Should I stay or should I go?
Whenever she looked at her gorgeous boss, Keri Walker’s mind kept playing those words over and over. She’d been in love with Richie for as long as she could remember. But he only saw her as his trusted employee and nothing more. She was exhausted of waiting for him to see her as a woman.
It might be for the best if she just let him go. Keri was tired of having her heart broken every day she walked through the doors of Davidson Financial.
Richie Davidson couldn’t get past the loss of his fiancée. She’d meant everything to him and he never believed he would fall in love again—until Keri decided to leave. He’d been so focused on the past that he was allowing his future to walk out without a fight.
Would he be able to convince Keri that he could do so much better by her before it was too late? Or would she really walk out the door taking his heart with her and never come back?
Keri Walker finished making the coffee while she waited for her boss to arrive at work. This was the third time this week he was late, and it would probably continue for the rest of the month because so much had happened to Richie.
Richie hadn’t been the same since his fiancée Kristy died in a car wreck driving back from her bachelorette party over six months ago. Keri had been working late with Richie on an investment report when he received the phone call from the police. She would never forget the devastated look on his face.
The police had suggested that Kristy was reaching for her cell phone in her purse when she lost control of her car, hit a slick spot in the road, and crashed. She was thrown from the vehicle, about a hundred feet. She was so badly injured that the coroner advised Richie not to come identify the body.
Richie was so distraught over the loss he wasn’t able to be the best man at his best friend Nick Lavery’s wedding. She felt so bad for her boss because she had seen the happiness Kristy had brought into his life. He’d always looked at her like she was his soul mate, and nothing else mattered in the world to him but making Kristy’s every wish come true, and vice versa.
It pained Keri even more that Richie would never see her like that. She had secretly been in love with her handsome boss for over two years now, but he was too blind to notice her as a woman. She knew she was living in a dream world thinking Richie might wake up one day and fall in love with her, but she held out hope that he could see her the way she envisioned.
He was the kind of guy that never thought about mixing business with pleasure, no matter how much she wished for it. However, she was going to find a way to be with him. There wasn’t a doubt in her mind, Richie was the man for her and all she had to do was make him see it too.
“This is the second time this week I have caught you daydreaming in front of the coffeepot. Does it have some kind of magical powers that I don’t know about? Or is there a man in your life I should know about to make sure he’s good enough for you?”
Keri jumped at the unexpected sound of Richie’s deep voice. It had a hint of an Irish’s accent that she adored so much. Most people didn’t hear it because he had lived here so long, but at the right times she heard it.
“No, I don’t have a boyfriend. You know that, Richie,” she answered, turning to face him.
Keri tried not to faint at the delicious sight Richie made wearing all black with his thick red hair pulled back into a ponytail that stopped between his shoulder blades. He had planned on cutting it short after Kristy’s sudden death, but she had talked him out of it.
Thank God! She adored his long hair and would hate to see it gone.
“Why don’t you have a man? You’re a cute girl. Any guy would be lucky to have you as long as he understands I come first. I can’t have him stealing away my best assistant.”
Keri tried not to let her feelings be hurt by Richie’s comment, but they were. She loved him so much and he still only saw her as his capable and trustworthy sidekick assistant.
“I’ll keep that in mind when I find someone,” Keri said. “You look nice today. What is the special occasion?” She looked over his calendar earlier and he didn’t have anything on there, so it must be something she wasn’t aware of.
“I have a meeting today with Deborah Lee about getting a loan so we can expand the business. I want to hire two at least more people so I won’t be doing all of the work. I’m beginning to see how working all extra hours isn’t good for me. I need to get a life. I have known it for a while, but it’s just so hard without Kristy to share it with.”
“Richie, you are the most in demand financial planner in town with the way the economy is now. I told you to hire another person six months ago. Isn’t your brother planning on moving here? Can’t you get him to help you out for a while? He has the same degree as you do. I think he would be a nice addition.”
Moving closer to her, Richie reached above her head and grabbed his favorite black coffee mug. The one he swore brought him good luck every time he drank out of it. She didn’t really believe it, but she wasn’t about to tell Richie that. She would let him believe it if he wanted to.
“Excuse me.” Richie apologized when his chest brushed against her back. The hint of his cologne stirred her senses, making her panties instantly damp. Shit! She had to get herself under control.
“That’s okay,” she replied, hoping her voice sounded stronger than she thought it came across. “So, are you going to answer my question? What about Tate? I truly think he could be a wonderful asset to the business.” Keri secretly thought Richie was too hard on his little brother. Tate did love to goof off sometimes, but he always got his work done and it was flawless.
“No... I couldn’t handle Tate working for me again. Those few months he was here last summer was enough to make me know better. He’s too unpredictable. I need someone I can count on to show up every day.” Moving away from her, Richie poured coffee into his mug along with one sugar and two creams. “That’s why I like you so much. I know you will never disappoint me by being here on time and doing your job perfectly.”
Keri blew off Richie’s compliment because it was the same thing he told her all the time. She wondered what he would do if she actually wasn’t little Miss Perfect anymore.
“Is there anything else we need to discuss before I leave for my meeting? You know how much Deborah hates for anyone to be late for a conference.”
Deborah… Keri tried not to roll her eyes as her name was mentioned. Did Richie not see how Deborah was trying to get him into her bed since Kristy died? The woman had no shame at all.
“Yes, the event planner called about the St. Patrick’s Day charity event. She wants to know if you still are thinking about having a masquerade ball. I was trying to explain it to her, but I’m pretty sure Taylor would rather talk to you instead of me.”
Resting against the counter, Richie took a sip of his coffee. “You’re probably right about that. Taylor has been after me since Kristy died. She doesn’t understand I’m not looking for another committed relationship with anyone at the moment. My fiancée hasn’t been dead a year yet. Sure, I have taken a couple of women out to dinner, but only because Nick set me up with them. They were okay, but nothing I was looking for in a woman.”
Keri knew this was her chance to find out what Richie was searching for in a female. Women had come and gone, but none of them seemed to last more than two weeks at the most. Something was going on and she wanted to know what they were doing wrong so she wouldn’t fall into the same quicksand when it came to winning Richie’s heart.
“So, what are you looking for?” She determined the direct approach would be the best bet for her when it came to her outspoken boss.
“Keri, I don’t have time to get into it now. Anyway, you have your own life. I want you to stop trying to help me with mine. I swear that I’m doing a lot better now. Nick is almost as bad as you and poor Tasha isn’t far behind the two of you. I promise you that I will know when I meet the right woman again.” Richie took another sip of his coffee before placing it on the counter next to him. “I’ll go and see Taylor after Deborah to make sure she has everything correct for the St. Patrick’s Day charity.”
“Richie, you know that you can talk to me just like you do Nick. We are more than co-workers. I’ve always considered us pretty close, and that is what friends do. They confide in each other when they are having problems.”
She already knew Richie was done talking to her, but she had to give it one last shot. This was the longest he had talked to her in days. She enjoyed it immensely when, on those rare occasions, he did open up and let her see a peek of what was going on inside of him instead of the façade he kept up at work with his clients.
“Maybe later, but not now,” he answered after a few seconds. “Can you have those financial reports done for my two new clients on my desk before you leave for lunch? I want to look at them first thing when I get back from my two meetings.”
“Sure, they will be waiting for you.”
“Thank you.” Richie smiled at her slightly then left her alone in the small kitchen.
Right at that moment, Keri vowed to bring back the fun-loving Richie that she had fallen in love with. Hurrying to the door, she caught the back of Richie as he walked into his office across from her desk and closed the door.
“I’m going to help you. It doesn’t matter if you want it or not.”