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Dear Grumpy Boss: Chapter 41


tears spilling in heavy waterfalls down my cheeks, I tore open the door…and ran smack into the man standing on the other side, his key poised in his hand.

“Elise?” Weston caught my arms, holding me steady. “What are you doing here? Are you crying?”

I sucked in a breath, not quite understanding what I was seeing. “How are you here?”

“I’m coming home from the office.” His palms slid up my arms to cup my face. “Why are you crying, baby? What’s wrong?”

I tried to explain. “I heard…I thought…” I swallowed hard. My stomach was a mess of panic mixed with utter relief. “I thought you were with someone else.”

His head jerked. Astonishment flooded his features as if the suggestion was preposterous. “Why would you think that?”

“I heard…” I waved my arm toward the bedrooms. “I heard fucking.”

Weston’s gaze snapped in the direction I’d gestured to. “Miles,” he hissed. “Stay here.”

He stalked off, disappearing down the hallway. There was a loud slam followed by Weston bellowing Miles’s name. Then he yelled something about burning the sheets.

He returned to me, red-faced and in a hurry. “Come on. I shut his door, so you won’t have to see the horror I just did.”

His hand closed around mine, and he pulled me to his bedroom, closing the door once we were inside.

“I was gone for three hours.” He pressed on the door. His head dropped. “Three hours, and he found someone to fuck. Jesus. Can I kick him out yet?”

A little snort escaped me. I couldn’t help it. Weston looked so disgusted I could only imagine he saw Miles’s pasty ass pumping away.

His head shot up. “Is this funny to you? It’s your fault he’s here.”

I sputtered another laugh, and Weston’s shoulders fell, the tension in him bleeding away. The corner of his mouth hitched.

He closed the space between us and snagged me around the waist, tugging me against him. “You’re here.”

My hands flattened on his chest. “I’m here.” Then a wave of madness came over me, so I pushed him. Like the stubborn brick wall he was, he didn’t budge. “Why did you never tell me you like pickles? How could you have given me all your pickles when you like them? Why would you do that?”

I’d been laughing a moment ago, but now I was crying again. Weston had to be confused by my wild outburst, but he gathered me in his arms without question and held me through it.

“Baby.” His lips were at my temple, fingers stroking my hair and back. “Who told you that?”

“Luca. And Elliot told me you started giving me your pickles when Dad died.”

Warm breath fanned across my skin as he exhaled. “That’s true. I’d give you anything, you know. Pickles are no big deal.”

“It is a big deal. Why should you go without something when you like it? I would never knowingly take something you like away from you. Never.”

He pulled back, and the look he gave me was devastating. “You took you away from me, and I more than like you.”

“I didn’t want to go.”

He nodded, slow and heavy. “I know, baby. But you’re here now.”

“It was the pickles that did it.”

His head cocked. “Not the hours and hours of planning that went into restructuring my executive team?”

My lips twitched. “That was a little bit of it.”

“Are you…?” He held my face, stroking my chin and bottom lip with his thumbs. “Are you coming back?”

I kissed his thumb, and he went still. “You light me on fire, Weston.”

His brow pinched. “I want that to be a good thing, but I’m not sure it is.”

“You scare me. That’s the truth. But your brother said a few things to me yesterday, and I can’t really stop thinking about them.”

“I’m not sure I want to hear anything Miles had to say.”

“Well, it’s part of why I’m here, so…”

“Ah, damn.” He scowled at the door. “Will I have to thank him after this?”

Despite everything, Weston’s innate grumpiness still made me laugh. “I don’t know. Maybe.”

“Come here.” He pulled me over to his bed, sitting on the end of it, and tugged me down next to him. “Tell me, baby.”

Weston’s eyes were pinched and tired, but hope was dawning behind them. The scruff on his jaw was thicker than usual, and his hair was wild like he’d been yanking at it all day.

My heartstrings were being plucked hard, and the urge to skip this conversation so I could lean into him and tell him everything would be okay was almost overwhelming. But not talking had gotten us here, and I never wanted to be here again.

“Miles said if a couple brave cavemen hadn’t conquered their fear of burning alive, we’d still be in the dark. I don’t want to be in the dark, Weston. So, I have to get over being afraid of the way you light me on fire, because I want the light, and I want you.” He opened his mouth to speak, but I pressed two fingers to his lips. “But this is it, you know? This has to be it. Don’t take me back if you can’t live up to your end of the deal.”

“I’ll live up to it,” he swore, kissing my fingertips before taking my hand in his. “Plans are in motion. Change doesn’t happen overnight, not for a company the size of Andes, but it’s happening. It should have happened a long time ago, but I never had a reason. Work was my life.”

“Impossible to compete with.”

“There’s no competition, Elise. My life now revolves around you and what we’re going to build together. For a while, I lost sight of my goal. A long time ago, I vowed to be nothing like my father. To be better than him. That pushed me to build Andes and watch it flourish. But I don’t only want to be better at business. I want to be a better man than him, to take care of my family and put them first. You’re my family. You’ll always come first.”

“Weston—” This man, he knew exactly how to love me.

He took my chin between his fingers, tipping my face to his. “I don’t want to live through the last few weeks again.”

“It would kill me if I had to,” I told him.

The look he gave me was filled with promise and determination. “I won’t let that happen. I never want to live another second where you’re not mine.”

“I’m yours.” Had I ever not been his in one form or another?

“We belong to each other, and I will do everything in my power to watch us flourish.”

“I will too.”

His exhale hit my lips moments before his mouth did. Soft and sure, we melded into a kiss that felt like it had been decades coming. His fingers were in my hair, and I grasped his shirt. We did nothing more than kiss and kiss, so much relief pouring between us. Being apart had been as unnatural as breathing underwater.

This was right.

Weston close, loving me like forever, me loving him right back.

His forehead rolled against mine. Our lips separated by a breath.

“I love you,” I told him.

“Never once doubted it, baby. I love you the most, you know.”

I closed my eyes, accepting that to be true.

Sparks flew when we kissed again, igniting us, but I wasn’t afraid of this fire.

Not anymore. I didn’t have to be.

After all, this was Weston.


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