, and grabs a bottle of whiskey. “Drink? It’s North Whiskey. My father loved it. Honestly, so do I.”

It’s an unexpected admission, and Emma casts me a look, a question in her eyes. She’s asking me to stay. I nod, and she takes my hand, leading me toward the black leather couch a few feet away. Before I even sit, Chance is handing me a glass. “One of your finest.”

I incline my chin at him, and he looks at Emma. “None for you. You have to still have drugs in your system. You need to see a doctor.”

“I’m fine,” Emma says, tugging me down onto the couch.

“He’s right,” I say. “You need to see a doctor.”

“Stop talking about me. I’m not what’s important.”

Chance claims the chair across from us, a glass in his hand as well. “You are exactly what’s important,” Chance says. “I had nothing to do with your abduction, Emma. You know me better than that.”

“Was it Randall?” Emma asks.

“I don’t think so,” Chance replies. “He’s an ass sometimes, but he’d know Jax would follow you back here. He’d know we’d become the bad guys. That’s why I told him not to go there and threaten you, but full disclosure, I lied, Em. I wanted you back, and I let him go there to talk to you.”

“I didn’t think we lied to each other, Chance,” Emma says, her voice low, controlled, but she squeezes the hell out of my hand. “And why would you think I’d listen to him?”

“You weren’t listening to me but stack it up to desperation breeds stupidity.” He looks her in the eyes. “I’m sorry.” He downs the whiskey in his glass. “Good stuff. Really fucking good.” He sets his glass down and this time, it’s my me whose stare he meets. “I knew about Hunter, but I didn’t kill him.”

I down the whiskey before I throw it at him and set my glass on the table. “And I’m to believe that why?”

Emma wraps her arm around mine like she thinks I might launch myself at him at any moment. She might be right.

“I didn’t know the whole truth about what went down with Hunter until my father died,” Chance replies. “I found records in his safety deposit box that spelled out a shitstorm of drama.” He glances at Emma. “And plenty in his journals of which he had many locked away in his office.” He puffs out a breath and eyes me. “I’ll give you the files and the journals to confirm all that I say today.” He shifts his attention back to me. “I can bring them to you later tonight.”

An unexpected offer that still leaves me skeptical. “And what will I find in those files?”

“The DNA test that your mother sent him back when she was pregnant. Per a letter she wrote to him, she wanted him to leave my mother. He refused.”

I take that news like a punch in the gut and not a gentle one.

“However,” he continues, “apparently, dad was forcing a merger of the two companies, but Hunter didn’t want it. I was led to believe, as was my mother, that he did. In his writings, dad called him a pussy because he didn’t want to burn you and Brody financially. But in true form, our father knew how to get around morals, especially other people’s.” He slides his glass toward Emma. “Maybe you do need a drink. I’ll refill the glass.”

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