Her Russian Billionaires #3 NIKO

By: Susan Westwood



Was she his destiny? He chuckled. She was destined to be in his bed for a few more nights. That was it. Nik wasn’t the marrying kind. He liked field work too much and that was hard on a marriage.

Though Mark had been happily married. Not anymore.

He shook away thoughts of Mark as he uncovered one of the three cars his father left for him to drive. He’d left one at the bar so Destiny could drive. He’d figure out how to get it back later.

Today he would take the Maserati. The engine sprung to life like an animal waking from a snooze and ready for its day. The hum of the cylinders was intoxicating. If they’d just make one in manual, Nikolai would be a happy man.

He parked the car in one of the executive spots. Right next to his father’s Bentley. His father sat on a bench outside the building that had a view of Manhattan. Close enough to be there at a moment’s notice, but far enough that the rent was cheaper. His father owned the building, though, so rent wasn’t a problem. Property taxes were more of an issue.

He stopped in front of the man who had raised him. His father was looking thinner, his hair a little more silver. The spark had gone out of his eyes. He hated to face his father’s age. It meant his own mortality, too.

“Taking in some sun?”

“It’s September, boy, we only have a few more weeks we can sit outside.”

Nikolai cocked his head. Yuri Alman wasn’t a stop-and-smell-the-roses kind of guy. What had brought this on? “Shouldn’t we get started?”

“I wanted to chat with you out here for a moment. About the other reason I called you home.”

“Oh?”

His father patted a spot next to him. Nikolai obeyed and lowered himself to the bench.

“Someone is stealing money from me,” Yuri said.

“You know this for sure?”

“I have my hand in everything. Maybe not the decision-making, but I know where my money goes. I still have a firm handle on that.”

Nikolai grimaced. That was a subtle dig to his own financial mishaps in the past. He’d paid off all of his debts. He’d also be very rich if he took over his father’s company.

“Okay. Any ideas who?”

“If I did, I wouldn’t need you.”

“Fair enough. Will I have free rein to do this how I want?” Nikolai asked, knowing his father would stick his nose into it whenever he could.

“Yes. This is your skill set. Not mine.”

Nikolai chuckled. “That hasn’t stopped you in the past.”

Yuri smiled, but it didn’t reach his eyes. “I promise, I won’t meddle. Just give me updates.”

“Deal.”

His father stood and Nikolai followed, embracing his father. The man’s arms were weak and it wasn’t like hugging a bear the way it had been all of his life. Was his father sick?

“You’ll have to meet my assistant first. She will be your navigator for this whole process of running this company. I couldn’t have been this successful without her. Don’t judge by appearances.”

“Okay.”

He had no idea what that meant, but he was keeping his mind open. His father led him into the building. They took the elevator to the top floor. The doors opened onto a plush office. No one could get up here without Yuri’s permission. Only his top people had offices here.

“My assistant must be getting some coffee. Let’s go through to my office.”

“Is your assistant part of the investigation?”

His father stopped just inside his office door. “She is not. She is above reproach.”

No one was above being investigated in Nikolai’s mind. He would just be more discreet with his father’s assistant. He suspected she was an older woman who lived with thirty cats. That would be the only way someone could do that job. If she had a life, she wouldn’t be able to devote so much time to Yuri.

Yuri sat behind his desk. Nikolai sat on one of the leather chairs in front of the desk. His father had good taste, he thought as the chair practically cradled him. Comfortable, but not good for getting work done.

Yuri looked up at the door. “Oh, here she is.”

Nikolai shifted in his seat and looked right at the woman he’d slept with last night.

***

Destiny’s mouth went dry. She stood in the doorway, looking at the man she’d had sex with last night. What had supposed to be anonymous sex. Never to be seen again.

And here he was.

“Destiny?” Yuri said.

“Good morning, Yuri,” she said, entering the room like a skittish animal. What was she supposed to do in this situation? Was she supposed to admit she knew him? Then there would be explanations. That would be awkward and awful.

Nik made her decision for her. He stood, strode over to her, and shook her hand. “Nice to meet you. I’m Nikolai Alman.”

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