Read Poison Online

Authors: Leanne Davis

Tags: #Suspense, #Contemporary

Poison

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Thank you for purchasing this publication of The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

Poison

by

Leanne Davis

The Seaclusion Series, Book One

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

Poison

COPYRIGHT © 2013 by Leanne Davis

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press, Inc. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Contact Information: [email protected]

Cover Art by
Debbie Taylor

The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

PO Box 708

Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708

Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com

Publishing History

First Crimson Rose Edition, 2013

Print ISBN 978-1-61217-865-3

Digital ISBN 978-1-61217-866-0

The Seaclusion Series, Book One

Published in the United States of America

Dedication

To Amanda and Alex

You are my first, and my best, dream come true.

I love you.

Prologue

He was late, but his tension started to fade when her apartment came into view. It was such a simple thing to park in the grocery store parking lot across the street, and walk the short distance through the green belt behind her apartment complex. Calmness filled him. He was close to her. He could breathe now. He stood along the edge of the woods, facing her apartment. He smiled in anticipation; she should be home any minute.

He looked across the short strip of lawn that separated her first floor apartment from him. Now, only a few steps separated them. And soon, oh so soon, he’d take those steps and she’d pay for betraying him, and then, finally he’d forgive her, and they could continue on with their lives together.

It was foggy, good weather for him because he could stand there almost invisible; no hiding from prying neighbors’ eyes. He waited for an hour. No lights came on in her apartment. She was always home by now, where was she? His right eye ticked as his tension mounted. Where was she? Who was she with? And why wasn’t she here? He didn’t like not knowing where she was. She should have left her job and come straight home.

He stepped onto the squishy grass; his black shoes sank into the mucky lawn. He took the few strides across the yard to her small patio. He looked into the darkened slider as he reached for the door handle. But his hand stopped dead when he realized the apartment,
her apartment
, was empty. Completely, starkly empty. The buzz roared in his ears as pressure built painfully in his chest and rose up his throat, choking him. She was gone. They were gone.

She’d left him.

He slammed his fist into the glass sliding door. He jerked back in overwhelming pain as agony vibrated through his hand. The glass didn’t break. He wasn’t strong enough. He kicked it. Nothing. His breathing was ragged, his heart rate frantic. He leaned heavily into the slider, trying to regain control, slow his breathing and think. He had to think.

But how could she do this to him? How could she do this to
them
? He should have realized it, he couldn’t trust her, and now he couldn’t forgive her. She’d have to pay for this; and all he had to do was take the one thing that mattered most, the very same thing that had driven him and his wife apart; their son.

Chapter One

A knock sounded on the door, and John Tyler tore his gaze from his computer to glance at his watch. He sighed with annoyance. She was early. He wasn’t scheduled to meet with the new hire, Cassie Reynolds, for another twenty minutes. He called for her to come in as he finished typing the last few sentences on his report. The door clicked open. A second later, a feminine gasp made him raise his head. His fingers froze over his keyboard, as his heart beat increased to a painful drum in his chest. He blinked to make sure he wasn’t imagining who stood before his glass-topped desk. Cassie Reeves, the woman who had taken his heart over a decade ago and stomped on it, stood before him, her eyes as big with shock as his own. He sprang from his chair.

“Harry hired you as our new receptionist?”

“Yes.”

“You’re Cassie Reynolds?”

“Yes. I now go by Reynolds, instead of Reeves.”

He stared at her. She stared back, blinking with obvious confusion. His breathing hitched. She still had pretty brown eyes a man could get lost in... He gritted his teeth in annoyance. What the hell was he thinking about her eyes for? He glared at her. She wasn’t supposed to be here. He was never supposed to see her again.

He let out a long breath. “I approve all new hires. I think we can agree this isn’t going to work. Now please, get out of my office.”

“It’s going to have to work. Harry said I had the job.”

John narrowed his eyes. She stared down at her fingers. She finally looked up but stared at a point behind his head. She shifted her weight from one foot to the other as the silence lingered between them.

“Is that so?” John asked finally. He crossed his arms over his chest

She took a step back at his tone. He smiled. Good. She was intimidated by him. Then she straightened her back and crossed her arms over her own chest as she raised her eyebrows at him.

“Yes. That’s so.”

“Well, let’s just go see about that.” John stalked around his desk, past Cassie, and out of his office. Harry Everhart looked up as John, followed by Cassie, charged into his office.

“You can’t just fire me like that,” Cassie said from behind him.

“I just did.”

“What’s going on?” Harry glanced from John to Cassie.

“He fired me.”

“He fired you?” Harry frowned. “Why the hell would you do that?”

“I won’t work with her.”

“She’s been here all of five minutes.”

“It doesn’t matter. I refuse to work with her.”

Cassie moved around John so that she was in front of Harry. Probably batting her big brown eyes up at him.

“John and I dated ten years ago, when we were kids. I’m sure as adults; we can look past that and be professionals.”

“No, we can’t,” John snapped. He bit back his irritation at the familiar way she spoke to Harry.

Cassie glanced back at him, her eyes narrowed. “You can’t fire me. I need this job.”

“Everyone needs a job. Find another one.” John refused to meet her gaze. He crossed the plush carpet and stared out the window to illustrate that this was the end of the conversation. He watched the tourists walking the streets out in front of the medical clinic instead of facing the woman behind him.

“Cassie, go ahead to your desk. We’ll straighten this out,” Harry said.

John turned and started to protest, but Harry waved his hand as if to say shut up. Cassie glanced one more time at Harry before she turned and left. He didn’t like the look. It was familiar. Needy. Harry sighed as he rubbed a hand to his chin. “I won’t fire her. I have my reasons, and you’ll have to accept my decision.”

“I’m sorry. I can’t accept that.”

“You’re going to have to.”

John crossed his arms over his chest. “What is she to you?”

“I can’t say. I promised her I’d keep her reasons for working here to myself. You will be civil to her, John. I promised Cassie a job, and a job she will have. We have patients to see so I suggest you get to work.”

John bristled. Harry had final say over his medical practice. But Harry had never exercised that right before. Until today, they had decided all major decisions together. John turned without another word and strode out of Harry’s office. He ignored Cassie as he passed her to go into his office. He walked past the pile of work waiting for him on his cluttered desk and went to stand at the window looking out toward the Olympic Mountains. The soothing view of jagged, white, frosty peaks did nothing to calm the anger churning in his gut.

John took several deep breaths to settle his rapid heartbeat. Memories of Cassie started to fill his head. He gritted his teeth as he slammed his fist against the window sill. He had to figure out what kind of relationship Cassie and Harry had. Why was Harry so adamant that Cassie work here? He might have to put up with her presence for a few days, but once he figured out what Cassie’s hold on Harry was, he’d find a way to eject her from his life, and this time it would be for good.

****

“…So that’s how you transfer calls to their voicemails. Any questions?”

Cassie blinked when she heard her name. She turned toward the nurse who was training her. It was a stretch to think that her new role as receptionist required training. The job was basically a phone with multiple lines for crying out loud, not an intricate surgery. Cassie finally nodded in response to the nurse’s patient smile.

“Dr. Tyler likes his calls written down on this log, so he doesn’t have to scan all his voicemails. Okay?”

“Sure,” Cassie said, drawing her body up straighter. Dr. Tyler. Holy shit. She was talking casually about how to handle phone calls for John Tyler. It made her scalp tingle. It was only seven-thirty in the morning, and unbelievably, she’d run into an ex-boyfriend who detested her, had been fired, re-hired, and put her two new bosses at odds over her.

And now here she sat at the mercy of John Tyler. She couldn’t leave as John wanted her to do, because she needed this job. If circumstances had been different she would have taken one look at John and walked out of the clinic without a word of protest. Did he really think she enjoyed seeing him? Or that she wanted to wait around for him to say what he had been waiting for a decade to say to her? She would gladly find a different job far away from him.

But her situation didn’t give her that choice. Her life had slid out of her control to the point that she lived in a rundown trailer, with little money, no family support, and now the job she’d come to this particular town for, would most likely be sabotaged by John.

Harry Everhart had agreed to help her when she had contacted him four days ago in desperation because she had to disappear, and disappear now. She had wiped out her savings, left her business, her apartment, and her entire life behind, without a phone call to anyone, not even to her sister Kelly.

Then she had moved to Seaclusion, Washington, a place she’d only ever heard of as the return address on the yearly Christmas card Harry sent her. The plan had been she would work for Harry and hopefully go unnoticed as Harry’s secretary. That had been the idea, until John recognized her.

Didn’t he think she too had been stunned? Dismayed? Totally appalled to see him? Did he really think she relished the thought of working for him? With him? Around him? She didn’t want anything to do with him. Being a well-educated doctor, she would think he could deduce that on his own.

Cassie pressed a finger into her eye socket as Nurse Bishop went into an in-depth explanation of how to greet new patients. Really, this wasn’t life-saving CPR instructions. The only thing the nurse’s chatter accomplished was letting Cassie’s mind wander over the horror her once nice life had become in only a few short days.

And to cap off that terror was the unbelievable luck that the solution to her situation had led her into John Tyler’s office. Yeah that hadn’t gone so well.

When she’d first seen John from his doorway, she’d stopped dead in her tracks. She hadn’t meant to gasp, but really, John Tyler as her boss? It was as unbelievable as if she’d won the lottery. When he’d raised his black eyes she’d known instantly he still passionately detested her. She’d wanted to roll her eyes at timing and fate and life in general. But she’d been too busy trying to explain to John that she couldn’t quit, and as far as she understood, he couldn’t fire her.

Dr. John Tyler
? Why couldn’t John be something more normal? Less successful? Less noble?

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