The Immortal Who Loved Me(Argeneau, book 21)(70) by Lynsay Sands
“I did,” Sherry admitted with a faint smile. “Lex had flown off to his supposed job in Africa and I hadn’t hired Zander yet.”
“Then your success is all your own,” Elvi assured her. “You did an amazing job. No wonder Marguerite loves it so much.”
“Marguerite?” Sherry asked, recognizing the name from her first night at the Enforcer house. “Lucian’s sister-in-law? I thought I recognized her.”
Elvi nodded. “She was going on about this store and how lovely you and everything in it were the last time I saw her. She said it was bright and airy and welcoming and . . . how did she put it? ‘Even in the middle of winter it feels like a warm spring day when you walk into the store,’” she recounted, and then smiled. “She was right. I love it.”
Sherry smiled. That was exactly the effect she’d been hoping to produce, and it appeared she’d succeeded.
“I’m quite sure your father had nothing to do with that,” Elvi said solemnly, and then grinned. “Men are rather useless when it comes to decorating and kitchen stuff.” She considered it briefly and then added, “That’s probably why your father felt he could leave you alone so soon after your mother’s death. He knew he would be no help with preparing and opening the store, and knew it would keep you occupied.”
“If he even actually left town,” Sherry said.
“Well, he probably didn’t,” Elvi acknowledged. “He was probably watching over you even then, just from a distance, as he did when your parents were still married. I think he really does love you and want the best for you, Sherry,” she said quietly. “And I hope you’ll give him the chance to be a part of your life after everything is settled.”
When Sherry remained silent, her thoughts circling, Elvi patted her hand and said, “I don’t know about you, but I could do with something to drink after all this talk.”
“I have a Keurig,” Sherry said, glancing around.
“I’m feeling more like one of those cold cappy frappy things, and I’m pretty sure I saw one of those fancy coffee shops around the corner that sell them.”
“Actually, that does sound good,” Sherry agreed.
“I’ll just go see if I can get one of the boys to get us a couple, then. Be right back!”
Sherry nodded and watched her go, then turned to peer out the window over the store. Basil and Lucian were in a huddle, talking with Decker, Anders, Victor, Basha, and Marcus. As she watched, Elvi rushed to the group. After a couple minutes, Basha and Marcus were the ones who broke away and headed for the door. Sherry supposed they wanted a couple of the drinks themselves. That, or Decker and Anders couldn’t leave the store.
Elvi turned to head back, but Victor caught her and swung her back for a kiss. Sherry smiled when Elvi threw her arms around him and kissed back, one foot leaving the ground to hang in the air. Sherry had always thought that only happened in classic movies. Apparently not. It made her wonder if she’d ever done that when Basil kissed her.
“Ah, isn’t that sweet? It must be true love, huh?”
Sherry turned with a start to find Leonius standing beside her, watching the people below.
Sherry stumbled back with a gasp, nearly tripping over her own feet in her clumsy effort to get away. But Leo caught her arm, steadying her. His hold also prevented her from escaping.
“Careful, clumsy Cathy,” he chided, drawing her to his side. “I wouldn’t want you to fall and hurt yourself.”
“My name’s Sherry not Cathy,” she said defiantly.
“Yeah, but clumsy Cathy sounds better than stumbling Sherry, don’t you think?”
Glowering, Sherry ignored the question and asked, “How did you get in my office?”
Leo raised his eyebrows and said, “There’s this little thing called a door . . .” He tilted his head. “You should really lock yours. I mean I know you have to keep the front door unlocked for customers, but the back door? Into an alley, no less. You really should have locked it behind Justin and your daddy.”
“You saw them leave?”
“Yeah. I was hiding in your Dumpster. Fortunately, you don’t sell foodstuffs, so I was only crouching amidst cardboard boxes and stuff. Still, it’s a pretty undignified thing to have to do,” he pointed out. “However, when I heard Bricker say the SUV was in the alley and realized he’d be coming out that door, there was nothing for me to do but jump in your blue bin.”
“You heard him?”
“I heard loads of stuff. You people do like to talk, and I’ve been out there ever since Decker gave up his position watching the back of the store and ran around to the front,” he informed her. “In fact, I was about to come in after Basil and Lucian left, but then Elvi—is that her name?—she came in, so I waited. I must confess, though, that I was losing patience and considering taking both of you when she finally left.”
He glanced past her and clucked his tongue. “Speaking of Elvi, I do believe she’s about done making out with her husband and is about to come up here. We should go. Otherwise, we’ll have to take her with us.” Using the hold he still had on her arm, Leo swung her toward the door leading out to the alley. “And you know that old saying, two’s company and three’s mass murder.”
“And here I thought it was three’s a crowd,” Sherry muttered, pulling uselessly on her arm to distract him as she grabbed the letter opener off her desk in passing and concealed it against her side.
“Only when you’re talking Argeneaus. Three of them is definitely three too many,” he assured her as he dragged her down the stairs. “Speaking of which, I hear you’re a life mate for my mother’s uncle Basil.”
“Wouldn’t that make him your great-uncle?” she asked as he paused to crack the door open and peer warily out into the alley.
“Nah. I am not an Argeneau. At least not by blood. A great disappointment to my mother, I’m sure.”
Sherry glanced at him curiously as he pushed the door wide-open now and dragged her out. His voice had gone tight with either pain or anger when he’d said that.
“Speaking of disappointing your parents.” Pausing outside the door as it swung closed, Leo arched an eyebrow at her. “Smoking weed, Sherry? Really? Naughty, naughty.
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