Stolen the billionaire d.., p.20
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       The Billionaire Deception, p.20

         Part #1 of Stolen series by Holly Rayner
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  The meeting went as it normally did and I left it with about five new assignments. Seth was still talking to Harlan and Michael when I left. I took the folders with the new assignments back to my office and prepared to go to work. As I sat them down on the desk, I noticed a rectangular white and gold envelope lying there with my name on it. I picked it up and opened it, pulling out a white card with gold engraving. It was an invitation to “Hunter Corp Ball.” I sat down in my chair and looked closer at it. It was this coming Saturday night and would be held at the family’s estate in the Hamptons. Another thing I didn’t know about Seth. I had no idea that his family had an estate in the Hamptons. He’d mentioned something about riding horses at a house in Martha’s Vineyard… I wondered how many houses they actually had.

  I felt, before I saw Seth standing in the doorway of my office. “Hi,” he said, when I looked up.

  “Hey. How are you?”

  He came over and sat down across from me. With a wide grin he said, “I’ve been smiling like this since yesterday. I can’t stop. You’re as amazing as I thought you would be. More so.”

  I had to smile at that. Grant had told me I looked like I slept with a coat hanger in my mouth the night before when he got home this morning. He knew I had sex before I was finally ribbed into admitting it. I blushed now as I said, “I know the feeling.”

  “Good, I’d hate to think it’s just me.”

  “No, not just you. You’re amazing.” I felt funny talking about this at work and I felt myself blush again. I think Seth got it because he changed the subject then.

  “The meeting went well. Deborah tells me my father was in the building today. Sometimes he stays around for the meetings. I’m glad he decided to skip it.”

  Me too. “Oh that must have been him I passed in the hall. Is he a tall man with dark hair, gray at the temples… sharp dresser?”

  “That would be Daddy,” he said with a sarcastic smile.

  “Can I ask you a question?”

  “Sure.”

  “How long has Deborah worked for you?”

  Seth wrinkled his brow and said, “She worked for my father for over ten years and just sort of inherited me when he stopped working full-time. Why?”

  “Close the door.” He really looked at me strangely then, but he got up and did as I asked. When he came back he perched himself on the edge of my desk and said, “Okay, so what’s up?”

  “Your father came out of the conference room this morning before I went in there. Deborah was there and I was just talking to her about what a good job she does around here and she started crying.”

  Seth looked uncomfortable as he said, “You think my father made her cry? Did she say something?”

  “Not really. I mean, she didn’t say anything about your father but she did say something strange to me.”

  “Which was?”

  “She said you were a good boy and not your father… something like that. Then she looked me dead in the eye and said, “But be careful, don’t make the same mistakes I did.” I was about to ask her what she meant when everyone came in.”

  “She was warning you about me?”

  “I don’t think it was so much about you and me as it was her… maybe her and your father… I thought.”

  Seth raised both eyebrows then and said, “You think my father and Deborah are…? Ew!”

  I laughed at that. “Seth, your father is what…? Maybe fifty-five. He’s a nice looking man. You don’t think he sees women?”

  He shrugged and said, “I suppose. I just don’t like to think about it. Especially not with Debbie.”

  “Why? You don’t like Deborah?”

  “No. It’s because I do like Deborah. She’s way too good for him.”

  “Seth!” I tried to sound incredulous, but I laughed and gave myself away.

  “I’m serious,” he said. “He claimed to love my mother and to this day claims it’s why he stayed single after she died… but I was there; I saw how he treated my mother. She deserved better too. A lot better. My mother was an incredible woman and he treated her like dirt.”

  “How long ago did your mother pass away?”

  “Five years ago,” he said. “I miss her every day.”

  “Yeah, I know how you feel,” I said.

  “I’m sorry, Erin. You lost both of your parents and a lot younger than I lost mine. I’m being insensitive. I got off track anyways. What was the point of all of this again?”

  “I was just wondering how Deborah knew about us more than anything.”

  “I don’t know. I haven’t been bragging, although I think I have a right to,” he grinned and waggled his eyebrows up and down.

  I laughed, “You’re hopeless.”

  “Seriously,” he said. “Do you mind people knowing? I mean, I guess we haven’t talked about exclusivity but I know that I don’t want to see anyone else and I’d love to be thought of as part of a couple with you.”

  “You’re so sweet sometimes,” I said. Once again he’d made me warm all over.

  “Just sometimes?”

  “Yeah,” I said. “Just sometimes. The rest of the time, you’re still a little arrogant.”

  He laughed, “There’s my outspoken red-head. But you didn’t answer the question.”

  “No, I don’t care that people know. I’d like to be known as half of that couple as well.”

  “Good,” he said with a wink. “Because I was hoping to take you to the Ball this weekend.”

  “Oh this,” I said, picking up the invitation.

  “Yep, that. My father puts it on every year. It’s like a thank you for the shareholders and top performers of the company. I’d love it if you would go with me as my official date.”

  How could I refuse? A night to get dressed up like a princess and debut on Seth’s arm—good! A night with the opportunity to get inside the inner sanctum and do a little bit of snooping—great. Coming face to face with James at last… not so good, but doable. “I’d love to,” I told him.

  ***

 
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