The Boss Vol. 6

By: Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliott

God, I wished I could turn things off like he did.

I turned my face to him in the dark. His chest rose and fell in that deep sleep he could magically summon.

Usually he turned away from me in the dark. As if he still needed to block me from his world even when he was unconscious. But not tonight.

Tonight he faced me, and his fingers had crossed our tentative thresholds to slip under my pillow. One more piece of him that he’d finally shared with me.

Part of me wanted to slip under the cool sateen fabric and curl my fingers around his. Maybe then I could soak up some of his restful mojo and follow him into blissful oblivion.

But my too busy brain just wouldn’t let things go.

Especially not the memory of my grandmother’s panicked gaze burning through the screen in that twenty-second message.

Annabelle Stuart could be as dramatic as an actress trying out for a Broadway play sometimes, but that was often done for fun. She loved messing with the blue bloods of Lady’s Cove. To use their taste for power against them with pieces of spicy gossip.

Sometimes made up by her, sometimes a whisper in her ear.

But this was no game.

And the people who’d broken into my home—okay, Blake’s home, but it would always be mine in my head—weren’t scheming harpies at a dinner party. No, these men had guns and a desperation that didn’t fit in my world.

I reached across the invisible line between us and danced my fingers through the lock of his hair that had fallen forward. The only time he was slightly ruffled was in sleep or in passion.

I trailed the back of my fingers over the hollows of his cheek to the beard that he’d grown in recently before I slid out of our bed.

My chest constricted at the idea of our anything. Lies stretched between us with tendrils of love trying to bridge the gap. I saw it in the fierceness of his gaze on me, felt it in the possessive nature of his touch. I recognized it because it echoed in my own.

I just wasn’t sure if the love would win, or the lies.

I swiped his dress shirt off the chair by the door and shrugged it on over my nakedness. Downstairs, moonlight crept through the shadows via the skylights and wide windows done in his signature glass.

Protection in the light.

I clicked on the lamp next to the oversized leather chair beside the fireplace. I was tempted to light the gas to chase away the chill, but I was afraid I’d fall asleep thanks to its warm glow.

Instead I pulled one of my many sketchbooks out of the end table drawer. I used the cool moonlight and crisp white light of the lamp to sketch by memory. The stained glass of the back of my home came to life under my hands.

Of my grandmother’s home.

Now Blake’s.

The panel where I’d found her journal had been a nearly flawless replica of the frosted glass I’d chosen for the original design.

Now it had been replaced with his glass. Blake’s glass.

Had he chosen it for her?

Hidden the journal for her?

How had they been in contact this whole time and I’d been so freaking oblivious? Nothing made sense.

Were there other places with hidden nooks in the home that I’d lived in for so much of my life? How many more facets of my grandmother had I been blind to?

I set the sketchpad aside and stood. Jack’s network-secure MacBook sat on the kitchen island. I crossed to it and smoothed my hand over the chilly casing. The only way I was going to find answers was to dig. I opened it and logged in with the passcode he’d given me.

I scrolled through the pages of spreadsheets to open the diary pages with Annabelle’s scrawling script. Where were the originals?

Had she burned them?

Buried them?

None of this made sense. Yes, my grandmother had a knack for electronics that few of her contemporaries could rival, but to create a code like this?

It seemed unlikely.

And yet here it was—nearly hacker-proof.

Had she really wanted to keep it such a secret? Or was she creating her very own DiVinci Code to screw with us all?

Were there more answers in the house?

Sure we’d had moments of fun and intrigue with our trips to the cove to bury treasure for the mermaids, but nothing on this scale.

Nothing that would make her personal version of hide and seek any more decipherable.

I skimmed the pages filled with more codenames and her biting humor. Even here, she’d filled the pages with gossip.

Kitty and the Tomcat were on the prowl again. Could they be more obvious? Tomcat wasn’t exactly a genius when it came to keeping his gentleman in his pants. The problem for both of them was that it required far too much money to keep their respective sidepieces. So much so that Kitty came looking for play money again. Just a touch too expensive to keep her boytoy in Boston. Even with the interest rising, she still wants more, the fool.

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