The Boss Vol. 5

By: Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliott



I tapped the immobilizer under the blanket. “I’m fine. Just a little accident in the cove.”

“This time of year?” Phil’s eyebrows shot up. “What were you doing in there?”

“It was a mistake.” I sighed. “I found my grandmother’s diary…” I trailed off.

No one but Blake knew about the break-ins. Well, the police had been called, but most of the speculation had revolved around kids breaking into empty houses to party. That theory had grown strength when no one had come forward with a gunshot wound. A little blood had been left behind, but not a lot. The cops had just assumed Blake had scared away the kids with what was most likely a minor injury.

It certainly was a good theory, except a single beer can hadn’t been left behind at any of the break-ins. Nor had there been any other evidence that really indicated kids. The only things that had remained in the intruders’ wake were the various bits of glass broken. It just seemed too random to be vandalism and bored teens. Especially when there was a perfectly good development going in a few miles up the road.

There were too many nosy busybodies in Lady’s Cove. And I really didn’t want to get into it with Phil.

I was getting a secretive as Blake, for God’s sake.

“I was missing my grandmother. It was one of her favorite places,” I said lamely.

Phil sat next to me on the right side—away from my ankle—and patted my hand. “We all miss Annabelle.”

I blinked away tears. Between the meds from the doctor, the fruitless search expedition, and my stupid leg, I was done in.

“Oh, sweetie.” Phil enveloped me in her signature Chanel scent and black silk softness. She wasn’t exactly a hugger, but we had enough history that I let myself lean on her for a moment longer than I normally would. “Better?”

I nodded.

“So, tell me about this piece.”

I shook my head. “Never change, Phil.”

“Oh, don’t worry. I won’t.” She rubbed her hands together. “So, is it a window? Or another sculpture?”

I yawned. “Copper and glass again. A companion piece.”

“That’s what I like to hear.”

“Shattered wings,” I said as I closed my eyes and pictured the piece on my worktable. The copper frame was filled with red glass, slowly fanning out to clear. It wasn’t quite there yet.

I knew what it needed, but I wasn’t sure I could face putting that much of Blake in my work. I needed his glass. The texture was unlike anything I’d ever seen. Smooth, perfect, and opaque from one side. It would make the piece.

“It just needs some more time,” I said.

“How much?”

I lifted heavy lids. “Soon.”

Phil sighed. “I can’t badger you when you’re in the hospital.”

I gave her a half smile. “Hallelujah.”

“Watch it, young lady.”

“We’ll see how it all shakes out.”

Phil squeezed my arm. “When are they letting you go home?”

The doctor hadn’t given me specifics, which sucked. “There’s nothing wrong with me. Not even any frostbite.”

“You were very lucky.”

The memory of the cold was fresh enough that I couldn’t find a joke. “So I keep hearing.”

“All your fingers and toes? Especially fingers?”

I waggled my fingers. “All good.” They were still a little stiff, but it seemed like my entire person hurt, not just one thing. Something about dehydration and hypothermia working in tandem since I’d been in the water so long.

My eyelids were so heavy. I yawned again.

“All right, I can take a hint.”

“Sorry, Phil.” I tried to sit up, but she put a hand on my shoulder.

“You need rest.”

“They gave me the good stuff, I think.”

She smoothed a lock of hair away from my face. “Then why don’t you sleep it off?”

“‘Kay.”

I didn’t remember falling asleep. When I woke again, my room was empty. I pushed my mangled hair away from my face.

A shadow moved in the corner. My heart lurched. The adrenaline spike was enough to make the machine next to me blip and beep a few times.

“It’s just me.” Blake’s voice came out of the dark. He stood and slipped something into his pocket before he crossed the room. “I didn’t want to wake you.”

I’d never seen him so dressed down. There were three different Blakes that I’d been around. Suit, running gear, and naked. Suit and naked were by far my favorite, but I had to admit casual Blake was a bit dangerous for my well-being as well.

He wore ancient jeans and a bulky green fisherman’s sweater that made his eyes glow tiger gold in the low light. He loomed over me again, brushing his lips over my forehead, then my temple, and finally my cheek.

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