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From the Hawthorne Vault: Mystery Boy Edition

It’s Jameson time, my beautiful lovelies! Chapter 3 of The Brothers Hawthorne is here! Now, I’ll just step out of the way and let you get to reading!

Chapter 3: Jameson

On a private jet in the dead of night, Jameson looked out the window. Avery was asleep on his chest. Near the front of the plane, Oren and the rest of the security team were quiet.

            Quiet always got to Jameson, the same way still did. Skye had told them once that she wasn’t made for inertness, and as much as Jameson hated to see any similarity between himself and his spoiled, sometimes homicidal mother, he knew what she meant.

            It had been getting worse these past weeks. Since Prague. Jameson pushed down the unwanted reminder, but at night, with nothing to distract him, he could barely resist the urge to remember, to think, to give in to the siren call of risk and a mystery that needed to be solved.

            “You’ve got that look on your face.”

            Jameson ran a hand over Avery’s hair. Her head was still on his chest, but her eyes were open. “What look?” he asked softly.

            “Our look.”

            Avery’s brain was just as wired for puzzles as his was. That was exactly why Jameson couldn’t risk letting the silence and stillness close in, why he had to keep himself occupied. Because if he let himself really think about Prague, he’d want to tell her, and if he told her, it would be real. And once it was real, he feared no amount of distraction would be capable of holding him back, no matter how reckless or dangerous pursuing this might be.

Jameson trusted Avery with all that he had and all that he was, but he couldn’t always trust himself to do the right thing. The smart thing. The safething.

Don’t tell her. Jameson forced his mind down a different path, banishing all thoughts of Prague. “You got me, Heiress.” The only way for him to hide anything from Avery was to show her something else. Something true. Misdirection. “My gap year is almost over.”

            “You’re restless.” Avery pulled back from his chest. “You have been for months. It wasn’t as noticeable on this trip, but on all the others, when I’m working…”

            “I want…” Jameson closed his eyes, picturing himself back at the falls, hearing the roar—and eyeing the railing. “I don’t know what I want. Something.” He looked back out the window, into blackness. “Do great things.

            That was a Hawthorne’s charge, always—and not great as in very good. Great as in vast and lasting and incredible. Great like the falls.

            “We are doing great things,” Avery told him. Giving away his grandfather’s billions was it for her. She was going to change the world. And I’m right here with her. I can hear the roar. I can feel the spray. But Jameson couldn’t shake the gnawing sense that he was standing behind the ropes.

He wasn’t doing great things. Not the way she was. Not even the way Gray was.

“This will be our first time back in Europe,” Avery said quietly, leaning forward to look out into the black, same as him, “since Prague.”

Very perceptive, Avery Kylie Grambs.

There was an art to the careless smile.  “I’ve told you, Heiress, you don’t need to worry about Prague.”

“I’m not worried, Hawthorne. I’m curious. Why won’t you tell me what happened that night?” Avery knew how to use silence to her advantage, wielding each pause to command his full attention, to make him feel her silence like breath on his skin. “You came home at dawn. You smelled like fire and ash. And you had a cut …” She brought her hand to the place where his collarbone dipped, right at the base of his neck. “Here.”

If Avery had wanted to force him to tell her, she could have. One little word—Tahiti—and his secrets would have been hers. But she wouldn’t force this, and Jameson knew that, and it killed him. Everything about her killed him in the best possible way.

Don’t tell her. Don’t think about it. Resist.

Jameson brought his lips within a centimeter of hers. “If you want, Mystery Girl,” he murmured, heat rising between them, the name a remnant of another time, “you can start calling me Mystery Boy.”

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