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Billionaire Undaunted:The Billionaire's Obsession ~ Zane

By:J.S. Scott

 Seven months ago …

"Oh, dear God. This can't be possible. Not my sweet Chloe," Ellie  Winters said to herself in a low, urgent whisper. She was alone in the  doctor's office where she worked, so not a single soul heard the torment  in her raspy voice. She was horrified by the videos she'd just seen on  James's laptop computer-completely by accident-as she'd searched for a  file her physician boss had requested.

It was a medical document she'd initially been searching for, something  he'd asked her to print out for him. She'd gotten distracted when she  saw an icon marked "Chloe's Videos," and she hadn't been able to resist  looking at what she'd assumed were cheerful images of her best friend,  even though she knew she was clicking into something she probably  shouldn't.

She'd expected to see some happy snippets of her friend, a smiling Chloe  that Ellie, quite frankly, hadn't seen in a while. Her buddy had been  distracted and uncommonly nervous lately, and Ellie wished she knew the  reason why. Chloe Colter was one of those people who was naturally kind  and sweet.

Unfortunately, the scenes hadn't been joyous; the videos had been terrifying.

Ellie had only worked for Chloe's physician fiancé for a week or so, and  he was demanding, but what she'd just seen made her realize that James  was so much more than just a jerk.

He was pure evil!

Tears poured down Ellie's face as she signed out of the laptop and  unplugged it, knowing she needed to get to Chloe as quickly as possible.

I have to talk to her. She can't marry him. Why in the hell is she even still engaged to him? The bastard should be in jail!

Dammit! Ellie was angry with herself that she hadn't dug deeper into why  Chloe seemed so different since she'd returned to Rocky Springs. She'd  assumed her friend was just distracted and adjusting to being home again  after being away for so long to become an equine veterinarian. Or maybe  she was stressed about her upcoming marriage to James. Getting married  and planning a wedding was stressful, right? Especially when Chloe was  still trying to establish her career.

There's a hell of a lot more to this story that I don't understand. I  have to talk to Chloe, find out why she's hiding the fact that James is  an abuser.

A fierce protectiveness fluttered in Ellie's stomach, as she remembered  all the times Chloe had jumped to her defense in their twenty-something  years of friendship. How many times had Chloe offered to help her out of  her impoverished situation when they were kids? Ellie had lost count;  just like she couldn't remember the number of times that Chloe's family  had fed her when her mom had to work, or gave her new shoes or clothes  to wear, Chloe claiming they didn't fit and wanted Ellie to have them.

So many sweet things Chloe and her mom have done for me over the years.

Choking back a sob of sadness, Ellie was determined to make sure her  best friend didn't end up with the devil himself for a husband. Chloe  deserved the most amazing husband in existence.

Why? Why is she covering for what James is doing to her?

Ellie didn't have the answers, but she was damn well going to find out.  If need be, she'd drag Chloe out of the relationship kicking and  screaming before she'd sit by and watch as the maid of honor while her  friend got a life sentence with Satan.

Frantically, she gathered up her purse, ready to head out to Chloe's  place. Ellie considered calling her, but she needed to confront her in  person. She had no doubt that Chloe knew nothing about the videos, and  would probably be horrified when she saw them.

Chloe Colter had been her best friend since grade school, and Ellie knew  Chloe's terrified screams of pain and agony in the video weren't some  kind of kinky sex game. Chloe had been traumatized, frightened, and  begging for James to stop.

But the asshole never had. What kind of sick games was he playing, and  how had Chloe ever gotten involved? Why hadn't she just walked away from  him? After all, she was a Colter, and she didn't need any man. Chloe  was rich and highly educated enough to lead her own life, and she had  four older brothers who would have kicked the shit out of James had they  realized what he'd done to her. Then there was the biggest question:  why hadn't Chloe called the police on his ass? There had to be an  explanation, but reason escaped Ellie in her rush to get out of the  office.

The sound of someone jiggling the handle of the locked front door of the  office made Ellie panic, and she gathered up the computer close to her  body and sprinted from behind the desk, her heart racing as the door  began to open.

She didn't look to see who was coming in. There were only a few people  with a key, and she was one of them. Even if it was the cleaning crew,  she wasn't about to chance waiting to find out. The only thing she could  think of was sprinting for the back door, getting to her vehicle, and  hightailing it straight to Chloe.         

     



 

"Ellie!"

Hearing James's bellow from the reception area tripled her heart rate, and she flat-out ran for the back exit.

I just need to get to my car. I just need to get to Chloe.

Ellie could hear James's heavy steps pounding down the hallway behind  her, but she kept on running, her breathing ragged from panic as she  punched down the bar of the back exit and flew through the metal door  without hesitation.

Hating herself for putting on heels that morning, she kept on sprinting  as fast as her shoes would allow, clutching the laptop to her body like  her life depended on it.

I have to get to Chloe. I have to get to Chloe. Please, just let me get to her place.

She'd almost made it to her beat-up little economy car-a vehicle she'd  long ago dubbed the Blue Turtle because even though it was slow, it kept  on moving-when James's body collided with hers. They both went to the  ground, but unfortunately his body had her pinned to the cold concrete.

"Get. Off. Me." Her voice was a breathless hiss as she struggled to get out from under him.

"Is there some reason you're running away with my laptop, Ms. Winters?" James asked as he wrapped an arm around her neck.

"I'm going to work from home tonight." It was a lame excuse, but it was  all Ellie could think of, and Chloe had always said she was a terrible  liar. No matter what she claimed, she doubted James would believe it  since she'd been running away from him, and he'd only asked her to find  and print one document.

"You saw the videos," he accused menacingly. "You were going straight to  Chloe. Nosy bitch. I asked you to do one thing on the computer and you  just had to look at things that weren't intended to be seen by you or  anyone else. Not now. You'll ruin everything. I'm glad I came back when I  realized you might not mind your own business."

You shouldn't leave stuff you don't want seen on a computer that's accessible to anyone except you, dumbass.

Ellie was a crime show addict, and it was obvious that James was either  sloppy or psychotic enough to not think about the possibility of her  seeing it earlier. Feeling his arm tightening around her neck, she was  pretty sure it was mostly the latter.

"Why are you trying to hurt Chloe?" Ellie gave up her pretense in her  quest for answers. "She'd never do something like that to you. She loves  you." The fact that Chloe had even cared about a monster like James  made Ellie's stomach heave. The bastard had never deserved to even be in  the same room as Chloe.

"Of course she loves me," James grunted. "We're getting married, and  nobody is going to stop me. I'll finally get what I deserve."

Ellie wished he'd get what he really deserved: handcuffs and a very  uncomfortable jail cell for the rest of his life. It was obvious that  James thought he was entitled to Chloe's share of the Colter family  fortune, a wealth that was almost unfathomable.

"You deserve to be in jail," Ellie gasped out with what little air she could suck in.

"Shut the fuck up! We're going to get up. I have a gun, and if you make a  single noise, I'll fucking kill you," he rasped dangerously.

There was no question in Ellie's mind that James would follow through  with his threat. After seeing how he'd treated Chloe, she had no doubt  he was capable of just about anything.

He yanked her to her feet, and it didn't take long for her to see the  glint of steel in the dim lights of the empty parking lot. He definitely  had a weapon, and was prepared to use it. She considered screeching as  loudly as possible, but she doubted it would do anything except get her  silenced permanently. The office sat off by itself, down a dead end side  street. It was after dark, and it was cold. The possibility of anybody  hearing her was pretty slim. She decided if she didn't want to end up  dead, she needed to wait until she could make her escape.

What happened next screwed up her plan.

"I told Chloe you were worthless. You have no value to her. Your family  is poor, and you're poor. I only hired you to shut her up!" James  exclaimed dangerously, right before he brought back his arm and punched  her in the face.

Pain shot through Ellie's head as she absorbed the hit. Dazed from the  brutal blow, she was incapable of resisting as he led her to his car  parked on the other side of the parking lot.

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