Page 41 of Coercion

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It’s a tooth-and-nail fight, even if you have the money, which I do.And if this is for Bristol and the twins, I don’t want that.I don’t want the high-stakes decisions and the inevitable disappointment.

“You said Bristol loves the beach.”

“Yes.She loves the fucking beach.And obviously—” I suppress the urge to throw up a bottle’s worth of tequila at the thought of getting that photo of the twins.“Security would be a nightmare.”

“It’s not a nightmare at my house.”

“We can’t move in with you, Emerson.”

“I wouldn’t dream of suggesting that.”A quirk at the corner of his mouth says he would suggest it if he thought it was for the best.“I meant you could consider moving in next door.”

“Next door toyou?”


“How the hell would I pull that off, Em?You have neighbors.”

“Ihadneighbors.Now I have a second house.”


“Because when Daphne moved in, Leo offered the closest neighbors a buyout at half a million over asking and acquired the property across the street in the deal.”


“Security.The teams are stationed in a gatehouse across the street, which is the same style as the cottage on the property so it’s not so conspicuous.The plan can adjust to wrap around both houses.”

I don’t know what to do with an offer that’s not a challenge.I wouldn’t have to punch anyone.Fight anyone.I could just…give that to Bristol.

“I’ll think about it.”


“I said I’llthinkabout it.”

Emerson gives me a slow nod.“…okay.”

Now that I’ve gotten a grip, though, there’s still something I need to know.“Why aren’t you angry about Mom?”

He blinks.Pauses.“She’s alive.”

“That’s it?”I sound astonished.“It’s that simple?She’s alive, so you’re not pissed?Sheleft.”

A small shake of his head.“I just tried not to think of her.It was…” His lips form a thin line.“I never wanted to think of her being dead.I’m not angry that she’s alive.”

Sin pushes a hand through his hair.“When I figure out where she is, what do you want me to do?Should I schedule a dinner?”

“No.”I’m too loud, and another wave of frustration rings heat around my neck.“Obviously not.We’re not one big, happy family.”

“Well.”Emerson shrugs.“We never will be, but that’s not her fault.That’s Dad’s fault.”

No.It’smyfault.I’m the reason she left in the first place.I’m the reason we lived in hell.But my brothers don’t know that.They’ll never understand.And if I told them—if Imadethem understand—they wouldn’t want anything to do with me.



For the secondFriday in a row, we pick up the twins from school and head out of the city for a family get-together.

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