Charity Case : The Complete Series by Piper Rayne


“And added a muffin.”

“You don’t eat pastries.” I cross my arms in front of me.

“Right about now I want to sit in front of a plate of donuts.”

I sink back in the chair. “My mom’s sick, Jagger,” I let the words spill out. I didn’t want it to come to this. I wanted to give him the gist of my situation and leave.

“Sick?” He picks up his coffee, stands from his desk and heads to the couches. “Are you going to join me?” he asks.

I quickly stand and head over, sitting on the chair adjacent to him.

“I went to Chicago because they were running some tests. The diagnosis came in. She has MS.”

“MS?” The wrinkles in his forehead tell me he doesn’t understand the abbreviation.

“Multiple Sclerosis.”

He nods in understanding. “I don’t know much about it, but wouldn’t the warm weather of Los Angeles make it better?” One side of his mouth ticks up.

Always the negotiator.

“Not when she has to leave her entire life, all she’s ever known…her friends and family.”

“You’re her daughter. You should be the most important thing to her. Not to mention you should trump all others—you have the grandchild.”

I purse my lips. “She won’t leave, and I don’t expect her too. Her entire life is still there.”

“And your life is here.” He crosses his leg, resting it on his ankle. “Surely, your ex has something to say about this.”

I shrug.

“You haven’t told the bastard yet?” He dips his head down to catch my eyes.

I shake my head. “Not yet.”

“You’re quitting your job before you tell your ex, knowing he could fight it and you might never leave L.A?”

“Oh, I’m leaving,” I say with determination.

“Without Jade?” he asks.

My head shoots up and I lock gazes with him. “Never.”

“So, next time you bring me coffee it’ll be because you need help burying the body?” he asks, eyebrow quirked.

Jagger, Jagger, Jagger.

“Pete will understand.” I wave that topic off. “That has nothing to do with this. I’m transferring the credits I have from school and applying to another school there. My mom needs me, and I have to go. It will be good for Jade to be closer to her grandma.”

“I need you.” He leans forward in his seat. “I’ll double your salary.”

I shake my head. “I can’t stay.”

“Hey, you loved Quinn’s place, remember? She’s selling it. I’ll buy it for you and Jade.”

I shake my head again, with a chuckle this time.

“Great neighborhood. I’m sure it probably has good schools, but can you really complain when it’s free?”

“Jagger,” I sigh. “I can’t.”

His shoulders sag and he leans back in his seat. “How long?”

“Two weeks?” I ask more for permission than anything.

“You expect to train your replacement in two weeks? It took me a year to mold you into the fine assistant you are today.” He bites down on his lip to try to hide his smile.

“I’ll make sure the transition will go smoothly.”

“You better.” He stands up, throws his coffee cup in the trash and sits down at his desk.

I follow waiting for instructions.

“What?” He looks up. “Go and do some work now.” He shoos me away. “And I don’t want some temp. Get me someone that’s not going to leave me high and dry next month.”

I nod, exiting his office and taking a deep breath before calling Human Resources to officially put in my resignation.

Jagger’s right though, I need to tell Pete.

Chapter Two

I take a seat at the empty table in the restaurant Pete insisted we go to since we both love Mexican food. While I’m waiting for him I take in the décor and contemplate if we’re even compatible in our food choices anymore. The white linen napkins and plush seating doesn’t hold any resemblance to the street tacos we’d devour back in college.

“Tequila?” the waitress holds out the bottle for my viewing.

“Not tonight, thank you.” I shake my head and she takes the shot glass away.

I pull my phone out, annoyed by Pete’s tardiness. I guess in the past couple of years since we’ve been divorced, the part of me that was accustomed to his lateness shed like snake’s skin.