The Boss Vol. 5

By: Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliott


“No,” they both said.

I concentrated on not throwing up as we trudged through the sand. I tried to watch the horizon line, but we were bouncing so much it just made it worse.

“Grace?”

“Hmm…”

“Stay with me.”

“I’m here,” I said groggily. I focused on the moon instead. My arm slid a little.

“Grace,” Blake barked.

“Look, buddy, if you want me to toss my cookies on your very spiffy tux, then keep yelling. Otherwise, let me just do my thing.”

“Then hold on to me, goddammit.”

“I am.” Why was the moon getting fuzzy?

“Grace.”

The moon winked out. Funny, I couldn’t hear him anymore.

I couldn’t hear anything.

Warm again.

Nice and warm.





Chapter Four





“Ms. Copeland.”

Why was my hand trapped? I pushed at whatever was holding me down.

“Ms. Copeland, it’s time to come back to the land of the living.”

“Do you not see the oddness of sleeping with a woman you can’t call by her first name?”

“It’s not that I can’t, I choose not to.” Blake tightened his fingers around my hand.

More knucklehead fun. Maybe I could just keep my eyes closed and they’d eventually go away.

“I know you’re awake.” Blake leaned into me, his voice lowering to a mere grumble. “I know every single cadence of your breathing.” Were those his lips on my skin?

I shivered. Why the hell was he saying this stuff now?

One brush with death and now my guy was going to get all talkative and romantic? Well, about as romantic as Blake got, but still.

And really, this was a little too intimate for a hospital room. At least I was pretty sure I’d made it to the hospital. I moved my other hand and something crinkled.

A few flashes of memory came back. The staff trying to get me warm. The tug of an IV in my arm. Heating blankets because the hypothermia was a bit more important than my ankle.

Blake looming over me.

Blake arguing with doctors.

Blake next to me the entire night.

Jack always pacing.

Everything else was fuzzy. And I couldn’t move my damn leg and I was so afraid to open my eyes.

“Ms. Copeland.” Blake’s voice was a purr. I was used to a clipped tone with a hint of sex when he called me Ms. Copeland. He usually saved the purr for Grace.

And he definitely saved the groans to end with my given name.

“Come back to me, Grace.”

How could I ignore him? I lifted heavy lids, and squinted at the sunlight pouring around him. He’d been getting a little scruffier lately. Long hours in the office, and his perennial avoidance tactics in whatever we were calling our relationship…all of it was showing on his face.

His beautiful face, which I never tired of looking at. Even when he was being an asshole. Sometimes that made things worse. And sometimes he made me want to gain a little personal knowledge of what my palm print would look like on his cheek. All depended on the hour of the day.

“I never left.”

“You took about thirty-seven years off my life.”

I nestled my cheek into my paper-thin pillow. “Come on. Maybe five.”

His long, elegant fingers laced through mine. “Forty years, I was trying not to make you feel bad.”

“Between the two of us the median is more like twenty. Not bad at all.”

His hazel eyes went hard. “What were you doing, Grace?”

I sighed. I didn’t know what to tell him. I’d literally stumbled on the diary that had sent me running for the cove. Of course it had been light when I’d gone in there to check it out.

Okay, so twenty minutes from sunset, but I’d honestly thought I’d find something right away. The number of times my grandmother had mentioned it as her place to think made me hope I’d find some sort of answers.

All I’d actually found was a one-way ticket to the emergency room. At least I was pretty sure that’s where I’d started out. Things had gotten a little wonky before we’d gotten back to the beach house.

Part of me wanted to keep the information to myself. I’d been searching the house for weeks now. Before I got my job working at Carson Covenant, and the long evenings since I’d gotten my job back—no part of my grandmother’s house had been left to chance.

Blake had pulled back, and so had I.

And now he was staring at me with expectant eyes.

I hadn’t exactly lied to him, but I’d definitely been less than forthcoming. He’d shut me out for whatever reason. The problem was, I hadn’t made any overtures to get back to what we’d started to become.

Ever since the break in, we’d been drifting.

It was easier to not talk. The mystery surrounding my grandmother had consumed me, and I’d hidden in the easy part of our relationship. Our physical side. The only part of us that I never had to pick apart. Whether it was a forever kind of love, or infatuation, I still wasn’t sure.

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