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Filthy Hot Billionaire
Author: Nicole Edwards

 


Prologue


Thursday, November 2, 2017

 

 

Knox Montgomery

A soft knock sounded on my office door seconds before it opened. “Mr. Montgomery, there’s someone here to see you.”

“I don’t have time right now, Betty,” I answered, continuing to type the email I was working on. “Have them make an appointment.”

“I tried. He’s insistent he speaks with you now, sir.”

Peering up from my computer screen, I stared at my assistant, curious as to who could cause the typically calm woman to fray at the edges. “Who is it?”

“A Mr. Rhett Campbell. He’s quite adamant about speaking with you.” She lowered her voice. “If you’d like, I could call security to—”

“Not necessary.” Taking a deep breath, I closed the laptop and stood. “Send him in.”

Of all the people I would’ve expected to make a surprise visit to my office, Rhett Campbell wouldn’t have even made the list. He usually intruded on my personal space, showing up at my residence. Then again, my recent move made it a bit more difficult to find me. And much harder to access.

I buttoned my suit jacket and adjusted my cuffs as I glanced at the calendar on my desk, confirming the date. November second. Every year like clockwork. Give or take a day.

My attention shifted to the door as I watched Rhett stroll in.

The man who ambled into my office was not a formidable man—neither in stature nor demeanor. Despite the fact Rhett was a one-percenter—at present, anyway—he’d always been too complacent to be intimidating, too proud of what little he had to ever strike fear in a man for what he could achieve. Hell, the man couldn’t see past his own hubris to accomplish much of anything.

Of course, Rhett did his best to pretend he was the alpha of the pack, but we both knew his bravado was balanced on a precarious house of cards. And the winds only grew stronger with every passing minute. Had been the case for the past decade, ever since I found out what he and my mother had done.

I slid my hands into the pockets of my slacks and stepped from behind my desk. “What can I do for you, Rhett?”

As he moved closer, I noticed he was walking a little too fast, his eyes skimming a little too quickly. Definitely nervous. If I didn’t know better, I would’ve said he was under the influence. The wrinkled suit, the way he was sweating and fidgeting, he looked as though he was either high or jonesing for a fix. However, my stepfather wasn’t a junkie, so I knew that wasn’t the reason for his nervous tic.

Rhett seemed fixated on the floor-to-ceiling windows that ran the length of three walls, the corner office offering a view of the surrounding buildings. Not much to look at, but I would admit it was better than staring at walls.

Whatever his curiosity, he was more than likely refusing to look at me, and I couldn’t blame him. He knew I wasn’t happy to see him.

“Rhett?” I repeated, attempting to draw his attention.

He looked at me briefly, then back out the window. “Can we talk?”

The man couldn’t even maintain eye contact. Very interesting.

“We’re capable, if that’s what you’re asking. As for what we might possibly have to discuss…” Returning to my desk, I let the sentence hang because we both knew there was nothing I had to contribute to a conversation with him. I’d said my piece a long time ago, and as far as I was concerned, the issue was only three days away from a rightful resolution.

“Sunday is Emily’s eighteenth birthday,” Rhett said, wiping his brow with the back of his hand.

“I’m well aware.” I tapped the date on the desk calendar as I took a seat in my chair. “Which has me wondering why you’re here. Shouldn’t you be packing up your family?”

Rhett stepped closer to my desk, but he didn’t take a seat. Instead, he stared down at me for a moment as though he wasn’t sure how to proceed.

“I’ve got things to do,” I informed him. “What do you need?”

“I’d like to make a proposition,” he said on a huff of air.

“Would you?” Steepling my fingers, I smiled. This should be interesting.

“An amendment to our original agreement,” Rhett clarified.

I’d figured as much.

“I’m quite content with the terms.” I met his wild gaze momentarily. “I don’t see a reason to modify anything.”

Come Sunday morning, I would be adding another company to my current portfolio, as well as a few numbers to my net worth. Neither of which I needed, but it was the principle of the matter.

“I can’t lose my home or my business,” Rhett blurted, his brown eyes slamming into my face. “It’s all I’ve got.”

“You’ve got a wife and a daughter,” I reminded him.

“I know. And I’m doing this for her.”

For her. Not for them. I didn’t care for the direction this was headed.

I kept my tone calm and controlled. “You probably should’ve thought about that when you stole seventy million dollars from me.”

Rhett’s thick eyebrows darted down. “You know I didn’t steal that money.”

“You’re right. Your wife stole the money.”

“She’s your mother,” Rhett countered hotly.

“She is.” I gave him a mirthless smile. “That doesn’t make it okay.”

“I…” Rhett took a deep breath, seemed to calm himself. “I’ve apologized for what happened. And I fully understand that you’re upset.”

I didn’t think pleading his case and begging for mercy qualified as an apology, but I let it go.

I shook my head. “I’m not upset. I’m quite content, in fact.”

Rhett’s eyes were wide, beseeching. “I’m here to throw myself on your mercy, Knox. I’ll do anything. Give you anything. Just … don’t take it all away.”

I cocked an eyebrow, pretended to consider his proposition. As it was, Rhett Campbell would lose everything as of 12:01 a.m. on Sunday. Everything except for whatever millions he might have in the bank. Based on the contract he’d signed, every physical possession he owned would become mine on the day his daughter turned eighteen, the day she became officially legal to take care of herself. It was the least he owed me after he and my mother deceived me the way they had.

I got to my feet, preparing to dismiss him. “You have nothing to offer me, Rhett.”

“Surely there’s something.”

“I’m already taking your houses, your cars, and your company.” I barked a laugh. “Short of your only child, you’ve got nothing left.”

“Emily?” he said as though just now realizing she was a part of his life.

Rhett’s eyebrows rose, and I didn’t care for the gleam that came into his eyes.

“What if…” Rhett swallowed again and squared his shoulders. “You can have Emily.”

I stared at him, frowned. What the ever-loving fuck?

I was not a man who was usually at a loss for words, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t wrap my head around what he was offering me.

“You can have her,” Rhett repeated, his words coming faster. “I can’t lose my company. I just can’t. It’ll devastate Kitty. It’s a fair trade.”

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