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Blackmailed By The Billionaire
Author: Elizabeth Lennox

Elizabeth Lennox - Blackmailed By The Billionaire

Blackmailed By The Billionaire
Elizabeth Lennox

romance/billionaire

 

Chapter 1

Information. It was arguably more powerful than money, Nikolai thought as he put the report down on the desk, his fingers forming a pyramid as he considered the data he had just received.

A sense of triumph filled Nikolai. His midnight blue eyes looked away from the words and out to the stunning view of the sun rising over the buildings of London, enjoying the feeling of conquest as it washed over him.

Patience had always been his best asset, he thought. And now, revenge would be sweet.

Tabitha MacComber would beg for mercy. The only question was whether Nik would allow it. His mind remembered her smiling, green eyes, her flawless, porcelain skin and a body any man would happily die to possess. Of course, hidden behind that stunningly beautiful façade was a cunning and mercenary nature that had blindsided him four years ago.

Nikolai Andretti smiled coldly as he looked back down at the business section of the newspaper. It was not a smile of amusement although it was filled with deep satisfaction. His eyes quickly scanned down the list of stock prices. When he found the line he was looking for, he raised one eyebrow and mentally did some calculations. He had waited patiently for this situation to come about and now that victory was almost his, he wanted to savor the feeling, let it slide down like a woman’s tender caress. It had actually taken less time than he’d anticipated but the keenness of victory was no less satisfying for the speed with which her downfall had come.

Setting the delicate china cup filled with fragrant coffee down on the white linen table cloth, he reflected on how the world seemed to right itself, provide opportunities. With a deep sense of amusement and irony, he leaned back in the leather chair and considered his options. Because of the mess she was currently in, there were several possibilities open to him, and all would end in the same way. He just had to choose the most effective. He would have to conduct the transactions discreetly, he knew. No one could know about the stock purchases until he was ready to reveal his hand.

Quickly analyzing the options and calculating the costs as well as the risks associated with each scenario, he made a decision. Raising the phone, he gave curt instructions to his personal assistant, then ended the call abruptly, knowing his assistant would be able to fill in the blanks accurately. Standing up, he looked out one of the floor to ceiling windows that made up three walls of his office. Being on the thirty-ninth floor, he had an extraordinary view of London. Today though, he saw nothing of the striking horizon as the sun rose over the vast city. His mind’s eye was remembering the perfect beauty of Tabitha MacComber, her startling blue eyes, her tiny waist that flared gently out to slender hips, ending in long legs that a man could fantasize about forever.

The lying, deceitful bitch that still occasionally haunted his dreams would finally be exorcised from his mind. He wanted her. After seeing her smiling face in the report, he had to accept that reality. Tabitha MacComber was incredibly lovely but also the only woman who had tricked him so completely, gotten under his skin and then made a fool of him. Nikolai considered himself extremely experienced when it came to women specifically and people in general. He knew most of their tricks and thought they were amusing at times. But Tabitha had duped him. Her air of sweetness and fragility, innocence, had definitely deceived him.

But now it was his turn to hold the reins. He would have her, on his terms, on his turf, for as long as he wanted her. And there would be nothing she could do to stop him this time.

Chapter 2

“Good morning, Nancy,” Tabitha MacComber said, smiling brightly at the woman sitting just outside the executive board room. Tabitha instantly noted the worried look in the other woman’s soft, brown eyes. “Are you feeling okay?” she asked with curiosity. Nancy had been the receptionist at MacComber Industries for longer than Tabitha was alive and she was always cheerful and ready with a smile.

Nancy nodded, but the anxiety stayed in her eyes. “I’m fine, Ms. MacComber.”

Tabitha could see that the woman was nervous but had no idea why. She made a mental note to stop by and talk with her, find out if there was something genuinely wrong. Maybe there were problems with her daughter’s first pregnancy.

At the moment, Tabitha was running a few minutes late so she pushed through the double oak doors that had stood guard outside the board room of MacComber Industries for the last hundred years.

The silence that greeted her as she breezed through the door almost made her steps falter, but she continued down the long room to the opposite end of the table, pasting a bright smile onto her face. “Gentlemen,” she said to the fourteen grim-looking men who were already seated at the polished oak conference table. The fact that they were all seated at the appointed meeting time was unprecedented. “What an extraordinary event to be starting on time!” she joked. When she received no response, she quickly placed her pink purse under the table and opened the leather notebook expectantly.

“Is something wrong?” she asked, looking at all the faces. “I can’t imagine why everyone is so tense,” she started to say and tucked a blond curl back behind her ear. “After all, the stock price is finally creeping back up. That’s good news as far as I can tell,” she said, smiling cheerfully at the rest of the table. Again, no response. Only forbidding faces looking down at their notebooks.

“Charlie,” she said, turning to grin gaily at a man mid way down the table. “Why are you looking so glum? You should be celebrating. Didn’t your son just marry Melody Miller down in Australia? You should be thrilled. What a match!” she said, hiding her abhorrence for society marriages. She knew these men lived and died for them. She shivered in revulsion but pushed the memory aside.

When she only received a tense smile from Charlie, she turned to another man who was sitting closer. “Mark, didn’t you just receive news of grandchild number five? That’s wonderful to hear!” she enthused.

Mark nodded and she received a brief glimpse of a smile, but it quickly faded.

The tension was odd and she wished she could figure out what happened.

“Okay, I give up,” she laughed. “Does someone want to enlighten me as to why it seems that the sky is falling?”

Nelson cleared his throat and sat forward. Nelson Miller was the current chief operating officer of MacComber Industries and a sweet, if somewhat hesitant man in his early forties. She noticed him glance behind her momentarily and hesitate but she focused all of her attention on the man, knowing that there was only a landscape painting on the wall behind her.

“It’s like this, Tabitha,” he started, his fingers nervously swiping at the lock of hair that had fallen free of its usually perfect setting. “You remember how we invested in that factory in Dorset?” he started off.

“Of course,” she smiled. “Are you telling me that I was wrong? That the factory has actually started to show a profit? Because if that’s true, I think I owe you a very large apology,” she said, smiling encouragingly at him. “I didn’t think that plan would work and it was a large amount of money to throw at a risky scheme.”

Nelson leaned forward, his face turning red all of a sudden. “Now see here,” he started off, huffing slightly in his anger, “it would have worked. There were just some complications.” He glanced behind her again, then down at his paper. “The distribution venues just weren’t adequate for our needs,” he explained. “And there was poor management that we weren’t aware of.”

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