Boss With Benefits

By: Talia Hunter

He had to force a smile so she wouldn’t see how the question cut him. They may not have seen each other often enough since they’d gone to Australia as children, but she was still his sister. He’d let her down when he’d got himself sent to boarding school, but now he had the chance to make things right, he was ready to make any sacrifice necessary. He’d move heaven and earth if it would help her get well.

“Why not?” He kept his tone light.

“We don’t have to sell Lantana. Could leave Rosa in charge. Come back after…”

“Then all you’d do is worry about the resort.”

Besides, Tiny could never come back to Lantana. Not when the nearest medical care was a couple of hours away by boat. If Tiny couldn’t face the truth and accept her life could never be the same, she left him no choice but to make the hard decisions for her.

She sighed again. Her eyes didn’t so much close as drag themselves down slowly as though they had weights attached.

“You’re tired.” He moved to leave. “Sleep now, and I’ll come back later.”

“Sleeping too much.” It was little more than a whisper.

“Don’t fight it. Your body’s trying to heal. I’ll see you later, okay?”

He was walking to the door when he saw the bottle of champagne on the dresser. Crossing to it, he picked it up. It had to be the bottle he’d seen in Rosa’s bag. But why leave it in Tiny’s room?

“What’s this?” he asked, turning around.

Her eyes opened and she gave him another weary smile. That made two in one day. Something to celebrate.

“Ask Rosa,” she murmured. “Too tired to explain.”

He put the bottle back on the dresser and stared at it for a moment longer before tiptoeing out. Maybe he’d been a little too quick to judge Rosa for it, but she’d still disturbed Tiny when he’d asked her not to.

Dalton showered and changed. By the time he got back to the reception building, Mere was nowhere to be seen and Rosa was in the office that used to be Tiny’s. She was frowning at the computer and running one hand through her dark, shoulder length hair. Her hair was already a little messy, probably from the ferry ride. She was making it even messier. When she turned toward him, it was sticking up on one side.

“Oh. Hi.” She didn’t look happy to see him. Not entirely unexpected. Maybe he’d been a little hard on her, but she’d taken him by surprise.

“You have everything you need?” he asked.

She lifted her chin. “When I studied hotel management, I graduated at the top of my class. And for the last five years, I’ve been working as a Hotel Manager’s Assistant. So, I’m qualified to do this job.” Her cheeks were flushed and she challenged him with her eyes. They were remarkable eyes. When he’d first seen her, he’d thought they were grey. But in the glow of sunlight shining through the window, they were tinged with green.

“That’s not what I asked.”

“It’s obvious you think I shouldn’t be here.”

“That’s what you inferred from me asking if you have everything you need?”

“Of course not.” She hesitated, as though waiting for him to say something else. When he didn’t, she let out a long breath. “Do you know if Tiny has a list of her suppliers?”

If his sister had an address book, she would have left it somewhere obvious. The pad on the desk obviously belonged to Rosa, and there was some very neat writing on the open page.

“Did you check her computer?” he asked.

She nodded. “I couldn’t find a file called Suppliers, and I didn’t want to open random files in case she kept private stuff on it.”

“I’ll take a look.” He leaned over to use the keyboard, and couldn’t stop his gaze from flicking down Rosa’s long, slender body. Fine boned, he’d call her. Delicate, even. But judging from the way she’d challenged him, she clearly wasn’t as fragile as she looked.

He ran a quick search of the most recently accessed files on Tiny’s computer, and when he chose a spreadsheet and double-clicked, a list of company names and phone numbers came up.

“That’s it.” Rosa peered at the document. “Now, could you find me a list of what’s been done for Saturday’s wedding and what hasn’t?”

She glanced up at him, her face close. She had a nice smell. Clean, fresh, and a little minty. As though instead of just brushing her teeth in the morning, she’d rubbed her entire body with toothpaste.

Dalton forced his attention back to the computer and searched Tiny’s files again, this time looking for anything that mentioned weddings or Saturday’s date. He found files related to older weddings, but nothing current. “Do you know the name of the couple?” he asked.

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