Home > Daddy by December (The Bad Boy Billionaires #7)

Daddy by December (The Bad Boy Billionaires #7)
Author: Judy Angelo

CHAPTER ONE

“I want her.”

“But what about looking at the others?”

“No, this is the one I want.”  Drake Duncan stabbed the paper with his index finger.  “I read through all the profiles.   This one's the perfect fit.  Professional, good track record.  Got some novels under her belt, too.  I don’t want anyone who’s so cast in the ‘biography’ mold that they don’t know how to weave a good story.”

His personal assistant gave him a look tinged with doubt.  “I was going to recommend Percy Slater.  He’s worked with stars from Hollywood.”

“Yeah, I’ve read some of his books.  Boring.”

Drake grinned at the gray-haired woman as she pursed her lips and gave him a disapproving stare.  Liz Dobson  had been working for him for the past eight years and she'd become more and more valuable to him with each passing year.  No-one could anticipate his needs and organize his work life like she could.  But in this matter he would make the final decision.

“Fine,” she said with a nod of resignation.  “I’ll contact Ms. Gracey right away.”  She gathered up the files and went through the door, pulling it closed behind her.

Drake Duncan was looking for a ghostwriter.  He was at the top of his game, leading a conglomerate of investment companies and, he decided, it was time to tell his story.  After all, you never knew when your ticket would be called.

When he’d heard of the passing of Steve Jobs of Apple Computer it had been like a kick to the gut.  The man should have had a good thirty more years to go before he even thought of leaving this earth.  But there it was.  It was his time and no amount of money could save him.  Not that Drake was anywhere near Steve Jobs’s fifty-six years.  But age had nothing to do with it.  You could go at any time so if you had a story to tell the best thing to do was just tell it.

Drake had built Duncan Investments of Chicago into a billion dollar company in the space of nine years through a series of daring but successful investment strategies.  Even in the face of the worldwide economic recession he was able to maximize growth for the corporation, making his shareholders wealthier than they’d ever dreamed.  Now he was ready to share his success with the world.

He smiled to himself.  He was looking forward to the project.  His ghostwriter would be Meg Gracey, if she accepted the job offer.  He liked that name.  Outside of the profile and recommendations she'd posted on the job board he didn’t know anything about the woman he’d chosen to record his journey.  Liz would check her out.  He had a good feeling about her, though.  Her name had the sound of someone dignified, someone serene.  For the next few months she would be spending a lot of time with him, gathering the intimate details of his business and his life.  He hoped she did, indeed, have a serene soul.  Working with him, she was going to need it.

******

Meg Gracey pulled up in front of Hyde Park Elementary School just as the bell rang.  Whew!  Just in time.  She’d fought through a mangled mess of traffic, whispering prayers for the cars to get moving.   Now she breathed a sigh of relief.  It was tough being a single mommy.  There was no-one to call if she got held up at an appointment.  She had to plan each day precisely so she would never be late to pick up her daughter.  This was Jessie’s second semester in the first grade and so far, thank God, she’d never been late.

She switched off the engine and hopped out of the car then ran along the pathway leading to the huge front door. At that moment it burst open and she had to head for the grass to avoid the bubbling mass of kids streaming down the steps toward their waiting parents.  She stood on tiptoe, trying to find that special curly blonde head in the crowd.

“Mommy!”

She would know that voice anywhere, pluck it from the myriad of shouts and calls.  She turned to catch the little bundle of pink and white barrelling toward her.  Jessie jumped and Meg lifted her into her arms, backpack, lunch kit and all.  She hugged her daughter close and buried her nose in the child’s neck, reveling in the tightness of her hug and the bubblegum scent of her hair.  She gave her a quick peck on the forehead then gently lowered her to the ground and took her small gloved hand.

“So, how was your day?” Meg asked, as she always did, her smile broad and cheerful.

“Mommy, guess what?”  Jessie opened her blue eyes wide, a look of wonder on her pixie face.  “I saw a bunny today, a real live bunny, not the Easter Bunny.”

“A real live bunny, huh?”  Meg took the lunch kit from her hand and they headed down the path toward the champagne colored Honda Accord.  “That’s really cool.”

“Oh, yes.”  Jessie’s voice was a soft whisper of reverence.  “I got to touch him and everything.  He’s so soft and cuddly.  Can I get one?”

Meg chuckled and shook her head.  She’d expected that.  Jessie loved animals and seized every opportunity to put in her bid for a pet.  Her goldfish, Sammy, was not enough.  The big complaint?  He wasn’t cuddly.  “You know why we can’t get a pet right now, Jess.  We talked about it, remember?”  She opened the back door of the car and slid the Dora bag off her daughter’s back.

Jessie gave a pretty pout as she climbed into her booster seat.  “I know.  Pets are a lot of responsibility and I'm not old enough yet.”

“That’s right.”  Meg buckled her up then tickled her, making her squirm.  “But when you're old enough…”

Jessie giggled.  “When I'm old enough I can get a lemur and a tiger and a bear and we'll start our own zoo.”

Meg smiled at their ongoing joke.  “And when Mommy lands the biggest writing contract ever we'll add a giraffe and a pony.”

“Yay.”  The little girl raised her hands in celebration and Meg laughed out loud.  There was nothing like the enthusiasm of a child to lift your spirits.

That afternoon Meg and Jessie sang nursery rhymes and fun songs all the way home.  Her daughter was such a bundle of joy.  At five years old she was the youngest in her first grade class.  The first day of elementary school had been hard for Meg, watching her baby, so tiny among the other children, leaving her to enter the building she called ‘big kids’ school’.  Now that they were almost halfway through the school year it had gotten a little bit easier for her to leave her daughter.

   
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