Jax and I burst into joint laughter. “I do believe I’ll miss him when he’s gone,” I say. “Is he coming back to Maine with us?”
“I asked him to stay through at least Thanksgiving.”
What he doesn’t say is that he’s having him stay on to ensure that I don’t end up drugged by another masked man. I don’t say it either. I’d rather think of Randall, the toad, hung up by his toes.
My brother’s assistant, Becca, a pretty blonde who is all business and quite efficient, greets Jax and I at the elevator on the executive floor. “Your attorney’s already in the conference room.”
“What about Chance?” I ask.
She purses her lips. “Dealing with some crisis at the Denver location. Apparently, the manager has been stealing from us.”
I don’t gasp. This is the way of life in the hotel business. You just take the blows on the chin. “Just feed him cookies and he’ll be fine,” I say, catching Jax’s arm. “We’ll be in the conference room when he’s ready.” I tug Jax to the left, and Becca calls out, “I ordered chocolate chip.”
I smile and glance at Jax. “He eats cookies when he’s stressed, which explains why he jogs five miles a day. He’s always stressed.”
“Maybe the merger will actually eliminate that,” Jax suggests.
“One can hope,” I agree, halting us at a heavy wooden door. “This is it.”
Inside the conference room, we’re greeted by a Clark Kent kind of dorky, but nice-looking man in a suit who is actually named Billie. We’re quick to huddle at the table with Billie and go over the paperwork, which seems to be in order. There is, in fact, a document that is to be signed before the contract that spells out the exact reason for the signatures.
“It seems like you’re well protected,” I comment, surprised at how well this has come together.
“He absolutely is protected,” Billie assures me.
Jax grabs my hand and kisses it. “Stop worrying.”
“I’m here,” Chance announces, entering the room in a rush of spicy cologne, and wearing his favorite, lucky blue suit that he wears on negotiation days. I hope that doesn’t mean he’s here to negotiate.
Jax stands up and shakes his hand while I wave. “Nice suit.”
“It’s for luck,” he says, “and you know it. Don’t read into that.”
I smirk as Billie stands and greets Chance, while Jax casts me a curious look I answer with, “That’s his lucky negotiation suit.”
“Interesting,” Jax replies, and when Billie heads in our direction, he waves him off before he sits on our side of the table. “We can handle this,” he says. “But can you stay close in case we need you?”
“Of course,” Billie replies quite formally.
“There’s a breakroom two doors down,” I offer.
Billie thanks me and then exits the room, sealing us in privacy before I glance at my brother. “Do you have an attorney coming?”
“I don’t,” he says. “I felt that going with what your man put together would show good faith. And my lucky suit is not about negotiating today, Emma. We’re past that point.”
“Tell me something,” Jax says, tapping the table, his mind proving to be elsewhere. “Does Randall get anything out of the merger?”
Chance waves that off. “Randall doesn’t know about the merger. And after he threatened Emma as he did, I don’t know that I’ll recommend he stay on with Bennett.”
“What about an inheritance if the castle is signed over?” Jax asks, and it’s becoming clear that he is still looking at Randall as the person who arranged my kidnapping.
“Nothing like that,” Chance confirms. “Nothing at all. Like I’ve said before, Randall’s motivated to protect me because it’s security for him. I can say with certainty that he felt doing so meant getting Emma away from you. That’s where his head was when he threatened Emma. Could he have gone off the deep end and hired someone to just bring her home? I don’t pretend to know. We can theorize all day long, but unless he confesses or we corner him with proof, we can only speculate.”
Jax shifts with obvious agitation. “Emma can’t walk around without protection if we don’t know. If he did this, then at least we know she’s not in danger.”
Now I shift uncomfortably in my chair. “He’s right. I can’t live my life with a bodyguard, and I don’t even want to know what that’s costing you, Jax.”
Jax dismisses the expense. “The money isn’t the issue. Your safety and quality of life, on the other hand, is.”
Chance thrums his fingers on the table. “He’s money motivated. I’ll offer him a fifty-thousand-dollar bonus for confessing with the promise of no recourse in writing. Are you willing to sign off on that, both of you, right along with me?”
Jax considers him several long beats. “You really think he’d confess?”
“It’s all we have right now,” Chance replies.