Murder did tend to get her man hot, but alas, she had different plans. “Did you hear the rumors about Sarah?”
He went still and she found herself turned around, his forehead touching hers. “I did. We’re not supposed to talk about it. She only told Wade because he needed to know why she won’t be working her shifts in the nursery. Wade only mentioned it to me because I’m the boss and I would notice. I think the girls will notice, too. They love Sarah. How did you find out?”
“I snooped,” she admitted.
“Charlie.” He sometimes managed to turn her name into an admonition, but she was made of sterner stuff. She’d worked for the mafia for years. She could handle some shame.
“I overheard her in the locker room talking to her doctor on the phone. She didn’t know anyone was there. She’s wrong to keep this a secret.” Years of working for her mafia father had proven to her that real family meddled in the nicest of ways. Not in the “hey, go kill this guy in Italy” way. In the “we don’t want you to be alone even though you think you should be” way.
“I’m sure she thinks it’s for the best, though I don’t know why she doesn’t want people to know. It’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Ian said.
But Charlie understood. “It’s not, but it feels like it is. You can’t understand, but you can help.”
“All right. How do we help her?”
Tears pierced her eyes because this was what she loved about him. Ian Taggart. Big, mean, sarcastic, kind. “We can’t fix her problem, but did you know Jared is coming into town and he’s asked for access to the club?”
Jared John Ferguson, Hollywood hottie and little brother of Sanctum’s resident psychologist, Kai. For Sarah Stevens, Jared was the one who got away. At least initially he had. He’d changed his mind after a few months. He’d been trying to work his way back into her life, but she’d been burned one too many times before. She wouldn’t let him back in. Not without a push. Luckily, Charlotte was good at being pushy.
Ian lifted his head and sharp blue eyes stared down at her. “What are you planning, my gorgeous brat, and how can I work it so it also includes a terrible prank on Adam?”
She rolled her eyes. “You need to be nicer to him.”
He thought about it for a moment and then nodded. “That could work. Throw him off a little. God, you’re brilliant, baby. He’ll be incredibly paranoid at the end of it. Let’s send flowers to the new office. He’ll lose his shit trying to figure out what’s wrong with them. This is awesome.”
She reached for him. If she let him, he would spend the whole day fixated on the best flowers to send Adam into a tidal wave of paranoia. “I was talking about playing matchmaker for Sarah and Jared.”
“I can do both,” he insisted. “Do you think with everything going on in Sarah’s life that now is the time for Jared to come on strong?”
Jared had done a television show called Dart for years before the show had been canceled. He’d had a brief flirtation with Sarah Stevens, but after being arrested for murder and discovering that his best friend was actually a serial killer, he’d gone away to get his head on straight.
Sarah had not been happy about being left behind.
“If not now, when? Come on, it’s kind of romantic, right? And I hate the thought of her going through this alone.”
“You’re giving me puppy eyes,” he sighed. “I can’t resist those. Tell me what you’re thinking and how we avoid the inevitable bloody ending, because it somehow always happens. We go into a plot trying to bring two idiots who can’t see how perfect they are for each other together and suddenly the bullets start flying.”
“There’s no reason for bullets to fly this time. None.” She’d been more than happy with the calm they’d had for the last couple of months. Sure there had been that super-fun time in Colorado, but she and Ian hadn’t been the ones dodging bullets. She liked being a distraction, especially when it included a couple of nights in a really nice nudist resort where she’d very likely conceived this baby boy. “But we could help two people who love each other find their way into each other’s arms.”
Ian stepped back, putting a hand on his washboard abs and grimacing. “Now you’re giving me morning sickness, Charlie.”
“You know what I’m saying. They need a little push.”
“And how are you going to push them?” His eyes had gone warm as though he was excited to hear what she had planned.
She’d been up for a while now thinking it through. It had been a long time since the group had a big blowout. “Well, my birthday is coming up in a few days. I was thinking a wildly over-the-top weekend event at Sanctum is exactly what I need.”