Book 3 in the Silver Brothers Securities Family Saga
Her secrets connect us and mine ruin lives.
Her secrets connect us and mine ruin lives.
I hired Allie Green for her skill; I protected her with my life and I loved her with my heart. The brazen woman would lead a new department at Silver Securities, helping women off the streets.
Nothing could stop us from that perfect life, except our past: Allie’s undeterred stalker, my resurrected fiancee, and all the secrets she brought back from the dead.
I intend to get my life back on track as soon as Simone Hartley chokes on the chrysanthemums I left on her grave.
His secrets unite us and I want to bury mine.
I was going to tell him about our baby, but the timing was off. Juggling a new relationship, work, and hormones is rocket science, when the secrets you carry pile on. But my boss will be the perfect father because Tristan Silver is that guy. Tall and handsome, strong, suave and protective. And a certain redhead wants him back.
I intend to get every minute I need from Tristan as soon as Simone Hartley reclaims her spot at the cemetery.
Silver’s Secret is a billionaire boss romantic suspense and the third novel in the Silver Securities Family Saga. It should be read after Book 2, Silver's Pawn. This novel is intended for mature audiences and guarantees a happily ever after for the couple. Originally published as Layers Peeled in 2013 (no longer available), the novel was re-written. The character relationship dynamics and their storylines are all new.
Silver Brothers Securities Family Saga
Silver's Secret sneak peek
Chapter 1: Allie
Tristan’s words rang in my ears on a loop. “You’re fired. You’re fired. You’re fired.”
I rose from the couch in what felt like slow motion. The wrapped gift box with baby booties I’d set on my billionaire boyfriend boss’s desk seemed completely inappropriate now. I’d timed that one like a bomb because he’d fired me before I could tell my boss I was carrying his child. How could he have fired me?
“I said, you’re fired.”
Oh, my God. I can’t tell him I’m pregnant now.
“Why? I don’t understand. I thought—”
The office door flew open, and I jumped back. Laura, my mom, the Flintstones, and Emma walked through the doorway. What was Laura doing here? Behind the immediate family were more deliciously handsome men than I’d ever seen in one room in my life. I recognized the Silver brothers, but not the others. My mouth opened and closed and opened again. Someone popped a confetti wand. Laura glanced around as if looking for the same answers I was seeking, while Tristan’s father popped a bottle of champagne. I turned in a circle, searching for Tristan’s face, but just as I found him, Emma slammed into to my side. She threw her arms tight around my leg, looked up, and batted her lashes.
“What’s going on Ems? What is this?” I asked her.
“This is one less secret I have to keep, that’s what it is.”
Laura hugged me next while my eyes grew wider and wider.
“Grab. The box. Off. The desk.”
My ventriloquist impression must have failed because Laura’s nose scrunched and she looked at me like I was losing my mind.
“If you love me, you’ll get that box with baby booties on Tristan’s desk and run. I didn’t tell him I’m pregnant yet.”
“Allie, that’s crazy. He loves you, and you’re having his baby. He should know.”
“I don’t disagree, but right now is not the right time. I want it to be special, not in a crowd.”
“All right, all right. I’ll get it as soon as he steps away. You should preoccupy him. I’m sure you can figure something out with those hormones.”
As if on cue, Tristan’s gaze lowered to the box. The corner of his mouth lifted as he squinted and removed the gift off the desk.
“Shit, shit, shit. You have to help me, right now! He’s gonna open it!”
Heat and cold passed through my body. The golden streams of sunlight filtered between the blinds like ribbons of silk. The sounds in the room mixed into one, lifting in tone, and my legs gave into gravity. The temporary weightlessness changed into a strong hold as Tristan caught me in his arms before I hit the floor.
“Are you all right?” His lips moved, but I couldn’t hear him. A hum of concern hovered around me as I focused of faces until I found Tristan’s face again.
“Are you all right?” he repeated.
He fired me.
The room stopped spinning. “Yeah, I think so. What happened?”
“You fainted. Did you eat anything today?”
“I did. I think I’m just a little overwhelmed, that’s all. Can someone explain what’s happening?”
Laura peeked from behind Tristan with a thumbs up. She stuffed the box in her purse as Tristan covered my head with his palm.
“I’m so sorry, Allie.”
“I… I don’t have a fever.”
Someone set a glass with orange juice beside my head, and I sipped through the bent straw. My heart was hammering in my chest. Tristan helped me to the couch while everyone stared. The low conversation resumed when I sat down.
“Just checking. You look flushed.”
But he’d fired me. I was much more than flushed.
“Help me up,” I said.
Tristan lifted me by the elbow, and we walked away from the crowd. The conversation resumed, and the family’s attention finally dwindled.
“Champagne?” Greg passed me a flute, but Tristan stopped him before I could remove it from his hand. The single moment pressed a panic button inside me. Did he somehow know I couldn’t drink?
“I think she needs another minute.”
“No, I think we’re done here.” I turned away and headed for the door, but Tristan was quicker and blocked my way before I reached the closing frame. A wave of attention flowed our way.
“Whoa, Allie, I beg you. Please let me explain. I have to fire you.”
“You’re the boss. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.” The air I sucked in tiny breaths wasn’t helping. “You clearly don’t want me a part of Silver Securities.”
The deafening silence in the room made me unaware of Tristan’s guests. They stood frozen, staring at me like I’d lost my mind.
“Allie, baby. You don’t know what you’re saying.”
When he said ‘baby,’ I broke down even further. I sucked in the sobs on short inhalations. My phone buzzed with a text from Emma. I reached into my pocket to read:
Emma: Don’t be sad. I’m calling my niece or nephew Baby-Puss for now 😉
I looked across the room to where she was standing by the window, smiling. I wanted to be part of this family so much that it hurt. Tristan’s little sister had helped me keep my secret by forging my blood work at the hospital in exchange for choosing the baby’s name. So far, all of them had been from the Flintstones. And I loved that too.
I broke in half, and Tristan took me into his arms, holding me tight. “Allie, I’m so sorry. Firing you is just a technicality, so I can hire you for a new position.”
“Technicality?” I blubbered through tears and snot and repeated, “Technicality for what?”
“I’m sorry. I should have known it would be overdramatic. It’s been a long day.” He blinked the clouds away and his whiskey eyes brightened. “Maybe surprising you with a new job wasn’t a good idea.”
I pulled in a weep. “A new job?” Then: “Overdramatic?”
If overdramatic had a face, yes, it would be Tristan’s right now. But could this be true? I wasn’t fired? Were we really going to work together again?
“Really? I still work for Silver Securities?”
“Of course you do. Like it or not, you’re a part of this family for the rest of your life.”
My chest warmed a little. When I’d woken up this morning, I was so sure of my path that I’d never have predicted a bombshell like losing my job. The moment he’d told me I was fired, that I could possibly be pregnant and out of work planted a seed of doubt I couldn’t easily weed. I let go of his hand.
“I think I’m okay now. What’s the new job?”
He cleared his throat and stood up. “Settle down, everyone.”
Another moment of panic passed through me. Jesus, was he about to propose? I wasn’t ready for that, but then again, I didn’t think I was ready for this baby, either.
“Allie’s fine, but I haven’t told her about the new job yet.”
“She should get checked by a doctor.” My mother’s brows lifted. She was looking at me funny, like she could see right through me and my temporarily flat stomach.
“No, really. I’m fine, Mom. Job? What job?” I focused on Tristan.
I was so off my game. These hormones were not only playing with my body but also with my instincts.
The conversation silenced. Tristan turned around to face me again and took my hands into his. “If you agree, you’ll head the new division at Silver Securities along with a new partner.” He pointed to Laura, and my best friend grinned from ear to ear.
“What?” I gaped and turned toward her. “You’re working with me? For Silver Securities?”
“Woot, woot!” She lifted her flute of champagne in cheer. “Can’t argue that you’ll get a better partner, can you?”
“And you’ve been keeping this secret from me?”
I saw Emma roll her eyes at my comment. All right. I was a hypocrite.
“Sorry not sorry.”
“Wait a minute—what exactly will we be doing?”
“Silver Securities partnered with a local safe house to form a rehab team. The Green Team, will investigate, gather evidence, provide security, and hopefully, catch the criminals. The Wagner brothers formed a team to help you with the legalities.”
“The Green Team? After me?”
He nodded, and my eyes welled. Oh, these new hormones were a real treat.
“After one of the strongest women I know. Sorry, Wilma.”
His mother bent down and kissed him on his head like he was still her young boy, and my heart squeezed at the sight. “As long as you’re happy, I’ll be elated.”
She then leaned in to hug me and whispered in my ear, “You look wonderful, Allie.”
Maggie and John Silver took such a liking to my mother that they’d asked her to permanently move into the guesthouse, and she agreed. Tristan was right. I was part of this family, and I couldn’t wait to tell them all the good news.
“Tristan, this is wonderful. I can’t believe you did this.”
“I know how hard the past couple of months have been. I’m sorry for everything, Allie. Once you’re well, Silver Securities can’t wait to have you here permanently.”
Tristan’s phone beeped, and he checked his message. He stiffened and stared down the long hallway, eyeing the exit.
“Grab something to drink and eat up. Mom made coconut sweet buns, and she won’t leave until they’re all gone. Excuse me.”
He kissed me on the cheek and left. I followed his quick step out the door to where he disappeared down the hallway. The smell of sweet pastries and roast beef sandwiches brought my attention back to the room. My mouth watered and my stomach grumbled. The delicious aroma overpowered my resistance, and the next thing I knew, I was sitting behind Tristan’s desk with a plate full of fruit, sandwiches, and pastries. I stuffed them in my mouth one after the other.
Emma sat on the mahogany desk, swinging her legs. “So? What do you think?” she asked.
“They’re delicious.” I bit into a cream-stuffed puff ball.
“No, silly. I mean about Baby Puss.”
“I think you should keep trying. Tristan won’t go for it.”
“Let’s ask him, then.” She wiggled her brows.
“Let’s not.” I rammed the remaining cream puff into my mouth. “I’m gonna need you to hold onto that little secret for a while longer.”
“But that’s not fair. Do you know how many secrets I have to keep?”
“A lot?” I shrank my neck back like a turtle. “But that’s what makes you so special.”
“One day, when I work here, I’ll make it a rule to have no secrets.”
My stomach turned, and Emma whispered, “But don’t worry. I won’t say a word about Baby Puss.”
Laura hopped up on the other side of the desk. “I think this is the only time Mr. Silver will let me sit here. But don’t tell him I did.”
Emma jumped off the table. “That’s it. I’m full. This is too many secrets, and I have phone calls to make.”
She strolled out of the office like she owned the place, and Laura frowned. “I don’t think she likes me.”
“It’s not you. It’s all the secrets she keeps. Besides, she adores babysitting Foxy,” I said.
“Have you ever thought asking her for other secrets she might know? You know, like about James?”
“You think he’s hiding something?”
“I don’t know, but he goes to the doctor every month.”
“Why don’t you ask Emma to help? She loves investigating.”
I jabbed my finger into her arm. “I can’t believe you kept this surprise from me. You knew I was going to the office this morning.”
“And you know how good I am at keeping secrets. It had to be a surprise, so don’t shoot the messenger. And I was sworn to secrecy with a mighty sword.”
“Would that sword happen to be James’s dick?’
She coughed into her hand and looked at me like I was the one losing my mind. James was the only decent guy she’d ever dated. Getting stuck together during an avalanche was the best thing that could have happened to them, they just couldn’t see it yet.
“It’s not his dick. Emma has a new obsession with sword collection. You should see them. I literally mean she swore me to secrecy about this job with the sword.”
“No, things are good with James. Real good. He’s a good father.”
“So maybe it’s time to tell him?”
“But things are good now,” she whined. If it were up to Laura, she would keep Foxy’s paternity a secret forever, just to avoid conflict. But the longer she waited, the larger her lie grew.
“You’re not digging yourself a grave, my friend. You’re already on the other side of the planet! What the fuck, Laura?”
“I’m trying to tell him, but now we’ll be working together, and that comes with a lot of benefits I’m not ready to part with.”
“His dick.” She shrugged. “Or, at least, the potential of his dick.”
“So you haven’t slept with him yet?”
“Please, don’t rub it in. I’ve rubbed it out enough. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to, but I can’t get myself to do it because”—she curled her shoulders in and bent at the spine—“Because…”
“So what benefits are you taking about?”
Her mouth curved. “His arms, his smile, and I already know what’s under those clothes even if I haven’t seen it all for three years. But hell, it doesn’t stop me from imagining all the naughty things we could be doing.”
Yeah, I knew exactly what she meant, and so did my hormones. Before I’d arrived tonight, I’d had the silly image of Tristan grabbing me into his arms and spinning me high in the air. He’d be elated about becoming a father and would grin with that cute dimple. The scar on his upper lip would twist into one of those sexy daddy smiles. God, he would look good on a playground with his little one.
Guilt chewed at my patience. I’d have to tell him I was pregnant as soon as the opportunity presented itself. I glanced over to the window where he was standing, tall and wise, talking to one of the Wagner brothers. I still couldn’t believe the man who walked into the auditorium was my man. When I weaseled my way inside the company for revenge, I’d had no clue he’d become a permanent part of my life. A life which had changed so quickly the past couple of months, it was difficult to predict the upcoming winter. Chills swept over my arms.
The dimple sank into his cheek and the scar on his upper lip twisted his smile into a sexy lopsided grin. Ah, how I wished I could touch that lip with my mouth and pussy. His whiskey eyes caught my stare, and my nipples hardened.
“You have to tell him.” Laura urged. “You two are meant to be, no question about it.”
“And you can’t keep your secret forever. Foxy’s growing up.”
“That’s not true. I didn’t think I could introduce him to James, but it’s worked so far. And Ems is keeping the secret.”
“Until she blows.”
“I may have not made the connection, Laura, but James would if you stopped dressing Foxy in costumes.”
“Laila loves clowns. We went to a park to feed the ducks, and we even went to the aquarium. See? Quality time. Things are working out. Sort of.”
“You put makeup on Foxy so his father wouldn’t recognize him,” I loud-whispered.
“Says the woman who hasn’t told her boyfriend she’s carrying.”
“Shh.” My mother side-eyed me from the corner. I’d visited with her yesterday to see how she was settling in, and she absolutely glowed. The move and safety the Silvers had given her was something I could never pay back. Nor did anyone make me feel like I had to. I would tell Tristan about our baby when the time was right, no sooner and no later. And that time wasn’t right now.
“It’s still early, but I’m telling him soon. There’s no way I’m keeping this going for as long as you have.”
She sank into her seat and reached for a marshmallow-topped brownie.
“That’s what I used to say. Then I met James, and I really got to know him… and everything changed. He’s an amazing father. And those eyes…”
She sighed like I’d never heard her sigh before. I wasn’t sure whether she was talking about her son’s eyes or James’s, but it didn’t matter—because they had the same eyes. The fact that James hadn’t caught on boggled my mind. Then again, Laura had done a great job covering up her truth. Did she regret not telling James earlier? A good father had missed out on two years of his son’s life.
I touched her arm. “Laura—”
“Did you see that beard? I mean, how many twenty-year-olds could pull off that growth?”
“I know exactly what you mean. The stamina, the experience, no bullshit. All the more reason you should tell him sooner than later.”
“Look at us,” she purred. “Perfect on the outside, full of secrets on the inside. One’s hiding a son and the other a fetus. No twenty-year-old could handle our shit, so be grateful they’re older.”
Tristan would be happy once I told him I was pregnant, wouldn’t he?
“I don’t think they have a clue what’s coming their way.”
Laura laughed, and I slouched into the couch. I turned my head toward her. She reached to the side table beside her and passed me a chocolate praline truffle. I bit into the sweetness, and the chocolate melted on my tongue. The custom-ordered chocolates with a Silver Brothers logo stamped into the cut were always set in a bowl at Tristan’s penthouse, and they were officially my favorite.
“Who’s the redhead?” Laura asked.
“Tall, thin, and territorial.”
My back straightened. I scanned the room, but couldn’t see the woman Laura had described.
“Territorial over what? Has Foxy kept you up at night?”
“No, but his daddy did.” She winked. “Do you realize if we marry them, we’ll have the same last name?”
“Marriage is not on the table.”
“It’s hypothetical, silly. It’s not like I want that piece of fine man to wake up next to me every morning just so I can pick out a leftover crumb from his beard.”
“Eww, gross. I’m glad Tristan’s growth is not long enough to catch food.”
“You’d disagree if you actually saw James in all his glory. They don’t make boys in his shape. Those years of experience are hard-earned.”
“Can we please stop talking about growth and men in general, at least, until you actually sleep with him? I’m horny enough as it is. Now, what were you saying about a redhead?” I sipped my water. I was carrying the bottle everywhere with me because the doctor said hydration was important.
“I saw her earlier in the hall by the bathrooms. I thought she was Tristan’s secretary because they were talking.”
“Tristan’s secretary is blond, and he’s over there.” I pointed to Greg, who was chatting with one of the Wagner brothers. The lawyers were sitting in the waiting area outside, enjoying what looked like a rare moment of peace. I took in the gathering. This company and all its employees blew my mind. The teamwork and diligence, brotherhood, friendships, close relatives, and trustworthy workforce worked for a reason, and I could see that reason playing out right in front of me. They trusted each other, and it was one of the many reasons I trusted Tristan.
“No, the redhead was definitely a woman,” Laura said. “The oversized hat didn’t catch your attention?”
“No, the chocolate croissants did.”
She looked me over and smirked like she knew something I didn’t. “I know they say you’re eating for two, but the daily amount of calories required during a pregnancy is not that high.”
“Shut up and don’t judge. It’s the only thing that will keep the hormones at bay for now. They don’t tell you about this part in the books, but I googled it.”
“You googled it? You could have asked me, you know. Seventy-three percent of pregnant women experience an increased sex drive.”
“You were younger. I’m older.”
She laughed. “I got pregnant three years ago, babe. Welcome to the knocked-up-in-her-early-twenties club.”
“What happened three years ago?” James handed Laura a glass of wine. The color drained from her face, and she took a quick sip.
“We were reminiscing about our Christmas in Colorado three years ago.”
Laura took another sip, glaring at me to shut the fuck up.
The corner of his mouth lifted. “Yeah, that was a life-changing night, wasn’t it? It’s a miracle everyone came out alive.”
“Hey, who was the redhead talking to Tristan earlier?” I asked him.
“Redhead?” His brows furrowed, and for a split second I thought he knew exactly who it was. “Not anyone I’m aware of.”
“It must be his mistress.” Laura lowered her voice, and I rolled my eyes.
“Tristan doesn’t have another woman.” I said.
“It was hypothetical.”
“Well, he doesn’t have a hypothetical woman either.”
James shook his head. “You two crack me up.”
“Why would he take her inside a conference room?” she asked.
James looked over his shoulder to the main hall. “Redhead, you say?”
“They went in the conference room together?” I mouthed.
The news dropped into the pit of my bottomless stomach, convincing me I needed another croissant.
“It’s probably a client.”
“On the weekend?”
“There are no weekends when you own a business.”
“Laura’s right. Our work is part of our lives, and business hours are all hours. With perks. Excuse me for a moment.”
James left Tristan’s office, and quickened his step down the hall.
“Is it normal for James to leave like that?” I asked.
“No, it’s not, but I’m sure it’s nothing.”
“That’s exactly what you say when it’s something.”
Tristan returned later that afternoon, but I didn’t see James again. I drove home with Laura, and we picked Foxy up from the babysitter’s on the way home. While my godson settled into his routine, I couldn’t shake off the gnawing dread that had snuck up on me out of nowhere. The uneasiness only got worse, so I showered and decided to surprise Tristan. I changed into sexy lingerie that left nothing to the imagination, threw on a long coat, and left for Manhattan. Something had to give, and I prayed that something was my hormones.