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Babysitting a Billionaire 3 : Taking Control

By:Nina Croft

Chapter One

Declan climbed out of his BMW sedan and handed the keys to the security guard. As he strolled toward the double glass doors of McCabe Industries, the now familiar sense of suffocation slowed his pace, and he had to fight the urge to turn around and run.

Christ, he was twenty-nine. Running away was hardly an option. Besides, where the hell would he run to? This was his life, and it was fucking perfect. He'd achieved everything he'd set out to. And yet each day it became harder to pretend he gave a shit.

He caught a reflection of himself in the glass doors. Dark suit, dark blue tie-like a million other businessmen-and the sense of suffocation tightened around him. As he forced it down, a loud crack rose above the rumble of traffic behind him, and the image shattered into a thousand pieces.

A second crack and some inner sense made him jerk to the side as something punched into him, whirling him around. He crashed to the concrete, his head hitting the curb, and everything went black.

When he came to, he was lying on his back, the smell of antiseptic thick in the air. He opened his eyes and stared at the white ceiling. He was pretty sure he was in a hospital bed, his brain was thumping, and his right arm was on fire. "Crap."

"Welcome back."

He rolled his head, blinked to clear his vision, and found his father standing beside him.

"What happened?" he asked.

"Someone shot you. And no prizes for guessing who or why."

His dad sounded pissed. Hardly surprising. Being shot was not a respectable pastime for a CEO.

Declan pushed himself up, flinching as pain raced from his shoulder to his wrist. He was still wearing his pants, but his chest was bare and a white bandage wrapped around his upper arm, blood already staining the cloth. "How bad is it? I have a meeting this afternoon."

"You've just been fucking shot. Forget about the fucking meeting." More than pissed. Worried. He hadn't seen his dad this worried since Declan had nearly gone off the rails and fallen in love ten years ago.

"It's an important meeting."

"No. You're the only thing that's important right now. Jesus, you could have died."

It was true. Declan waited for some reaction to that-fear, anger … but his mind remained numb. "Has news of the shooting gotten out? Has it affected the share price?"

"Will you stop thinking about the goddamn business? The goddamn business doesn't matter."

Declan raised an eyebrow. "You brought me up to think the business is the only thing that matters." 

"Well, maybe I was wrong."

His eyes narrowed on his father. "Have they given me drugs? Am I hallucinating?"

"Ha-ha." He shrugged. "But there's more to life … shit. Let's not go into this now. We'll talk later. When you're better."

Declan opened his mouth to say How about never? They didn't have those sorts of conversations, but the doctor came in at that moment and the next minutes were taken up with medical stuff.

His father had been acting strange since Declan had returned to the UK eleven months ago. This wasn't the first time he'd suggested that the business wasn't everything. Since when? His dad had even been trying his hand at matchmaking, pushing everything from corporate lawyers to exotic dancers under Declan's nose. It was surreal, and it was driving him crazy.

"How bad is it?" he asked the doctor as the bandage came off.

"Not bad, considering. The bullet went right through. I'm going to give you some stitches. Otherwise you have a bang on the head, and we'll keep you in overnight in case there's any concussion."

"I have a-"

"He'll stay," his dad interrupted. "If I have to tie him to the goddamned bed."

His father really was upset. Which was weird. Rory McCabe did not do upset. "I've arranged for Pete to stay here tonight," he said, a frown turning down the corners of his mouth. "He'll stand guard outside your room. Then tomorrow, we'll get you some bodyguards."

"You're joking, aren't you?"

"Do I look like I'm fucking joking?"

Declan glanced away from the doctor stitching the wound to where his father leaned against the wall arms folded across his chest. No, he didn't; he looked deadly serious. "I don't need a minder, dad."

"You're sitting in ER having a bullet wound stitched up. I say that pretty much means you do."

He did have a point, but somehow, Declan couldn't get worked up about it. "I knew the risks when I went to the police."

"And I warned you against it."

"Why? Were they old mates of yours?"

For a moment, his father's expression tightened, and then he grinned. "More likely old enemies. Let's just say that I know the type."

Yeah, his old dad would know the type. McCabe Industries was now totally legitimate, but it hadn't always been that way. His father's wealth had been built on illegal gambling, smuggling, and prostitution. That was all behind him now, but Declan was betting he still had a few dodgy contacts.