A Billion Reasons Excerpt by Elsa Kurt
Griff watched Jenna from the kitchen. Phillip’s surveillance photos had shown that she was pretty. However, in person, she was striking. Griff had lied earlier when he said he’d fallen asleep against the tree. He’d been observing her as she exited the bus, noting every detail. She’d seemed colt-like, with her long legs and round brown eyes and skittish, halting gait. He cursed himself under his breath. You fool, she’s a woman, not one of your horses. He’d hesitated too long, and their introduction had been awkward, to say the very least. Griff had let her believe that he was a hired hand with only the smallest twinge of guilt. He needed her to be unguarded. If she knew he was the elusive ‘boss,’ then she’d censor her words and behavior.
From behind him came Tilly’s broken dialect. “Don’t know why you hire her if you going to watch her every move like criminal. For what? She look like sweet girl. Your private investigator say so, no?”
Griff sighed and gave Tilly a caustic look. “Tilly, you do realize this house alone holds millions of dollars in art. Never mind the horses. Or the wine cellar. Everyone who works for me gets vetted. And yes, Phillip said she seems clean.”
“So why is problem? You think she will steal precious dogs? Maybe she takes your Picasso under her skinny chicken arm or put in her small bag.” Tilly laughed heartily and slapped her ample thigh.
“He also said there was nothing on her. Her paper trail leads to dead ends. No history. Her certificate is a fake. She paid her rent in cash.”
“Again, so why you hire this girl?” Tilly, a full head shorter than Griff, tried to peek out around him.
Because Grace would have wanted me to.
Everything about her was a red flag. Yet, when he pulled the glossy eight by ten photographs of Jenna Maxwell from the manila envelope, a small, familiar voice whispered in his brain, give her a chance. It was the voice of his wife, Grace—lover of strays and misfits, heart of gold, gone from him and this world six years. Grace would’ve taken one look at that young woman in those pictures and seen someone in desperate need. He could see it. It was in the way her narrow shoulders hunched, her side glance and tight expression caught frozen in the camera’s eye. The baseball cap pulled low in another. Phillip said she was hard to photograph, her head was nearly always down. Why, Miss Maxwell? The photographs, of course, never answered. So, he did the most impractical and illogical thing he’d ever done and hired her. His mind drifted back to the evening he received her first email.
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Meet one of the authors behind Craving: Billions, An Interactive Anthology, Elsa Kurt.
Elsa Kurt is a multi-genre, indie & traditionally published author, brand designer, and speaker. She currently has six novels independently published, as well as three novellas published with Crave Publishing in their Craving: Country, Craving: Loyalty, and Craving: Billions anthologies. She is a lifelong New England resident and married mother of two grown daughters. When not writing, designing, or talking her head off, she can be found gardening, hiking, kayaking, and just about anywhere outdoors. Or, you could just find Elsa on social media:
and her website, http://www.elsakurt.com