Authors: Debbie Bailey
Men of Kinsey 4
Stephanie Morrison hasn't been back to Kinsey in ten years. It was ten years ago that she made an ass of herself with Kane Bryson. Ten years of pain and humiliation, but despite everything, she is finally home.
Kane Bryson was heartbroken when Stephanie left without giving him a chance to explain. He never stopped loving her, and now that she is back, he and his business partner Turk Delray are going to make sure she never gets away again.
Kane and Turk have shared women before, but Stephanie is different. After all of Kane’s stories about the mysterious Stephanie Morrison, Turk is starting to believe his friend has lost his marbles. Until she walks into the diner, and one look from her is all it takes to claim his heart.
But with a person from their past trying to keep them apart, will Stephanie trust her men or run like she did before?
Contemporary, Ménage a Trois/Quatre
Men of Kinsey 4
Siren Publishing, Inc.
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A SIREN PUBLISHING BOOK
IMPRINT: Ménage Amour
Copyright © 2012 by Debbie Bailey
E-book ISBN: 978-1-62241-807-7
First E-book Publication: November 2012
Cover design by Harris Channing
All cover art and logo copyright © 2012 by Siren Publishing, Inc.
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This book is dedicated to my sister-in-law, Lorna, who came into our family in an odd sort of way but has always been welcome.
When I was young I was angry with you. When I got older I sometimes just didn’t understand you.
But I want you to know that I have and always will love you.
You’ve been a great wife to the Sasquatch, and you have raised four great kids.
Thank you for taking such wonderful care of our family.
And I promise that when I come home to visit I won’t stick my finger in the butter.
(We wouldn’t want any more broken bones, now would we…lol!!!)
I love you, big sis!!
Men of Kinsey 4
Copyright © 2012
Stephanie Morrison hadn’t been back to Kinsey in ten years. It was ten years ago that she’d made an ass of herself with Kane Bryson. Ten years of pain and humiliation, but despite everything, she was finally coming home to take over the local newspaper.
As she pulled her car up in front of the all-too-familiar building, she still had a hard time believing it was all hers. She’d worked her ass off to save enough money to buy into the paper five years ago. But now Joe wanted to retire and had given her first option to purchase the remainder of the paper. She had jumped at the chance. Now all she had to do was make it work.
Working as chief editor for a large newspaper had given her some insight into what it would take to make this venture work. She just hoped that she’d be able to find the right people to fill some of the positions that were going to become vacant after she cleaned house.
Since buying into the
five years ago, she’d read every paper that Joe had sent her. A lot of the staff writers had some good solid skills and followers, but there were a few that she would have to let go. Being a small-town newspaper didn’t mean that the writing couldn’t be just as good as any big-city paper, but for that to happen she was pretty sure some of the writers would have to be let go. If she was going to keep a print paper alive, she was going to need the best staff she could find.
Entering the front door, she was warmly greeted by a young man sitting behind the reception desk.
“Hi there,” he said with a genuinely open smile. “What can I help you with today?”
“I’m here to see Joe Kenyon.” She smiled right back at him.
“Is he expecting you, ma’am? Because he really doesn’t like to be interrupted unless it’s something really important.” Standing, the young man came around the desk with his hand out, saying, “I’m Shayne, by the way.”
Surprised at the wonderful greeting, Stephanie shook Shayne’s offered hand and in return said, “I’m Stephanie. Stephanie Morrison.”
It was as if she’d just told him he’d hit all the numbers in a lottery, by the way his face lit up.
“Oh my God, Joe talks about you all the time. I think I know almost everything about you by now,” Shayne told her.
Jesus, I hope not.
Reaching over the desk, Shayne picked up the phone and pressed a button.
“Joe, Stephanie is here to see you. Should I send her up?” Nodding his head and smiling at something Joe said, he hung the receiver up and turned back to her.
“Joe says he’s on his way down. He wants to take you to lunch over at the diner.”
The diner, as in, gossip central…?
Fuck, maybe I could talk him into going somewhere else. Hell, anywhere else would be better than the diner. I’m not sure whether I’m up for this just yet.
“Are you okay, Stephanie?” she heard Shayne ask. “You went white as a sheet for a minute, and I thought I might be picking you up off the floor.”
“No, I’m fine, Shayne. Thanks for the concern. I’ve just been driving for quite a while, and I guess it’s starting to catch up with me.” Damn, she hoped he bought that.
* * * *
Joe Kenyon looked almost exactly as he had five years ago when she’d run into him at a convention. He had gone to school with her mom and dad, and he and his wife, Helen, had become great friends with her parents, but she was surprised to see him. She had no idea that he owned her hometown newspaper.
They had talked for hours about his paper and Kinsey, and she got caught up with some of the gossip from back home. She hadn’t planned on buying into the paper, but when he’d offered to sell her forty percent of it, and for such a great price, she couldn’t pass on it.
“Well, there’s my lucky lady.” Joe smiled and gave her a big hug. “How was your trip, sweetheart? I didn’t expect to see you here so soon, though. I thought it would take you at least another week to get here.”
“I was so keyed up to get this new adventure started that I drove almost straight through.” When he raised his eyebrows and would have spoken, Stephanie put her hand up to stop him. “I know, I know, dumb move on my part. I did stop for a couple of nights, but, Joe, I’m so excited about this,” she said, almost jumping up and down like she did when she was little.
“Stephanie Morrison, you could have fallen asleep at the wheel and killed yourself. Dammit, girl, your momma and daddy would come back from the grave and haunt me for the rest of my days if I let anything happen to you.” Shaking his head, he finally noticed that Shayne was still standing there.
“Did this young man introduce himself to you, Steph?” he asked, pointing a thumb at Shayne.
“He sure did, and he was really nice to me without kissing ass, too.” She laughed.
Shayne blushed and went to sit back at his desk.
“Hey, Shayne,” Joe called to him. “Do you have any idea who this is?
“You talk about Stephanie all the time, Joe, so I should know who she is,” he said.
“Well, what I don’t think you know is that she’s now your new boss.”
Shayne’s face visibly paled, and it intrigued Stephanie as to why. He hadn’t done anything that would get him in trouble with her. Quite the opposite, in fact, he’d shown exemplary customer service skills.
“You got a problem working for a woman, Shayne?” she asked, never being one to beat around the bush.
“Oh no, no, Miss Morrison, it isn’t that.” Lowering his head back down, Shayne looked like he was trying to make himself look busy.
“Okay, I’ll bite, why do you look like someone has just told you your puppy has died, then? And why the ‘Miss Morrison’ shit all of a sudden?”
“I’m sorry, Stephanie, it’s not you, it’s just that Joe and I had an agreement, and with him selling the paper, I guess that means our agreement is off,” he said sadly, looking at Joe.
“Who the hell told you our agreement was off, young man?” Joe’s voice boomed out. “Why do you think I made that agreement with you six months ago? I knew Steph was buying me out and that she’d keep up any agreement I made with you.”
“Wait a minute, Joe, what agreement did you make with Shayne?” she asked.
“Six months ago, Sharon, our longtime receptionist, retired. Shayne had been working in the archives for about a year and applied for the position. At first it felt a little strange having a man up front, but he’s been real good, even when old Bob Jenkins comes in every Tuesday to gripe about something or other. Anyway, I know that Shayne wanted to move upstairs and be my assistant, so I agreed that if he could do a good job down front here for six months then he could take over for Helen when she leaves at the end of the week. I just didn’t tell him that I would be retiring, too.” Joe smiled and said, “Steph, I’d like you to meet your new executive assistant, Shayne Donavan.”
From the look on Shayne’s face, he didn’t seem too happy about his promotion.
“That’s okay, Joe, I’m sure Stephanie already has someone suitable to replace Helen. She’s coming from a big-city paper, so she probably knows dozens of people that are better suited for the job.” Sighing softly, Shayne sat back at his desk again.
* * * *
Stephanie smiled at Joe and then said, “Shayne Donavan, if you don’t start looking for a replacement for your receptionist position, I just might have to fire your ass.”
Shayne’s face lit up like a Christmas tree, and he quickly reached into his top desk drawer and pulled out a file folder full of resumes.
“Here you go, Stephanie, these are people that you need to interview. I’ve marked their strengths and availability on the back of each resume, as well as any other pertinent information.” Holding the file out to Stephanie, she just looked at him, held up her hands, and refused to take the file from him.
“Hell no, Shayne, you’re hiring your replacement, young man. You know what the job entails and the type of person needed to do it. As my assistant, any employment hirings, except for executive and writing staff, will be handled by you. That also includes firing people if need be. I want to build the paper up a little more and won’t have time to deal with all that shit. I’m going to need you to be what I call “my balance” as well. That’s when I’m going top speed and haven’t eaten or slept, it’s your job to smack me upside the head to help give me
in my life.” Stephanie looked up at Joe and asked, “Which office is going to be Shayne’s upstairs, Joe?”
“I get my own office, too.” Shayne did a little bit of a happy dance then realized they were looking at him and stopped, smiling as a blush swept across his handsome face.
“Your new office is the one next to the Steph’s corner office. She’ll need you close by, especially over the next few months. So for now, until you find a suitable replacement for yourself, you’ll be doing double duty. I expect you to take care of my girl here, Shayne. She’s one of a kind.”
Leaving Shayne with a huge smile on his face, they headed out for lunch.
“We’re going to the diner, Steph, and that’s final,” Joe firmly stated before she even had a chance to complain.
“Dammit, Joe”—Stephanie tried to pull him back—“couldn’t we go somewhere else, anywhere else? That place is a gossip haven, you know that,” she said, trying her damndest to get him to head in any other direction than the diner.
“It’s best to get these things over and done with, Stephanie. The sooner everyone knows you’re back, the quicker things will settle down again.” Dammit, she hated when he made sense, it really pissed her off. She didn’t want to stir things up. She was hoping to just sort of slip back into town unnoticed, but that didn’t seem to be in the cards for her.
* * * *
Kane Bryson sat in his favorite booth with his best friend, Garth Delray, aka Turk. Their unit had given him the nickname because it didn’t matter where he was or what he was doing, he always had a stash of Big Turk candy bars.
Kane couldn’t remember a time when Turk didn’t have them, and it was only because of this obsession that they had survived through a lot of shit while overseas. There were many times when all they had to eat for two or three days was Turk’s stash of candy bars.
“Do you think that Ryder, Sam, and Dan are going to have another sub auction soon, Kane? They made a lot of money for those charities the last time and made quite a few people happy in the process.” Turk leaned back in the booth as the waitress brought out their food.
Kane was just about to take a bite of his burger when the chimes over the door rang and in walked the one person on the planet who could bring him to his knees. Stephanie Morrison.
“Fucking hell,” he said grimacing.
* * * *
Turk turned to see what had his friend so pissed all of a sudden. The only new people that had come in were Joe and the most delectable woman he’d ever laid eyes on. His cock hardened instantly, and his pulse jumped.
“Who the hell is that gorgeous creature with Joe?” Turk asked. “Maybe we should invite them to join us…” But before Turk had a chance to call out to them, Kane snapped.
“No, dammit, just finish your fucking burger, and let’s get the hell out of here.”
“Hell, Kane, who is she? She’s obviously someone you know. Otherwise you wouldn’t react this way.” Turk kept looking over at the woman that seemed to have his friend’s panties in a twist.
“Doesn’t matter, just eat,” Kane growled
“Not a chance, pal. I’m gonna go and say hi to Joe and see if I can find out a little more about this beauty.”