Home > HANNAH (Silicon Valley Billionaires #3)

HANNAH (Silicon Valley Billionaires #3)
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

 

 

Hannah

 

 

“Hey.” I carefully nudged Wes’s shoulder, and he groaned.

He pulled me against his chest. “Hey what?”

I nestled against his big body, warm underneath the blankets, while staying mindful of his bandages—and the wounds they protected. “I have to get up. Today’s the day!”

He pulled me closer, grinning. The early morning sun bathed his handsome face and square jaw; his crew cut glinted in the light. “I know. I’m excited for you.”

“Thanks.” I kissed him, desire zipping through me as our tongues connected, his hands flexing against my hips. Now I was the excited one. My skin flushed with heat—I wanted him. Bad.

So I hastily pulled back and scooted away.

Wes reached for me.

“Easy, stud,” I mock scolded him. “Dr. Kim said you need to take it slow, and I’m not going against doctor’s orders.”

“Aw, baby, come back.”

I grabbed his hand and kissed it. “Trust me, I want to. But we have to behave.”

Wes frowned, but his eyes sparkled good-naturedly. “Buzzkill.”

I giggled and hopped out of bed. Maybe I was a buzzkill, but rules were rules. The doctor said we should abstain for a few more weeks, to be sure Wesley’s heart was strong enough for…you know.

His heart. I shivered, remembering the night they had shot him right in front of me. I’d watched him go down. I’d thought he was dead…

“I’ll be back in a minute, okay?” I kept my tone upbeat and blew him a kiss.

“I won’t get too far.” He winked.

He was making a joke, but guilt still shot through me as I headed from our wing in Gabe and Lauren’s house to their massive kitchen. Wes was recovering from a gunshot wound, a head injury, and a medically induced coma—all earned while he’d been protecting me on assignment.

So much had happened in such a short time; I got whiplash just thinking about it. Before all the craziness—just a few short weeks ago!—Wes and I had been in hot and heavy infatuation mode. When we had plans, I’d dress up, spending so much time on my makeup and hair, you’d think I was headed for the red carpet. I wore lingerie, anticipation zinging through me, just waiting to be with him.

Now we were living with my sister and her fiancé because I couldn’t bear to stay in the house where we’d been attacked. Wes was here because he needed help getting around. We were medically forbidden to have sex. We shared a bathroom. He’d seen me in my sweats with no makeup on. He’d seen me in a mud mask.

I wasn’t sure what to make of any of this.

We’d gone from causally dating to almost dying to living together. And although I considered myself a hardcore type A, who always had a master plan and a checklist, I had no idea what came next.

I checked my phone as I hustled to the kitchen. But as the screen lit up, I stopped in my tracks. There were five frantic texts from my longtime friend, Fiona Pace.

I have a situation I need to talk to you about.

Are you up yet? Text me when you can.

I’m worried about Protocol Therapeutics…

Is there any way we can meet today?

Can you please text me? I’m about to lose it.

I read and re-read the messages, my heart pounding. What’s going on? I wrote.

Fiona responded immediately. Getting girls ready for school now. I’ll call you in a little bit. I need to see you and Lauren today, if possible.

Okay, I wrote back. But I didn’t feel okay.

I made it to the kitchen and grabbed a much-needed coffee, my mind whirling. I’d known Fiona for years, but I’d never seen her stressed. If I was a type A, Fiona was a Triple A. She was a Silicon Valley legend. She managed hostile corporate takeovers and multibillion-dollar IPOs—all while juggling her family, charitable commitments, and TED talks—without breaking a sweat or smudging her lip gloss.

We were good friends, but I hadn’t spoken to her recently. Things had been so intense with our company’s release of its revolutionary health patch and the crazy surrounding circumstances—including Wes being shot, let alone my kidnapping and being held hostage—that there hadn’t been much time to chat.

I thought about her texts as I grabbed my coffee, hustling back to take a quick shower. What had Fiona so rattled? In her latest corporate incarnation, she was the all-star CEO of Protocol Therapeutics, a hot new start-up that had the industry buzzing with speculation about its enormous valuation. Reportedly, Protocol was developing a cancer antibody therapy. If it worked, it was going to revolutionize healthcare.

Technology like this could change the world.

I got out of the shower in record time, toweled off, and hastily blow-dried my hair, scrolling through Protocol Therapeutics’s website on my phone. Fiona had assembled an all-female leadership team, which was no small feat in male-dominated Silicon Valley.

Why is she worried about her company?

There had to be an excellent reason. I shivered, bracing myself. I needed to find out what it was.

 

* * *

 

I fidgeted on my way into Paragon, the groundbreaking Silicon Valley biotechnology company my sister had started years ago. I kept expecting Fiona to call, but she didn’t.

To stay occupied, I texted Marcus, the nurse I’d hired—just to check in on Wes. I texted him again when I got to my desk. I texted him ten minutes later to remind him that Wes liked the special electrolyte-enriched bottled water in the fridge. Then I texted him again to make sure he’d received my text.

Finally, Wes himself texted me: Chill out and please stop driving Marcus crazy.

Fine, I texted back, but make sure he gets you the right water, and don’t forget the sandwich I made you is in the fridge!

I felt guilty for leaving him, but the feeling was nothing new. Guilt had been my BFF for the past few weeks. What had happened was my fault—Li Na Zhao, the Chinese corporate terrorist extraordinaire, was after me and my sister, Lauren, CEO of Paragon. Wes had been shot protecting me. The night Li Na’s men ambushed us in my kitchen, I’d been distracting him, flirting and making a joke. We weren’t paying attention. They shot the guards outside my house first, and we never even heard them. That was on me. They shot Wes, and he almost died, and that was also on me. And although he’d been home from the hospital for five weeks and I hadn’t left his side, the guilt refused to leave me.

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