Wed By Deception(8)

By: Emilie Rose

His youngest sister called him “the submarine,” and he liked the image of always lurking unseen below the surface while he got the job done.

He turned the key he’d left in the lock after Nadia’s unexpected appearance, retrieved his bags and entered his apartment. He spent too much time in hotels and it was good to be home. His gaze swept his luxurious living room, each item tangible proof he’d hauled himself and his family out of poverty.

It was amazing how much ambition fury and hatred could generate. Over the past seven years he’d been stealthily stalking his prey, acquiring failing properties, turning them around and selling them at a profit until he had enough cash to ante his way onto Everett Kincaid’s playing field. For the past forty months he’d specifically targeted the suppliers Kincaid used, bought them and upped the prices on the products KCL couldn’t get elsewhere without a lot of aggravation.

Everett Kincaid had valued cold hard cash over anything and Lucas had been determined to bleed the man’s vault dry. Until today, Lucas had also believed Nadia to be as shallow as her father, and he’d planned to make all of the Kincaids pay for treating him like garbage to be cast aside. For once he was glad to be wrong and that his disgust with Nadia all these years had been unjust.

He set down his bags and flipped through the mail piled on the hall table, most of it addressed to Andvari, Inc., which meant his assistant had stopped by the apartment.

The closer Lucas had come to reaching his goal of taking down Kincaid, the greater the need for secrecy, and four years ago he’d created the umbrella company of Andvari. Named for the Norse god who guarded his treasures with a cloak of invisibility, Lucas had made it impossible for anyone to penetrate the smoke screen and discover the true owner of Andvari and each of its multiple subsidiaries.

Or so he’d thought.

How deeply had Kincaid penetrated, and how had he acquired his information? Because without a doubt, as Nadia had said, her father’s ownership of the other penthouse couldn’t possibly be a coincidence.

He grabbed his suitcase, headed to his bedroom and slung the case onto the mattress. Just because Kincaid had denied him the pleasure of seeing defeat on his face didn’t mean Lucas couldn’t still have the pleasure of holding all his nemesis had once possessed.

Beginning with Nadia.

Wouldn’t it be the ultimate revenge to win back the woman Kincaid had stolen from him?

Love had nothing to do with it. A lifetime of his mother and sisters and himself getting screwed over by that sappy emotion had killed any illusions Lucas had about lust and chemistry and the temporary insanity the combination evoked. Physically, he still wanted his ex-wife. But sex was all he wanted from her.

If there was any justice in this world, that bastard Kincaid would roll over in his grave the day his daughter remarried the man he’d fired and humiliated. It would be an even better day when Lucas Stone became owner of KCL, fired each of the Kincaids and covered each KCL logo with one of his own. And he would.

He didn’t expect the job to be easy. But then nothing had been since he’d awoken in that hospital bed unable to feel his legs, see his wife or save his baby.

He whipped his cell phone from his pocket and hit his sister’s number on speed dial.

“This better be good, Lucas. I’m in the middle of a hot date. My first in months,” Sandi groused in his ear.

He glanced at his watch and grimaced. Almost midnight. “You still want that promotion you’ve been begging for?”

“Hell, yes. What’s the catch?”

“I need time off.”

“What’s wrong?”

A valid question since he’d lived and breathed work since getting back on his feet. But if he came clean Sandi would get on the next plane to Dallas. “I need a break from the relentless travel.”

“I don’t believe that for one second.”

“You don’t have to believe me. Either you want the promotion or you don’t.”

“I do. I do. Hold on.” He heard her muffled voice telling someone she’d be right back then what sounded like swishing sheets. He did not want to know about his sister’s sex life.

A full minute later she asked, “What do you need?”

“Take over the Singapore account.”

“Are you serious?” She sounded as shocked as she should be. This project was his baby. He’d already put pints of blood and sweat into it, but he should be able to safely hand it over now.

He loosened his tie and shrugged out of his jacket. “Buying up this loan is a big responsibility, but you can handle it. You’re ready.”

“Why are we incurring the debt?”

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