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Heart Lines
Author: A. A. Dark

Chapter 1

Anna

 

Stories were a funny thing. They could be inspiring. Sad. They could invoke emotion, cause chaos, or destroy entire lives. There was power behind words. The content could revolve around anything. So long as there was an audience, there was someone ready to take the lead to be heard. History was full of speeches that caused movements. Only a few months ago I’d witnessed one hell of a press conference with a woman who outed an entire sex trafficking empire. Politicians, celebrities, CEO’s. They were all being investigated now. Some were even arrested. News was vital. News was where it was at. I had news. I had a book full of criminals. But I wasn’t here to start a revolution. I wasn’t Everleigh Whitlock. I just needed to keep my job and have a little payback-fun on the side. After all, killers had bills too.

“Mr. Fontane, please. If you can let me explain—”

“Explain what exactly, Ms. Monroe? Would you like to explain why you’re late for the third time this week? Maybe you’d like to explain why Mr. Riley called this morning, screaming at me about your behavior. Do you know—”

“I can explain.”

My boss’s hand flew up. “Save it. I don’t want your explanations. If I didn’t feel sorry for you, I’d have fired your ass long ago. Truth is, you’re a damn good reporter. You find shit no one else does. You’re—”

“Anchor-worthy?”

“Ha! Not even close.”

My fake smile fell.

“I’m trying here, Anna. I really am. I give you leeway on the hours. I know you—” he glared through the opened blinds to curl his lip at Boston who was eating a donut and now waving in our direction.

“I know you both have been through a lot. Especially you, with losing Detective Casey.”

“Don’t.”

Mr. Fontane took a deep breath. “It’s been over a year since his death. A year and five months to be exact. I can’t continue to allow you and Boston Marks to run rogue. Mr. Riley is threatening to press charges if you don’t back off. He says you threatened his dog. His fourteen-year-old Yorkie! The thing’s smaller than a football and you mean to punt it across his yard?”

I gasped, my hand flying to cover my heart. “I’d never. How dare he lie about such a thing.”

“Stay away from him. Stop calling and leaving letters in his mailbox. I’m not telling you again. One more thing and I swear, you’re gone.”

I winced, glaring back to Boston before I pulled at my blazer. “Is this a bad time to ask for tomorrow off?”

The anger built on my boss’s face.

“Never mind. I’ll postpone. It’s okay.”

“Anna, I swear.” He stopped, his eyes narrowing and going behind me once again. “Hold on.” He gave a wave and the moment the door opened, I tensed.

“Mr. Marks, why are you not doing something productive? Is there a reason you’re waiting for Ms. Monroe? Again? How many times have we been over this?”

“A couple, Mr. Fontane.”

“A couple? Every day. Every. Damn. Day. Go find something to do!”

Boston gave me a troubled look, trying to read me. I knew the moment one of his eyebrows rose and he opened his mouth, we were done for. He never wanted this job. The only reason he decided to be a cameraman at my news station was because of his past experience in making movies, and his current obsession with me. And I wasn’t being dramatic in calling it that. Boston really was clinically and psychologically attached to my being. We were inseparable. Best friends. After the anguish we’d been through with losing the ones we loved, I was okay with that.

“Didn’t you just see me walk up? I was going to start going over film, but.” He paused, throwing me a glance. I wasn’t sure what he’d done in the half hour I’d been getting yelled at, but I knew by his hardened expression it wasn’t good. “You told him, then?”

“Told me what?”

Our boss looked between us.

“Anna said she’d apologize for me. I’ll pay for the damages.”

“I beg your pardon?” Mr. Fontane’s brown eyes jerked to me as he looked for some sort of answer. I didn’t have one. Darkness was all I saw for the briefest moment as I took in a deep breath, closing my eyes.

“It was an accident. If you learned to park that boat of a car—”

“Boston.”

My threat had my eyes re-opening and him shrugging as Mr. Fontane pushed to his feet, spinning for the window that faced the parking lot. As he did, I shot daggers at Boston’s half-ass grin.

“Not Betty. Not…”

“It’s only a small dent. A scratch, really. Okay, maybe it’s not that small. I can pay for it.”

Shades of red, close to the color of our boss’s brand-new car, covered his face as he turned to stare wildly between us. Deep pants turned to a growl as his hand flew up to point at the door. Quick shakes of his finger was all he managed to get out for the first five seconds.

“That boat, as you put it, is a classic. It’s worth more than your life. Especially yours, Mr. Marks. Get out.”

“Of your office, or the building? Are we out of a job?”

I grabbed Boston’s hand, dragging him to the door.

“Get. Out! Get out and don’t come back! Both of you. Out!”

The door closing couldn’t mask the crashing of something coming from behind the barrier. I gripped tighter to Boston’s bicep, trying to ignore how much more muscular he’d gotten since he moved in with me permanently after my fiancé, Detective Bradon Casey was killed.

“You’re an asshole, you know that?”

“He was the asshole. He’s lucky he still has his teeth, more or less his tongue. No one talks to you like that.”

“He can. He was my boss. Now what am I supposed to do? He’s not going to let me talk my way out of this one. Did you really put a dent in his car?”

Boston laughed as we turned the corner and headed to my desk. Before I could grab my purse, he had his phone in view, showing not a dent, but a crater in the driver’s side door.

“You didn’t.”

“Aren’t you glad I insisted we take my car today? Like I said, he’s lucky. He got off easy. I’m hungry.”

“You’re always hungry. I’m pissed.” I snatched my purse, throwing Boston a confused look when he gestured to the front of the building instead of the employee parking in the back.

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