Stolen the billionaire d.., p.32
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       The Billionaire Deception, p.32
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         Part #1 of Stolen series by Holly Rayner
“You hired a private investigator to check me out?”

  “Yes. The other night after you left I questioned my father. I knew then that I wasn’t going to get a straight story. I wanted to believe you, but I had to hear it myself from a neutral party.”

  “What did he tell you?”

  “Almost exactly what you did right now.”

  “Almost exactly? What was different?”

  “You told me the story of your life and you didn’t once mention the struggles that you and the lady who raised you had financially. You didn’t tell me about the room you had to rent in an elderly couple’s house while you were in college because it was all that you could afford. You didn’t tell me that you worked two jobs on campus to help pay your tuition or that on the weekends you volunteered in a shelter for kids who had lost their parents. All hiring the investigator did for me was to reaffirm that I was in love with an exceptional woman.”

  I was stunned. I’m not sure what I expected, but it wasn’t that. I sat there with my mouth open I think for a solid minute before I finally said, “So… are you saying…”

  He smiled then. That warm, genuine, sexy smile that made my heart speed up to about a thousand beats a second. “I’m saying that I love you, Erin… No, Adele. I love you Adele Louise Morgan. I wish that I had your strength and your courage. I was given a job… it was handed to me, just like everything else in my life was handed to me, and that job wasn’t even his to give away. While I was living the good life you were working and struggling towards yours.”

  “That’s not a hundred percent true. You’re excellent at your job. Your numbers are amazing. Your employees love you. You may have been given the job, but what you did with it from then on is all about your strengths and your determination, and most of all, your heart.”

  “Thank you for saying that,” he said. “I love you. I’m so sorry for what my father did to you.”

  “None of that was your fault.”

  “I know. But I knew that his business practices were less than ethical. I should have questioned him more or done some research of my own before now to find out how he had achieved his “success.” At first, I just didn’t care. I was reaping the rewards and as long as he left me alone, I thought I was enjoying life on his dime. I fell in love with the lifestyle and I let myself believe like he did, that I somehow deserved it. I like to believe that had I truly known how it came to be… that a young girl’s life had been permanently altered because of it and not for the better… that I would have objected. I can’t honestly say what I would have done then. I know that no business and no amount of money is worth that. After I took over as CEO and I started finding things out here and there that he’d done that were questionable in terms of ethics and morality… I was just too afraid of him to stand up. I thought if I just did things right from there on out, I could make it right.”

  “You can’t be held responsible for the sins of your father. That was a lesson I had to learn myself. Once I learned it I fell deeply in love with you.”

  “I missed you. Can we go back and start over?”

  “Can you forgive me for my lies?”

  “I completely understand them and the only problem I’m going to have with any of it is remembering your name,” he said with a laugh. “Can you forgive me?”

  “There’s nothing to forgive. You were a victim of your father and me both.”

  Seth grinned and said, “The difference is I like being your victim.” Then turning serious he said, “I want to help you.”

  I felt the first real hope I’d had in a while slip back into my soul. “You want to help me take back my company?”

  He smiled again and nodded. “Yes, I want to help you get back what is yours. I’ll do whatever it takes, including standing up to my father. I want to make up for what he did to you, as much as I can.”

  “What about your own job?”

  “I don’t care about the job or the business or the money. I love you. I want to be with you and I want you to be happy and have everything you ever wanted… everything that you deserve. I admire you so much for going through all that you have and still holding onto your spirit and your good heart. You make me want to be a better man.”

  It was strange. You hear people say they felt like a “weight” was lifted off of them… I never thought of it in literal terms before that moment. I hadn’t realized just how heavy my burden had been until right that second. With another person to help me carry it, it suddenly didn’t seem like such a daunting task.

  “Are you sure?” I asked Seth. I knew what he was offering to do would upset life as he knew it from then on out.

  “Absolutely,” he said. “Tell me what I need to do.”

  “I will,” I told him. “Thank you. First, there is something else I would like to do, if you’re up for it.” He looked confused for a second, until I smiled and then he suddenly knew exactly what I was talking about. He slid over towards me and positioned himself up against the head board next to me with our arms and knees touching.

  “How’s this?” he asked with a grin.

  “It’s a good start…”

  He smiled broader and slipped his arm around me. I realized then that I had even missed his scent. He always had a fresh, crisp smell like an ocean breeze. I put my arm across his chest and relaxed into him. God, he felt so good. We just sat there like that for a long moment, enjoying the togetherness, comfortable in the silence.

  I realized after another minute or two that he was waiting for me to set the pace and tone of our reunion. I lifted my head and straightened out so I could look at his face. Seth smiled and with his free hand he ran the back of his fingers down the side of my cheek. Then he drew his thumb across my bottom lip causing me to shiver almost violently.

  “You’re so beautiful,” he said. “I’ve thought so since the first second you walked into my office that first day.”

  “You’re beautiful,” I told him with a grin. “I’ve thought so since the second you spun your chair around that day. I almost fell into the floor when you looked at me with those sexy ice blue eyes. I never meant to hurt you in any way. I realized very quickly that I wanted to do the exact opposite. I love the sound of your laugh and your gorgeous smile always looks so much better knowing that I put it there.”

  “You’ve put it there nearly every day since I met you. This past week, not knowing what would happen between us was killing me.”

  "Me too. And Grant,” I said with a giggle.

  He flexed an eyebrow and said, “Grant was that worried about us?”

  “Well, me mostly. I’ve barely gotten out of bed in a week. I didn’t feel like anything really mattered anymore.”

  “I know. I was feeling the same way.”

  "I’m sorry I hurt you,” I told him, one more time.

  “Don’t be,” Seth said. “It all brought us together in the end, and that’s all that matters to me.”

  I put my hands on each side of his face then and kissed his lips. I couldn’t stop; I was so hungry for him. I kissed and sucked on his plump bottom lip and he let me lick across them both before his own hunger took over and he pulled me into him tighter and covered my mouth with his. My lips parted and he kissed me passionately. At that moment in time not only did nothing else matter, it hardly existed. Seth left a trail of sweet kisses down the side of my face and neck. I shuddered again, pulling him even closer into me so that not even light could come between us. After he covered my neck with kisses, Seth slid my shirt off one shoulder and began to cover my collarbone in kisses, occasionally nipping lightly at my shoulder.

  “You’re perfect,” he whispered. I was the one groaning and he was telling me that I was perfect. I took his face in my hands again and pulled him back up so I could kiss him again. I kissed him even harder that time and when we came up for air he said in a ragged, uneven breath, “Should I lock the door?”

  “Please,” I told him. He went over and turned the lock. When Seth came back he sat down n
ext to me again and began running his fingers lightly over my face. He was tracing my features with his fingertips like he was trying to memorize them. It was one of the most non-sexual erotic feelings I had ever experienced.

  I put my lips on his face and kissed along his strong jawline and across his nose and eyes and forehead. I was memorizing him now with my lips. His hand was resting on my hip and when my lips made it back down towards his he captured them and we kissed again. When he broke the kiss that time a stray tear had escaped from my eye and rolled down my cheek. He brushed it away with his finger and said, “Baby what’s wrong?”

  I smiled through the tears that had filled my eyes and said, “Nothing. Nothing at all is wrong.”

  “Then why are you crying?”

  “Because I’m so happy. My soul finally feels unburdened and now no matter what happens where the company is concerned, I know that I’m moving forward. I love you so much.”

  Seth brushed away another tear and then after another hot kiss he said, “I want to spend the rest of my life loving you.”

  I loved the sound of that and it would be what I aimed for from this day forward. He spent the rest of that day loving me. We only came up for air long enough to order food. Grant grudgingly left it outside my door. I know that in the long run he will be happy for me, but the truth was that I was so happy for myself, it didn’t really even matter.

  ~

  CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

  ~

  ADELE

 
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