Home > The Tycoon's Tender Triumph

The Tycoon's Tender Triumph
Author: Elizabeth Lennox

Elizabeth Lennox - The Tycoon's Tender Triumph

The Tycoon's Tender Triumph
Elizabeth Lennox



Chapter 1

Chloe slipped out of the comfortable sedan nervously, forcing a smile to her face as David came around to help her out.

“Dinner was very nice,” she said anxiously and glanced up at her apartment, feeling the cold air on her cheeks and ignoring the scent of garlic and onions on David’s breath. Was there any way at all to escape the next few awkward hours? She cared for David but she just wasn’t in the mood to be with him.

The thought struck her that, recently, she rarely wanted to be alone with him because of the increasing pressure she felt to take their relationship to the next level. As she pulled the heavy apartment gate open so they could both walk through, she realized that she didn’t particularly like kissing David. What was wrong with her? He was an attractive guy. All her friends in the office envied her whenever he came to take her out to lunch. His blond, blue eyed good looks combined with a great smile made the other women sigh whenever he tossed one of his winks their way.

So why didn’t his gentle touch make her heart race? Why couldn’t she be even slightly attracted to him? Why, why why? She hated this! It wasn’t fair that one man from her past could affect her so dramatically, leaving all other men mere shadows of his memory. Would it be like this forever? Would she always be comparing her current boyfriend to that one man who had loomed so large throughout her childhood? Or was it just lately? It was probably just those irritating letters, she thought, pressing the button on the elevator more firmly than she needed to.

“Ouch!” she gasped, looking down at her finger and groaning when she’d hit the button so hard she’d broken her fingernail.

David took her hand in his and kissed the end of her finger. It was a sweet gesture, but because it was David, the touch left her unmoved and feeling guilty because of it.

In an effort to get more in the spirit of the night, she smiled engagingly up at David. She cringed only slightly when she saw his eyes flare with excitement but she managed not to step backward.

He put an arm around her waist and pulled her closer as the elevator rose through the various floors. “You look beautiful tonight,” he said softly and took her hand to lead her into the hallway once the doors opened up.

Chloe sighed heavily. Maybe tonight would be different, she thought sadly. He certainly seemed to be different tonight.

“Are you warm enough?” he asked when they reached her floor and she shivered slightly. He wrapped his arm around her but Chloe couldn’t help but feel awkward with his affection.

“I’m fine,” she replied, but couldn’t look in his eyes. He was going to kiss her, she thought sadly. And it would be yet another disappointment.

Chloe walked beside him down the hallway to her apartment, wishing things were different. She desperately wished she’d never met that other one, hadn’t seen him struggling to make his way in the world and grown to respect him so much, to admire his determination and intelligence. No man could match him and she should just leave him in the past and get on with her life.

Sam Marchant was not the man for her and she needed to get over her silly infatuation with him.

Who was she kidding? All other men looked anemic compared to that other man. Unlocking her door with more force than was necessary, she pushed that man’s physique out of her mind and forced herself to focus on David. Sam was nothing to her. And never had been. Just because they’d shared a few dinners while she was in college, one every few months when he flew into town, that didn’t mean that she was ruined for other men. So the evenings had been wonderful, leaving her knees weak and her heart pounding with her infatuation. It had also hurt horribly when she’d seen the society papers showing him with another woman the following night.

Every time, no matter where she was in the world, from the time she turned eighteen he’d called her up and invited her to dinner. At first, those nights had been magical. He was so witty, so fun to be with and amazingly handsome with his dark hair, tall, powerful stature and a five o’clock shadow no matter what time of the day it was. She’d always been proud to be on his arm.

But when she’d realized the pattern, that the second night he was in town he’d always go somewhere more glamorous with a stunningly gorgeous woman on his arm, clinging to him and usually smiling up at his handsome face just as the camera captured their entrance or exit, she started refusing his invitations. She’d gotten smart enough not to put herself in a position to be hurt by his betrayal.

It wasn’t even a true betrayal, which almost hurt more, because he would always preface every invitation with the comment that he wanted to check up on her for her dad. In the beginning, she’d assumed the excuse was just that, an excuse to see her. But when she’d consistently read about his exploits the next night, she had to accept that it wasn’t an excuse. Sam really thought of her as a kid no matter how many activities she joined or classes she took, and Sam really was just checking up on her. He would never see her as an adult woman, someone he might consider in a more romantic way. Chloe was destined to remain in the “kid sister” category to Sam.

A few years ago, she stopped accepting his invitations, ignoring the stunned silence when she explained that she was too busy, or too tired or whatever popped into her mind. And when that became too hard, she simply stopped answering his calls, stopped returning them and ignored her father’s comments that she should check in with him “because Sam cared” about her.

It was better all around when she cut off communication. A heart could only take so much, she told herself.

And now he was on her mind more, popping into her dreams, making her inefficient at work because she found herself thinking about him, wondering how he was and if he was still as successful as he’d been before she’d gone off to college.

It was only because of the phone calls and letters that she’d been thinking of him lately. As she opened her door, she quickly glanced down at the mail littering her doorway and cringed when she saw yet another letter with that bold, powerful scrawl.

Glancing at her voice mail, sure enough, she noticed the red light was blinking. Chloe ignored it for the moment, turning back to David and smiling. “I’ll make some coffee,” she suggested and slipped into the kitchen, depositing her meager stack of mail onto the small kitchen table that took up half the space in the tiny area. “Do you want decaf or are you working again tonight and need the full force kind?” she asked, hiding her face in the fridge, afraid that he might see the anger in her eyes.

Those letters did it to her every time, she thought furiously. Why couldn’t he just leave her alone? She didn’t understand why he was calling her. Their only connection, her father, was firmly ensconced in his cottage style house on the edge of Sam’s property. She knew they were friends but that didn’t make Sam her friend. As a kid, she had idolized Sam, had followed him around like a puppy every summer while she tried to learn anything there was to know about horses and was always impressed when she came back each summer to see more progress on his ranch. He’d done well over the years and she’d considered him a very good friend when she visited her father each summer.

Until the dinners he’d taken her out to while she was away at college. The pictures of his lady loves in the newspapers the following nights also helped her get a grip on her rampaging infatuation she thought miserably, pulling cream out of the refrigerator since she knew David liked his coffee more brown than black.

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