A Diamond Deal With the Greek

By: Maya Blake

CHAPTER ONE

ARABELLA ‘REBEL’ DANIELS stood at the back of one of the many lifts that served the giant glass and steel masterpiece that was the Angel Building, and waited for the group of four to board. Swallowing down the lingering taste of the second double-shot macchiato she’d given in to this morning, she took a deep breath to calm herself. Although she’d needed the boost very badly at the time, the effect on her nerves now prompted a bout of regret.

Caffeine and panic did not mix well, and, after two long weeks of subsisting on both, she was more than ready to ditch them.

Her heart pounded with trepidation, but, thankfully, she couldn’t hear it above the loud music playing in her ears.

Grappling with what would greet her once the lift journey ended was consuming enough, although there was also the real and present albatross of having lost her biggest sponsor three weeks ago and the resulting media frenzy, to deal with. Of course, far from the wild speculation that she was using booze and drugs to cope with her problems, the media would’ve been shocked and sorely disappointed to know the strongest substance she’d touched was coffee.

She stared unseeing before her, the words of the letter that had been burning a hole in her bag for the last two weeks emblazoned in her mind.

Arabella,

First of all, happy twenty-fifth birthday for Wednesday. If you’re surprised at this out-of-the-blue communication, don’t be. You’re still my daughter and I have a duty of care to you. There’s no judgement on my part for the way you’ve chosen to live your life. Nor are there any strings attached to the enclosed funds. You need it, so put pride aside and use it. It’s what your mother would’ve wanted.

Your father.

Steeling her heart against the lance of hurt at the stark words, Rebel shifted her mind to the banker’s receipt that had accompanied the letter.

The five hundred thousand pounds deposited into her bank account was a little less than what her sponsors would’ve donated had she still been on their books, but it was enough to get her to the Verbier Ski Championships.

This time she couldn’t stop her insides from twisting with guilt and a touch of shame.

She should’ve tried harder to return the money.

Too much had been said between her father and her that couldn’t be unsaid. Even after all these years, the pain and guilt were too vivid to be dismissed. And nothing in her father’s letter had given her cause to think his views weren’t as definitive as they’d been the last time she’d seen him.

He still laid the death of his wife, her mother, firmly at Rebel’s feet.

Suppressing her pain, she tried to ignore the pointed looks from the lift’s occupants. At any other time she would’ve turned the music down, but today was different. Today, she would be seeing her father again for the first time in five years. She needed a full suit of armour in place but the music was all she had.

When another suited businessman sent her a scathing look, she mustered a smile. His eyes widened a touch, his ire rapidly morphing to something else. Rebel looked away before her attempt to excuse her music’s loudness turned into anything else. Keeping her eyes on the digital counter, she exhaled as the lift reached the fortieth floor. According to what she’d been able to glean from their very brief, very stilted conversations over the last week, her accountant father worked for Angel International Group as their CFO. He hadn’t volunteered any more information when she’d asked. In fact, any further attempt to pave a reconnecting road with her father had been firmly blocked. Just as he’d firmly blocked her initial attempts to give back the money he’d given her.

The deeply wounding knowledge that her father was only doing his duty to the wife he’d loved and lost so cruelly should’ve driven Rebel’s actions, not her manager’s insistence that the money was the answer to all their prayers.

But it was her father’s insistence that the money was hers no matter what that had led her to finally confessing the money’s existence to Contessa Stanley. Her manager had had no qualms about Rebel using the funds. Especially since Rebel had recently lost yet another big sponsor due to the continued domino effect created by the sensational reports splashed all over the media. Even her retreat from the spotlight had been looked upon negatively, with wild speculation as to whether she was finally in rehab or nursing a broken heart.

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