Accidentally on Purpose (Heartbreaker Bay 3) - Page 22

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And she meant it. Nodding to herself, she turned over, punched her pillow and tried to go to sleep.

Don’t anything, not ever again . . .

The words haunted her. It would mean no more working with him, and maybe no more seeing him, and that gave her the first small inkling of what was possibly regret. She might want to kill him half the time but the other half of the time she . . . well, she didn’t know exactly, but she knew she’d miss it, whatever it was. Maybe she was giving up on a romance between them but did that mean she could or should give up their . . . friendship? Is that what they had? Elle didn’t know, but she did know this—she wasn’t prepared to cut him out of her life entirely.

She also had to give a fond thought to the money he paid her when she worked for him, money that funded her shoe habit. And then there were his guys, all of whom she adored.

Don’t anything, not ever again . . .

Okay, Elle, she ordered herself, put it in perspective. What he’d done tonight, calling off her date with Mike, had been wrong. He’d definitely crossed a line there, but to be honest so had she, going out with someone he had to deal with as a client.

They’d both been wrong. Mostly him, but still. She could accept some of the blame.

Don’t anything, not ever again . . .

And that’s when it hit her, the full reality of what she’d emailed him had the air backing up in her lungs, and her eyes popped open.

What had she done?

Well, she’d let her temper get the best of her and she’d cut him out of her life instead of just making him pay. Shit. Making him pay would’ve been so much more satisfying. She sat up and texted Spence.

Elle: Is there any way to delete an email once you’ve sent it?

Spence: What did you do?

Elle: It’s a yes or no question!

Spence: No. Not without being a felon. What are you up to, Elle?

Best not to bother him with an explanation, she decided. And anyway, she knew what she had to do. She had to break into Archer’s office and erase that email, hopefully before he accessed it on his phone—which she assumed he wouldn’t do since he was on a job.

No problem. No problem at all . . .

Spence: Elle?

Spence: Seriously, Elle. Answer or I’ll send out SWAT.

Elle: The person you are trying to reach pleads the fifth . . .

And then, knowing how smart Spence was, she turned off her phone so he couldn’t track her and stop her. Because nothing could stop her.

Chapter 8


Elle threw back her covers and hurriedly dressed, for the first time in her life throwing on clothes without conscious, careful thought. She pulled her hair up in a ponytail and left her place.

She took a cab because she couldn’t spare the time to wait for an Uber. Once at the Pacific Pier Building, she ran through the courtyard, which was completely empty at this time of night.

The pub was still going strong though and she was very lucky to find Spence in the back room playing pool with Finn and Keane. She didn’t see Archer and suspected slash hoped he was still on a job, but he was a sneaky bastard so she needed to be sure. Pretending she wasn’t out of breath or panicked to the gills, she strolled up to the pool table, hugging Keane hello. And then Finn. She saved Spence for last and he arched a brow at her warm greeting.

“Thought you were on a date,” he said. “Pleading the fifth.”

“Was. So . . . where’s your fourth musketeer?”

“On a job.” He looked at her for a long beat. “What are you up to, Elle?”

Dammit. This was the problem with having a genius as a BFF. He saw everything. He knew everything. And he could think ten steps ahead of her. “Nothing,” she said. “Nothing at all.” She added a smile because she knew what he didn’t. That that big, beautiful brain of his had one fatal flaw—he lacked experience in outwitting, outlasting, and outplaying a Female on a Mission. “Okay, then, good to see you but I’ve gotta go.”

He grabbed her by the back of her sweater and held tight. “You know to call me when you need me.”


“Before the cops arrive.”

She laughed, as he’d intended. “Yes.” She hugged him. “It’s late. Past my bedtime. Don’t wanna turn into a pumpkin.” And then she made her escape.

She didn’t breathe again until she was on the second floor outside Hunt Investigations. Slowly she opened her fist and looked down at what she’d palmed from Spence’s pocket.

His keys, including the master key for the building.

Yes, she was quite the felon tonight and she came by it naturally.

Her plan was simple. Get into Archer’s office, access his email and erase her message—assuming he hadn’t seen it already—and get out again without being detected. That she was doing all this to a security specialist did give her some pause but she had her pride at stake here as well as any future interactions with Archer. Not that there would be anything more than a simple friendship.

She got inside Hunt Investigations and hit her first snag. She didn’t have a key for the interior door to the back offices. But hold on a minute . . . there was a light on in the back—


She just about swallowed her own tongue when Joe appeared on the other side of the glass partition, looking at her in surprise.

“Hi,” she said, mind racing. “You’re working late.”

“Stupid report on a takedown that went bad earlier.”

Her heart stopped. “How bad?”

Joe blew out a breath. “Our guy threw a knife before we could relieve him of his weapons, and let’s say he had good aim.”

“Oh my God,” she said, stomach jangling. “Who’s hurt?”

“We got lucky. The blade would’ve hit our contract worker because he didn’t duck as fast as the rest of us. But you know our gang, someone’s always gotta play the hero.”

She did know. She’d heard the stories. These guys had all at one time or another saved each other’s lives. “Who dove for him and got stabbed?”

“Who do you think?” Joe asked. “Archer, of course.”

Elle felt the blood rush out of her head and her vision went cobwebby.

“Hey. Hey, whoa there . . .” she heard Joe say from a million miles away. And then his hands were supporting her, bringing her into the back, pushing her into a chair.

Tags: Jill Shalvis Heartbreaker Bay Romance