Billionaires holiday an.., p.1
Billionaire's Holiday (An Alpha Billionaire Christmas Romance Love Story) (Billionaires - Book #17), page 1
By Claire Adams
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer's imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2017 Claire Adams
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I shuffled through the papers on my desk and then checked the time. It was still early enough on the East Coast that I could give Mark a call and hammer out a deal for investing in Biogen Tech. I had been digging into the company and compiling research for weeks now, and it was finally time to talk business with them.
It was only a matter of time before they received government approval for their proposed clinical trials, and once that happened, everyone would want a share of the rewards. I wanted to ensure that my investment brought substantial rewards, and to do that, I would need to be one of the first to throw my support behind them.
Of course, being one of the first to throw my support behind such a new startup was a risky venture. They had yet to prove anything. They were still in the early stages. But with such incredible minds working together on the project, I had a feeling that they knew what they were talking about.
Mark himself was one of the smartest guys I knew. He was already well-established as a top mind in the field of genetic engineering. And he had hand-picked the rest of his team.
It also helped that Mark and I went way back, having gone to the same university, although he'd gone the science route while I'd studied business. We'd lived in the same building freshman year, though, so we were more than passing acquaintances.
Anyway, it wouldn't be the first time that I'd risked a substantial amount of money in an investment. Those risky investments of mine, those calculated chances, were what had brought me to where I was today.
I looked around my office with a smile on my face, thinking not for the first time about how shocked I would have been 10 years ago to find out that I was on track to becoming a billionaire. The expensive antique hardwood desk, the plush velvet rug, the pictures hanging on the wall: none of this would have seemed possible, even in my wildest dreams.
I picked up my work phone and dialed Mark's number, waiting patiently while the call rang through.
“Hello?” Mark sounded breathless when he picked up the phone.
“This is Josh Green. Am I interrupting something?”
“Hey man!” Mark said enthusiastically. “You're not interrupting anything, no. I was just in the lab supervising some of our new interns as they go through some of the more basic procedures. Jill stuck her head in and told me my phone was ringing, so I had to hurry if I wanted to answer it.”
“How are things going, anyway?”
“Don't pretend like this is a social chat,” Mark chided. “I've heard rumors that the great Josh Green is thinking of investing in Biogen Tech.” He paused. “Our office secretary said you called up with a list of questions and that she passed you over to Rachael. And then I heard all about the call from Rachael. Of course, you never said to either of them that you were thinking of investing, but I know the way you work.”
I grinned. “You're right, that's exactly what I was thinking,” I told him. “So, what do you say?”
Mark sighed, and I could picture him running a hand back through his graying hair. “The thing is, Josh, the guys that I've picked to work on this project are skeptical,” he admitted. “We know we've got something good. And we know that we'll make a profit off it. So, we're skeptical of working with investors who demand too much in return.”
“But you need some sort of investment or you won't be able to run your clinical trials, even when you do get government funding for them,” I pointed out. “And wouldn't it be better to have someone like me invest in Biogen Tech? You know I'm not going to march in there and change things. I'm not going to institute a company dress policy or anything drastic like that. I'm going to give you the funding that you need, with very few strings attached.”
“What kind of funding are we even looking at here?” Mark asked. “I know you're the hottest young soon-to-be-billionaire in America, but you must have most of that money tied up in other investments and bonds and other places. We're talking, what, a few hundred thousand? Maybe a million?”
“How does 50 million sound?” I asked.
Even across the phone line, I could hear Mark's sharp intake of breath. “That would get us through all the clinical trials and the first wave of production, probably,” he said. “I'd have to run the numbers, but wow. That could mean a lot to us.”
“I'd need a cut in return, of course,” I told him.
“Of course, of course.” Mark laughed. “You've had such good luck when it comes to investments, though. Why not go to Vegas, if you have that kind of money to toss around? I'm sure you could make your millions grow, and it might be more fun than investing in some boring genetics company.”
I laughed. “'With great power comes great responsibility.' What kind of a man would I be if I hoarded my millions?”
“I'll have you send me over your full proposal in a little while, but there have to be other strings attached to this money,” Mark said. “Other than just the fact that, of course, it's an investment, and you'd want to make a little money off lending us your money.”
“I have a feeling your CRISPR genetic engineering technology is going to really take off,” I told him slowly. “Call it gut instinct, the same thing that's been driving me for years now. I don't think many other investors have caught on to how potentially lucrative this could be. And I don't want someone else swooping in and picking up all the profits.”
“What do you want from us?” Mark asked.
“I'm just saying; we'll need to time the investment carefully,” I told him. “Ideally, the first of the funds would be transferred to you just after you've received government approval for your clinical trials, before you've made any sort of news. And I want to be in on the ground floor. I want to have a say in your business plan, for as long as I'm an investor. I want to have a say in who invests in Biogen Tech, how much they invest, and what the terms of the investment are.”
“That's it?” Mark joked.
I laughed. “Those are the main terms, yeah. Like you suggested, I'll send over my proposal. We can argue about the monetary compensation terms. But I think you'll find that what I'm asking is more than fair.”
“I'm sure I will,” Mark said, and I could tell from his tone that I had already secured the position as their primary investor. Not that it was any surprise.
“Listen, I won't keep you on the phone any longer,” I told him. “I know it's getting towards evening there, and I'm sure you want to get back to your interns before something goes wrong in the lab. But we'll chat again soon.”
“Good,” Mark said warmly. “Enjoy the rest of your day, and I look forward to your proposal.”
I hung up the phone and set it down on my desk. My eyes caught the picture on the corner of my workstation. It was from back in college, of a cam
It had been a while since I'd called Kylie, and my hand hovered over my phone as I debated doing just that right now. But what was I really going to say to her? That I was in the process of making yet another business investment? She didn't care about my money. She'd act excited for me, but I knew that she'd spend the whole call wondering why I felt the need to fatten up my bank account. If it were her money, she'd probably just gift it to Biogen Tech, for the greater good of humanity.
Then she'd start to ask the difficult questions, like what I'd been up to lately or what hobbies I was pursuing. She was always big on bettering oneself. And for her, as an artist, part of her work was to go out and have new experiences. She was rarely ever cooped up inside; even on days when she needed to get work done, she usually took a couple hours in the morning to go for a hike or drive to a small town for breakfast or something like that.
I didn't want to say that we'd grown apart over the years. She was still my best friend. But things had definitely been a lot simpler when we were back in college. We'd never dated, but we'd been close. Now, the older I got, the more I wanted to be able to provide stability for the family that I might one day have, if I was lucky. But Kylie wasn't looking for stability. In fact, she frequently seemed to be looking for the opposite of stability.
We were fundamentally different people. That had been part of why we got along so well in college: we'd been able to give one another unbiased advice and help see the other side of any question. But lately, bridging that gap between us was becoming more of a chore.
I tapped my fingers against my desk next to my phone and glanced at my watch again. Lately, I'd been telling myself that I was too busy to give her a call, but I wondered whether that was really the case. Like right now, I had pretty much wrapped up my work for the day. Sure, there were probably one or two extra things that I could do if I wanted to. There were always one or two extra things that I could do. But there was nothing pressing, nothing that wouldn't wait until the following morning. I could give her a call if I wanted to.
But still, I hesitated. What were we even going to talk about?
I shook my head and pushed back from my desk. Maybe I'd call her over the weekend.
I was elbows deep in a sculpture project when someone knocked on the door. I debated not answering it, but I was waiting for a package to arrive. On the off chance that it was the delivery guy, thinking that my watercolors and tissue paper needed to be signed for, I didn't want to miss this. I hurriedly scrubbed off the clay that was coating my hands and wrists and ran for the door, pulling it open without even looking through the peephole.
I only realized my mistake once the door was open: Andrew.
The man looked as handsome as ever, dressed in his dark green wool coat and a black sweater beneath it. His hair was sticking up at odd angles like he'd been furiously running his hands through it, and there was something wild in his eyes. And no matter how handsome he was, it didn't mean that I wanted to see him, standing there on my doorstep like he belonged there.
Especially not stinking of liquor as he did.
I groaned, kicking myself for not having checked the peephole before I flung the door open. This whole situation could have been avoided if I'd just pretended that I wasn't home. “Andrew, what the hell are you doing here?”
“Kylie,” he said, taking a step toward me and holding his arms out, as though he thought it was appropriate for him to go in for a hug.
I took a step back, scowling at him. “Andrew, it's been two weeks since we broke up,” I reminded him.
“Don't be like that,” he said, pouting. “Didn't you get the flowers?”
I blushed crimson, thinking of the huge bouquet that he'd had delivered to the office where I worked part-time as a secretary. Andrew looked pleased with that reaction and tried for another hug.
Again, I stepped back, folding my arms across my chest. “Andrew, you're going to have to move on, or else you're never going to be able to heal.”
“I don't want to move on, though,” Andrew said melodramatically.
He reached for me again, and I gave him a little push backward, scowling warningly at him.
“I know we broke up, but I really think that we can fix things,” he continued earnestly. “We were good together. We had fun together, didn't we? With all those dates that we went on and all those special moments that we shared.”
I couldn't help snorting derisively at that. “What special moments were those?” I asked. I shook my head. “Andrew, I think you're more in love with the idea of being in love with me, rather than actually being in love with me. Besides, I've already made it clear that I don't love you, so there's no point in continuing this doomed relationship. It's not something that's fixable.”
“Anything is fixable,” Andrew maintained. He shook his head. “I know I can be temperamental and difficult to deal with sometimes. But you know you're the same way. We're both artists; we're bound to argue.” He grinned crookedly. “Isn't there something about that? That all the things that you hate in a person are actually all the same traits that frustrate you in yourself?”
I rolled my eyes. “Andrew, whatever it is that I don't like about you or myself, we're over. I broke up with you, and I have no intention of getting back together with you. Now, you're interrupting my work time, so I'd appreciate it if you would leave.”
“If you just give me one more chance, though, I think that you and I could both benefit,” Andrew said. “What if we went to couples therapy? That's a common enough thing now.”
“Couples therapy?” I asked exasperatedly. “That's for people who are married. People who have made a serious commitment to one another. If you have to try that hard to keep a relationship alive when you've only been dating one another for six months, you need to find a new relationship.”
“Maybe that was just the problem, though: neither of us was trying hard enough. A relationship is all about improving yourself so that you can be the best you could be, all for the sake of the other person. I know I didn't try hard enough. I know I let my emotions get the best of me too many times, but I can change. I promise.”
I shook my head. “Andrew, I don't want you to have to change who you are as a person, just for the sake of pleasing me,” I told him.
“Kylie, I wanted you to marry me,” Andrew pleaded, a whining note creeping into his voice. “Just give me one more chance to let you see how great a relationship could be. You and I both know that I can do it. I just need you to trust me.”
“This isn't about trust,” I told him. “Andrew, I really think it would be best if you left. I wish you all the best in the future, and I'm sure you'll find the right girl for you. But I'm not the one.” I gave him another gentle push back and then shut the door in his face, using the deadbolt to really hammer my point home.
Then, I sighed and leaned my forehead against the door.
I liked Andrew, and as he'd said, we had had fun together. When he'd managed to keep his drinking under control and pull himself together. But he had a mercurial personality, and more often than not, we seemed to be fighting. And when it really came down to it, I just didn't love him.
Of course, that wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back. I shuddered thinking of our final argument, the one that had finally driven me to break up with him.
I wanted to get back into sculpting, but the creative spark had left me. I sank down on the couch in my living room, staring blindly into space for a long moment. Then, I fished out my phone and called Mandy. She'd been my best female friend for years now, ever since college, and if anyone was going to help me figure out what to do regarding the Andrew situation, it was her.
“Hey, Kylie, what's up?” she asked as she answer
“It's Andrew,” I said, deciding to launch right into it.
“Uh oh,” Mandy said. “Are you two getting back together?”
“No, of course not,” I said. “He doesn't seem to be getting that message, though. He just showed up on my doorstep, promising that he'd change if I would just give him another chance.”
“Boys,” Mandy groaned.
“I don't know what the hell his deal is. Do you think he seriously believes we're going to ever get back together?”
Mandy paused. “You haven't messaged him, have you?”
“He wrote to me the other day, to tell me about this gallery opening that he's got coming up. It's big; I had to respond. He's a nice guy. I just don't want to date him.”
Mandy groaned. “And you promised him that you'd show up at his gallery opening?”
“Yeah, but he knows I'm just going to be there as a friend and fellow artist,” I protested. “I made that very clear in my message.”
“No wonder he's still trying to win you back,” Mandy said. She sighed. “I know you broke up with him, but do you think that maybe you're still emotionally invested in your relationship, and that's why you're still messaging him and promising to go to his openings?”
I was silent, thinking it over. I could see where she was coming from, as much as I hated to admit it. I groaned as well. “You're right. I'll skip the gallery opening.”
“And tonight, you and I will have a night of stupid fun,” Mandy said. “It'll help you forget all about him.”
I laughed. “I'm in the middle of a project,” I told her. “Andrew interrupted me, but I'd like to get back to that. That's always been the best therapy for me.”
“Oh no,” Mandy said. “Not this time. It's been forever since you came out with me. Anyway, I was just talking to Jasmine, and she's also had a nasty breakup and needs to go out drinking to forget it. We'll make a great team.”
by Claire Adams have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes