That feeling I had in my throat earlier comes back, but this time, I’m able to clear my throat and push it down. Hope is blossoming in my chest at her words.
“I know you’re eager to go find her, but I think we need to address a few things before you leave, son . . . alone.” He gives Mom a look, and she returns it with a small, worried nod.
“I’ll leave you two. I love you, Cohen. I’m so happy that you’re home safe.”
I give her a hug, bend to kiss her cheek, and follow my dad into his office.
He shuts the door behind him and walks to lean against his desk. “You aren’t going to like this, Cohen.”
“I figured as much when you mentioned this needed to be done without Mom. I’m guessing she doesn’t know?”
“She knows enough that she’s aware of the issues that have been going on. However, she doesn’t have a single clue at how dire they’ve become as of today. I’ve got to say, you have incredible timing, son.”
He takes a deep breath, and without thought, I steel myself for whatever news he has to share with me. I’m guessing that it has everything to do with that ominous message from Chance and the chat with Axel. The one that was instrumental in having Krajack rush my assignments and my ass back home in record time.
“You know about the flowers. The first note she got was shocking enough that it’s had everyone on high alert. She hasn’t been alone, not even for a second.” He walks around the desk, hits a few keys, and turns the computer so I can see the scanned document.
My skin crawls in outrage and anger when I read the words. When I think about how Dani must have felt when she saw this, my heart starts to beat wildly. Fuck. I should have been here for this. I should have been here to protect her from harm and I wasn’t. That is my burden to bear and one I’ll work every day for a lifetime and then some to make up for.
“Is this the last of it?” I ask through clenched teeth.
“Not even close.”
“Explain,” I spit, my mind going into survival mode, and the hunter I’ve been trained to be fights for control.
“After the note, she passed out.” He holds his hands up when I open my mouth to explode. “Stop and listen, Cohen. Don’t go off half-cocked until you know all the facts. Now that you’re home, you need to know what you’re up against.”
“Keep going,” I rush out.
“The flowers didn’t start up right away, but they didn’t stop. We were able to intercept enough of them that Dani doesn’t even know just how bad it continued to be. Axel was concerned about her being in the early stages of pregnancy and what the added stress could do to her and the baby. Understandable considering his and Izzy’s past. We’ve tried, but thus far, we have been unsuccessful in tracking down the origin of the purchases.”
I can feel myself becoming angrier and angrier. The need to protect what’s mine is starting to manifest into a craving to kill whoever is threatening her safety.
“I promise you, Cohen. She was never alone. Either there was someone at the girls’ house or she was at work. The few times she went out with everyone, there was always Liam, Nate, or Chance with her. As much as Axel hated it to begin with, her wanting to stay at your place so that she could be near you, whatever that means, gave us a little peace of mind because we all know that Chance is more than capable of protecting her. They’ve formed a friendship since you left and that’s all it is—a friendship.”
“I get that now. What else is there?”
“Today, she was at work and ordered some lunch. I think she had been there for about five hours before she placed the order. According to the surveillance cameras we have placed in the doorway and on the salon floor, there wasn’t anyone alarming. Clients that Sway has confirmed are regulars and no new ones. The stylist and staff. The camera and production crew for that Sway All the Way show. That’s it. Dani ordered Chinese, and when the order came, the delivery person brought in the food, had her sign, and left. We lost her when she went into the breakroom to eat, but I’ve seen what she found when she opened the bag . . . and what it did to her. You aren’t going to like this,” he warned.
“Just fucking tell me so I can get to her, Dad.” My anger becomes a palpable thing.
“What you need to do is calm down, because as pissed as this is going to make you, you need to be there for her. I have no doubt that what you saw was a terrified woman being comforted. Sway sent someone over for help, but with Axel and Beck out of town and Maddox up to his elbows in case backlog, Chance and I were the ones who showed up. Chance took her out of there while I waited for the police and secured the scene.”