Читать онлайн "Capital Risk" автора Grayson Lana - RuLit - Страница 5

 
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As if I had a choice. Two men were dead, lost souls in a feud with no visible end. The least they deserved was an acknowledgement of our guilt.

The crowds paid their respects, and the caskets lowered into the farmland, beside the wretched body of their father. A murderer didn’t deserve a grave as beautiful as the landscape surrounding the Atwood farms.

The guests tucked away their tissues and paraded to their cars.

But she stayed.

The beautiful blonde with hair as pale as her corn’s silk and blue eyes faded with tears. She sat in the dirt and wept for her brothers. For her life. For everything that was now hers.

Sarah Atwood’s sorrow broke my heart.

I wished we weren’t the cause.

A rib cracked. The sharp slice echoed over the room. I gasped, but my escaping words didn’t beg for pity. My father loathed mercy and begging excited him. My brothers and I shared enough scars to understand his sadism.

And now so did Sarah.

If she were still alive.

I left her at the chalet, but I promised her I’d return. We’d planned to sell her shares of the company, appease the board, and find a way to shield her from my father.

But maybe she didn’t believe me? Maybe she ran before the bastard had a chance to locate her.

Or maybe she was dead.

And then my father would need more than two Russian mutes with bloodied fists to protect him.

“Where is she?” I rasped through the pain. “Answer me.”

My father nodded. The monster on my right struck where the rib already shattered.

“First, you steal my daughter and hide her far from where her daddy can find her.” My father’s voice was far too calm for the filth he spoke. “And now you storm into my office fussing like a toddler. Why? Is it because she’s run from you too? Tell me, Nicholas. What’s happened to this family? To you?”

“Nothing you didn’t cause.”

“Me?” he actually laughed. “How is this disaster my fault? Be honest, son. You fell in love with your sister. You bargained with everyone’s lives to save hers. You gave her the stock, and you were the one to threaten Roman Wescott into giving you every last share.”

He nodded to his guard. I braced for it, but the fist to my gut roiled every pain with my simmering disgust. I grunted and spat. The second guard backhanded me for the insolence of making a mess in my father’s office.

That would bruise. He didn’t care.

“That little Atwood slut climbed into your bed, gave you a ride, and then ran away with the entirety of the Josmik Trust. Didn’t she tell the love of her life where she went? Are you really surprised?”

“Sarah was selling the stock to the board. She didn’t want to keep it.”

His eyebrow arched. “She fucked you good, Nicholas. At least you got off while it lasted.”

I tasted blood. It wasn’t from the beating. “You killed her. You found her and murdered her.”

“Son, I assure you. The last time I saw Sarah Atwood was the last time you did.”

He didn’t know about the chalet. He didn’t know I’d confessed my love to her, begged her forgiveness for the horrible pain my brothers and I caused, and ordered her to stay and wait for my return.

My father gestured for his men to strike me again. The punch bent me in two. The hit to my chest popped me upright in the chair.

“I should have killed her, but I didn’t think the little whore would ever bolt.” My father sighed, unflinching, as he observed my beating. “To be perfectly honest, my daughter charmed me. I let her off easy, but I’ve always had a soft heart.”

My breathing hurt, but I deserved the ragged drag of air through my lungs. Sarah suffered through worse for us—her own broken ribs and injuries, terrors and captivity.

Of course she’d leave.

Of course she’d run.

What promises of mine would ever comfort a woman so mistreated? I never saw her body without bruises. I vowed to keep her safe, but my word hadn’t prevented any injury or sacrifice. And the day I freed her from my possession, the instant the collar unclipped from her neck, the devil rose from hell to recover the innocent soul he nearly lost.

What my brothers and I did to her was unforgiveable. And even in the dark and quiet, when I returned to fall back within her, as I offered her my heart with every passionate thrust, she made her choice.

Sarah ran to save herself. And she took the only leverage she had to ensure her safety—the very fate of the company she vowed to destroy.

My father dismissed the guards he had hired specifically to defend him from our retaliation. Not a day went by that Max and Reed didn’t demand some form of satisfaction. For them, it had been three months since the night he put the gun to her head and forced us to ruin her.

They weren’t the same men I remembered.

Neither was I.

The bodyguards wouldn’t protect my father. The only reason he breathed was because I couldn’t take the chance that he’d found Sarah and imprisoned her without our knowledge.

“I asked for one thing, son.” He dabbed his handkerchief over the blood that smudged his desk. “Sarah Atwood’s heir. We were in agreement. You all fucked the girl, and yet here we are. Months later, and our company is still in jeopardy. I’m disappointed with this turn of events.”

My grief and misery faded. I believed him. He hadn’t found her. She was safe.

So why did she run from me?

“I don’t care if I disappoint you,” I said.

“Yes, you do. All of my sons do. It’s the reason Reed has yet to abandon his name, and why Max bloodied his hands so often. Even you, Nicholas. Until that little bitch staked her claim on your cock, you served me with every expectation I had of my heir.”

“I don’t serve anyone.”

“You made a fine lapdog for Sarah Atwood.” He spat the words. “And a better one for me these past few weeks. No more arguing. No more complications in the board meetings. It’s refreshing. Almost as if you remembered you were my son.”

“It’s not for you. I vote with you like we agreed.”

“Do you regret this now?”

“It kept her safe.”

A pause. My father’s lips pressed into another smile I didn’t trust. He leaned forward.

“For how much longer, Nicholas? Do you really think you can protect her from the board?”

No. She inherited the shares early, but she hadn’t signed the sales agreement to transfer the wealth to the board. Her fate was decided.

But if Sarah had attempted to harm the Bennett Corporation, she’d already be dead. Instead, she acted stupidly and recklessly, which meant everything was going according to her plan.

“They will kill her,” my father said. “And you and I won’t be able to save her.”

The disgust was worse than the blood and sweat beaten from me. “You don’t want to save her. You want to hurt her.”

“Sarah Atwood was always meant to be bred. Her own father didn’t label her as an heir, and her brothers named her as there was no one else in their line. Her sole purpose in this world was to carry whatever son you planted in her womb.” He snorted. “But you couldn’t even do that.”

And I was grateful. The last punishment Sarah deserved was the dehumanizing realization that we twisted her body with such a repulsive desire.

“The idea was mad from the start,” I said. “And now we have more problems than her.”

“The board?” His voice lightened. “They have a plan to regain those shares. They’ll capture her, kill her. She’ll be lucky if she dies before they take a taste of her for their troubles.”

My stomach turned. The men on the board, men like Bryant Maddox who’d do just as my father predicted, would make her suffer for their lost investments. My mind raged, blitzing into both pain and ruptured aggression.

No one would ever touch her. Not after what my brothers and I did.

Sarah endured enough without a man forcing himself upon her.

The thought sickened me, but my father watched my every flinch. It wasn’t a weakness to love, but it wasn’t a strength that would protect her from vile intentions.

     

 

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