The Boss Vol. 5

By: Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliott


I closed my eyes.

No, I knew it was forever. I couldn’t lie to myself about it. At least it was for me. I opened my eyes again. “Did you work on my grandmother’s house?”

He nodded. “I own it.”

My gut tightened. There was no way he’d ever let me forget that. “I mean before my grandmother died.” When he only kept his gaze steady on mine, I sighed. “You told me you knew her.”

After a long moment, he inclined his head. “I’ve worked with Annabelle.” He shrugged. “Lady’s Cove and the homes on the surrounding private beaches were among the first to use my windows.”

I nodded. “All right. That makes sense.”

“Then if you’d be so kind as to clue me in to this little epiphany, I’d appreciate it.”

I pulled my hand away. “Don’t get all Blake on me.”

He sat back in his seat, crossing his arms over his broad chest. “Forgive me. It’s the only way I know how to be.”

“You know what I mean.”

One eyebrow rose. “No, I don’t.”

“Yes, you do, asshole.”

My gaze flicked to Jack. I’d forgotten he was still there.

“Shall I leave so you two can talk? You know, since you’re such good friends.”

Wow. The arctic had suddenly made an appearance in my hospital room. I frowned as I suddenly noticed I was the only patient in the room. Marblehead had a small hospital. There was no way I’d be alone in a room. Not if I wasn’t critical.

I pressed my fingers to my forehead. A dull throb sat there, as well as in every muscle of my body. Let alone the ankle I refused to acknowledge.

One thing at a time.

I dropped my arm to the bed and opened my hand. The muscle in his jaw jumped, and his eyebrows snapped down. I wouldn’t beg, but I wouldn’t shut him out anymore.

We were both far too stubborn. Someone had to give, and I knew it had to be me. Blake was a difficult man under the best of circumstances, and these were less than ideal in any definition of the word.

I’d scared him.

I knew it.

I didn’t want to process it. I didn’t want to look too closely at any level of our relationship. Instead, I’d lived in the mystery of my grandmother’s house. I’d entrenched myself in figuring out why anyone would want to break in. I was used to worrying about my own problems, and far too familiar with being alone.

He fisted his hand under his arm before finally dropping them to his sides, then reaching for me.

Our hands locked.

“I found her diary.” My fingers tensed. “Where is it?”

“I’ve got it.”

I blinked. “Oh.”

“You dropped it on the steps,” Jack said quietly.

My gaze drifted to Jack. He was rumpled. His dress shirt open at the neck, bowtie hanging around his neck, suit jacket missing. “How?”

Jack shrugged. “It’s my job to watch out for you, Gracie.”

“No, it isn’t,” Blake muttered.

Jack dipped his fingers into his pockets. “And that’s why I figured out where she’s been, and you haven’t?”

Blake’s fingers flexed around mine.

“How long?” I asked.

Jack shrugged. “Not long after you started working for Blake.”

Blake’s head fell back.

“So, I guess it’s time for us to have a discussion about this, huh?”

Jack pursed his lips. “Might be a good time.”

“No, it isn’t.”

At a sharp knock, we all swiveled our heads to the door.

Dr. Perrault strode into the room. Some people might have thought the doctor resembled a kindly grandfather, but he was no pushover. Even Blake’s steely stare didn’t slow him down. “I need to examine the patient. Whatever discussions you’d like to have will have to be during visiting hours.”

“I’m paying for a private room,” Blake said between gritted teeth.

“And that’s why Ms. Copeland is in a very nice corner room. She needs her rest, and I need to examine her.”

My eyes widened at his hold. “Circulation, Blake,” I said softly.

He glanced down at our hands and immediately eased up on his hold. “Sorry.”

“Why don’t you go get a shower and change of clothes? You look worse than I do.”

“Ever the charmer, Ms. Copeland.”

“Just…humor me?” I tugged him closer and he stood to loom over me.

His knuckles pressed into the pillow beside my head, and his other hand cupped my face. “This discussion isn’t over.”


“Complete transparency.”

“Can you say the same?”

His eyes stayed trained on mine. There were shadows there. Not just the fatigue-soaked kind. “I’ll do my best.”

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