Seduced by the Wealthy Playboy [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Sara Orwig
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Unless Brittany Garrison came up with cold hard cash right away, she'd lose her beloved restaurant. So when handsome millionaire Emilio Jefferies offered her an irresistible proposition, Brittany signed on the dotted line and sealed the deal with a kiss--unaware of the family feud between the Jefferies and the Garrisons. Or Emilio's cruel intentions. Emilio hadn't expected the takeover--business and body--of Brittany Garrison to be so easy. But he also didn't count on Brittany owning a part of him.
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Silhouette Desire
Fictionwise Release Date: August 2007
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Brittany Garrison's life had catapulted into disaster. As she stared at the books spread in front of her, she broke out in perspiration even though she was chilled to the bone.
"Now I know why my accountant disappeared," she whispered. If only she had known about Paine Elsdon's embezzlement of two million dollars before his mysterious disappearance, it might have been possible to catch him.
"There's no escaping the truth," Boyd Dumont remarked. "The money could have been deposited into an account in the Bahamas or Switzerland. Your former accountant and your money are long gone from South Beach Miami."
She barely heard what her new accountant said. Seated at a table in his quiet office, Brittany couldn't stop thinking about her family. Last month, she'd overheard her oldest brother Parker's clear intentions to take her upscale restaurant away from her when she failed. Her brother Stephen was just as bad. Stephen's remarks that she wasn't competent in business drummed in her ears with each heartbeat. Brittany Beach was a growing success. The numbers were there in black-and-white.
"Paine must have been embezzling funds from the start," she said, unaware she spoke aloud. "I trusted him because he came with excellent references."
"This could be the first time," Boyd speculated. "Maybe he got into a pinch and took a little, just to borrow it. Once he crossed that line, he kept on." Boyd shrugged his narrow shoulders as the light glinted on his glasses. "I suspect you won't find him."
"How did he get away with this?" she asked, stunned by the deception of someone she trusted. "The books looked fine."
"Your accountant doctored the books. My guess is, he may have had two sets of books. One for you and another one that he kept."
Her fingers drifted lightly over the cleft in her chin that marked every Garrison sibling. "Let me figure out what to do before there's any publicity," she said, thinking it wasn't public awareness she wanted to avoid, but the knowledge of her family. "We'll notify the law, of course."
"Certainly. But you can't wait long before you have to make payroll, buy supplies and meet the endless expenses of a restaurant."
As if she could wipe away her pounding headache, Brittany rubbed her temples. She should be worrying about how to manage so much debt. Instead, all she could think of was family humiliation. They viewed her, the baby of the family, as incompetent. Even Brooke, her twin sister, regarded her as inept. Now, if she didn't do something quickly, she was going to prove them right.
"Temporarily, other than the authorities, I don't want this embezzlement to go beyond this room."
Boyd nodded his bald head. "My work with all my clients is confidential. But I believe you told me that some of your staff discussed your accountant's mysterious disappearance. Even if you don't hear them, there will be rumors and speculation."
Realizing Boyd was right, she drew a deep breath. "Word travels in the restaurant industry like wildfire," she remarked, pondering her dilemma. "There has to be something I can do," she said, wondering how she could get the capital necessary to keep afloat.
"Brittany, if I may say so, your brothers can bail you out. Even with this immense debt you're in, they're quite well fixed."
"That's what I'm worrying about," she admitted, biting her lower lip. "I want to solve this problem myself."
Boyd sat in a vinyl chair at the head of the table. "That's a noble ambition, but you're going to have to be practical. They'll wonder why you didn't come to them. And it would cost you the least."
"No," she said emphatically, shaking her head. If Parker learned about the embezzlement, Brittany Beach would be gone as if taken by hurricane winds. Parker was a control freak who oversaw all the Garrison holdings. He already wanted her restaurant because the family retained the land, which was one of the last prime pieces of oceanfront property zoned for condos. She knew Parker envisioned condos that would bring in more money than her restaurant.
She rubbed her chin. "Go through this again with me. It's impossible to accept." An hour later, she left his office in a daze.
* * *
A week later, Brittany stood in the art deco dining room of Brittany Beach while she talked to her director of services, Hector Garland. The disaster that had come into her life nagged her and she couldn't keep her mind on Hector's conversation. Lost in her own thoughts, she looked around.
From the appearance of the restaurant, no one would guess there was the slightest problem. The cobalt ceiling with soft lights was a contrast to dusky pink walls. Candlelight flickered and bouquets of flowers graced the room. Eating areas, where patrons could lounge while they ate, were cushioned in Haitian white cotton. Cocktail waitresses moved around in colorful halter tops and low-slung sarongs. Outside the main dining room was a partially covered veranda, and beyond the whitewashed planks were white cabana tents on the beach. Each tent contained sofas for lounging and eating.
How could such an inviting place be a quicksand of catastrophe for her? Brittany couldn't stop wondering about what she was going to do to save the restaurant and herself.
As she tried to concentrate on what Hector was saying, she noticed a tall, dark-haired man standing in the lobby. She recognized Emilio Jefferies and knew he operated El Diablo, a small, exclusive and popular Cuban restaurant in SoBe that also catered to Miami's jet-set crowd. She had seen her competitor's name and his picture in tabloids, seen him at local happenings and they had met briefly at restaurant events. While she watched, her maître d', Luis Munoz, spoke to Emilio Jefferies and turned to lead him to a table.
Copyright © 2007 by Harlequin Books S.A.