“There’s no need to be rude, Lance, we’re going.” Betty Lou all but pushed Holt out the door, past the new owner of Wright & Sons…. who apparently was one of said sons. “But,” she glared up at her ex, knowing that he wouldn’t be fooled by any of her sickly sweet smiles, “I’m taking my laptop.”
He tried to grab her arm when she pivoted back towards the desk to rip the charger from the wall, and she could tell that he was going to object. “My laptop, Lance. Your ‘father’ made me buy it myself, and I’m taking it with me.” Nose in the air, electronics tucked under her arm, purse slung across her shoulder so it bumped against her ass with each step, she flip-flopped past him with as much dignity as she could muster.
To her surprise, Holt was waiting for her at the elevator, looking like he was seriously considering going back in there to duke it out with Lance over the company. But instead, he just latched on to her elbow and hustled her into the elevator. Since that’s where she was planning on going anyhow, eager to get out of the building before Lance caught her in her lie or called their one elderly security guard to make a scene, she went quietly.
The ride was awkward, Holt’s dangerous silence a warning to not try to make conversation. But when the doors dinged open to reveal the lowest level of the parking garage, Holt took a deep breath and turned to her, touching her arm gently with the hand not still holding the papers. “This isn’t right, Betty Lou. I need to fix this.”
“No.” She lifted the laptop just a little bit, to draw his attention to it. “We need to fix this. And we need to get out of here before we can’t.”
Giving her a look she couldn’t interpret, he finally nodded. “We’ll make a good team.”
She tried not to think about how good that—him calling them as a team—made her feel.
Holt had arrived with Carina, who’d already taken the car back to the city, so they squeezed into her old Ford Ranger. Holt had raised a dark brow at the messy interior of the small pickup, but pushed some piles of newspaper to the floorboards and climbed in.
As she peeled out of the garage—a small part of her smiling to see him grab at the ‘oh shit’ handle when she took the corner too hard—she caught him staring at her.
“I didn’t say anything.” She didn’t look, but could hear the smile in his voice.
“Open the computer,” She’d plopped it on his lap with the rest of the papers he’d been carrying when they left the office. “And go into the ‘Legal Files’ folder under ‘Wright’ in the document drive.”
“I like this side of you. Very commanding.” But he did as she asked.
“Yeah, well.” She ran a yellow to turn left on Harbor Ave. “I have hidden depths.”
“I can tell.” She could hear that smile again. Then a moment of silence as he tapped her way through Wright and Son’s legal documents. “I can’t believe Mr. Wright let you store all of these on your personal computer.”
“He didn’t.” She felt his gaze, and smiled. It wasn’t a nice smile. “I just stole Wright and Sons proprietary property.”
He chuckled then. “Well, let’s see if we can justify your larceny.” When he bent back over the screen, and she took a slower right onto Maple towards downtown, she realized that she was a lot calmer than she had a right to be. She’d been fired, stolen a laptop from her long-time employer, and seen her ex destroy a good man. But being beside Holt, working with him, just felt right.
But then she heard him suck in a breath. “Holy shit, Betty Lou.” She glanced at him, but he didn’t notice. “Burnham’s documents said that his grandfather arranged it so that he’d inherit on his father’s seventieth birthday, because he’s the last surviving son.” It’d always bothered Betty Lou how obsessed the old man had been with his sons, ignoring his daughters.
Holt looked up, and she met his brilliant blue eyes for a moment, struck by the predatory gleam in them. “That’s a lie.”