For the rest of the day, Elle struggled with what she’d done, turning Morgan away crisis unheard. And yes, she was one hundred percent sure there’d been some sort of crisis. She felt like such a jerk.
She also struggled with something else. She needed to apologize to Archer. Not for the email. Oh hell, no way was she going to apologize for her feelings, especially as in the moment they’d been genuine. But she’d B&E’d his office and had used one of his men to do it.
Not cool of her.
And then there was the other thing—she’d been watching his office all day, wanting to get eyes on him and make sure he was really okay after being stabbed. Eyes only. No mouth. Under absolutely no circumstances was she going to let her mouth get involved.
She’d given him up and she was sticking by that decision.
But he’d stayed away from his office. This wasn’t all that uncommon. He spent whole weeks out in the field on jobs. In his opinion, the office was an evil necessity. So she gave it up and tried to get the scoop from Mollie.
“He’s doing better,” Mollie said. “Not that he’d admit he wasn’t in top form all this week.”
“So he’s on a job.”
“Of course,” Mollie said. “That man doesn’t take time off for, and I’ll quote him here, ‘a little scratch.’ Luckily he’s just doing surveillance.”
“Where?” Elle asked.
“Sorry, honey.” Mollie shook her head. “I can’t give out his location.”
“He shouldn’t be working at all, should he?”
“No. The doctor doesn’t want him working for at least another week, which of course he thinks is ridiculous. The guys would’ve handled today’s surveillance but he refused help. He’s not into letting people take care of him, which is silly since the man’s done nothing but take care of all of us like we’re his family.” She shook her head. “Anyway, I’d really like to tell you where he’s at since you’re probably the only one of all of us who can improve his mood, but—”
“Oh trust me,” Elle said, “I don’t improve his mood.”
Mollie gave her a get-real look. “Are you seriously going to stand in my reception room in that amazing dress—and I’m going to need deets on where you got that—and look me right in the eyes and tell me you don’t know what kind of influence you have on that man?”
Elle opened her mouth and then shut it. Her phone rang and she’d never been so happy for the excuse to step out into the hallway to answer it.
The number wasn’t one she recognized and when she answered, she knew she’d never heard the voice before either.
“Morgan,” a man’s gruff voice said.
Elle narrowed her eyes. “No. You’ve got the wrong number—”
She stilled. “Who is this?”
But he’d disconnected. “Dammit.” She turned to walk down the hallway and nearly plowed into Joe. “Hey,” she said. “Just who I wanted to see.”
“No,” he said.
He blew out a sigh and scrubbed a hand down his face, looking pained. “Look, Elle, you’re hot as hell and I really like you. But on top of all that, boss man’s in a bitch of a mood today, okay? I mean I know you’d improve it but—”
“Okay, you’re the second person to say that to me. It’s not true.”
He snorted. “Yeah, right, but you’re still going to have to find another stooge for today’s game.”
“For your information, there is no game,” she said, watching as he vanished into the office. “Chicken.” She pulled out her phone again and called Trev.
“Hell no,” he answered. “You’re scary, sweet thing. But Archer’s scarier.”
A scary man who was making it all but impossible to apologize! She called Spence.
“I knew it was going to be you,” he said, distinctly not happy to hear her voice. “Thanks for returning my keys last night after you kyped them and used them to break into Archer’s office.”
She’d set them on his kitchen counter before going home. “How did you know it was me?”
“Because I let you take them.”
Either she was losing her touch or he was just that good. She voted for the latter. “I need to know where Archer is.”
“Fine but I’m only going to tell you because I think you’ll actually improve his mood.”
She pulled the phone from her ear and stared at it, and then shook her head. “Why does everyone keep saying that to me?”
He snorted. “Stand by,” he said. “I’ll text you.”
And sure enough, five minutes later a text came through with an address and a note.
Spence: He’s on a surveillance recon only, nothing dangerous, and he’s alone. You owe me. Muffins, Elle. For a week.
Archer was on one of those rare jobs where he spent most of his time wondering why he’d taken it on in the first place. He hadn’t wanted to—as a rule he turned away most domestic cases. Having to stand between a husband and a wife with proof of infidelity on one side or the other never failed to leave him with a bad taste in his mouth. Yeah, he was cynical and jaded and could be a cold bastard. He knew and accepted this about himself. But he still hated providing the final nail in the coffin on a marriage.
This case involved doing just that. His client was a wealthy socialite at the top of the food chain, the elite of the elite in San Francisco, and she suspected her city council husband was cheating on her.
Archer had taken the case only because he owed the mayor a favor, and he’d called Archer himself and asked for his help for his “dear friend.”
He’d reluctantly agreed, ultimately deciding it would be good for him to clear the slate. Plus it was a job he could actually do one-handed, thankfully, as it would be at least another week before he was up to his usual speed. Getting knifed was a bitch. Worse, his men had turned into a bunch of babysitters, watching out for him, taking on the jobs they didn’t think he should do.
It was something he’d have done for any one of them, but having it turned on him when he was so used to being in charge drove him nuts. He was leaning casually against the hood of his car like maybe he was waiting for someone, watching the entrance of his client’s husband’s town house when he heard the sound of heels coming his way.