Breaking Love Page 7

“Me? Or your company?”

That seemed to gain his full attention. He slammed the papers down and glared. I could feel the anger seeping out of him from across the room. “It’s not just a company, son. It’s an empire. One that I want you to start appreciating. Believe it or not, I didn’t just hand it over to you. You earned it.”

“But you don’t think I’m ready. Isn’t that why you’re intruding twice a week and monitoring everything I do? By the way, I’m firing your mole as soon as I find him.”

“You don’t need to find him. Owen James has agreed to keep a close eye on you and step in when necessary.”

“James? You got your VP to spy on me?”

“No, I got your VP to look after you. He’s a good guy. You could learn a lot from him.”

“Like how to be a bloodthirsty shark? Yeah, I’ll get right on that.”

“Don’t be disrespectful.”

“If you think he’s so great, why not make him your successor?”

My father rose from my chair to stand before me. “Because he’s not my son. I built this for you and your sister. I just want you to appreciate it more.”

“I appreciate it, Dad. I just don’t want it forced down my throat, and if you’re going to let me take over, then let me take over. I don’t need your watchdog sniffing around.”

“It’s just a precaution.”

“That you wouldn’t need if you had listened when I said I wasn’t ready. I don’t have enough experience.”

“Nonsense. Some of the greatest empires were built on inexperience, and do you know why? Because they were driven and they were focused. They didn’t waste time on trivial pursuits and walking on the wrong side of the law.”

I took the seat he’d vacated and leaned back casually though I felt anything but relaxed. “Meaning?”

“Your friendship with Keiran Masters. I want you to end it. “

“Not happening.”

“Damn it, Dasher. He’s a public relations nightmare waiting to happen, and I don’t want you or this empire being caught in the crosshairs.”

“No. I’ve given you enough. I’m not giving any more. He’s my best friend and more than that, he needs me.”

“He’s a grown man and he’s trouble. How long before he turns on you? One wrong move or word, and you think he won’t hesitate to hurt you or worse, kill you?”

“That wouldn’t happen.”

When persuasion didn’t work, he tried to enforce his authority. “I won’t stand for your disobedience.”

I laughed at the serious expression he wore, knowing he was completely serious about his demand. “I’m not fifteen anymore. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an empire to run, remember?”

I smoothed my suit jacket and made my way for the door to show him out. When he continued to stare, I made a gesture for him to exit. He’s my father, but these days, there was only so much of him I could handle.

“Dad, I have a meeting with executive management in fifteen.”

“I’m not leaving until you see reason.”

“There is nothing for me to see. It’s non-negotiable.”

He stared at me silently, but the tick in his jaw told me he was calculating. “What if I told you if you gave up your friendship with Keiran, you’d be free to marry whomever you wish?”

My hand slipped from the door and my full attention turned to him. “Come again?”

“Keiran or Rosalyn. It’s your choice.”





THERE WERE ONLY two occasions I wore a suit for personal reasons.

Today was one of those days.

Dressed in a black suit, white shirt, and royal blue tie to match the theme of my sister’s wedding, I made my way through the mansion I called my home and where she decided to have her wedding.

The house was full of my sister’s wedding guests. All of which were busy sipping the expensive champagne and filling their time with casual conversation. I recognized some old classmates from Bainbridge though most of the guests were undoubtedly associates of my father.

It took longer than necessary for me to make my way through the first floor. I was constantly bombarded with the pressing, yet unwanted need for conversation from people whose names I could barely remember.

“Lake, darling, I realize you’re her maid of honor, but I am her mother, and I just think we need more flowers.”

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