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Authors: Lana Grayson

Capital Risk

BOOK: Capital Risk
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Capital Risk (The Legacy Series #3
)

Copyright © 2015 by Lana Grayson

Published by Tika Lake Publishing

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof
may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
without the express written permission of the publisher
except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you’d like to share it with. Thank you for respecting the author’s work.

Cover Design
: Rebecca Berto

http://bertodesigns.com/

Cover Images Purchased from
:
http://www.periodimages.com

Please Note:

This story is a
continuation
of a dark step-brother romance which will include scenes of captivity, physical abuse, sexual encounters with multiple partners, and non-consensual situations.

The series will end with a Happily Ever After, and will not feature themes of cheating/adultery.

All of the characters are over the age of eighteen and are of no blood relation.

No Hamlets will be harmed in the writing of this manuscript.

However, certain scenes and descriptions may be uncomfortable for some readers. Please read with care
.

Thank you!

To My Husband...

One series down…

a bunch more to go ;)

It isn’t his.

It isn’t his.

It isn’t his.

The words recoiled in my mind like a gunshot.

The truth didn’t break my heart—it ruptured, bled, and ground it to ash.

A surge of bile burned my throat. Morning sickness was dreadful, but this time it wasn’t the baby. The lingering shadow of my nightmare leeched the courage from me.

I woke in a cold sweat, fearing the pounding of fists knocking at my door.

Silence. Only the hum of the broken air-conditioner crackled the stillness.

Hamlet wasn’t the best guard dog. He wasn’t a guard anything, but even he might have rolled over if someone had broken into my room. Instead he grumbled, snored, and tucked next to me, claiming most of the bed.

At least he could sleep.

I slunk from the bed to double-check the deadbolt. The metal knob didn’t reassure me. No lock in the world would protect me from them.

From
him
.

And that was why it was time to stop running.

The hotel’s humidity suffocated me, but the shower sputtered icy water. I washed quickly, my hand just barely brushing my belly. My tummy was still flat.

Unnoticeable.

But I knew.

The wedding sucked, but at least Josiah brought me a drink with more rum than Coke. I gulped it down before Mike took it away. Unfair. He was already trashed.

“How long do we have to stay?” I picked at a hunk of sugary cake. A blob of icing smeared over my black dress. I rubbed it off. “I can’t be around these people anymore.”

Josiah got Mom’s looks but Dad’s impatience. “Sprout, just smile and eat your cake. All you gotta do is take a couple pictures. We’re the ones dealing with these assholes.”

“Oh, I’ll
gladly
deal with Darius for you.”

“Not happening,” Mike said. “I don’t trust that bastard. You stay as far from him as you can. In fact, steer clear of all the Bennetts. They’re bad news.”

“Too late.” Josiah stiffened and crossed his arms, more bouncer than brother. “Try not to accuse anyone of murder, Sprout. Not while the minister’s still around.”

The golden-eyed intruder nodded to my brothers before offering his hand for a formal handshake. My brothers refused, but one of us needed to be polite. I slipped my palm into his and blamed the rum for the quick flush to my cheeks.

If Nicholas Bennett noticed, he said nothing.

I liked the melty-smoothness of his voice and decided against throwing my drink in his face.

“Ms. Atwood, would you care to dance?”

Mom said to be cordial, and Nicholas seemed sincere enough. The radiating heat from his hand cascaded over me in unwelcomed shivers….shivers too good to feel for a Bennett. I nodded. One dance, and then I could pretend I behaved myself at a wedding more enemy infiltration than celebration.

Like a proper gentleman, Nicholas led me to the dance floor, but a condescending slur interrupted us with false praise and deceitful compliments.

Darius Bennett patted Nicholas’s shoulder. His words slithered over me.

“Son, allow me this first dance with our beautiful little Sarah.”

I hadn’t answered, and Darius didn’t ask. He seized my hand and forced me onto the dance floor, snaking a cold arm around my waist—nearly too low for anything proper. The music swayed, and he tossed me off the beat.

He was lucky I didn’t knee him in the groin. He was more fortunate that Mike restrained Josiah.

Darius chuckled as I stiffly twirled under his hand. His words laced with poison.

“My dear, let me be the first to welcome you to our family.”

I shut the water off. The towel waited for me, flipped over the shower bar.

Just the brush of the cotton against my hands revolted me.

It was weird to hate terrycloth towels, but after the attack, even the simplest of memories manifested in strange ways. Darius groping me the day I swam with Reed was another moment when I might have prepared myself for the inevitable.

Darius didn’t just steal my dignity. He chipped it away, piece by piece, touch by touch.

Be a good girl, my dear

I wouldn’t drop the towel. For two months, I used the hairdryer to dry off instead of touching my own body. Not again. That freak-show ended now.

I wrapped myself in the towel, grating it against my flushed skin until the sandpaper fibers streaked my legs blotchy and red.

It sickened me, but I’d handle it. This was how I’d heal.

Breathless, I pitched the damn towel against the wall.

It shouldn’t have felt like a victory, but one fear was conquered. Only a few more to go.

For the first time in days, I could meet my gaze in the mirror. And the girl looking back? She’d been screaming at me for weeks to stop running and start
fighting.

Two weeks ago I took a pregnancy test, and the results terrified me. But the pity and self-loathing ended now. My thoughts crept with disgusted memories and humiliated realizations, but hiding the truth made the pain worse.

I wasted too many seconds of my life living in fear of Darius Bennett. In my waking hours and trapped in nightmares, he lurked, pinning me in harsh, unfamiliar helplessness.

No more.

Shock was a powerful tool, but denial rent through every mental defense. The pained cramping of my stomach heaving in morning sickness forced me to confront the truth.

I was pregnant.

I had no idea who the father was.

But it wouldn’t make a difference. Darius Bennett took what he wanted, and his family achieved their monstrous ambitions. They stole me. Bred me.
Hurt
me.

He did as he said he would, and now I had nothing more to fear from him. I looked into the eyes of the devil, endured his vile and disgusting lust, and I
survived
.

He should have killed me. Instead, he underestimated me.

He’d regret that mistake.

First, I’d ruin the Bennett Corporation.

Then I’d take his family.

And after he was left crawling in the dirt in the remnants of his shattered pride? Only one of us would remain.

I had more than enough reason to live. I didn’t plan for it to happen, it shouldn’t have been possible, but I was pregnant, and the child was completely and utterly innocent of all the insanity.

No matter the father, I had to protect him. No one else deserved to be corrupted by this feud. But the only way to keep him safe would be to forever deny the Bennett blood in him. My son was an
Atwood
.

Darius would never, ever touch him.

And Nicholas?

I turned from the mirror.

Two months had passed since the night I spent in Nicholas’s arms, and I wished I could forget everything about those stolen moments. What should have been a beautiful, amazing, life-affirming passion was ruined. Stained. Lost in violence.

I ran, and I hadn’t contacted him since then. I didn’t know what to say, how to tell him what happened. Maybe Darius already revealed it, using my pain to break his eldest son.

Rage was an easy emotion and love far too complicated. It wasn’t the first time I wished for the simplicity of hate—Atwood against Bennett, prisoner against captor, woman against man.

Falling in love with Nicholas endangered all of us, especially me. Staying in love with him? That selfish, naïve longing would ultimately threaten my child.

And nothing would ever hurt my son.

If it was a
son
.

It had to be a boy, the male heir. I refused to think of any other possibility—not when the consequences and Darius’s retaliation were too horrible to imagine.

Which meant it was time for revenge.

For days I imagined my bloody retaliations, and the pure fantasy of hate kept me strong. Darius’s punishment wouldn’t be a slit to the throat or a bullet to the brain. That was a death far too easy for a demon like Darius. Too quick. Too
impersonal
.

Hamlet chewed through my second laptop charging cable—a difficult expense when I avoided my credit cards and forms of ID. My battery dipped below forty percent, but I had everything I needed.

Toxicology reports.

Hazardous material screenings.

Chemical compound listings. Material Safety Data Sheets. Environmental checklists.

With the click of a mouse, and the cooperation of my attorney with one thinly veiled request, I possessed all the information on the Bennett agrochemical products. I had the formulas, research, and trade secrets Nicholas hadn’t let me read while they held me captive.

I had more rights as stockholder than prisoner, and I realized that only hours after the attack. Once I managed to move, before I ran, before he came back, I emailed for the information.

But I hadn’t opened the reports yet. The emails sat in my inbox, unopened, for two months. At first, my denial convinced me to run instead of work, to hide from the panic and shame. I hid from everything to protect the fragile part of me flickering with the remnants of my courage.

That flicker burned just a bit hotter today.

I opened the email and read the message Anthony Delvannis enclosed with the attached reports. Even through email, he was a direct, assertive, protective asshole.

Where the hell are you? Call me immediately.

Women tended to obey Anthony—and, after my time spent under Max’s hand, I understood it more. Unfortunately, the damn auto-read receipt popped an alert to his office when I opened the email. His response
pinged
on my screen now that he knew I was at the computer.

Sarah, call me.

Oh, this wasn’t a conversation I wanted to have. Not with my damn attorney, and not with anyone else, including the man who deserved the truth.

I deleted the email and skimmed over a report—the chemical compositions of the Bennett pesticides which earned the family their first billion.

Anthony emailed again.

Sarah, if you’re reading this, tell me you’re all right.

Well, I wasn’t, but I wasn’t explaining why I went missing. The Bennetts probably covered up my disappearance on their own. Asthma. Illness. God only knew what other lies they’d spread from the darkness. I was just lucky neither Nicholas nor Darius had found me yet. Both would rip the sky from the ground and search through every hidden crack in the earth to find me.

I continued to parse the attachments, hesitating over the lone financial report tucked within the chemical breakdowns. My father refused to use Bennett chemicals, and our multi-billion dollar farm became the sole challenger to the Bennett Empire. My father took pleasure in watching as the Bennetts squirmed, trying to explain why one of the most powerful agricultural families in the United States rejected the offers from the largest agrochemical business in the world.

Now it was my turn to honor my father’s legacy and ruin the Bennett Corporation. But I wouldn’t do it by denying Darius Bennett. Their greatest achievement would be securing a claim over my farms.

And I would give it to them if only so I’d suffocate Darius in the very dirt he so longed to possess.

The email pinged again.

Sarah, it’s about your mother
.

My stomach heaved. I didn’t have room in my belly for guilt too, not while I carried enough of a secret. I hadn’t seen Mom in months, and my few messages to her were quick and superficial.

I had nothing to say that wouldn’t break her.

Your husband raped me.

The baby I’m carrying might be his.

I’m going to murder the only man you’ve ever loved and enjoy every second of it
.

And that was
if
she understood what was happening. How much time had passed.

If Darius hadn’t hurt her while looking for me.

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