Home > Indecent Secrets

Indecent Secrets
Author: Erika Wilde


Chapter 1






* * *


This was going to be my most interesting case yet.

Unlike certain anti-social cranky-pusses who were my beloved friends but could still do with a spa day or something more relaxing—naming no names here, Vaughn—I liked the cases we received that involved a human touch.

Most of our security stuff at Elite Protection and Consulting—EPC for short—was divided into four categories: the kind where you needed brawn, the kind where you needed a good security system, the kind where you needed someone eliminated, or the kind where you needed a human-to-human investigation.

The last one was the kind of case that I liked to take on. I wasn’t much into tech like Seth—our computer guru and partner—although I appreciated it. I could handle myself in a fight as well as any of us, but what I really liked was getting into people’s heads. I liked to see how I could manipulate them into giving up the secrets that they held so dearly. It was why I loved to seduce women, to watch them slowly crumble until they were putty in my hands, and mine to mold as I pleased.

Unfortunately, most of these cases I actually just ended up questioning people and feeling like a bored cop, which was annoying.

This current mission I’d been assigned, however, wasn’t going to be boring. In fact, it might end up being a lot of fun, I thought, as I read through the file and gathered all the information I could.

Jack Lawton was a recent multi-millionaire. Not through some startup or through social media popularity, but the old-fashioned, generational wealth way: he had a rich relative who’d died and left everything to him.

The Lawton family had been in the land development business for a couple of generations but the last guy in the business and his sister had some kind of major falling out. So, she’d left the company, married some dentist, and they hadn’t spoken much in the years since. Both she and her husband had died in the past few years, one from cancer and one from a stroke.

However, despite the sibling rivalry, her brother—also very recent deceased—hadn’t wanted the family business to go purely to the shareholders when he’d passed. He’d never married (although rumors had persisted for years about his young attractive male secretaries) and never had kids, so he’d left his entire fortune and majority stock in the company to Jack, his nephew, the only son of his dearly departed sister.

I was pretty sure this whole newly-rich thing was a bit of a shock to the poor guy. He was a recluse, an academic at some tiny liberal arts college in the middle of bumfuck nowhere, the kind of place where they set books like The Secret History.

The guy didn’t even have a picture of himself on the college’s website. That was the kind of hermit he was.

Jack Lawton liked his privacy and he liked living alone to do his birdwatching and write his papers on philosophy. When I had done some chatting with his colleagues in order to get an idea of the man, I’d been informed that since he’d received tenure he would spend most of his time sitting in his office staring out the window, making the university board tear their hair out.

Of course, apparently the guy also liked to write a book every five years that blew everyone’s balls off with its brilliance so hey, his staring outside the window was earned, I guess.

But this introverted guy was really not suited for a life running a massive company. Or being a society darling, attending the various functions that would now be expected of him. He didn’t want to live a public life. And he really, really didn’t want to deal with the hangers-on that would now be crowding around him to try and get money out of him.

It was perfectly understandable if you asked me. I had worked with the rich for long enough to know that those businessmen could be more ruthless than any shark in the ocean. They’d sense that Jack was new to this world and they’d bleed him dry if they could.

But until such time as Jack Lawton could figure out how to possibly get the company off his hands and return to his life of solitude and contemplation, he needed to make public appearances. He needed to act the role of the heir and make business decisions.

That was where I came in.

I was used to schmoozing people to give me information. I liked puzzles that involved my brain. So while Jack Lawton was snug in his home in the middle of nowhere, I’d been hired by him to do reconnaissance—pretending to be him and getting the information he needed to figure out who among the board members and others might be suitable to take over the company.

The man was a philosophy professor. He didn’t want to hand it over to just anyone. I supposed I was lucky he wasn’t also a damn ethics and morality professor or we’d probably spend forever debating who was the least evil of his uncle’s cronies. He wanted the person at the helm to be someone who’d handle the company responsibly so that Jack wouldn’t feel like shit for destroying his uncle’s memory, and I was the perfect man for the job.

Unlike the real Jack Lawton, I could be charming and sociable. I could slowly pick apart everybody’s needs and goals, see if anyone had a skeleton in their closet, and get rid of all the hangers-on and conmen. I’d deal with all of it, let Jack be in peace, and then we could settle who would take over from him based on the information I gleaned.


But fun.

I had never impersonated someone before. Yes, nobody knew what Jack Lawton looked like. But I had to know things about my ‘uncle’ and the family, the fallout, all of that. I had to make sure that I didn’t give anyone a reason to suspect I was an imposter, or both Jack and I would be in massive trouble.

There was also the small matter of the senior Lawton’s death.

Jack suspected—and I was inclined to agree—that the death of his uncle Byron hadn’t been… natural. Nobody had known that he would want to keep things in the family and would pass it all on to his reclusive nephew. Most people, or so the grapevine went, had assumed he’d leave it to his latest secretary or someone on the board of directors.

Now I had to keep a look out for a possible murderer as well, someone who would try to get in good with Jack and then kill him. Jack’s uncle Byron might be rumored to enjoy men, but that didn’t mean that one of his secretaries or board members or anyone else might not deploy a good-looking woman as an accomplice to help them in taking Jack down. And that was on top of the usual parasites.

This was going to be interesting for sure, and I couldn’t wait.

“You’re unusually excited about this case,” one of my partners, Vaughn, noted as I checked myself out in front of the mirror.

“You only get one chance at a first impression,” I noted.

Although how Vaughn managed to snag his girl despite one of the worst possible first impressions ever, I would never know.

Vaughn wrinkled his nose. “You’re wearing baby blue.”

I smirked at him. “Not all of us get by on plaid alone.”

I looked pretty damn good in a baby blue suit, if I did say so myself. I had only one chance to make an impression, it was true—but especially just one to make an impression of who Jack Lawton was.

I needed people to think that Jack was high on his newfound wealth and being a bit of what in Victorian times they’d call a ‘dandy’. The kind where you were excited to show off yourself and your wealth, pushing the boundaries of fashion a bit. I needed people to underestimate Jack—and show their hand.

Hot Books
» House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)
» A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire
» From Blood and Ash (Blood And Ash #1)
» A Million Kisses in Your Lifetime
» Deviant King (Royal Elite #1)
» Den of Vipers
» House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City #2)
» Sweet Temptation
» The Sweetest Oblivion (Made #1)
» Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6)
» Wreck & Ruin
» Steel Princess (Royal Elite #2)
» Twisted Hate (Twisted #3)
» The Play (Briar U Book 3)
» The War of Two Queens (Blood and Ash #4)