Bastard In A Suit (Book Two)

By: Ivy Carter

Chapter 1





Duke Kingston has just admitted to me that he bought my fledgling company under false pretenses—that he never intended to do anything with the MicroTracker except bury it.

Kill it.

Make sure that the world never sees it or knows it exists.

It was all a lie, and now I’m stuck.

“Asshole!”

The word slips through my lips with a violent hiss as the depth of this betrayal hits me like a gut punch.

Duke recoils, instant shock registering on his rugged face. His brown eyes go hard, almost black. “I suggest you gauge your next words carefully.”

“Or what? You’ll spank me?” I fire back without thinking.

His eyes flash. “Don’t tempt me,” he retorts.

A delicious thrill runs up my spine, but I fight back the urge to give into my attraction to this man who I should, by all rights, hate more than I’ve ever hated another human being.

I scroll through my memory banks, rewind conversations, look for hidden meanings, anything to signal a clue I somehow missed. There’s nothing. Not one piece of evidence that should have warned me that Duke planned to kill the project. Zilch. Certainly not when he sprawled me across his desk and buried his face between my thighs.

I’m such a fucking idiot.

“If you didn’t plan on doing anything with the MicroTracker, why did you even hire us?” My throat closes in around confusion and grief. “After all, any of your technicians could have developed the technology, right?”

The vein near his temple throbs. I’m pushing buttons but I don’t care. I’m so naïve. I thought we had the start of something here. I don’t mean fairy tales and white knights, but something…real. The burn of betrayal aches in my chest. Tears sting my eyes. I tamp them back, refusing to show any more vulnerability—I’ve already given this man too much. And for what?

“Why?” My voice cracks a little and I stiffen my spine in an effort to regain control. “I just don’t understand…”

“The product is mine,” Duke says harshly. “I don’t owe you an explanation.”

My nostrils flare. “Because you’re the mighty Duke Kingston? In charge and above reproach no matter if it’s the boardroom or the bedroom?”

Duke plants both hands on the desk and leans forward, flexing his arm muscles. His face hovers so close I can feel his breath. “I didn’t hear you complaining.”

My traitorous insides turn to mush. I’m sure it’s written all over my face—the desperation, the longing. Despite everything, I still want him, and he damn well knows it. The first pin pricks of humiliation begin to crackle across my skin. Cool it Hailey. Damn it. I’m so much better than this.

“I didn’t complain because I didn’t know—didn’t know any of this.” I bury my head in my hands and take a deep breath. What the hell am I going to tell Jake and Forrest? They’ll be devastated. Hell, I’m devastated. My heart feels like it’s about to split in half.

Duke’s voice turns leaden with boredom. “Most would consider themselves lucky to have gotten a large cash buyout and jobs with a top-notch company. Yet here you are, acting as if I’ve just set fire to your childhood home.”

I level him with a look of the most disgust I can muster, even though I know he’s right. “You’re not a God, Mr. Kingston. You’re selfish,” I swallow hard, working to control my emotions. My heart races so fast I’m worried it will explode. “Maybe that’s how business works. But I didn’t peg you as the type to take advantage of—“ I resist the urge to call myself a kid—“three intelligent young entrepreneurs.”

Duke scoffs. “Your contracts were very fair, considering.” He leans up against his desk and shoves his hands in his pockets.

The motion draws my attention to his groin and I hate that my stare lingers there. This isn’t exactly the kind of fucking over I envisioned. “If the product wasn’t worth your time, you should have sent us away.”

He cocks his head. “And let someone else buy it? And here I thought you’d researched Kingston Industries. You know that’s not my style.”

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