In Northcoast Shakedown, Elaine Haskell sashays onto the page slamming down a stack of papers from an unwanted client and complains that she doesn’t work for that person. Nick responds by using that client’s file as a beer coaster. It’s clear that, despite her paycheck coming from TTG Insurance, her loyalties lie more with Nick. After all, she has a lot of time and effort invested in Kepler Investigations.
As Second Hand Goods get going, it becomes obvious Elaine’s interest in Nick is more than business. She rubs his shoulders. She nags him about taking a case when he should be on vacation. She fakes sleeping with him to throw a witness off the trail. Happily married with two kids and a minivan, Elaine still has a yen for Nick. And the feeling is mutual.
Still, Elaine’s feelings for Nick are more maternal than romantic. There is something about Elaine that drives her to nurture the men in her life. In Nick’s case, it even means putting herself in the line of fire. She sees herself as Nick’s partner, and over the course of Second Hand Goods, Nick reaches that conclusion as well. We learn that Elaine was instrumental in getting Nick setup in his own business inside TTG’s offices. Though it’s not said, it is implied that she is why TTG keeps him around years after they downsized him off the payroll.
So do they?
You’ll have to buy the book to find out, but suffice it to say, they are much closer by the end. Nick is nearly killed in this one. For Elaine, that’s something she cannot allow to happen.