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Billionaire Bachelors 10 ; Holiday Treasure

By´╝ÜMelody Anne

Prologue

Tanner storm leaned back comfortably in his chair as his sister, Brielle, vented her wrath and her frustration.

"How are you so damn calm, Tanner?" she shouted as she paced back and forth in the front room of his plush penthouse. "The old man has ripped everything from us! Everything!"

"He can't take what he doesn't know about," Tanner said, not fazed the least.

"What are you talking about? He froze all of my assets, my cards, everything. He stopped my payments on bills. I will be homeless soon and he doesn't even care. If I don't play his stupid little game, then I am screwed."

What neither his father nor his siblings knew was that Tanner had his own wealth. He hadn't been close to his family in a very long time, and he hadn't wasted all his time away. He'd taken a different path than any of them, and he'd managed to make some incredibly good investments. But he didn't want any of them to know.

Yes, he could help his sister out, but for some odd reason, he wasn't sure he wanted to. Sure, their dad's little lesson - to teach them all how to be responsible - was pretty laughable, and Tanner knew it, but unless he wanted his family to find out everything, what could he do but play along when the old man decided to put on his puppet show?

When he'd received the offer for the building from his father as a test to see whether he was worthy to be reinstated as an heir to the old guy's empire, he'd thought it nothing but a joke - a very annoying joke - but a joke nonetheless, with no laughs anywhere in sight. But no, it was right there in black and white on his father's letterhead.

One part of Tanner wanted to play the game, wanted to take one of his father's projects and make it succeed. It would prove to the old man that Tanner was not someone to write off so easily. Another part of him wanted to tell his father to stick it where the sun didn't shine.

Ah, he still hadn't made up his mind. How was he to follow his dad's terms and make a go of the stupid place? But when he'd checked out the property, he couldn't help but grow excited. Even now, brick and mortar could make a rational man see dollar signs.

Looking at his sister, a woman of beauty and intelligence, and someone he'd once thought the sun rose and fell upon, made him even more determined to prove their father wrong. Somewhere along the way, his family had fallen apart.

Was what his father doing a good thing? No. Tanner wouldn't take it that far. But still …  

He tuned back in, and his sister's ranting helped Tanner make his decision. He would accept his father's project, dammit. He would take the failing apartment complex his father had bought and he would rip it down and put in its place something so beautiful, so amazing, so profitable, that his father would have to admit he'd been wrong about his son.

He suddenly wanted to get started. This project was stirring his blood, exciting him. It would be a lot of fun, and fun wasn't something he'd had in a long time.

"Brielle," he said with sudden determination, "you can pace and cry all you want, but the bottom line is that you either accept this or not. We might not always like what is thrown our way, but our character is defined by the decisions we make." He stood up and moved toward the door with a gesture whose meaning was clear - follow me and get out.

He was fed up with his sister's tantrum, and he really didn't want to deal with her any longer.

"You're a jerk, Tanner. You always have been and always will be," she said, grabbing her purse and following him.

"Sorry, sweetheart, but I just don't … care."

His smile, if you could call it that, made his sister glare at him before she walked out his door.

As he shut it, the smile fell away. Yes, he was a jerk, someone who pushed anyone and everyone away from him. But wasn't that the way he wanted to be? It sure as hell made his life more comfortable and efficient. Yes, he was managing quite well, he told himself as he went toward his study.

He had a project to head, and he wasn't going to waste any more time. Once Tanner Storm set his mind to something, he didn't stop until it was finished.

Chapter One

Mr. Storm, you may think that you're above the law, but I guarantee you that you are not! This is the fourth time I've seen you in my courtroom in the last three months. It's become a bad habit, one that I don't appreciate. I don't care how much you're paying your group of attorneys. It's not getting you out of trouble this time."

"Your Honor-"

The judge did not take kindly to Tanner Storm's interruption. "Do not make me add contempt of court to your list of crimes," Judge Kragle said. "The conditions of your building are deplorable. I'm absolutely appalled that you'd leave women and children with no working elevators, with corroding pipes, and with no heat. I've thought long and hard about your punishment-"

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