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Meant To Be

  • 👁 122
  • 7.5
  • 💬 5

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Claire Bridgewater’s life and career is spiraled into confusion and trouble. The only way out for Claire to save her reputation as well as save her troubled brother was to plan the wedding of the year. A contract marriage for billionaire Zach Harrison. But she has to do it without the help of her billionaire ex, Damain Garcia. Can she be able to pull this through on her own? Or will she lose her brother and everything she has struggled so hard to build?

Chapter 1

Damian Garcia tipped his head up and tracked the winking light of a jet above him. That could, for all he knew, be Zach Harrison’s Jet carrying Claire away from him. The image of Claire curled up in Zach’s lap, him comforting her as she cried, because hell if anyone deserved to cry it was Claire Bridgewater. Flashed on his retina, and his grip tightened on the crystal tumbler in his hand. He heard a sharp palm under the wristband of his watch.

Damian opened his hand and looked at the cracked glass and its sharp shards. Surprisingly, there was no blood. Transferring the broken glass from his hand to the coffee table on the balcony, he shook the droplets of his Manhattan cocktail off his hand before reaching for his pocket square and wiping the liquid away.

Well, that was a waste of good booze. Damian looked back into the luxurious Presidential Suite of Mirage a hotel and saw his friend George Alan pacing the area between the designer sofas and the dining table. George was p*ss*d and had a right to be. His gala evening was ruined and would be long remembered for all the wrong reasons.

And it was all Claire’s fault. Well, not her fault exactly, she hadn't known her brother would show up and ruin months of work, but as the event planner, the buck stopped with her.

Would her company recover from this? He doubted it. Would she? Claire was tough but she'd had a couple of hard knocks lately. When George asked her to leave the retreat immediately, taking her brother with her, Claire knew that her reputation was about to take another beating, and Damian understood why she felt the need to run. Why would she want to stay and witness the pitying looks, the cruel smirks, hear the caustic comments?

She also wanted to run from him. And that, he understood most of all.

Seeing movement in the room behind him, Damian turned his head to watch Jane approach George, her eyes on her man. George was still on his phone but he held out his hand and Nadia tucked herself into the side, her arms encircling his waist. George dropped a kiss on her head before continuing his conversation. Damian’s stomach was cramped with what he thought might be jealousy. He'd never believed in true love, hadn't been exposed to it growing up but maybe it did exist; maybe it was just as rare as hell. George has found his Holly Gail in Jane but Damian isn't naive enough to believe that everybody, most especially him, would be that lucky.

Love, he was convinced, wasn't for him.

George threw his phone into the sofa behind him and pulled his wife into his body, burying his face in the crook of her neck. Although Jane was a foot shorter than Goerge, Damian knew that he was sucking strength from her, that George was leaning in her. They were a unit, taking turns to lead and to follow, to give and receive strength. They were two trees growing together, sharing soil and water, their branches and roots intermingling.

It struck him that he and Claire were two separate line trees planted in a regimented row. They both stood tall, took the wind, and never bent. They'd been planted too far apart and too much had happened between them and to them–to bridge the gap to be able to even start to explore anything deeper than flashpoint s*x.

Damian turned away and walked to the edge of the balcony, gripping the balustrade with tight fingers. Maybe Claire’s leaving, her breaking it off for good, was as she'd said, what was best for her, him, Garcia Corporation. For everybody involved.

And if that was true then why did he feel like week-old crap?

Hearing George’s footsteps he turned his head and saw George approaching him, a bottle of bourbon in his hand. George raised his eyebrows at the broken glass and, without words, handed Damian the bottle. Damian took a hefty sip before dropping the bottle to his side, holding it in a loose grip. By the time Dawn broke, he was going to be best buds with this bottle.

“Where’s Jane?”

George leaned his butt against the railing and rolled his head from his side to release the knots in his neck. Damian didn't bother; his knots were now permanent residents. “She went to bed,” George replied. He glanced at his watch. “It is almost three in the morning.”

“It was a hell of a night.” Damian took another hit from the bottle, ignoring his still-sticky hand. He glanced up, saw another jet, and forced himself to meet George’s eyes. “I feel like I should apologize.”

“For what?” George asked, his eyes and time weary. “You didn't cause Claire’s brother to ruin my gala evening.”

“Neither did Claire,” Damian responded, needing to defend her.

“Tell me about her brother,” George said, moving to the sofa and dropping down. He immediately tucked a pillow under his head and propped his feet up on the coffee table.

Ordinarily, Damian would never consider divulging someone else’s secrets but this was George, his best friend, and he trusted him implicitly. He also needed George’s sharp brain to help him make sense of what was, at this crazy hour, the senseless.

“It’s a tangled mess but I'm going to tell you what I do know, from what Claire has told me, along with what my investigator dug up.

“So years ago, Alfred, her brother, liked drugs and alcohol a little too much and hit himself in debt with some unsavory characters. They offered him a job to pay off the money. He became a chauffeur—”

“And he, knowingly or unknowingly, ferried drugs,” George finished for him.

George was by far, the sharpest tool in the shed. “Yep. He was busted and was jailed. Via Diego Manuel-Luis, Claire employed the talents of The Fixer—”

George whistled his astonishment. “I’ve heard of him. He's—”

Damian raised an eyebrow. “Effective?”

“I was going to say ruthless but that works, too.”

“Anyway,” Damian continued, “he got Alfred’s charges, dropped him out of jail and across the country. The kid didn't learn and has raked up another huge gambling debt. A mafia-type organization has bought the debt from the original crew and it's rocked to an impossible sum.”

“How much?”

“Seven million dollars,” Damian replied. “Several weeks back Claire was told that he’d been kidnapped but that turned out to be BS. Claire’s been informed that she needs to repay his loan, but she doesn't have that kind of cash, and they've never called her back, as far as I know.”

“Pay it for her, offset it against the cost of the shares you are going to buy from her when she's completed her year-long mandatory stint on the board of Garcia’s Corporation,” George suggested. “As per the terms of your father's will.”

“Claire is hoping that she can delay repaying them until she's sold her shares. She wants to keep me out of the equation. Hell, maybe she's shopping around for a better deal for the shares.” The thought of Claire selling those shares to anyone else made his stomach whirl. If she did that, he would no longer have the thin silver of control over Garcia’s Corporation as he did now.

“Nobody has given Claire, or Alfred, a firm deadline for the repayment of the debt.”

“Weires,” George agreed. “So it should be imperative that he keep his head down, even stay out of sight. Then why would Alfred crash a highly visible, live-streamed event?

“What doesn't Claire think?” George asked, after a moment of silence.

“I don't know since she blew me off and hightailed it back to Vegas in Zach’s private plane,” Damian muttered in his sour reply. He pulled his cell out of his pocket and his pocket and hit the speed dial number that would connect him to Claire. It didn't mean anything that he'd moved his personal assistant, Richard, to number two on his list and Claire to number one. It meant nothing. At all.

Chapter 2

Damian listened to her phone ring and urged her to pick up. He needed to know that she was okay, that Alfred was okay, God, that kid hadn't looked, or sounded, good. And he wasn't talking about the bruise his fist made on his jaw. He wasn't quite sure why Zach helped Claire get away from the scene, but he sure was not comfortable about it. Her phone went to voicemail and he dropped a hard “Call me” order into her message system.

Damian placed the bourbon bottles on the coffee table, sat down in the chair opposite George, and rested his forearms on his knees. He released a series of low but intense f-bombs.

“That kind of sums up my feelings about the evening,” George commented. “I've been damage control but there's not much spin you can generate when everything is caught on video and then live-streamed.

Damian winced. “How many views?”

“Far too many.” George lifted his glass in a sarcastic salute. “I've got to admit, when Claire m

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