The Boss Vol. 5

By: Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliott



When he moved to my mouth, I turned away. I was a hot mess.

“Don’t turn away from me, Grace.”

“I’m saving you from my breath,” I said into my pillow.

He cupped my face, bringing my chin up so our lips met. I was used to carnal kisses from him. Deep, focused—they had more in common with mating than a simple meeting of mouths. But not this time.

He rested his forehead against mine as he brushed my lips with his.

The heart monitor gave a staccato beat. Enough that even Blake had to laugh into my mouth. “Is that what it sounds like inside you when I kiss you?”

“Smug bastard.”

“Indeed.” He moved his hand from my face, to press in on the pillow beside my head. “Hospitals suck.”

“Tell me about it.”

“For what I’m paying, they should have you on the same thread count as The Mandarin in Hong Kong.”

I looked away. “I’m sorry.”

“Grace.”

I stared at the lump where my immobilizer and busted ankle was.

“Grace,” he growled. “Look at me.”

I lifted my gaze to his.

“I don’t care how much I have to pay. I just want you taken care of.”

“I hate this.”

“I understand how it feels, but this isn’t about the money.”

“What would you know about being poor?”

A muscle jumped in his cheek. “My company is only five years old, Ms. Copeland.”

I frowned. I’d just assumed he’d come from money. My research hadn’t been that intensive. All I’d been able to focus on was that he’d owned my grandmother’s home—my home. After that we’d created a personal game of one-upmanship and power. Both of us returning to our corners when our clothes went back on.

He stood, then dragged a chair up to my bed with his foot before dropping into it. “What did the doctors say?”

“I’ll probably be off my ankle for a few days. I can work remotely.”

“I’m not worried about that.”

“I am.” I tried to cross my arms before I remembered I was tethered. I sighed. “When you’re left to your own devices, I have too many fires to put out afterward.”

“I did just fine without you for five years.”

“Obviously not since no temp agency or hiring agency will work with you.”

He kicked out his leg and crossed his arms over his chest. “No one will ever be you, Ms. Copeland.”

I rolled my eyes. “Did you talk to Donovan about the York house? Has the security glass been installed?”

His eyes chilled. “Yes. I’m not happy with the changes you made.”

“You’re just pissed that you didn’t think of it sooner.” At his silence, I inched up on the stupid bed. “Or, you did.”

“It’s not cost-effective.”

“Screw that. I saw your clock in the showroom. That glass was made for both art and security.”

From the moment I’d walked into Carson Covenant, I’d wanted the unusual glass on my worktable. I’d longed to work with it. So much so that I was even designing pieces with it in mind. I wasn’t ready to tell him that, but it didn’t make it any less true.

At his mutinous look, I tried a different tactic. I held out my hand.

“Dirty pool,” he muttered, but he reached for me.

The fact that I could see him stretched over a billiard table, his intelligent eyes calculating angles and the quickest way to clear the table, was something I had to stuff down for another time.

It must’ve been the outfit.

I rarely thought of Blake as anything other than a corporate shark. Pool shark shouldn’t have been nearly as hot, and yet…

His eyes heated as my nipples pushed against the hospital gown and robe I was wearing.

He leaned into me, and all the while, his thumb brushed over my pulse. “I don’t know what’s going on in that head of yours, but I’d like to remind you that I’m not a good man. The urge to check over every inch of you to make sure I’m satisfied with your care is raging against a very thin veneer of civility.”

What the hell was I supposed to say to that?

There’d always been an undercurrent of dominance to our physical relationship. Blake had started it with the way he’d touched me that very first night in the vestibule. Since then we’d matched each other in intensity. But this was different.

For the first time, he seemed to need me to be more than just a willing woman wrapping around him. I’d said the words without expecting them in return. Good thing, because they’d never come.

For a while I’d wondered if I’d ruined everything by telling him that I loved him.

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