Read The Boss Vol. 3: a Hot Billionaire Romance Online

Authors: Cari Quinn,Taryn Elliott

The Boss Vol. 3: a Hot Billionaire Romance

BOOK: The Boss Vol. 3: a Hot Billionaire Romance
2.74Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads
The Boss Vol. 3
a Billionaire Serial
Cari Quinn
Taryn Elliott

E
Books are not transferable
.

They cannot be sold, shared or given away as it is an infringement on the copyright of this work.

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.

T
he Boss
, Vol. 3

© 2015 Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliott

Cover by LateNite Designs

All Rights Are Reserved.

No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

First Rainbow Rage Publishing e-book edition: December 2015

Sign up for the
CARI QUINN & TARYN ELLIOTT NEWSLETTER
for info on upcoming releases and exclusive content!

T
o Christina Perri
for her flawless song, “The Words”.

F
or our moms
. The world is a far richer place because of you both.

Chapter One

I
didn’t remember leaving
the rooftop. I didn’t remember much of anything except Blake’s last words.

“You’re fired.”

My mind was still swirling. Incomprehension, shock, and the look on his face—I couldn’t get it out of my head. I was used to the stony near-android facial expressions when he was in the office. He held himself so rigidly, as if he was made from the same glass that had built his empire.

But tonight had been different.

Everything had been different.

The pure joy I’d caught a glimpse of, the way he held me, even the desperate way we’d gone at each other on the rooftop. We’d traveled from the highest high, veering into a spiraling crash ending in detonation within moments.

“I’ve known your name, longer than I’ve known my own.”

“You’re fired.”

I was halfway back to Marblehead before those words stopped echoing like a heavy metal drum solo at my temples. Nothing made sense. We’d only known each other a few weeks.

My reactions to him never made sense, but I’d just chalked it up to attraction. I understood that. The phenomenon was well documented, even if I’d never experienced it prior to Blake. But now that I was questioning everything, I had to wonder if it been a manipulation from the start. A game from the moment I’d walked into that glass fortress.

“I’ve known your name, longer than I’ve known my own.”

I slowed for a red light and drove my fingers into my hair, pulling until my scalp burned. The pain didn’t clear my head. What did that even mean?

The look in his eyes had been fleeting, but so confusing. Like I was so much more important than what we’d been to each other so far—then it was gone. Faster than a spark off flint. Bright and hot, but without any butane behind the flame, there was no fuel.

No us.

“I’ve known your name, longer than I’ve known my own.”

I slapped my hand on the steering wheel.
Get out of my head!

Every problem I’d been running away from was still there. At the end of this very highway that was bringing me home.

No. God, not even that was mine.

Not my house, not even my grandmother’s house. Not anymore.

His
house.

When the light switched to green, I gunned the engine. My car sounded like a dying moose, but it was still mine. The
only
thing I could actually call my own.

I’d lived inside my work for so many years, never allowing anything to change my course. He owned the first glimmer of happiness I’d found in more years than I could count. He’d snuffed it out as if it had never been.

Creating light from lies was the worst sort of idiocy. And there was no one to blame for that except myself.

A few weeks ago I thought I’d hit rock bottom, but I was so wrong. I’d gone to Blake hoping to find a way to keep my home, and I’d gotten lost along the way. Lost in the need to be needed, lost to the idea of friends, and lost to the heady sensations of being in Blake’s life—both as his assistant and lover.

All the things that could distract me from my reality.

My truly shitty situation would never be cured with a paycheck from the same man who was stealing my home.

I pulled up the gravel driveway and parked my old car behind the garage. Away from the prying eyes of the mailman, or the realtor who did random drive-bys. A small coastal town was full to the brim with busybodies.

Annabelle Stuart’s granddaughter with nowhere to go.

Is that what I’d be known for?

I’d been avoiding anyone and everyone since the funeral.

More avoiding. The rabbit hole of Blake Carson. The unending pleasure and frustration had swallowed me as effectively as any obsession. But now I had to choose me. Choose my work and find a way to let go.

I curled my fingers around the old lever door handle to the maid’s quarters. The hiss of ocean over my shoulder was alluring. It was freezing, but it never stopped me from digging my toes into the sand. The rocky coast was as comforting as flannel as far as I was concerned.

But I needed work.

I had to get Blake Carson out of my head and in my rearview mirror. Work was the only thing that mattered. The only thing that would save me.

“I’ve known your name, longer than I’ve known my own.”

“You’re fired.”

I flicked on lights and struggled out of my dress, hose, and his scent, leaving a trail of clothes from the front of my studio to my worktable. I pulled on my overalls, tucked my hair under the old golf hat with more singe marks than plaid lines, and clamped my wireless headphones over my ears.

I flicked on my stereo and blasted Frank Turner. An angry Brit would drown him out.

I pushed away all the bits of copper and glass until the angel sculpture was at the center of my table.

Work.

I had work to do.

I ripped off her wing and pulled down the smoky gold glass I’d been saving. She needed to be bigger. She needed to be more dynamic.

She needed to be more.

Just like me.

Chapter Two

M
y cheek had hit
the pillow sometime around dawn. Since it was November that had to be more like seven in the morning, rather than five. I honestly didn’t remember falling onto the little twin bed I had stashed in the corner of my workroom.

I’d worked for three days straight on the angel. Deconstructing her in a frenzy, only to find myself in that precious fugue state to put her back together. It didn’t happen all that often. I couldn’t say it didn’t happen, but not since my grandmother.

I hadn’t really allowed myself to fall into my work. Too much guilt, too much sadness, too much Blake. So much time wasted.

I slid my hand out from under my pillow and winced. My fingers were raw with scrapes and burns. The work had been too intense for safety gloves. I couldn’t get close enough to do the fine welding work. In the middle of a work tornado, I could lose time, and burns didn’t really register.

With blurry eyes, I studied the nicks at my knuckles, and a nasty gash along the side of my hand. Yeah, that was going to need peroxide and a butterfly bandage.

“Good job, Grace.”

I rolled up to a sitting position and barely swallowed a groan.

Definitely had passed out.

I reached for my phone. Thursday.

Holy hell, I’d worked for days. It didn’t feel like it. My stomach roared. Okay, so my stomach said it did. Thursday—Thanksgiving.

Why couldn’t I work through one more day? Then it would have been over. Today was the one day that I always unburied myself to see my grandmother. Obviously that wasn’t happening. I could go to Philomena’s. She was forever sending me texts for dinner, brunch, lunch—even breakfast. Anything to get me to come see her.

It was easier to just work. Whether in my studio or at Blake’s company, anything was better than feeling the loss.

I rolled forward to stretch out my back. The buckle of my overalls swiped over my nipple. Sometimes I was intelligent enough to shuck the overalls, but not this morning evidently. I pushed the strap up and resisted the urge to look at my worktable.

If I did, I’d be lost again.

But I definitely needed food. I needed caffeine. Hell, I needed a shower. I could still smell
him
on me under the sweat and madness. More like he was the madness. I’d effectively pushed him away from my subconscious with work, but now his face was screaming into my reality.

The anger and the accusation.

Did he know everything?

I padded to the window, pressing my palm to a cool pane of glass. Not like Blake’s glass. This was old with tiny flecks of color bleeding onto the crystal clear squares from years and layers of paint.

I tipped my fevered forehead to a higher square. The ocean roared outside and the sound settled my racing heart. A cold snap was heading in off the water. Today would require one of my bulky sweaters and wool socks, but right now it felt so good to let the cold inside.

The sun had long since risen and the morning had melted away in my post-work stupor. I lifted my gaze to the beach. A lone figure was jogging a few feet from the lacy tide. A long, powerful stride with a familiar determination. I wished I could find that kind of focus when working out. I had it with my art, but definitely not when it came to running.

The man slowed as he neared my property.

It was a private beach, dammit.

Not that other runners hadn’t come through, and for the most part I never cared. Today, the feral need to lash out was far too close to the surface. Whether it was because I didn’t technically own the property or I was just feeling punchy because of the day, I didn’t really care.

I just wanted him gone.

“Move on.”

I didn’t recognize my voice. Again, I needed to drink and eat. Even my voice was a growl.

The man pushed back his hoodie and stared at the sky, his shoulders heaving with exertion.

I knew that neck. He bent over at the waist and clutched his knees and stared right at me.

My nipples tightened and my feverish body betrayed me.

He couldn’t see me. He couldn’t know it was me in here, but it felt like his eyes were roaming over my entire body. Why? Why did he affect me like this?

All the hate and betrayal aside, he’d fired me. Even though I was the best damn assistant he’d ever have in his godforsaken life. Okay, so I’d lied to him and was never meant to work for him. Still.

“God, you’re certifiable, Grace.”

What the hell was he doing here?

It’s his house, you idiot.

My fingertips went white against the pane.

I really didn’t care that it was his house. It didn’t feel like his house. It still felt like mine. No amount of talking myself out of it last night mattered right now. Not when he was standing there and surveying the property with sweat-soaked skin.

I didn’t want to move on.

I wanted this house. I wanted to work here in the perfect light that I’d discovered when I was barely into my teens. When my obsession for glass had started after walking into Mrs. Stephens’ living space. The windows and arches of the main house were gorgeous, but the sheer multitude of window panes in her space had clicked something in me.

Sunlight, pure and perfect, touched every corner of the room and I’d been hooked.

When Mrs. Stephens had retired, I’d taken it over before all her bags had been packed. Back then, my work area had been an old drafting table scattered with markers and pencils until I’d transitioned to suncatchers and simple glasswork.

By high school, it had become overrun with tools, glass, and metals. Now the smell of butane and singed wood was as familiar as the ocean outside.

How on earth was I supposed to give this up?

He stood on my beach—Blake Carson, with his hands on his hips, eyeing his latest acquisition. Didn’t he know the love and creation that had resided in this house was priceless?

I moved to the door and almost flung it open to go out there and tell him, but common sense finally slapped me back. If he knew I was here, he’d surely have me arrested. After our last interaction, he’d definitely have me forcibly removed at the very least.

“You’re fired.”

I curled my hands into fists and slammed the side of my hand into the door. “Damn you, Mr. Carson.”

Just his name on my tongue and lips sent my body haywire again. The game we’d been playing, the sirs and misters and misses that had filled our days. They’d been as close to sex talk as I’d ever experienced.

Until he’d actually fucked me.

My body throbbed in memory.

His rough voice behind me as he’d driven himself into me on that rooftop.
“Squeeze that tight pussy. Squeeze me, goddammit. Harder.”

Such a marked difference from the man in the office. So repressed and chilly, but the moment he got his hands on me, everything changed. And I’d found myself longing for those moments where he showed me that other side of him.

Who was the real Blake? Was he an amalgamation of them both? Or was he just a liar all around?

I backed up until my worktable brushed my backside before stumbling around it and back to the windows that lined the side of the house. I ducked down and out of the line of sight when he climbed the sand dunes to the property.

My heart climbed into my throat.

He couldn’t find me. Not now.

I glanced over to my table with the three-foot angel mid-fall. All he had to do was look inside and he’d know someone was living in this part of the house. The rest of the house was shrouded in sheets over the furniture I hadn’t been able to get into storage.

I’d run out of money for paying people to move things. The idea that my grandmother’s sideboard and china cabinets weren’t being kept made me a little ill, but what exactly was I going to do with it? I was as close to destitute as a college student fresh out of school.

My savings from sales of my work had gone to funeral expenses and lawyers, and the last of it had been taken by my mechanic with a shake of his head. As far as he was concerned, my car was a loss and should be junked, but it was pretty hard to get a loan for a new one when my finances were in shambles.

All I had was my art.

I’d called in every favor and contact I had over the last three weeks to sell my work, but it had been barely enough to buy new materials. My only hope was the angel.

If I could just hold out a little longer.

Reality was overriding all my stabs at avoidance. Eventually, I was going to have to move out of the house, no matter how much I wanted to hold onto it.

I craned my neck, but Blake was out of my line of view. I listened for noises from the main house, but all was silent. I tiptoed through my quarters to the slim hallway that joined with the main part of the house.

Still nothing.

I crept into the foyer, hugging the stairs so no one could see me from the front of the house. Huh. Not there either. Where the hell did he go? I peeked around to the living room which led to the back door and porch.

It was a huge trifold door with three stained glass arched windows over it. I’d helped my grandmother design it because neither of us wanted a restricted view of the ocean. Evidently, neither did Blake. I ducked behind a couch and peered around the arm. He hovered at the edge of the porch.

My heart was pounding so loud it was eclipsing all other sounds. All he had to do was open that door with his handy-dandy ownership key, damn him.

But he didn’t.

He smoothed his hand over the banister at the top of the stairs, but didn’t seem to be inclined to come any closer. He put his hands on his hips and tipped his head back, then swiped his hand over his jaw. A very scruffy jaw.

Very unlike him.

Was he actually feeling guilty for firing me?

Good.

I dropped into a cross-legged pose, suddenly conscious of my very unflattering overalls over my very naked self. If he did decide to come inside, there was no real place for me to hide. Not if I was sitting here. But I couldn’t really melt back into the foyer and around the stairs unless he got off the damn porch.

So I was trapped here, behind a ghostly covered sectional.

I crossed my arms, hissing when the buckle dipped to graze my nipple. I really needed to wear a shirt under the stupid thing. But I tended to burn the shirts, and I damn well didn’t have money to buy new ones. And I liked the freedom.

Impatiently, I looked around the room that had been my grandmother’s favorite place in the house. Well, besides the back porch. But in the cooler months like now, she’d sit inside and stare out at the water. Like clockwork, she’d slowly make her way down to the beach and walk the stretch of her property, then come back up and take her daily nap.

She usually blamed it on the fresh sea air, but somewhere between my days in college and spending every waking moment on work, she’d gotten old on me. Over the summer, she’d perked up and started chattering and laughing like she had when I was a girl, but then she was gone.

I’d been teased with the woman who had inspired me to do so much, only to lose her again. It had been an unattended death, but had been ruled as natural causes.

I’d found her on the floor of this very room.

My vision wavered as the memories swamped me. She’d been wearing her lavender silk suit—the one she wore for brunches—and her pearls were scattered on the Aubusson rug as if she’d ripped at them. The doctor had tried to reassure me that there’d been no pain. That her heart had just stopped, but I didn’t really believe it.

I’d been across town delivering one of my commissioned pieces. A mosaic glass table, to be exact. And she’d been here, alone—dying.

A tear broke free and trailed down my cheek. Such an everyday occurrence. She hadn’t even mentioned she’d been feeling under the weather. Not that my grandmother would’ve mentioned it anyway.

I’d even checked in on her and she’d told me to go.

By the time I’d gotten home, it was dark. I’d flipped on the light and seen her.

The tears flowed in earnest as the memories bombarded me. I’d rushed to her and then it was a blur of telephone calls, the ambulance, and nosy neighbors wandering down the beach.

I looked around the room, at the built-in bookcases that used to be filled with my grandmother’s books and little pieces of glass sculpture I’d given her over the years. Now it was just a wash of white nooks and shelves.

A few of the nooks were capped in glass. I’d created a one-of-a-kind bookcase for her over the years. Except two panes were missing now. I brushed away the tears and rolled onto my knees. I glanced outside, but Blake was gone.

I didn’t know if he was really gone or just out of my eye-line.

I waited a few moments, but didn’t see him move back into view. Curiosity had always been a weakness. I crawled to the built-in and hid behind one of the columns that cut off this room from the foyer.

The glass fronts had been pried free. The artwork shattered and scattered over the rug.

What the hell?

Who would do that? The movers? Had they hit it by accident?

No, because another three were pried loose and discarded on a lower shelf.

A thump and scrape outside had me scurrying to the front of the house and around the corner to the hallway. I could only hope Blake hadn’t seen me.

My chest heaved as I flattened myself against the wall. Minutes ticked by and the room darkened, shadows lengthening with the setting of the sun. Without the sun, the house cooled off quickly. When the door didn’t open—and my frozen toes and girly bits couldn’t take it anymore—I finally gave up and snuck back to my workshop.

There was no power in the house except where my little generator reached. I’d been conserving gas, so it only lit up my worktable and a tiny sconce near my bed. It wasn’t full dark yet, but the temperature was dropping. I debated a shower, but decided I was too damn cold. I yanked a sweater off the shelf above my bed and pulled it over my overalls before I slipped under my covers.

I was hungry and really wanted a damn coffee.

But I also wanted to know why Blake chose now to come to the house, and why the hell someone had broken pieces off of my grandmother’s bookcase? It seemed cruel to deface it.

BOOK: The Boss Vol. 3: a Hot Billionaire Romance
2.74Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Simple Prayers by Michael Golding
Exposed by Deborah Bladon
Judas by Frederick Ramsay
Comedy of Erinn by Bonaduce, Celia
Pretty Little Killers by Berry, Daleen, Fuller, Geoffrey C.
Every Rose by Halat, Lynetta
One Last Summer (2007) by Collier, Catrin