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Dear Grumpy Boss: Epilogue


One Year Later

jar. This one is getting full.”

Elise came up behind me, where I’d been studying the odds and ends she’d artfully placed on the shelf in her home office. Her arms wound around my middle, and her cheek pressed against my back.

“You write me a lot of notes. It was bound to get full.”

I rubbed my hand on hers. “Is that a complaint?”

“Never. If you stop writing me notes, I’ll complain.”

Loosening her arms, I turned around to face her. “I don’t foresee that happening.”

“Better not.”

She tipped her head back, giving me her mouth. I pressed mine to hers, groaning at the feel of her lush lips. Over a year of kissing her, months of living together and seeing each other on a daily basis, and I hadn’t gotten used to having her.

Time was ticking. We had to be on the road soon. “Are you all packed?”

She snuggled in closer, her cheek on my shoulder. “Mmm…yes. You?”

I dragged my nose through her silky hair. “I am. What are the chances my brother is ready?”

Elise sputtered a laugh. “Slim to none.”

A year of her being mine, and she hadn’t gotten tired of me. It was astounding, really. Being my partner came with baggage. The big job, the tendency toward grumpiness, the wayward brother.

A crash sounded from the living room, followed by Miles yelling he was okay.

Fuck me and my wayward brother. He’d moved out months ago, but he always managed to find an excuse to worm his way back in, and I must have lost my mind because I let him.

“Should I go check on him?” Elise asked.

My arm tightened. “No. Stay. We’re spending the weekend with him. That’s enough.”

I felt her smile. “You invited him. This was your idea.”

“Yeah,” I breathed out. “Sometimes I make mistakes, this being one of them. He caught me in a moment of weakness. Made me nostalgic for our childhood camping trips.”

“Fortunately, this camping trip comes equipped with alcohol and edibles.” She winged her eyebrow. I kissed it.

“You’re cute, but I’m not convinced. Did I tell you about the time Miles tripped on LSD—”

“And you had to carry him back to the car? Yes, once or twice.”

“You know all my stories.”

She shook her head. “Then I guess we’ll have to keep making new ones.”

Breaking away from me, she moved to her dresser to rummage through one of her drawers. I sat down on the corner of our bed to watch.

We were getting ready to go on a two-night camping trip with Miles, Luca, Saoirse, and Elliot. It had been Elise and Saoirse’s idea. They had spent the last few weeks planning activities for us.

I had a plan of my own.

It was supposed to happen at sunrise tomorrow. Elise and I would get up and walk down to the creek near our campground. We’d be alone. Maybe it’d be chilly and she’d snuggle into me. I’d get down on my knee and ask her to be my wife.

Her ring was burning a hole in the front pocket of my backpack.

Elise spun around, holding a pair of fuzzy socks and her e-reader.

“I almost forgot this. I would have kicked myself.”

I smiled at her, my little reader. “You’re planning on reading all weekend and not giving me any attention?”

She walked over to me, tossed her things down on the bed, and braced herself on my shoulders. Like it was magnetized, my hands went to her ass, tucking into her back pockets.

She bent down to kiss me. “As if I could ignore you.”

“Come here. I’m needy,” I growled against her mouth.

“Weston…we have to go.” Even as she protested, she lowered to her knees, straddling my lap. “I’m here.”

“Yeah, you are.” Wrapping my fingers around her wrist, I brought the underside to my lips and kissed the tattoo she’d gotten a few months ago. The fine-line drawing of the head of a mountain lion that looked like a heart at first glance had been a surprise to me. It was Elise’s commemoration of the beginning of us. Catching a glimpse of it never failed to make me feel like I had escaped gravity.

I kissed her wrist again then nodded to her e-reader. “What’s happening in the book?”

She dug her teeth into her bottom lip. “The heroine is falling for the villain. He’s horrible.”

After a year together, I knew all about her books. I hadn’t read a whole one since that first time, but I’d peek inside them to see what got Elise’s motor running.

“Did he kidnap her?”

She snorted. “Yeah. And he murdered her boyfriend.”

I pushed her hair away from her face. “Ah, romantic.”

“Right? The boyfriend murdered the hero’s whole family, so he had it coming.”

“Oh yeah, that makes sense.”

She swatted at me. “Don’t make fun.”

“I would never, baby.” I kneaded her ass and touched my lips to her throat. “You know how much I love you?”

“Half as much as I love you.”

I cocked my head. “You’re mistaken, Ms. Levy. I love you the most. You make me feel crazy sometimes. I want to stalk you, kill everyone who looks at you, chain you to me.”

Her smile was slow and devious. “So, what you’re saying is you’re a dark romance hero?”

“I’m saying I’m yours. Will you be mine forever?”

Her lashes fluttered, brushing her cheeks. “Mmmhmm.”

I pulled my head back from hers, and the plans I’d made for how I was going to do this slipped away. I didn’t want to wait a second longer.



“Will you marry me?”

Her lids popped open wide. “What?”

“I have a ring. It’s in my backpack. I’ll give it to you when you say you’ll marry me.”

Her mouth fell open. “What?”

“You said that.”

“Are you asking me to marry you?”

“Why are you so shocked? I love you. I’m never going to stop loving you. I want you to be my wife.” My brow dropped. “You haven’t said yes.”

“I’m just really surprised, Weston. We’re going camping!”

Fed up with not getting the answer I wanted, I flung her off me and onto her back, wedging my hips between her spread thighs. She smiled up at me.

“Say yes,” I ordered.

A delighted laugh burst out of her. “Yes. Obviously yes! I can’t wait to marry you, West. I love you so much.”

Closing my eyes, I lowered my forehead to hers. “Thank god. You had me worried for a second. This wasn’t how I wanted to do it. There was going to be a sunrise, a walk—”

“This was perfect.” Her arms wound around my shoulders. “I love that you couldn’t wait.”

“You’re going to be my wife.”

“You’re going to be my husband.”


“Soon,” she agreed.

My eyes opened, finding hers locked on mine. “Are you happy, baby?”

“The happiest I’ve ever been.”

Even with my brother bumbling around in the living room and the two upcoming days of next to no privacy with Elise’s brother sleeping in the next tent, I’d never in my life been this utterly, wholly content. I had the friends, the family, the success, and most importantly, the girl of my dreams.

Maybe happy endings weren’t so unbelievable.


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