Taming McGruff(5)

By: Laurie LeClair

Thankfully, they didn’t make her wait much longer. Their muted voices floated to her as they walked down the hall. Soon she saw their shapes, his tall and wide shoulders and her stepsister’s tall, thin figure coming toward her. She ditched the magazine on the nearby table and shot to her feet, gathering her tote bag and slinging the strap onto her shoulder.

A wave of glee shot through her at the sight of Charlie. Earlier, her stepsister had stopped by the salon and told her the wonderful news. Twins! In only a few short months, Prissy would be an auntie.

The man noticed her first, slowing his steps. Charlie moved ahead as she became aware of Prissy. “Honey.” She gave her a quick hug, and then pulled back. “What are you still doing here?”

“Yes, I’d like to know the answer to that, too,” he challenged.

It was all she could do to not stick her tongue out at him again. “I showed,” she nodded to the brooding man, “him to your office since I had to drop off the salon remodel file on Marcus’ desk.”

“Oh, so you two have met already.” Charlie glanced at him, and then back at Prissy.

“Not officially,” Prissy said with a smile in her voice. Finally, she’d get her answer. “You can have the honors.”

“Griff, this is Priscilla King. Priscilla, this is Griffin James or Griff, for short.”

“Griffin James?” Where had she heard that name before? Why did it strike instant respect, too?

“King, did you say?” he asked Charlie while capturing Prissy’s stare. “Priscilla King?”

“Yes, my youngest stepsister,” Charlie acknowledged.

“And, you, Griff, is it?” Prissy shook her head, still not placing him.

“He’s the last candidate I’ve interviewed to take over King’s,” Charlie explained.

That’s where she’d heard the name. “Retail giant. Miracle worker.”

“Don’t believe everything you read,” he drawled.

“No, just what you see, right? McGruff, is it then?”

“Pixie,” he said under his breath.


They were nestled in the elevator, going down to the first floor. His looming body and wicked stare made Priscilla’s heartbeat trip over itself.

“Need a ride, Prissy? Edward’s here to pick me up. He can run you home on the way,” Charlie offered.

“Thanks a bunch,” she said, meaning it. She wasn’t fond of taking taxis late at night or, worse, the jostling bus ride to her loft apartment.

“And you, Griff?”

Priscilla held her breath, hoping he’d accept just so she could see where he lived.

“No, thank you, I drove.” He must have seen the let-down on her face; he raised his eyebrows at her.

She covered it up in a hurry. “You don’t know what you’re missing. Edward always carries some treats that Dolly, his girlfriend and Charlie’s friend and cook, whips up every day and tucks into the car for him and the rest of us to nibble on.”

Charlie chuckled. “Lately, it’s more saltine crackers and ginger ale for me. I can’t wait to try some real food soon.”

“Between Dolly and Marcus, we have the best two cooks in the city,” Prissy said to him, and then turned to her stepsister. “Don’t worry, Charlie, in no time you’ll have the pick of the menu and two willing chefs to cook anything you desire. Ah, don’t forget to request the chocolate ganache cake and invite me over for some.”

“You got it,” Charlie said as the elevator doors opened and she exited.

Griff signaled for Prissy to go first. “McGruff a gentleman? Who would have thought?” She smiled up at him.

He grunted. “And I thought pixies only flew.”

Prissy caught up to Charlie, and Griff trailed not far behind. She glanced over her shoulder to catch him staring at her. This time she did stick out her tongue.

He grinned.

She sucked in a sharp breath and turned away. Lord almighty, she thought he was dangerous before, but when he smiled his whole face changed, making him more handsome and more lethal. Her middle flip-flopped.

A few minutes later, after saying their goodnights to Bruno, Prissy found herself on the sidewalk in front of King’s, facing the man who made her feel things she never felt before. The light drizzle didn’t dampen her senses when she shook his hand. A blaze trailed along her palm and up her arm. “Mr. James.”

“Ms. King.” He held on for a moment longer until she met his stare.

Those smoky gray eyes made her knees knock. She pulled away and moved toward the car. She waved off Edward’s assistance as he held open the door and the umbrella to shield her. “Thanks, Edward. I’m good. You can see to Charlie.”

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