Stolen the billionaire d.., p.35
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       The Billionaire Deception, p.35
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         Part #1 of Stolen series by Holly Rayner
“Wow, don’t you look gorgeous!” Grant had just gotten home from work and I was on my way out that Friday night. We hadn’t had much of a chance to talk since Seth had shown up the day before.

  “Thank you,” I told him. Then I opened my arms and said, “I need to hug you.”

  Grant accepted the hug and after holding onto me for several minutes he said, “So what was that for?”

  “To thank you for putting up with me. Or, I should say to thank you for putting up with Erin. I know that she wasn’t always the easiest person to live with.”

  He laughed and said, “No, she wasn’t. But, it turned me on a little to know her dirty secrets… like the fact that she was a corporate spy and I was the only one who knew her real name.”

  “I will always tell you my secrets,” I said. “Hopefully, I won’t have so many to tell in the future.”

  “Will that future be with the young Mr. Hunter?”

  “I sure do hope so. I love him so much, Grant.”

  He smiled and touched my face. “He’s a lucky man.”

  “I’m the lucky one,” I said. “I have two of the best looking, sweetest, kindest, smartest men in New York in my corner.”

  He laughed again and said, “Which one of us is better looking?”

  I looked at my watch and said, “Look at that, it got so late so soon. I really have to go now.”

  He threw his head back then and laughed hard. “Okay, I’ll let you plead the fifth on that one. Just promise me two things and I’ll leave it alone.”

  “What’s that?”

  “First, that you won’t ever stop being my friend…”

  “Never,” I said.

  “And second… When you get that company back finally, you’ll hire me. I hate my job.”

  “Aw, of course I will. Working with you and Seth would be a blast.”

  “You’re going to let him stay in his position when you get it back, aren’t you?”

  “Look, it’s another minute later. I really do have to go.” I winked at him and kissed his cheek. “Thank you for being the best friend ever. I love you.”

  “I love you more,” he said, as I went out the door.

  When I reached the ground floor, Seth’s car was waiting for me. The driver was standing at the curb with the back door open for me. “Good evening Miss,” he said. “Mr. Seth asked me to let you know he’ll be meeting us at the restaurant.”

  “Thank you, Sam.” I got in and rode across town in anticipation. It had only been a matter of hours since Seth left my bed to go to work. I missed him like crazy from the very second he was gone.

  Sam took me to an upscale restaurant in SoHo. They served eclectic food in a classy, serene atmosphere. It had always been one of my favorite places. When I got inside the hostess took me straight back to where Seth was waiting for me. I was surprised to see that Phillip Granger was with him as well.

  “Hi,” I said. “Hello, Phillip. This is a surprise.”

  Seth kissed my cheek and Phillip said, “Hello again, Adele. I hope you don’t mind me crashing your intimate dinner party. Seth and I have had our heads together today and we think we have some exciting news for you. I won’t be staying long but I wanted to be here when he told you.”

  Excited, I sat down and they did too. “I don’t mind at all, Phillip. I am so grateful for the help.”

  Seth smiled and laid a packet of paperwork on the table in front of me. It was the legal papers I had got a glimpse of that night at the house. “Oh my goodness! You work fast.”

  He grinned and said, “You told me exactly where to find them. It seems my father was running his own business based on information he gained confidentially from yours. When your father found out, he filed a lawsuit against him. He wanted my father disbarred so that he wouldn’t be able to do the same to someone else. The civil suit had been filed and if your father would have won the case, an investigation by the FTC may have been opened against my father as well as the Law Review Board getting involved.”

  “But since my father died, none of that happened, right?”

  “It gets better,” Phillip said. “James filed a countersuit claiming slander. When the first case went to court, your father had already passed. Miraculously, witness statements and supporting documents had gone missing from his attorney’s office.”

  “Was that attorney a friend of James Hunter’s by any chance?”

  “Better yet,” Seth said. “He was a gambler and a cheat and Father knew all of his deep, dark secrets because they had worked together for years.”

  “Oh no!”

  “Oh yes,” Phillip said. “I spoke with the other attorney today. His name is Paul Goddard and he has been retired for five years. He told me the truth about what happened back then. He has gone through alcoholics anonymous and gamblers anonymous over the past few years. He was going to come to you eventually. He has been trying to “make amends” for his past sins. I told him that I wouldn’t promise whatever he told me wouldn’t be used against him. I’m not sure how far you plan to take this. He said that he didn’t care anymore; he was tired of living with things on his conscience. It seems he’s admitted a lot of his wrongs against a lot of people.”

  “He got rid of the evidence?” I asked.

  “Worse,” Seth said. “My father blackmailed him and threatened to ruin his career. Paul gave him the original witness statements and original documents… financial documents that your father had collected to use against mine in court.”

  “Wow… I didn’t realize how far his reach was.”

  “Neither did I,” Seth said. “The good news is that Phillip told me something very interesting about my father today. He told me that James Hunter is a narcissist. I guess I’ve had to always know that, but I never wanted to admit it. It’s hard to think of one of your parents as incapable of loving anyone other than themselves. “He also told me that a narcissist would “keep trophies” of his wins because he thinks he is way too smart to get caught.” Seth laid down some more paperwork in front of me. It was copies of the witness statements, all of the evidence my father had compiled against James.

  “Oh my God. Seth, you’re amazing.” Phillip cleared his throat and I looked up at him and smiled. “You too, Phillip of course. You’re both incredible. I’m so lucky to have you in my corner.”

  “At the risk of sounding like an infomercial I have to say, “But wait!” That’s not all.”

  I couldn’t help but smile at my beautiful man as I said, “Please tell me what else there is.”

  “Well, as you can see there, my father countersued for slander. Because this evidence never came to light, and your father was dead he won that case. That’s how he obtained your company. He was awarded a lot of money from your father’s estate. There wasn’t enough cash so he took the other assets… the house, the furnishings, the business…”

  “So he was granted all of that in court. Does that mean I don’t have a legal right to any of it any longer?”

  “It would, if we couldn’t prove he hid evidence and that was the only way he won.”

  “So we’re going to do what with that evidence?”

  “We are going to use it to persuade my old man to walk away from Hunter Corp… after signing the deed over to you, of course.”

  “Oh wow. Do you think that he will agree to that?”

  “We will make sure he doesn’t have a choice,” Seth told me.

  I got up and hugged them both. I don’t think I could ever put into words how much their help meant to me. “Thank you both so much!” I saw the top of Phillip’s head flush as I kissed him on it. Seth looked amused.

  “You’re welcome,” Phillip said. “I can’t wait to hear what his reaction was when you two confront him. I’m going to go home now and get some rest. It’s late for this old man to be out.” I thanked him profusely again. I was so happy.

  Once Phillip left, I looked at Seth with the adoration I was feeling. He grinned at me again. I could tell that he was feeling pretty pr
oud of himself. That was okay by me, he deserved to be.

  “Are you hungry?” he asked me.

  “I am starving,” I told him. “I’m also highly aroused. It’s like all of my senses are heightened all of a sudden. This spy stuff is kind of fun.”

  He laughed, “Yeah, it is. But you know what is going to be more fun? Walking into YOUR company that first day knowing that no one can ever take it away from you again. You came a long ways from that little girl who was all alone in the world. You have so much to be proud of yourself for.”

  “Thank you, baby. I also have so much to be thankful for. I’ve made some pretty amazing friends along this wild ride.”

  He waggled his eyebrows at me and said, “You want to see a wild ride, wait until after dinner.”

  After we ate he took me to his townhouse. His father was at the main estate for the night and Seth said he wanted to “show me something.” When we got there he showed me into a room that looked like a spa and said, “There are some bathing suits in that big closet over there that used to belong to my mom. A lot of them are brand new with the tags still on. I bet you could find one to fit.”

  I laughed. “What on earth would I need a bathing suit for at this hour for?”

  He leaned in and kissed me softly. “Slip one on and meet me downstairs and I’ll show you.”

  He started to walk out as I was standing there confused and when he got to the door I said, “Wait! Downstairs? Aren’t we on the first floor?”

  “Yep,” he said. “Take the elevator down. I’ll see you there.”

  Shaking my head, I opened the closet in front of me. It was definitely a glimpse into Seth’s mother’s life. She obviously liked to do two things: shop and swim. The closet was literally full of swimwear and as he said there would be, one whole side still contained the tags. I found a yellow two piece that I liked and held it up to me. It looked like it was just my size. I told myself it wasn’t weird to wear it because obviously Seth’s mother never had. Once I had it on and looked in the mirror, I loved it so much I was afraid I might not ever be talked out of it. I found a yellow sarong and tied it around my waist. Slipping back on the black heels I’d worn with my dress for dinner, I took one last look before seeking out the elevator. I wasn’t used to the whole high heels and swimwear look, but it was different for me, and fun.

  The elevator was right next to the stairs at the front entrance. I pushed the “B” and when the doors slid open to the basement, my breath was taken away. I was confronted by shiny white marble floors and thick, gold wallpaper. The walls surrounded an Olympic sized swimming pool that was made out of white marble and inlaid with gold. Seth was sitting at the edge in a pair of blue swim trunks, dangling his feet in the water.

  “This is… wow!”

  He smiled. “Swimming was my mother’s favorite thing to do.” He pat the tile next to me and took my hand, helping me sit down. I’d slipped off the heels before I stepped out of the elevator. I stuck my bare feet and legs in next to his. He looked at me then as if he’d just noticed what I was wearing. “You are so damned gorgeous.”

  “Thank you. Tell me about your mother,” I said.

  “She was a swimmer in college. That’s how she and my father met. She was competing at the college he went to and when he saw her, he said he had to have her. I used to think that was romantic until I found out how extremely possessive he was. But anyways, when they redecorated this place the first time, there was nothing down here but storage. Father wanted to put in a theatre but mother wanted a pool. I remember, I was only five or six… I heard them arguing one night. I didn’t understand a lot of what they were talking about then, but at one point she told him he had taken her dignity from her when she caught him with “that woman.” She started to cry and my father was trying to comfort her… I guess. The whole argument spiraled down into my mother talking about how she gave up everything that was important in her life to be in his and he didn’t even appreciate her. She even said that she didn’t think he even loved her most of the time. My father told her she was being ridiculous and then he said something like, “Look around! I’ve given you everything. What more could you possibly want?” Back then, I didn’t understand the dynamics of a dysfunctional relationship the way I do now. But I heard her say, “I want a swimming pool.” He caught me listening then and sent me to my room, but the next day the workers showed up and within a month, my mother had her pool. They didn’t fight for a while after that but that may be because she spent so much time down here. It kind of became our private spot. Father didn’t swim so this was where she and I could hide out from all of the pressures he was always putting on us.”

  I took his hand in mine. “You miss her a lot, don’t you?”

  “Every day,” Seth said. “You are so much like her, you know? No matter what life throws at you, you just bend and twist and reshape yourself and move-on. She was like that, strong and confident. My father should have appreciated her, but he didn’t.”

  “I’m sure she knew that you did. That had to be pretty special to her.”

  “Yeah, I’m sure she knew how much I adored her. Since the day she died until I met you, I’ve never felt that loved.”

  I picked up the hand I was holding and put it over my heart. “It beats just for you now,” I told him.

  He leaned in and kissed my lips. I wrapped my hands behind his neck and pulled him in closer. As I did we were both set off balance and before we knew it, we were thrown head first into the pool. The water was heated and it felt like a comfortable bath. We barely took a breath before we continued our kiss. It was the first time I had ever made love in a swimming pool.

  ~

  CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

  ~

  ADELE

 
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