Peter Burk drummed his fingers against his leg in a steady tattoo. He was angry—very angry. Angry because he had read about this in the society column just like everybody else. Angry because he hadn’t been here to stop Cyrus from making the biggest mistake of his life. Angry at being summoned to the ‘big house’ to wait in the hall like some servant. Angry because it was a ‘done deal’ and would take more than a few choice words in the right person’s ear to fix it.
Now was not the time to have to deal with this marriage. Things were topsy-turvy enough as it was. Jamie had gone to Bogota, Colombia two months ago and seemingly fell off the face of the earth. Then Jim had rushed to Colombia—against his express advice—to look for Jamie and now Jim was missing.
Peter jumped up and began pacing. He had been in Bogota looking for them but an emergency at Burk Security he had forced him to return two days ago. He had planned on returning to Bogota tomorrow to continue the search. Now those plans would have to be revised.
Arriving home to find out that Cyrus had married a little golddigger and was turning his company over to her lock, stock and barrel was a shock to say the least. Cyrus had loved Rachel and never given the slightest hint that he was interested in another woman much less ready to marry again.
She must be good, Peter thought. He had only been in South America two weeks. In that time, she had managed to come in under Cyrus’ radar and sink her greedy claws into Cy-Rac. Tonight was a mere formality. He was here to meet the new CEO so it would ‘look like’ he approved. Tomorrow she would walk into Cy-Rac and officially take over.
Peter raked his hands through his hair. Cyrus was a savvy old man. He could read people at a glance. That was what had made him one of the top business moguls in America; or for that matter, the world. He always placed people where their talents would do them and the company the most good. He could spot winners and didn’t mind paying for their services. He was patient with what he called ‘raw material’ but he never put up with slackers or people looking for a free ride. That is why this little turn of events was such a shock.
The lawyers had been called in, the papers drawn up and signed before anyone else knew what was happening. He couldn’t believe that Cyrus had turned a multi-billion dollar company over to a twenty-one year old girl.
Peter frowned. Something didn’t add up here. Cyrus didn’t do things on the spur of the moment. This had to have been brewing for some time. And, if this had been going on long enough to result in marriage, how had it gotten past him? Or Jim? Jim hadn’t mentioned that Cyrus was seeing anyone the last time they talked.
Peter tried to remember the last time he had seen Cyrus. Counting back, he realized it had been nine months.
Nine months! It hadn’t seemed that long. True, setting up his own training grounds had taken up a lot of his time. These last couple of months had been spent going between Columbia and home. But still—nine months?
Cyrus had sent all pertinent details pertaining to Jim and Jamie’s disappearance by email. They had talked over the phone but never face to face. In all that time, the old man hadn’t even hinted that anything was going on. Never even came close to mentioning he was getting married.
What irked Peter the most was that Cyrus knew if he needed something—anything—he just had to say so. After everything the old man had done for him…it just went without saying.
Sure, he had been chasing leads in Columbia. That was his business and he was good at it. But, his men were good at it too. Good enough to continue searching for Jim and Jamie while he helped Cyrus.
Peter went into the living room and walked to the big picture window that looked out over the pool and onto the formal gardens. The scene had always soothed him—but not tonight. The longer he had to wait, the angrier he got. What was going on? And, where was everyone? Although Cyrus didn’t hold with keeping his staff up after hours to wait on guests, he had expected to see Johnson.
He walked over to the bar and opened the whiskey cabinet. It was empty. He opened every door. All the cabinets were empty. Peter sighed. Cyrus used to keep some of the finest Kentucky whiskey made. He looked in the little refrigerator and saw one lone pitcher. He picked up and smelled it. Lemonade?
The faint sound of tapping pushed past his swirling thoughts. Someone was coming but it was slowly: very slowly. He turned to find the source. Since it seemed to be coming from the back of the house, Peter went back into the hall.
He schooled his features. He had done nothing but frown since he had heard the news. It wouldn’t do to start off on the wrong foot with the old man. He was a tartar when it came to his family and his business. He didn’t tolerate trouble with either. Like it or not, until he could do something about it, this little tart was ‘family’.
Peter turned as he heard his name called. A shrunken old man that barely resembled Cyrus Randal stood in the doorway. Shock ripped through him. There was no way Cyrus could have changed so much in the last nine months. Something was terribly wrong. This was why the old man had been duped by a golddigger.