Stolen the billionaire d.., p.29
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       The Billionaire Deception, p.29

         Part #1 of Stolen series by Holly Rayner
 

  The following day I did some more shopping and finally settled on a beige dress that ended just above my knees. The neckline was rounded and appropriate for a family dinner yet it was elegant and made me feel pretty. Seth solidified that thought with a low whistle when I opened the door. “Wow. Let’s skip dinner and stay here. You look… wow, I don’t even have words.”

  I laughed, “Thank you. Sometimes no words are better than words could ever be. You look pretty wordless yourself.” He was wearing a black suit with a red paisley tie. He was beautiful, as usual.

  “Are you ready? Or… did you like my idea about just staying here?”

  I picked up my jacket and my purse and said, “I loved your idea, but it would be rude of us to cancel so late.”

  With a chuckle he said, “By all means then, let’s go. We wouldn’t want to be rude to someone who is always so sensitive to our feelings.” I let that one fall in the air as we headed down to the limousine.

  Once again as we pulled up to the front of the estate I was both enthralled and sickened by it. I was also anxious. No matter how hard I tried, the idea of being in the same room with James made me a nervous wreck. We were shown into the big, formal dining room by the housekeeper. The table was huge with seating for at least twenty. Seth pulled out a chair for me at one end and took the seat on the other side of the table. That meant the spot between us at the head of the table was left open for his majesty the thief. I wasn’t looking forward to being in such close quarters with him. I took a deep breath and smiled at Seth. I guess at least I knew I had company in my misery. When James walked into the room I saw Seth’s posture stiffen and then he took a deep breath of his own before standing.

  “Hello, father.”

  “Seth.” They shook hands. It was an oddly formal greeting I thought for a father and son who saw each other so often.

  “You remember Erin?” Seth asked.

  James looked at me. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to stand in his highness’s presence or not, so I stayed seated. “Mr. Hunter. Thank you for having me.”

  He fixed his stare on me for what seemed like an inordinate amount of time before saying, “Miss Summers.” Then Seth waited for his father to take his seat before sitting down. I found myself hoping that we weren’t just going to have a repeat performance of the other night.

  James tapped his spoon on the side of his glass and a young woman appeared in the same uniform the housekeeper had worn. She brought a bottle of wine and showed it to James before he gave her the go-ahead to pour. Then he said, “We’re ready to begin.” The young woman curtsied and left the room. I had been around wealthy people my entire life, but I’d never seen anything like this. This guy was a piece of work. “So Seth, tell me again how you found Miss… Summers, is it?” He knew it was, he’d just said it three minutes earlier.

  I saw Seth’s Adam’s apple flex as he swallowed hard before saying, “She applied for the CMBO position. Harlan and I interviewed her….”

  “No,” James stopped him. “I suppose I should ask her this, I wanted to know how she knew about the position being open.”

  “I heard through a headhunter that I was familiar with,” I told him.

  He raised an eyebrow and said, “Really? You hadn’t been watching the website, waiting for an opening to come up?”

  “Father, what are you getting at?” Seth asked.

  “Nothing at all, son. I’m getting to know your… lady friend. Isn’t that what you wanted?” James’s words were innocent enough but something about his facial expression told me that his intentions were not.

  Seth didn’t say anything, but as he took a sip of his wine he looked at me over the top of his glass. I could see in his eyes that he thought the same. Luckily, the staff brought in our soup and we ate quietly for a bit with nothing but the sounds of the spoons echoing off of the high ceilings and painted stone walls. When James finished his, he tapped his glass again and the young woman came running. I was appalled by the rude way he treated his staff. He never looked directly at them when he issued orders and never once said thank you. After she left with our soup bowls he said, “Tell me… Erin… where did you grow up.”

  “Mostly upstate, sir. I spent my teenage years in the Bronx.” It was the truth and not a truth I really wanted to discuss with James… but it was what I told Seth. I hadn’t wanted to tell too many lies.

  He raised a gray eyebrow and said, “The Bronx? That’s a rough neighborhood. I suppose that’s the roughness I sense around your edges.”

  “Father!”

  “What?” James said, giving Seth a similar look to the one he used on his staff. “I’m making conversation.”

  “It’s fine,” I said. “I am a little rough around the edges. Some of the things life threw at me were tough. I had to be tougher to overcome them.”

  “So where are your parents?”

  “They’re dead sir.”

  “Too bad. Where did you go to school?”

  The staff came in then with the entrée. When they were gone I said, “I went to MIT.”

  “Erin graduated in the top four of her class,” Seth said.

  “Impressive,” he said. “I suppose it’s good that you were at least qualified for the job. I’m sure my son handed it to you because of your other considerable assets.”

  “Father! Stop it! Erin is completely qualified for the job she does and that is why I hired her.”

  “And how long from hiring did she get you into her bed?” Seth stood up. I suddenly didn’t want him to fight with his father over me. It wasn’t worth it. I could see the vein pulsing in his neck as his father looked over at him and said, “Oh please Seth, sit down. Are you going to pretend that she’s not spreading her legs for you?”

  “That’s enough!” Seth said through clenched teeth.

  I stood up then too and said, “It’s okay, Seth… really.”

  “No it isn’t. Apologize to her!”

  James looked amused as he stood up to meet his son’s gaze. “I didn’t say anything I need to apologize for. You are sleeping with her, are you not?”

  “That’s not your business. You’re being so hateful and rude for no reason!”

  “You think it’s for no reason? I think it’s because I’m looking out for my family.” He turned towards me and said, “My Company and my legacy,” as if taunting me. I had planned on looking for the papers after we had dessert, excusing myself and using the restroom… now I just wanted out.

  “Maybe we should go, Seth,” I said.

  James smiled at me. It was a creepy, plastic smile. He looked at his son and said, “She’s using you and you’re a fool if you think otherwise.”

  “That’s it. Yes Erin, let’s go. My father has lost his mind.”

  Seth came around and took my arm and we were almost out the door before James said, “You may as well tell him, Adele, or I will.” At the sound of my real name, my stomach twisted into a knot. The jig was up.

  Seth stopped and looked down at me. I could feel the tears trying to force their way into my eyes. I was pushing them back when he looked back at his father and said, “Adele? You really have lost your mind. Her name is Erin.”

  “Her name is Adele Morgan. She is the daughter of the man who formerly owned the company you now sit as CEO of. She is using you, Seth. She thinks that she was wronged and she is trying to ruin your family. You’re playing into her hands for the occasional piece of…”

  “Stop it! Stop it!” Seth’s muscles tensed up and he was screaming at his father now. His face was red and his fists were clutched at his sides. One more word from James was likely to net him a sock in the face by his own son. I had to do something.

  “Seth…”

  “He’s not going to get away with it this time, Erin. He’s not only being rude, he’s straight up telling lies about you.”

  I took a step away, unsure of how he would react as I said, “He’s not lying. Adele Morgan is my real name. But I’m not using you. I too
k this job to get into the company that should have been mine. I was looking for something to prove your father stole it from me; which he did. I didn’t mean to fall in love with you, but I did.”

  Seth was looking at me like I was a stranger. In all honesty, I guess that’s what I was. He’d been sleeping with a woman whose real name he hadn’t even known. He had to feel so betrayed. “All of this time, you’ve been lying to me?”

  “Finally! Jesus sometimes I can’t believe you’re my son. You’re such a fool.”

  Seth turned on his father then and in a voice barely above a whisper, but one that sounded dangerous nonetheless, he said, “Get out! For your own safety, you need to go now!”

  James smiled again. “I’ll go son,” he said. “But when she tries unbuttoning her top to get your attention just avert your eyes and remember that cheap whores are a dime a dozen.”

  “Get out!” That time he screamed at him. James smirked in my direction and then he left. Seth took a deep breath and turned back towards me. The tears were spilling now and I wiped one off my cheek.

  “I can explain, Seth. He stole everything from me. I didn’t mean to fall for you… but I did. I love you Seth. I am not using you.” His chest was heaving up and down. I could tell that he was trying to get control of himself. It was a little bit frightening.

  “Go home, Er—Adele. I’ll have the limo drop you off. Don’t contact me. I’ll have your things packed up out of your office and sent to you. You’re fired and you’re dead to me. Get out.”

  “Seth…”

  “Get out!” He screamed at me the way he had his father. I picked up my coat and my bag and I left. By the time I got outside, the limousine driver was waiting for me. I felt like my heart was breaking. I couldn’t get the picture of his face out of my mind. He was so hurt and he felt so betrayed. The worst part was, he had every right to.

  ~

  CHAPTER NINETEEN

  ~

  SETH

 
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