Authors: Alexa Brookes
An Alpha Billionaire Romance
Copyright © 2016 Alexa Brookes
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental
Table of Contents
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Nathaniel Lynch entered the visitation area of the local jail in Troy, New York where his former intern and assistant, Tony, was waiting for him at one of the round tables in the large, empty white room. The kid looked scared, and clearly, the past week in jail had not been good to him. All of his assets had been frozen, so he had been unable to pay for bail –and his family, Nathaniel knew, was not particularly well off and often relied on Tony to be the one to get them out of financial situations. The kid was stuck.
Truthfully, Nathaniel was surprised he was allowed to come talk to Tony at all. He was Tony’s victim, after all, but since the court case would be taking place all the way in California a few things had managed to slip under the radar of the court system –including allowing Nathaniel a visit. Tony sat upright when he saw that Nathaniel was the one paying him a visit. There were dark bags under Tony’s eyes, and Nathaniel felt a pang in his stomach when he saw the tired expression.
He sat down across from Tony, and a surprised, “Why are you here?” escaped from the young man’s lips.
“To offer you a plea deal,” Nathaniel said, and Tony slumped over in his seat.
“I’m not confessing to a damn thing,” Tony sneered.
“Come on, kid, I’m trying to help you out,” Nathaniel said. “Look, I can’t convince the board to drop the lawsuit. It’s not going to happen. And to be honest, it would be stupid of me to even try because I’m the one who almost got screwed out of that money. If you didn’t get caught, that money would have had to be refunded out of my personal account. If you take the plea deal, they can knock five years off of your sentence.”
Tony shot upright again. He glared at Nathaniel. “What sort of sentence were they talking about, to begin with?”
“Up to ten,” Nathaniel said.
“What the hell? Embezzlement carries a three-year sentence in California!” Tony shrieked. He lost all color in his face.
“The lawyers are pulling out all the stops on this one, Tony. Five million dollars! Did you really think you could get away with stealing five million dollars from me?” Nathaniel questioned.
Tony banged his fists down on the table. “I didn’t do it! I didn’t fucking do it!”
“It went straight to your bank account, man. You had me sign for the transfer on your personal tablet. We have video evidence of you cashing the thirty thousand that went missing before you decided to opt for the five-million-dollar payday.”
“I put the thirty thousand back into the company’s accounts when I realized it had been transferred to me, and I was launching an internal investigation at the company to try to figure out how that happened! Why would I do that if I was going to turn around and try to steal five million more from you?” Tony questioned. “Nathaniel, I didn’t do this. I didn’t! I wouldn’t. Not to you. I wouldn’t do this to you. You have to believe me!”
“Why should I?” Nathaniel asked in a calm tone of voice. “Tony, tell me why I should believe you –because, Tony, I want to believe you. After everything we’ve been through together, I want to believe every word that is coming out of your mouth. You’re a good kid, or at least I think you are. Did you just see an opportunity and try to take it? I called around… I heard you’ve been having trouble at home financially. I know your family takes a lot of money from you since you’re pretty much the only one that makes over 20K a year. I get it. You got desperate, right? You could have just come to me, and I would have-”
“I didn’t do it,” Tony said firmly. “You’re right. My family has been draining my money. My sister’s kidneys are shot and she’s on a transplant list, my brother is always needing bail, and my dad has been on chemo for the past six months –and every last bit of that has been coming out of my pocket. It’s been tight but not tight enough to try to steal from your company. I didn’t do it. Please, believe me.”
“Just take the plea deal, Tony,” Nathaniel said. “I don’t want to see you rot in prison. You’re a good kid, and you made a mistake.”
“I didn’t do it!” Tony’s voice echoed off of the walls; he banged his fists on the table. One of the guards looked up, and Nathaniel waved the guy off to let him know he did not need to come over to them.
Nathaniel took a calming breath. “If this goes to court, Tony, and you don’t take the plea deal, Lynch Industries’ lawyers are going to tear you to shreds. That is completely out of my hands. The board of directors will make the call, and after speaking with them this morning they are ready to go at you with everything they have. This was the best I could talk them into. You’re going to get stuck with a state issued lawyer with virtually no experience versus a team of nearly fifty lawyers all with the goal of making an example of you. Is that what you want?”
“Of course, that’s not what I want!” Tony glared at him. “I want you to believe me. I love my job. I wouldn’t risk it for the off chance I could get away with something crazy like this. Please, Nathaniel. Please, believe me.”
Nathaniel’s heart ached. He really cared about Tony, but the kid had messed up big time. And he was still swearing to his innocence. Nathaniel desperately wanted to believe him, but each passing day more and more evidence started piling up against him. It was starting to look hopeless. “Last chance, Tony. If I walk out of here, the plea deal is walking out with me.” Nathaniel stood, hoping that the movement would be enough to jar some sense into the young man.
All it did was get him worked up, though. Tony started to cry, and it stung in Nathaniel’s gut to see him break down. “I didn’t do it,” Tony sobbed and laid his head down on his arms on the table to hide his face away.
“Just take the deal, Tony, please,” Nathaniel begged. Tony didn’t move. He didn’t speak. He remained sitting there with his face buried in his arms on the table, quietly crying about his unfortunate situation. “Damn it, Tony,” Nathaniel said under his breath.
Visitation was over, and he hadn’t been able to convince Tony to take the deal. Now he had to let Lynch Industries team of lawyers know so that they could begin preparing pre-trial evidence against him, and it pained Nathaniel greatly to do so.
“God, you should have seen him, Lillian,” Nathaniel said as he laid his head down in her lap. They were in the hotel presidential suite; it was his last night in Troy before his flight home to California the next morning. Lillian had been staying with him ever since Tony’s arrest a few nights before.
“Was it that bad?” she asked.
“It was awful. The kid is scared out of his mind, and he keeps swearing he had nothing to do with it, and as much as I want to believe him… well, the evidence is pretty astounding,” Nathaniel rolled slightly onto his side so that he was facing towards her. “Tony’s a good kid. He made a huge mistake, and my asshole lawyers are going to ruin the rest of his life because of it.”
“A five million dollar mistake,” Lillian reminded him. “You tried to get him the plea deal, and he wouldn’t take it. There’s not much more you can do for him at this point, is there?”
“I could maybe try to get him a decent lawyer,” Nathaniel said. “But that would probably be a conflict of interest since I’m the one who’s name is on the lawsuit against him. If it were up to me I probably would just fire the kid and get my money back. He’s been my assistant for a long time now, and he was my intern before that. He’s been a huge part of my life, and I hate this.”
“You sure were angry when you first found out,” Lillian said. “I didn’t think you’d get this worked up over seeing Tony today.”
“Of course, I was angry,” Nathaniel said. “He wasn’t just my assistant. He’s my friend –like a kid brother almost. I felt betrayed. I still do. But he’s like family.”
“What did Adam say last time you talked to him?” Lillian asked, referring to Nathaniel’s lifelong friend and business partner.
“Adam is pissed. He and Tony were close, but not in the way that I was with the kid. I think Adam is making things worse with the lawyers back home and with the board. He’s acting out on emotion, I think. Adam’s got a hot head, and he’s not thinking straight. He wants to take Tony down for it. Five million dollars is hardly a dip in our company’s finances, but it is enough to embarrass the company if we let it slide. Damn it, Tony,” Nathaniel rolled his eyes. “And now I got to go back to California tomorrow. I guess I can’t stay hanging around the shelter forever.”
“True,” Lillian said and ran her fingers through his hair.
“Come with me,” Nathaniel said suddenly and sat himself up.
“Come with you?” she questioned.
“Come on, Lillian,” he said. “It’s not like you have somewhere to be, no offense.”
“None taken,” she said with an eye roll –clearly taking some offense. When Nathaniel had arrived in Troy a few weeks prior, she had been homeless and sleeping on a park bench. It was clear she certainly did not want to go back to that once he was gone, but she was still job searching. “You really want me to come with you to California? This is temporary, right?”
“If you want it to be,” he said. “Though I don’t think I’d mind if you stayed… you know, if you’re looking for a job… I did just lose my assistant.”
“Too soon, Nate, too soon,” she said and waved the offer away. “Although I don’t think I would mind seeing your new home. I’d love to see Lynch Industries for myself.”
Nathaniel smiled. “Okay then,” he said and wrapped his arms around her, scooting her closer to him on the couch. “It’s settled. You are going to be coming with me to California tomorrow.”
She smiled and gave him a few soft kisses. “I’m looking forward to it. I can’t wait to see what little old Nate from Troy has made of himself out in Cali.”
“I hope you’ll be impressed,” he said and gave her several more kisses, leaning in more to let her know he was in the mood.
She shoved him off in a somewhat flirty manner. “Easy, big guy,” she said with a wink, “looks like we both have an early flight tomorrow. I think we should get some rest.”
Nathaniel frowned, and she laughed at his expense.