“And you denied me the right to know that he was my brother?” Emma demands.
“I would have told you. When the time was right.”
“And you were the almighty who decided when the ‘right’ time was?” Emma demands and then stands up. “The right time was before he was dead, Chance.”
I catch her hand, but she pulls away, walking to the end of the coffee table. “Did mom do this?” she demands of her brother.
“We never talked about it again. Just once. One day. I tried to find out, though, after Hunter died. I asked her. I hired someone to try and find proof that she was involved because I needed to know. Ultimately, I knew we all needed to know, but nothing was found.”
“And yet, she’s hiding in Europe,” Emma says.
“Not until after dad died,” Chance points out. “That was months later.”
“When did she come to you?” I ask. “When did she tell you Hunter had to be dealt with?”
Chance’s expression tightens. “About six months before Hunter was gone. I don’t want my father’s greed to affect Emma. I’ll cut my mother out if you save her inheritance.”
“Whatever that means,” Emma says, “no.”
“Get me the documents you found,” I say, despite her rejections. “If all of this checks out, then I’ll sign off on the sale of the castle to get Emma her money, but I expect you to be signing it back over to me at the same time, at the same table.”
“No!” Emma exclaims. “No. No, you will not sign that castle over for one second. I don’t trust Chance. He already tried to trick you. I don’t want the money.”
Pain darts through Chance’s eyes. It’s clear that he loves her, and that her anger and distrust cut him. And she’s not done. She points at him. “Give whatever money you promised me to mom. I want nothing else from this family.”
I’m on my feet stepping in front of Emma before she even finishes her last sentence. “Emma.” My hands come down on her shoulders. “There’s a way to do this and protect everyone involved.”
“We can’t be together.”
“That’s crazy talk, woman,” I say. “We can. We will. This changes nothing.”
“It does,” she says. “It changes everything.”
“I vowed to never let you go, and you said, ‘remember that, whatever happens.’ So, I repeat: this changes nothing.”
“You say that but what happens when you wake up one morning next to me and you see her?”
“First of all,” I say, “that’s not going to happen. I’ll wake up and think that I’m lucky as hell to have you next to me. And we don’t even know if she did this. We may never know.”
“But it will always be there between us,” she argues. “We won’t exactly be having family holidays.”
“We damn sure will. We’ll figure out what that means for us starting this year. We’re going to make this year special.”
“I need out of this office right now, Jax. I don’t feel well. The drugs and stress—I need air.” She twists away from me and heads for the door.
I let her go for one reason only: I need to make sure there’s no bombshell to sideswipe us later. I turn to Chance who is now on his feet, his hands on his hips under his jacket. “If you didn’t kidnap Emma, who did?”
“I don’t know,” he says, his expression grim. “But we need to find out.”
“If it was Randall, you need to deal with him and not gently.”
“That goes unsaid,” he agrees. “I’ll send you the documents I have to your room. You might see something that I don’t see. Where are you staying?”
“Of course.” His lips thin. “No Knight property for you.”
“Not now, but you gave me at least a little bit of closure, man. That took courage. And I appreciate the hell out of it.”
“I won’t protect her,” he says. “My mom. I won’t protect her. Not if she killed Hunter. I’ve thought a lot about this during plenty of sleepless nights. I won’t protect her,” he repeats. “You have my word.”
I give him a slow nod and then I leave with only one thing on my mind: catching up to Emma and never letting her go. Once I’m in the hallway and I have no idea how or why I know where to go, but instincts kick in, and I do. I head for the stairwell, and when I enter, Emma’s there, as I expected, leaning against the wall. I step in front of her, my hands settling at her waist.
Her hands find my hands. “You found me,” she whispers.
“I will always find you, baby. Always.”
Tears escape her beautiful green eyes, trailing down her pale cheeks. My thumb strokes them away. “Damn it,” she murmurs, catching my hand with hers. “I’m not a crier. I’m not. You’re going to think you just professed your love to a cry baby. I just—I’m pissed. These are angry tears. At my father and my mother. At my damn brother who did some shady shit obviously. I don’t want Hunter to be dead. I don’t want this to be the reason we came together and the reason we fall apart.”