Home > Never Dare A Tycoon (The Attracelli Family #1)

Never Dare A Tycoon (The Attracelli Family #1)
Author: Elizabeth Lennox

Elizabeth Lennox - The Attracelli Family #1 - Never Dare A Tycoon

Never Dare A Tycoon (The Attracelli Family #1)
Elizabeth Lennox

romance/billionaire

 

Prologue

The storm raged outside, rain pelting the long windows of the large family room making the usually cozy atmosphere cold and ominous. Occasionally, the wind whipped around the corner of the house and the eerie howl could be heard inside.

The crackling fire, bright lights and most of her family working at various tasks around the room didn’t seem to diminish the feeling of doom Antonia was experiencing. Glancing around the large room, she tried to pinpoint the problem. But nothing seemed unusual. Everyone was in his or her customary place. Her mother was sitting at the end of the sofa cross-stitching; her four older brothers were either at the dining room table doing their own homework or were lounging in a chair reading. Antonia’s father saw her taking in the scene and winked at her from behind his newspaper, his cigar smoke curling around the room, adding a slight cinnamon smell to the surroundings. The only two missing siblings were the oldest children of the Attracelli family. Salvatore, the oldest of the six children was in his second year at Harvard and Sophia, the next oldest, was in her first year at MIT.

Refocusing on her homework, Antonia bit her lower lip in concentration as she tried to figure out the algebra problem for her assignment. It was her first week of fifth grade and Antonia was trying to make a good impression with her new teachers. She was the only student in her grade that was allowed to take algebra and she was determined to prove she could excel at the task. She dismissed her uneasiness, attributing it to her imagination.

The shrill ring of the telephone seemed to make everyone jump.

She heard her mother’s cheerful greeting as she spoke to the person at the other end of the line. Antonia sensed her mother’s change in mood before she noticed the tensing of her shoulders. Her brothers were still doing their own homework, oblivious to the changed atmosphere. Antonia instinctively knew that her mother was in pain but she didn’t understand why. She kept searching the faces of the rest of the family, trying to decide if her instincts about her mother were silly.

Antonia stood as the phone fell out of her mother’s hand, landing with a foreboding thud onto the floor. She watched as her mother’s shoulders began shaking. Her hands went to cover her ears as if she could stop the agonizing information from coming. As Antonia watched, her mother bent over the table and an anguished wail tore out of her soul. It was as if her life were being pulled from her body.

The sound was the most horrific in Antonia’s young life.

Instantly, Antonia’s father threw down his paper and came over to his wife, holding her up as she melted into the security of his arms, sobbing out her pain and anguish but unable to tell him what was wrong. Carlos came over and picked up the phone, attempting to ascertain the situation while their father tried to comfort their mother.

“Hello?” Carlos said, his voice just recently changing to the deeper tones of adulthood.

Apparently the person assumed it was the father and repeated the information. Antonia’s fear intensified as she watched Carlos’ face turn white. But he nodded his head, then calmly put the phone back on its receiver.

When he turned around again, the tears were already rolling down his cheeks. He cleared his throat and put one hand on the back of his still sobbing mother, communicating his understanding of her pain. “Sophia…” he started, only to stop and push back the emotion, “Sophia died,” he explained. “She and a friend walked by as a burglar was trying to get away. It was late last night. Sophia died on the way to the hospital.”

Chapter 1

Fifteen Years Later

Out in the street, traffic was heavy with afternoon lunchers moving either to their meal spot or from it. Either way, Brett Hancock was impatient with the lunch hour traffic. Being only a few minutes late for his lunch appointment meant that he’d missed the window of lighter traffic. Punctuality was an asset, he thought to himself as he negotiated his BMW into traffic.

He was about to turn off the main street and head down a side one in order to cut a few minutes off his time when a motorcycle zoomed by him, nearly hitting his black BMW in the process.

“What the…?” Brett slammed on his brakes and cursed under his breath.

All he saw was a stream of black curly hair flying out behind a woman on a red motorcycle. It wasn’t following the traffic patterns but was driving beside all the cars waiting for the light to turn so they could move forward. It was illegal to drive beside cars like that, outside of a lane and practically on the sidewalk. But someone hadn’t mentioned that fact to the driver, Brett thought irritably. All he caught was the hair that escaped from the helmet as it lifted in the breeze. The rest of her was a blur and she turned the corner at the next intersection so he couldn’t get a license plate number.

Brett made it to the restaurant with a few minutes to spare. He handed his keys to the valet and walked inside, nodding slightly to the doorman.

Inside, he was led directly to his table. He didn’t even glance around the elegant room decorated in white linen tablecloths or the crystal chandeliers which reflected the sunlight streaming into the room from the palladian windows. The starkness of the room was offset only by thick, subtle floral carpeting and the large centerpiece of flowers on each table that matched the pattern in the carpeting.

Salvatore Attracelli and the vice president Brett had met the night before were already seated discussing some papers when Brett sat down.

Sal immediately stood up when he saw Brett. “How are you today?” Brett said, shaking both men’s hands. “Recovered from Cesar’s?” he inquired, cursing himself as soon as the words were out of his mouth. Their waitress from the exclusive bar where they’d initially discussed a business deal the night before was on his mind almost constantly. It occurred to him that the waitress from the previous evening and the woman on the motorcycle both had similar hair. Perhaps that was why he thought of her now.

Sal and Scott laughed. “Not really. I think I had too much to drink, but I guess that’s the whole point of the place, isn’t it?” Scott said.

Sal looked at his watch when they were all seated again. “I’m sorry, but I invited my sister to join us. I haven’t seen her in a while and was hoping she and I could spend some time together after lunch. But she’s late, as usual,” he said, trying to hide his annoyance.

Scott immediately perked up. “Antonia’s joining us?” he asked.

Sal noticed Scott’s eagerness and frowned slightly. He didn’t know what happened on their date years ago, but Antonia had refused to meet three other men Sal had tried to introduce her to afterwards. That couldn’t be a good sign. No matter how Antonia felt about a person, she always gave them a chance. But after one dinner with Scott, all of Sal’s subsequent matchmaking attempts had been immediately shot down.

Brett looked at his watch. He had several meetings this afternoon that couldn’t be rescheduled. He didn’t know Sal’s sister, but surely she’d arrive when she got here. Delaying their lunch meeting until she appeared was ridiculous.

“Well, until she gets here, why don’t you tell me what you thought of the numbers floating around last night? Now that we’ve had some time to think about it, I’d like to get your ideas,” he said, starting the meeting without Sal’s sister.

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