Chapter Fifty Four
Walking back into the Khan mansion was harder than Adam had thought it would be. He’d never gone back to a place he’d killed someone before. He’d even refused to train in the room he’d been forced to kill that poor dog in. Ali had let him do as he pleased, content to ignore the small rebellion – after all, Adam had pulled the trigger.
As it always did now, thinking of his stepfather made his cheeks burn with humiliation. Kat had been right to pity him. He’d been so damned foolish, so easily led. If he was walking to his death right now, it was nothing less than he deserved.
Adam still couldn’t understand why there was even a question about it. He’d left bodies in his wake, had pointed a gun in Iman’s face and terrified her – for it had been terror on her face that day, not the contempt that his mind had tried to convince him it had seen – and he had come close to ending the life of Ibrahim Khan. Had the old man suffered some kind of brain damage from his injuries?
Adam didn’t know.
He’d been thoroughly searched before being allowed to get past the front door and there was a large, angry man pressing the barrel of a gun directly into his spine as he walked. They were at least taking some kind of precautions.
His shadow rapped on the door with a scarred fist and then urged him through the door with a shove. “No weapons,” the man announced, shutting the door behind him as he left. Adam heard no footsteps and assumed that the man had taken up position right outside as a guard.
Ibrahim Khan sat at his large desk, looking as whole as ever. Adam blinked and the image of Khan crumpled to the floor overlaid reality for a moment. His stomach turned.
“Take a seat,” Khan instructed calmly. “And tell me why you tried to kill me.”
Adam saw no reason to lie. He told Khan everything. He had no way to back up his claims but Khan didn’t seem interested in proof.
The old man questioned him repeatedly before finally sitting back with his hands folded together, seemingly satisfied.
Feeling brave, Adam ventured a question of his own. “Why am I here?”
“I wanted answers.”
“There are other ways to get answers.”
“Yes,” Khan agreed. “There are. But I have the distinct feeling that my granddaughter would be displeased with me if I had you worked over.”
Iman was soft-hearted, Adam reminded himself, beating down the hope that had begun to fill his chest.
“Don’t you want to know why?” Khan asked pleasantly.
“She’s a good person,” Adam replied dully.
“Yes, she is. But that’s not why she cried for you. You’ve somehow managed to make my granddaughter care for you and I can’t decide whether I should kill you or congratulate you.”
He was lying. Ibrahim Khan had found the perfect way to torture him and he was using it to great effect.
“Six of my people are dead. That needs to be accounted for. The fact that Iman may want to keep you around doesn’t change that – letting you get off scot-free is just not in my nature. But I dislike the idea of even more death. Instead, you’ll pay me back by getting rid of this.”
Adam was handed a sheet of paper. There were six names, in no particular order that he could see. He recognized all of them. Every single person on this list was one Khan had warned him to kep Iman away from months ago. People who would hurt her or worse if given the chance.
“Kill them and you’re in no debt to me. Fail and there will be the usual consequences.”
He would be lucky to kill one of them without dying horribly. Khan was creative, Adam had to give him that. He’d die for the destruction he’d caused but Khan had found a way to get some use out of him first.
“I’ll need some things,” he said, feigning a steadiness he didn’t feel. “I don’t have access to the resources I’m used to.”
Khan nodded. “Of course,” he agreed. “Waseem will make sure you have everything you need.”
Adam hesitated, weighing up the risk he was about to take. “May I see her?”
“Iman. I need to… I’d like to apologize to her.” As he’d apologized to Khan himself, almost as soon as he’d gotten into the room.
“If she’s willing to see you, I will not stop her.” Khan went to the door and had a quick conversation.
They sat in silence until moments later, when there was a single knock. The guard poked his head in. “She said no,” he announced with a grin. “Sorry,” he said to Adam insincerely. “Such a shame.”
Adam gritted his teeth.
“Dismissed,” Khan said casually and the irritating man disappeared. “There’s another name I want to add to that list. And I don’t think you’ll mind this one.”
He was right.
James Blackwell. Adam had assumed that Blackwell was in Italy but he’d been wrong.
“James has always been greedy and opportunistic. But I never thought he’d be this foolish. It’s your prerogative what you’d like to do with him – interrogate him or just get rid of him, whichever you please. All I want is to ensure that he’s dead by morning. He’s been creeping around Iman far too often for my liking.”
The creep would be dead as soon as Adam could find him. Worry for Iman twisted his gut but he shoved it aside. He needed to concentrate.
“You’ll be paid for this,” Khan assured him, “as it’s in addition to what we originally agreed on.”
“Keep the money.” Just the thought of being paid for this particular job made him feel dirty.
A pleased look entered Khan’s eyes. “I have one final question for you, Adam. You couldn’t kill my granddaughter even when you thought she’d betrayed you. Why is that?” He pinned Adam with a knowing gaze.
Adam’s temper finally slipped its leash. “You know why,” he snapped.
“Yes, I do. And I want to hear it from you.”
“I love her. I love your granddaughter so much that I couldn’t make myself pull the trigger.”