- A Serialized Novel -

Sorting out Carson's legacy only leads to more questions.

Author’s Note: Oh, the joys of working…

Occupational Hazards

I’m sending you pictures of our baby.

Carson blinked, swallowing as he stared at his phone. That was unexpected, to say the least. He knew better than to check his phone when the boss was hovering nearby, intent on some kind of conversation, when he was as close to a promotion as he was and risking it all by checking his phone when he should have been working, but he’d missed the call saying his grandfather was having a heart attack because he’d thought work was more important, and it wasn’t. It might be all he had at the moment, considering his strained relations with his family and lack of friends.

“Something wrong, Koslow?”

Carson didn’t want to explain that to his boss. He tried for words, failed, and started to put the phone away instead. Sanders leaned over, able to glance at the phone, though Carson had to wonder if the man might have picked it up anyway. “A baby, huh? I didn’t know things had gotten that serious.”

Sanders was fishing. He wasn’t one of those men who encouraged families and stability—he hated the idea of his employees having other connections outside the office, unless it meant more business—but he kept a polite face on that, always politically correct.

“They’re not. I’m not… Um…” Carson opened the next message and let out a breath of relief. He’d kill Mackenna for this later, but he should have known that was what she meant. He hadn’t figured on her calling the car a “baby,” but then she’d already named it, and that was kind of weird to begin with. “Oh. It’s the car. The one I inherited from my grandfather. I should have known. The mechanic I took it to has a real sense of humor.”

Sanders raised a disdainful eyebrow as he studied the picture. “That’s your inheritance?”

No, my inheritance is some obscure clue about a murder. Maybe. Carson shook his head, not wanting to get into that at all. “Um… Yes. It and some other scrap metal. Grandpa was kind of odd, and he had plenty of grandkids to worry about. I figure I got kind of lucky there. I could have gotten the china, like my brother Nick did. I’ll just ask her to stop sending stuff until I get off work and can look at it properly.”

Sanders nodded, folding his arms over his chest as he waited. Carson frowned, not sure why his boss felt the need to watch him do it. He started typing, not much of a texter. Why are you sending pics of the car?

Her reply was instant, as though she’d been expecting it. Either that, or she had a much better carrier than he did. He never got service at the farm. Every restoration project needs before and after pictures.


How’s work?



Boss is watching me. Stop texting.

You first.

He shook his head, putting the phone aside. He gave his boss an apologetic smile. “Sorry. I thought it was something else. Could have been something more to do with Grandpa and the estate, maybe. You said earlier that you wanted to talk to me about the Myers claim? I thought that was John’s project.”

Sanders leaned against the cubicle, shaking his head. “Pulling him off. He can’t handle it. You have the right background for this. You were raised on a farm.”

“Meaning I side with the farmers nine times out of ten,” Carson reminded him. “Don’t ask me to do this, please. I don’t like the ethical dilemma I’ll put myself in. I won’t want to uphold the company’s interests. I’ll want to take care of the landowners.”

“Those don’t have to be mutually exclusive.”

Carson nodded, but his boss was being—well, the nicest way of putting it was overly optimistic. Truth was, he was being a dick. The two sides rarely got along, and Carson hated being in the middle since his company was almost always in the wrong. That was why John was supposed to deal with that crap. He toed the company line. “Is this because I’m up for promotion?”

Saunders smiled. “Now, Koslow, you know we don’t work that way.”

Sure they didn’t. Carson forced another smile. “I’ll get the file.”

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