Taken by the CEO (The Scandalous Wentworths)

By: Stefanie London

Chapter One


Emmaline Greene had never asked for much in life. Nor did she voice her opinions too often or too loudly. But that was all going to change. Everything was going to change…starting with her name.

What better way to forget that she’d wasted six years of her life being married to a cheating bastard who’d turned her into a trophy wife with no purpose or achievements of her own? The only way she could think to truly bury the easily manipulated person she’d been in the past was to become someone else.

After all, she deserved a new identity to go with her new lease on life. She’d earned it.

“What else am I supposed to call you?” Gracie stared at her as though she’d spontaneously sprouted a third head and declared that she was, in fact, an alien. Perhaps the conversion to extraterrestrial would have been easier for her sister to accept than Emmaline suddenly deciding she no longer wanted to be referred to by her birth name.

“I don’t know.” Emmaline cradled her latte. “I don’t see why it’s a big deal. You changed your name.”

Gracie rolled her eyes. “I got married and changed my surname. That’s a totally different situation.”

“What about Ruby?”

“It doesn’t suit you.”

“I could dye my hair red.” Flame-colored hair would certainly be more interesting than her boring beige-blond. That would shock everyone into seeing her as a different person.

“I’ll disown you,” Gracie muttered. “I was always jealous that you got the blond hair and I didn’t.”

Emmaline wrinkled her nose. Growing up, she’d envied her sister’s dark curls and rich brown eyes. Gracie looked glamorous. Emmaline, by comparison, lacked curves and curls of any kind. The blond hair was the perfectly bland cherry on top of a boring, vanilla sundae. Maybe she would dye her hair…

“What about Gemma?” she suggested.

Gracie frowned. “Do you want to have the same initials as me?”

“Bianca?”

“Bianca means white,” Gracie pointed out, taking a sip of her coffee. “Which would make your name White Greene.”

A waiter arrived with their breakfast and the conundrum of finding a new name was momentarily forgotten. The Wooden Llama café was their weekend hangout. It was a quirky little place that did an especially good poached eggs and avocado smash. Plus, they served their coffee just the way Emmaline liked it—piping hot and stronger than a bodybuilder. This morning it was full to the brim, and the sound of chatter and cutlery scraping against plates comforted her. Any noise at all was preferable to the deafening tomb-like silence of her house.

“What about Adriana?” Emmaline said. “Or Charlotte? They sound like fun names.”

Definitely not as stuffy and old-fashioned as “Emmaline.”

“Em.” Gracie reached across the table and grabbed her sister’s hand. “Just because Conrad was a lying, cheating scumbag doesn’t mean you need to go changing everything about yourself. He did the wrong thing, not you.”

“I want to be a new person, and I want a clean break.” She pulled her hand out of Gracie’s grip. “What’s wrong with that?”

“Nothing. But changing your name won’t do anything. And what about work?”

“A simple update to the employee system.” She shrugged. “And work is exactly where I want to start being the new me.”

Her job at the Wentworth Group had been the first step in rebuilding her life. Conrad, the aforementioned cheating scumbag, had always wanted her to stay home and support his business. So, she’d been the perfect wife—cooked gourmet meals, hung off his arm at functions, sacrificed her job, and killed the little voice inside that had always asked but what about me?

Now she was working in the HR department of one of the biggest luxury retailers in Australia. But it wasn’t enough. She wanted to prove to herself and her employer that she was top-level management material. And that meant she could be a wallflower no more. It was time to shine and stand out and do all the things she’d been told were “not appropriate” in the past.

“They have this fast-track program where they take the best performers and give them an accelerated career plan. I could be working in a senior manager role in three years,” Emmaline said, sipping her coffee. “It’s highly competitive. I want one of those spots.”

“I am all for this newfound ambition, Em. It’s great, really.” Gracie sighed. “But you need to get out and meet people socially, too. Or take up a hobby. Life can’t be all work and no play.”

Emmaline bristled and speared a piece of bacon with her fork. “I have more in my life than just work.”

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