Circle of Deception 2
Pink Flame Publishing
Copyright © 2015 by M. Skye.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
M.Skye/Pink Flame Publishing
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination. Locales and public names are sometimes used for atmospheric purposes. Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead, or to businesses, companies, events, institutions, or locales is completely coincidental.
Book Title/ Author Name. 1st ed.
For Mamie & Eric
I’m a businesswoman who’s serious about her money. I want an empire.
“Come on, you can do it. One time for daddy, say Dada,” Alex pleaded with Jordan, lifting him up in the air, while Allison sat beside them, laughing at his attempts. Jordan was only two months old, but he was already trying to coach him into saying daddy before he said mommy.
“He’s too little, daddy,” Allison giggled.
“I know he is, but you’re not,” Alex reached over and tickled her, and grinned the smile on her face as she rolled around, trying to get away. Meg heard the laughter and stepped out from the den. She had been on maternity leave from work, and it was almost time for her to go back and it was bittersweet. As much as she loved running the company, she loved being with the kids so much more. True, Alison would be at school every day, but Jordan was going to be home without her and it made her weary.
She was hesitant to even go back to work with him being so young, when Alex came up with an excellent solution; Melissa had volunteered to be with him while they were working. Melissa loved being with her chubby, adorable grandson. Jordan was the light of their lives, and Allison absolutely adored him. He was born with greenish blue eyes, but after three weeks, his eyes were the same dark blue tint as Alex and Allison’s. Everything else, on the other hand, he took from Meg, from her dark brown hair to her golden almond complexion.
When Allison looked over and saw her watching, she ran over and hugged her. Meg, bent down and lifted Allison into her arms, and Alex jumped up in protest. “Meg don’t overdo it, it’s only been two months since you had Jordan, and...”
“I’m not a child, Alex, I can pick my daughter up. Stop being so overprotective.”
Allison looked back and forth between her parents and lowered her head. “Don’t fight, I made mommy pick me up. It was my fault.”
Alex softened his expression and walked over and kissed them both. “I’m sorry. I just want mommy to be careful. We need her around here, don’t we?”
Allison smiled and nodded her head excitedly. “Yes, daddy!”
Meg looked to them both and grinned. “And I want to be around for all of you. It’s just been so long since I got to hold my princess, I was missing you.”
Alex ushered them to the couch and they all sat down. For just a moment, Meg looked at her beautiful family, savoring the moment. Soon, days like these would be few and far between, and she wasn’t looking forward to it. Maybe it was time to readjust her life.
They had been spending so much time at home over the past eight months. As a result, of the trials, and it had really grown on her. She thought maybe with Bianca and Sean charged and convicted, things could get back to normal for them, and for the most part they had with the exception of a few things. The press had been all over the whole family when the details of their parent’s involvements and Meg’s rotten siblings surfaced and, even almost a year later, it was still an issue. It was so bad that just before Meg went into labor, they had to remove Allison from her regular school and homeschool her for a few months. They wanted to keep things as normal as they could, so they both took turns being with her.
Alex had left the firm he was previously with and branched out with Aiden to start their own. Their business started off strong, as a result of all the press about their family. It provided them with several clients. The curiosity people had about Ben, led them to work with Alex and Aiden, and once they were there, they saw exactly what the boys could do. Both Alex and Aiden were highly experienced and very talented, and word was getting out about them, establishing their firm as a force to be reckoned with.
While Alex was able to make use of the office and work from home on most days, Meg was corresponding with her subordinates through email and Skype mostly. Up until the birth of Jordan, she had been going back and forth to the office against Alex’s wishes. He wanted her home with them because they still had no idea where Amanda Leon was hiding.
Amanda hadn’t made any moves to get to them, but Alex suspected it would only be a matter of time. She had to be pissed about Meg officially adopting Allison and terminating Bianca’s rights; he thought there would be backlash. He tried to convince Meg to hold off until she was caught and everything was settled, but she wouldn’t back down. Alex knew once Meg got it in her head there was no turning back and caved to her. Now, after all the years apart, they had their family with their two beautiful children.
“Mommy, are you taking me to school on Monday?” Allison smiled at her sweetly.
“No, baby. I have to go to work. Your dad is taking you and your Granny Melissa is coming by to watch Jordan.”
Allison dropped her smile and puffed her cheeks out. “I want you to take me.”
Alex shifted Jordan to the other side and leaned over in contempt. “What’s so special about when she takes you? I drive you sometimes.”
“Mommy lets me get donuts and little girl coffee.”
“Chocolate milk,” Meg whispered to Alex when she saw the confused look on his face.
“Well, I think I can arrange for you to have that if you’ll agree to let me take you.”
She squinted her eyes and sat with her hand on her cheek and then giggled. “Okay, but you have to sing the song mommy sings on the way.”
“Nothing on you, Bruno Mars. I have the CD in my car,” Meg supplied.
“Okay,” Alex shrugged. Once he agreed, Allison jumped up and ran to her room. She seemed excited about getting her outfit ready for her first day back in months. After they witnessed her speedy exit, Alex turned to Jordan and held him up, shrugging his shoulders while Meg chuckled. “I’m so glad you’re a boy. I’m going to have to read an instruction manual just to be able to take your sister to school, and the older she gets it’s only going to get worse.”
“It’s not that bad,” Meg laughed. “Actually, it’s really fun. Our daughter has an excellent singing voice. It’s one of the best parts of my day.”
“Yeah, you set the bar pretty high, super mom. How do you think of all this stuff?”
“I just pick up on what she likes and go from there. I have a lot to prove when it comes to her. I don’t want her to think I love her any less than Jordan.”
“Alli knows how much you love her, and she is grateful to have you; we all are.”
“I just love you guys so much, I’m one lucky lady.” When Jordan cooed, they both laughed. “I guess our son agrees.”
“He had better, we have to stay one step ahead here or you women will run over us.”
“We already do,” Meg winked and leaned in to take his mouth in a sweet kiss. When Alex reached out to pull her closer, she threw her hand up to halt him. “Not in front of the baby.”
Alex huffed and looked back to Jordan. “Daddy’s going to teach you a few more words, cock block. Can you say cock block for daddy?”
Meg swatted at him and took Jordan from his arms. “Don’t say things like that to my son. You’re going to corrupt him before he can even talk.”
“Baby, he’s a Hanover, he was born to know all about cock. He will be a master at the craft just like his daddy.”
“That’s why daddy is on punishment,” she swung Jordan into the air, “he has a potty mouth.”
“Daddy won’t be on punishment for long,” he mumbled and pulled out his cell phone. He was going to get her alone if it killed him. He knew exactly what he could do, but he had to get her out of the way. “Okay, you win, but could you do me one small favor? Could you give me my son and go upstairs to get some rest? You were up with him early this morning.”
Meg smiled and leaned in to kiss him again. “You’re wonderful. Of course, I will, but are you sure? He woke you up at three.”
“I’m sure,” he kissed her back. “Go rest, beautiful. Me and little man will be just fine.” He watched her walk to the top of the stairs, and waited until he heard their room door close and sprang into action. “Let’s get your sister, son. You have a date with your Aunt Melia and Uncle Matt. They will be here for you in just a little while.”
“I would like to know just what in the hell you’re doing here when you have a sexy man at your house,” Gio exclaimed as he stepped away to let Maddie inside. When she pushed past him and walked to the living room and flopped down on the couch, he saw the displaced look on her face and took a seat next to her. “Maddie what’s wrong?”
“I was thinking about what Matt and Aiden said after the wedding. I know it’s been almost a year, but I can’t get it out of my mind. What if mom was still out there?”
Gio placed his hand on her cheek and closed his eyes. “I would love for that to be true, I prayed for it to be true, but mom is gone. They looked into every possible option, but it proved no results. Melissa even looked into it. Sweetie, you have to move on.”
Maddie wiped her teary eyes. “Maybe I’m just wishing for a miracle. I don’t know why it hit me today. I was just sitting, waiting on Nathan to get ready, and suddenly I had to get out of there. I had to see you, I needed your insight, and I really felt like you needed me too. You would tell me if something was going on, wouldn’t you?”
Gio huffed and stroked her cheek. “Of course I would and I love it that you value my opinion so much, but did you really run out on that delicious man with no warning?” When she nodded her head, he fell back on the couch. “You’re absolutely out of your mind. Get back over there before you run him away.”
“He’s not going anywhere,” she laughed witnessing his expression. “I told him I was coming here, but I don’t really see what the point is in all this. It’s not like we’re going to be in a serious relationship. He lives all the way in Florida, we could never be more.”
“You’re not fooling me, Maddie. You’re scared he is going to turn out to be a pumpkin. This has been going too well and you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.” Gio drew back with an enormous grin present on his face. “Admit that you’re crazy about him.”
Maddie sighed and sank down further in the couch. “How can I tell him that every time he leaves I miss him, or that I want more than just a weekend relationship? I don’t want to sound clingy. He has so many women chasing him, and I just don’t want to be that girl.”
“What girl? He comes to you every weekend and forget the calls and texts. How many of them does he answer when he’s with you? Matter of fact, if he was hiding something, you wouldn’t get your hands on his cell phone. He is all yours, I know because I follow his every post on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. It’s all Maddie all day every day,” he laughed. “So you tuck those little insecurities away and get back to that fine, sexy, architect you call a boyfriend.”
She straightened her expression and offered him a light smile. “You’re right big brother. Thank you for setting me straight.” Maddie stood and quickly made her way to the door after kissing Gio goodbye. Before she got out the door, she turned to Gio with a dazzling smile. “Gio, just so you know, I appreciate you keeping an eye on Nathan, but you may be a bit of a stalker.”
“Of course I am, hell. He’s with my sister and I’m going to know everything there is to know about him.” Pushing her out the door, Gio leaned against it, laughing. He and Maddie were so much alike, it wasn’t funny. She was just as cautious as he was when it came to love. She was gone well over ten minutes, when Gio heard the doorbell ring again.
“Maddie, what did you forget?” he called, swinging the door open. “I swear you would lose your head if it weren’t attached.” When he saw who was standing on his doorstep, he almost fell over. “What are you doing here? How did you find me?”
“Well hello, Gavin, or should I say, Gio. You know the name change did little to throw me off from who you really are. Aren’t you going to give me a hug? Don’t you miss your big sister?” Lexi and Gio shared many similarities, from their warm brown eyes to the trim, slim figures. The only difference was that Lexi was a few inches shorter, but they were unmistakably related.
Gio had grown a resistance for her, when he first announced that he was gay. They had always been so close growing up, even though she was five years older, but when their parents turned their back on him, so did she. The betrayal was like a knife in the back, and when he moved, he vowed never to see any of them again, especially her.
“Lexie, what do you want? I thought you disowned me right when mom and dad did. We have nothing more to talk about; ever.”
He reached out to slam the door in her face, but she threw her hand out to stop him. “I’m here because I missed you. I just want to know how you are. I saw your face all over the news with those girls, and I knew I had to see you. Mom and dad...”
He stopped her before she could finish. “My mom is dead, and my father is named Emilio, and those girls are my family. I have no room for you in my life.” He pushed her out of the door and slammed it shut. She leaned against the door and slid down to the steps below while he dropped to the floor on the inside. Before he could catch himself, he burst into tears. He had never expected to see anyone from his birth family ever again, and it was all too much. How was he supposed to deal with all this, on top of the illness he had been hiding from everyone?
Maddie rushed to park the car and flew inside the house. She had only planned to be gone for a short while, but on the way from Gio’s, traffic picked up and landed her far behind schedule. Running inside, she found Nathan sitting in the den, laughing at her flustered expression. He was looking indescribably handsome tonight in his black button down. His light brown eyes sparkled in the low light and he was wearing the sexiest grin. Everything about him was irresistible. In his spare time, he lived in the gym, when he wasn’t with her, and was at the height of his physical prime.