Home > GABE (Silicon Valley Billionaires #2)

GABE (Silicon Valley Billionaires #2)
Author: Leigh James

The Escort Collection Series

Escorting the Billionaire (The Escort Collection #1) 
Escorting the Actress (The Escort Collection #2)
Escorting the Player (The Escort Collection #3)
Escorting the Groom (The Escort Collection #4)

Silicon Valley Billionaires Series

Lauren (Silicon Valley Billionaires #1)
GABE (Silicon Valley Billionaires #2)
HANNAH (Silicon Valley Billionaires #3)

 

Chapter 1

 

 

GABE

 


I woke up and rolled over, stretching, my limbs loose and relaxed as I pulled Lauren’s warm body closer. Her soft moan brought back memories of last night, when I’d blindfolded her and tied her up.

Among other things.

I grinned against her bare skin as she slept. Lauren Taylor, reigning queen of the biotech industry and, until quite recently, a very uptight virgin, had been letting her wild side out to play lately. I trailed my fingers down her side, wondering if she’d be up for an encore performance this morning.

My phone rang, and I grabbed it, hoping she would sleep awhile longer. On the caller ID, I saw Timmy’s number. I’d thought Lauren’s security guard was asleep in the guesthouse next door. Because he never called to chat, I said, “What’s the matter?”

“Mr. Betts, we’ve had a breach.”

I jumped out of bed. “Is someone here? At the house?”

“No, sir. Not here. I’m afraid it’s worse—it’s Hannah.”

Hannah was Lauren’s younger sister. “What?”

“Someone’s taken her.”

“What?”

“Someone kidnapped her from Lauren’s house. I just got the call.”

Lauren sat up and rubbed her eyes.

I needed to stay calm for her sake. “What about the security guards?”

“They shot the two guards outside. They also shot Wes—he was in the house with Hannah.”

Wesley was Hannah’s bodyguard and boyfriend.

Fuck. “Did anyone make it?”

Lauren’s head whipped around. “What’s going on?”

I motioned for her to hang on.

“Wes is the only guard who made it,” Timmy said. “He’s at the ER right now—I don’t know what his condition is, except it’s bad. But Hannah’s alive, thank God. The security tape shows them leaving with her.”

“Have you talked to the police?”

“They’re at the scene. Do you want me to go too?”

“Sit tight for right now. Call Paragon and let security know what happened. I’ll talk to Lauren and call you back.”

“What happened?”

I sat down and took her hand. “That was Timmy. There was a security breach at your house. Someone broke in and took Hannah. They shot the guards and Wesley, but he’s alive. He’s in the ER.”

Her face went blank, as if the information didn’t compute. “I’m sorry? What?”

I squeezed her hand. “Hannah’s been kidnapped.”

She opened her mouth and then closed it.

“Timmy said the police are at the house—they’ll open an investigation. We have the security tape. I’ll call Agent Marks at the FBI and let him know what’s happened.”

Lauren still looked dazed.

“Babe, do you understand what I said?”

“Is my sister…dead?”

“No,” I said firmly, hoping she’d believe me.

She sat for a minute, staring out into space. Then her gaze focused back on me. “Two of our men are dead, though.”

“Yes.”

“And Wesley…” It seemed as if the news was sinking in.

I reached out to hold her, but she flinched away.

She jumped up, grabbing some clothes. “We killed Li Na’s guards. Now she’s evened the score.”

Li Na Zhao, the Chinese healthcare CEO, had been after Lauren’s technology, her company, and Lauren herself, not necessarily in that order. I knew where Lauren was heading with this line of thought. “Babe, this is not your fault.”

She laughed bitterly, pulling a sweater over her head. “Tell my sister that when she’s crying because Wes got shot—that is, if we ever get to talk to her again.”

“We’re going to get her back. It’s going to be okay.”

“It is not going to be okay!” She hustled past me to the kitchen, shaking her head as I followed close behind. “Hannah warned me—she told me to walk away from Li Na, to let her have the patch—that it wasn’t worth dying for. But I didn’t listen to her, because I never listen to her! And now she’s suffering for it.”

Lauren had recently tricked Li Na by agreeing to partner with her on a version of the patch, Lauren’s game-changing biomedical invention. But with my help, Paragon surreptitiously launched the technology, winning the race to rule the global healthcare market.

Apparently, Li Na didn’t intend to let Lauren enjoy her victory lap.

I didn’t know what else to do, so I fired up the coffeemaker while Lauren paced and cried. “This is my fault. I don’t know what I’ll do if they hurt her—”

“Don’t think like that.”

She stopped. “I have to think like that. My poor sister…” She shook her head when words seemed to fail her.

I wished there was something I could do to comfort her, but as long as Hannah was missing, there’d be no comforting Lauren. Other than me, Hannah was all she had.

We stayed in the kitchen for the rest of the morning, fielding calls from the police, the FBI, the hospital, our attorneys and our security teams.

Wesley was alive but in critical condition.

No one knew where they’d taken Hannah.

Lauren continued to pace, two hectic spots of color in her cheeks. She wasn’t crying anymore, but she also wasn’t talking.

I watched her warily. “Babe, we should probably eat something. This is going to be a long day.”

“She’s probably dead,” she said flatly.

“She’s not—”

Lauren whirled on me. “I know you’re trying to make me feel better, but stop. Please. I just want…I just want it to be yesterday. I want to go back. But I can’t, so I need to prepare myself for the worst.”

Her phone buzzed against the island, and she lunged for it. She tapped at the screen and then stood there—I could see her hands shaking as she read.

“Lauren?”

“It’s Li Na. She sent me an email.” She shoved the phone at me.

It seems I finally have something that you want. I’ll be in touch.

I clutched the phone hard, on the verge of shattering it. “I’m sending this to Dave and Leo—to see if they can trace it—maybe we can give it to the FBI.” If anyone could help reverse-trace this, it was the leaders of our Paragon’s IT team, Dave and Leo.

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