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Authors: Arabella Quinn

Tags: #Romance

The Billionaire's Son

The
Billionaire's Son

 

 

By Arabella Quinn

 

 

 

The Billionaire's Son

Copyright © 2012 by Arabella
Quinn

All Rights Are Reserved. No part
of this book can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from the author except
in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

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, locale or
organizations is entirely coincidental.

 

 

The Billionaire's Son

 

 

Nearly five weeks
ago, a representative from Jackson Vaughn’s corporate empire approached me with
a job offer. I had just finished successfully wrapping up a very high profile
case, even if my involvement as the lead forensic accountant was kept far from
the public eye. It was as I was basking in the glow of my professional success,
that I received the phone call. I was told that Jackson Vaughn had personally
requested me for this job.

I would have to
sign pages of confidentiality agreements before I was given even a glimpse of
what was to be involved. Still, it wasn’t a very difficult decision to make. Over
the years, I had consulted with many clients who demanded complete discretion. At
the request of several of my clients, I had even gone undercover working side
by side with key suspects to root out fraud within their companies. I was sure
that I could handle whatever problems Jackson Vaughn suspected. Plus, the
hourly wage and completion bonus they offered was quite generous.

Of course, I
played it cool, but accepted the offer on the spot. I left my office early that
day. The entire drive home, I kept trying to remember what I knew of Jackson
Vaughn, the billionaire mogul, who tended to keep out of the spotlight. I could
conjure up some blurry images in my mind of a handsome fatherly type figure. No
doubt the man had a brilliant mind. What popped into my mind more readily was
the image of the jet-setting playboy, Derek, who was Vaughn’s only son. Derek
tended to be in the news more often for his bad-boy behavior than for the
philanthropic endeavors that his father was known for. I didn’t know much about
Vaughn's business dealings, except that his empire was vast and successful.

I spent the rest
of the evening learning all I could about Jackson Vaughn and his companies. The
internet was an amazing fount of knowledge; yet it only gave me a tiny peek
into the complexity of what I would be dealing with. I found very few articles
relating to Vaughn’s personal life. Apparently he was still married to his wife
of 30 plus years and the two maintained residences all over the world. The only
photographs I saw of the couple were taken at charitable fund-raising events. The
Vaughn’s reputation was impeccable.

Stifling a yawn, I
glanced at the time on my laptop. It was after midnight. I needed to turn in so
that I could be at Vaughn’s downtown offices by 10:00 AM.

In the morning, I
dressed with care. I selected my favorite suit, a feminine lavender color with
a fitted cut, but very professional and expensive.  I gathered my long
brunette curls and loosely clipped them behind my head. That way my hair was
pulled back for a more professional look, yet I still looked very feminine.  I
kept my makeup light and then added the finishing touch – a pair of
fashion eyeglasses. My vision was perfect, but I had long ago found the
eyeglasses added a touch of intelligence and sophistication to my look. I used
my secret weapon sparingly. When I wore the glasses, I felt I could face down
the most influential men and women in the world and come out on top. The confidence
boost was priceless.

I checked the
mirror one last time before heading out and smiled. I looked impeccable. Only
the hint of my voluptuous womanly curves could be seen through the armor of my
power suit. My hair was absolutely appropriate for the meeting, yet looked
stunning. I was very aware of the impression that I always created walking
through a door. Men often did a double take and women often sniffed in quiet
disdain. I did not fit the mousy accountant mold that they always expected and
I enjoyed that tremendously. Usually it only took me about ten minutes to
grudgingly win over the respect that they weren’t planning on giving when they
first set eyes on me. My analytical brain could usually out compute anyone who
dared challenge me quite easily.

While I was a
powerhouse in the boardroom, I was a disaster in the bedroom -that is when my
relationships ever made it that far. Usually men were scared off closer to the
first date. Lately, as I neared my 32
nd
birthday, this bothered me
more and more. The more my personal life seemed to flounder; though, the more my
professional career was soaring beyond my expectations.

The meeting was
held at one of Jackson Vaughn’s subsidiaries, Venture Corporation, in downtown
Dallas. I made it to the lobby of the impressive steel and glass structure with
time to spare. I was given a visitors badge and asked to meet a Mr. Thomas on
the tenth floor. I was seated in a lush office suite, staring down a lovely
spread of fruits and cheeses and an assortment of bakery delights. While I
waited for Mr. Thomas I helped myself to a coffee that turned out to be quite
good.

Mr. Thomas entered
the room in a rush. “Julia Collins?” It was more a question than a statement as
he reached to shake my hand.

“Yes. Mr. Thomas,
I presume? Very nice to meet you.” His grip was strong and firm.

Mr. Thomas
motioned for me to take a seat. “It’s nice to meet you as well. I have heard
many wonderful things about your work. Please, help yourself." He gestured
to the food.

He seemed to be
eyeing the spread hungrily, so I started casually grazing, choosing a few items
for myself. I studied him surreptitiously as I scooped some fruit into a bowl. He
was tall and thin, mid-forties, not overly handsome but not bad looking. What
surprised me the most were his hands. They stood out. They were well used to
hard work, rough and calloused, not like the smooth soft hands of a high paid
white-collar worker.

While I politely
waited for him to finish piling food onto a plate, I asked, “Will there be
anyone else joining us today, Mr. Thomas?”

“No, I’m afraid
it’s just me today.” He grinned sheepishly. “I work directly for Jackson, er,
Mr. Vaughn as a personal assistant of sorts. Mr. Vaughn is determined to keep
your investigation completely hidden from anyone. As far as I know, we are the
only three who know about it and Mr. Vaughn wants to keep it that way.”

I nodded, “Of
course. I understand.”

“Mr. Vaughn has
personally reviewed your background check, the one we conducted with your
permission. He is also very impressed with your qualifications, Ms. Collins. He
is friendly with several of your past clients and you have come to us highly
recommended.”

He started
stacking the loose papers on the table in front of him. “I have looked over the
standard confidentiality agreements that you have signed and the lawyers have
informed me that all is in order. I have just one more agreement for you to
sign before we get started. This agreement will not go through our legal
department, because it will pertain to this specific assignment for you. It is
just one more precaution Mr. Vaughn is taking to ensure your investigation
remains completely under wraps.” He slid the long document over towards me.

“Before you sign,
Ms. Collins, let me explain what you would be getting yourself into.” I glanced
at the document before me and then nodded for him to continue.

“Mr. Vaughn is
very eager to get to the bottom of this problem before him. He would like you
to work for him exclusively until you have solved the problem.”

I had already
expected as much. Truthfully, it was the way I worked best. I liked to get
fully immersed into the investigations without any outside distractions. “That
won’t be a problem.”

Mr. Thomas
continued, “Good. Also, because of the sensitive nature of the investigation,
Mr. Vaughn would like you to work alone.”

Alone!
Without
my team? My team of various experts was the reason for more than half my
successes. They saved me hours and hours of exhausting but necessary legwork. They
could find the proverbial needle in the haystack when necessary. It freed me up
to work on the higher-level complexities of a case. I couldn’t even begin to
fathom conducting an investigation of the size I expected this one to be
without my team.

Mr. Thomas must
have seen the look of incredulity on my face because he held up his hand,
stopping the words from tumbling out of my mouth. “Wait. Mr. Vaughn knows this
is a highly unusual request, but he only fully trusts you to do this job.”

I flashed him my
best persuasive smile, “Mr. Thomas, my team consists of the utmost
professionals in the field. I can assure you…”

He interrupted me
before I could fully get my pitch going. “I’m sorry, but this is a deal breaker
for Mr. Vaughn. You must do all the work in this investigation without any
help. Mr. Vaughn has anticipated your very understandable reluctance and he is
willing to compensate you for your cooperation on this matter. I have been
authorized to triple the wage and completion bonus that you were originally
offered.”

My mouth about hit
the floor. The original offer was beyond generous. This new offer was too good
to be true. I saw Mr. Thomas’ wry smile. He knew he had me. “But, if I work
alone, depending on the situation I run across, it could take months and months
of continuous work to uncover the truth. It could even take up to a year, I
just don’t know. My team would cut that time by more than half.”

Mr. Thomas nodded.
“Mr. Vaughn was expecting that answer. He is more concerned with uncovering the
truth and keeping everything confidential. He is prepared to wait the
additional time.”

I felt my head
spinning. I loved my job and loved digging into the nitty-gritty world of number
crunching. I felt my brain responding to the challenge before me. I would be
alone, doing all the dirty work myself, like in the old days. Except this time,
I had a feeling the case would be much more stimulating.

“Well, then, I
accept.” I spent some time reviewing the contract, while Mr. Thomas chewed
heartily on his breakfast, before signing.

“Congratulations, Ms.
Collins and welcome to the team. Now, let me get down to the basics.”

He rummaged
through his files and located a manila envelope.  He reached into the
unmarked envelope and produced a key dangling from a silver key chain. "This
key will get you into an office located in Mr. Vaughn’s private local
residence. Mr. Vaughn has been making copies of files that he thought might be
related to the issue and he has been sending them to his residence for months
now. Also, you will be able to connect into his server through the computer in
his office. All security passwords will be left for you there. You are to have
complete access to all the many companies’ electronic records. Paper records
are filed in boxes located in his residence. If there are any other paper
records you find that you need, you are to contact me. Please do not make any
contact with any other employees at his companies.”

Mr. Vaughn dropped
the key back into the envelope and passed it to me. “Also in the envelope are
the security codes to open the estate’s gate and to enter the residence through
the side service doors. The staff will be told that you are working on a
project for Mr. Vaughn. Your presence will not be questioned. Mr. Vaughn would
want you to make yourself at home at his house. The staff will provide any
meals that you should wish, please let them know of any preferences that you
have. You have free access to the pool, the grounds, the media room, the
kitchen – any common area. You may set your own hours and come and go as
you wish. If you would like to stay at the estate during any part of your work,
let the staff know and they will prepare a room for you. I suggest you do so,
even if you plan to return home every evening, just so you have a private place
you can go to or a place to sleep if you decide to work late. Do you have any
questions so far?”

“No. Everything
sounds great so far. But I still don’t know what I’m investigating exactly.” The
perks of this job were sounding great. Jackson was certainly one man I wanted
to leave a favorable impression of myself with. If I aced this job, I would be
set.

Mr. Thomas tapped
his fingers lightly on the table. “Yes, we’ll get to that in a moment. Mr.
Vaughn wants you to contact him personally if you find out any important
information pertinent to the case. I’m going to add here, although I’m sure
you’re astute enough to realize this yourself, that it would be best not to
bother Mr. Vaughn with anything trivial. His time is very valuable. If you have
any doubts, please contact me first. Here is our private contact information.”

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