46 in stock
Series: Takeover Duet #2
Tropes: Billionaire, Workplace Romance, Enemies-to-Lovers
Takeover Duet Book 2
Antonio Forte has always put business before pleasure, but ever since he met the gorgeous CEO of Interstellar Corp, he finds himself wanting both. And he’s hoping she won’t be able to refuse his latest offer.
Lauren Bradley knows how to survive as a woman in a man’s world—trust no one. Especially handsome, smooth-talking men who make her panties melt with a single glance like Antonio. But his offer is almost as tempting as he is.
Sometimes to gain it all, you have to give up everything...
Let the games begin...
Signed paperback copy of Merger by Chelle Bliss.
All books are not personalized unless requested otherwise in the notes section during checkout.
Settling between Lauren’s legs, I twist my hips and grind my c*ck against her softness. “I’m not ready to say goodbye.”
Her fingers tangle in my hair as she wraps her arms around my neck. “We still have a few hours.” She gazes up at me with a sinful smile.
The sun streams through the windows, illuminating the bed and bathing us in warmth. The distant claps of thunder mingle with the waves crashing near the shore as if serenading us to stay. I’m not ready to face reality or the people we are once we step foot off the island.
The hardness I’d seen in Lauren inside the walls of Interstellar has
vanished in the last two days, replaced by the beautiful, delicate
creature underneath me. “Let’s stay another day.” Burying my face in her
neck, I breathe in the saltiness of her skin before pressing my lips
She turns her head, giving me free rein to feast on her flesh, but she doesn’t speak.
I slide my hand down her side before gripping her hip in my palm and repeating the words. “Let’s stay another day."
“We can’t,” she whispers, peering up at me, and I know she’s right although I don’t want to hear it. “We have to go back.
” Leaving the island will put the wall back between that has been eroding. Slowly, brick by brick, the real Lauren has emerged, showing me parts of her I never knew existed. The woman underneath is tough as I expected, but her dreams aren’t her own. She’s driven by the memories of her father, and she’s burying herself in her work instead of living life.
My lips skim her neck before finding her mouth. “Promise me things won’t go back to the way they were,” I say, staring into her eyes, searching for affirmation that the entire weekend wasn’t just a ruse.
” I crush my mouth to hers, sealing whatever she was going to say inside. They’re words I’m not ready to hear because I know the wall will return as soon as we step foot off the beach. The only thing I can do is remind her of what it’s like to be one. How truly compatible we are and how together we can make magic happen.
She moans as my fingers slide underneath her a**, tipping her hips upward for better access. Every moment she’s been in my presence I’ve had to fight the urge to bury myself inside her because it is the only time I feel at peace and truly fulfilled.
When I push my c*ck inside, she wraps her legs around me, holding me close. I open my eyes, gazing down at her as our bodies are one. I wish I could freeze time. This moment is pure perfection, but just like everything, it’s fleeting and impossible to capture for eternity.
I slide in and out of her, relishing the feel of her body tightening around mine with each sweep. There’s no denying what’s between us. No matter what she says when we land in Chicago, I feel the way her body craves me. I know in my bones that she’s just as in love with me as I am with her.
“Find out everything you can about Trent Moore,” I bark into the phone.
Less than an hour ago, I arrived at Interstellar to get Lauren’s decision on the merger between our companies. It was the only way I could think to keep our relationship alive and salvage the mess that’s become of the Cozza-Interstellar takeover. I’d given Lauren the day to think it over and share it with her team before she’d give me the final answer to bring back to Cozza.
But Lauren was nowhere to be found. Cassie hadn’t seen her for at least 3 hours, and there’s nothing written in her datebook that gives any of us a clue as to where she may be. I scoured her office, searching for some shred of evidence, but I found nothing.
Slowly, panic crept in, and my worst fears were realized. Lauren isn’t the type to disappear without a word, especially not when the future of
Interstellar is on the line.
Panicked, I did the only thing I could. I called the head of security at Cozza and made finding Lauren a top priority. I didn’t want to involve her team because that would set off alarm bells throughout the company and cause widespread panic, and it wasn’t something either of us could afford. Maverick, my head of security, is usually busy keeping our company secrets safe or tossing trespassers from our testing facility just outside the Chicago city limits, but nothing is more important than finding Lauren.
“Give me an hour,” he tells me.
“You have thirty minutes.” I hang up before Maverick can reply.
I’m done wasting another second discussing the details when he should be searching for her and Trent. With each passing minute, she’s moving farther away and becomes harder to find. In the possible few hours she’s been missing, she could be hundreds of miles away and even harder to
I slam my cell phone down on Lauren’s desk, filled with so much rage I could easily crush it in my palm. “Goddamn it.” The screen
splinters into a hundred pieces under my palm from the impact.
The only thing that matters now is finding her, and I won’t rest until she’s found alive.
But Trent is smart. Finding him won’t be as easy. With his head start and ability to hide his digital footprint, my team is going to have to be creative and hope he fucks up somehow.
But there’s one thing I know. I will find him. I will not stop until he pays for what he’s done and I have Lauren back in my arms. If Trent harms one hair on her head, his punishment will be a hundred times more painful than what he did to
My phone rings, a shard of glass pricking my finger as I answer.
“You better come over here,” Cassie says.
I did not want her to go there alone, but Cassie insisted on going to
Lauren’s apartment in hopes of finding her there. I knew the likelihood Cassie would find her was almost zero, but I wasn’t going to stop her.
“No, but…” Her voice trails off, and she whimpers.
“Cassie?” I stalk toward the elevator, ready to kill Trent and anyone else who is involved in Lauren’s disappearance.
“Someone destroyed her place. It’s like something out of a movie, Mr. Forte.
” I stab at the button inside the elevator, smearing my blood across the L. “Don’t call the police. I’ll be there in ten minutes.”
The last thing I need, or Lauren needs, for that matter, is to have her
disappearance become media fodder. It would be a nightmare both
personally and for our companies. If the police were to investigate her
whereabouts leading up to her kidnapping and find out about our trip to my private island, the media will have a field day with the knowledge that the CEOs of both Cozza and Interstellar are romantically involved.
As I walk toward Lauren’s building, I call Maverick back and ask him to
meet me at her penthouse to gather any evidence that may lead to her
Cassie’s waiting in the lobby for me with her head down, pacing, and mumbling gibberish to herself.
She stops moving, lifts her head, and our eyes lock.
The panic I felt multiplies. Visions of Lauren injured or worse flash
through my mind, and I’m momentarily frozen by fear before I collect myself, rushing to Cassie’s side.
“It’s not good.” She shakes her head and starts to pull at the ends of her hair. “God, it’s awful.
” I reach out to her, touching her arms. “Stay down here.”
She goes rigid and peers up at me with narrowed eyes. “I can’t stand here and do nothing, Mr. Forte. I can’t.”
“Take me up, then. We’ll figure it out together.”
She moves toward the bank of elevators on the other side of the lobby, staring at the tiles on the floor as we walk. “Trent is a bastard, Mr. Forte, but I never thought he’d do this.”
“We’ll find her, Cassie. That I promise you.” I stand beside her as the elevator doors close. We both stare at the floor, silent in our fear as the carriage rises toward Lauren’s floor.
I know we’ll find her, but heads are going to roll if… I can’t let myself think that way. I can’t give in to the possibility that we’re not going to find her. The first forty-eight hours are the most critical in any investigation, and I plan to use all my resources, both legal and illegal, to track Trent down and rescue my girl.
Cassie glances up at me before the elevator doors open. “If anyone can find her, sir, I know you can.”
In any other situation, her confidence in me would’ve made me smile, but I give her a quick nod instead because, for the first time in my life, nothing is certain.
I’m rocked back when the elevator doors slide apart, and I see the front door is open right into Lauren’s penthouse loft. The beautiful hardwood floor is covered with her personal belongings, and shreds of her furniture are scattered everywhere. There isn’t a spot left untouched, and not a single item is in its original form.
Stepping inside, I’m careful not to disturb much. “Did you see blood anywhere?”
Cassie shakes her head. “Have you been here before?”
“Anything missing from what you can tell?”
“No, sir.” She stares out the windows across the living room, almost in a trance. “But it’s such a mess in here I don’t know if I could even tell if there was anything missing.”
Cassie almost jumps two feet off the floor when Maverick pounds on the door. She’s even paler than when I first arrived, and guilt floods me that she had to witness the mayhem in Lauren’s apartment alone. If I had been thinking clearly, I would’ve had my security com here instead of Cassie.
“Don’t be frightened, Cassie. I called my security team.” Maverick’s not even two feet inside the penthouse when I start to question him. “Have you found out anything yet?”
“The team is working on it. I need a few minutes to survey the apartment for evidence, and then we’ll talk.” His eyes land on Cassie standing near the corner of the living room, staring
down at the city.
“She a witness?”
“She works for Ms. Bradley. She didn’t see anything, but she knows Trent and Lauren’s history and may be vital in helping to find out where he’s taken her.”
“We’re one hundred percent sure he has her?”
“Yes,” I bite out; my anger growing with every passing second that’s being wasted.
Maverick answers his phone on the first ring. “Yeah? Tell me what you got.” His eyes lock with mine, and he motions toward the hallway with his head before wandering away..
“Cassie,” I say softly, approaching her with caution so I don’t scare her any more than she already is. The poor woman is definitely on edge. She could’ve walked in on Trent or someone else and ended up dead. “I need to know everything about Trent and Lauren.”
Cassie looks at me, but it’s as if she is looking right through me, unable to focus. “Whatever you need,” she says, almost in a whisper.
Maverick’s deep voice startles Cassie again, pulling her from the trance. Reaching out, I steady her in my grip.
Maverick could scare the shit out of the calmest person. He’s almost seven feet tall, with broad shoulders, dark eyes, and looks more Neanderthal than most people on the streets. He’s been a loyal employee for ten years, and I was lucky enough to snag him right after he retired from the Green Berets. With his connections all over the world, information is easy to access, and he’s the most loyal person in my company.
I give Maverick an icy stare because he should know better than to creep around the penthouse quiet as a mouse and then speak. “Give me a few minutes with Cassie. Look around and see if you can find anything first.”
“Will do.” Maverick disappears quickly.
“Cassie, come sit.” I push aside a pillow that’s lying on the floor with the filling scattered about and make a place for us to sit.
She moves slowly and folds her hands in her lap as she sits, but she doesn’t bring her eyes to mine. She’s still staring out the window. If she’s focusing on nothing or everything, I can’t tell. Cassie has always been a talker, and rarely have I been in her presence that she isn’t rattling off words so fast I can’t keep up. But today, after everything that’s happened, she’s a ghost of her former self.
“What can you tell me about Trent and Lauren? I know it’s an awkward conversation to have with me, but even the smallest bit of information may help us find them quicker.”
Her fingers pick at the hem of her skirt, and her eyes follow their movement. She doesn’t speak at first, and I don’t push her.
“They started the Mercury project together, and after spending countless hours working together, things just happened.” She peers up at me. “Lauren broke it off after she became CEO, but Trent…” she sighs and shakes her head. “Trent never could accept that they were over.”
“Tell me more.”
Cassie spends the next ten minutes telling me everything she knows about Trent and how he has treated Lauren over the last few years. It is hard for me to understand how Lauren kept him on as an employee with everything he’d done to her. But like many people in her situation, in our situation, we keep people whom we loathe for the good of the company.
The one thing I know for sure about Lauren is that Interstellar is the most important thing in her life. She’d sacrifice her comfort if it meant success for her employees and achieving her father’s dream.
When Cassie’s done, I leave her on the couch and find Maverick in Lauren’s bedroom, picking through a pile of ripped up papers and photographs. “This one’s interesting.” He hands me a crumpled picture. Trent and
Lauren are sitting side by side on a rock with a small cabin in the
background. “If I kidnapped someone, this is exactly where I’d take them.”
I grab the photo from his hand and study the image. A younger Lauren with a big, carefree smile on her face. Turning the photo over, the year 2012 is written on the back with the word Canada. “What did your contact have to say earlier?”
“They’re piecing together his assets and background. He’s done a good job covering his tracks. Based on the lack of information, I’d say he was planning this for a while. Dealing with foreign governments can be tricky too. But have no doubt, Mr. Forte, I’ll find her.”
“F*ck,” I growl. “I don’t care who we have to pay off, make it happen, Maverick.”
“What do you want to do about the apartment?”
I look around, taking in the damage Trent caused. I would hate for Lauren to come back to such a mess, especially after everything she’ll have been through.
“Get it cleaned up and replace everything that’s damaged.”
“It’ll be done today.”
“I’m going to take Cassie home. Call me as soon as you get more information.”
“Yes, sir.” Maverick reaches for his phone and heads for the elevator with me on his heels. “Leave everything to me.” He glances at Cassie, who hasn’t moved since I left her on the couch. “Ma’am.” He smiles in her direction.
Her eyes wander up his body, but she doesn’t return the smile. “Sir.”
I motion for Cassie after the elevator doors close with Maverick inside. “Let’s go. My team will handle the apartment.”
She stands and stalks in my direction, crunching the broken pieces of debris on the floor with every step. “We should call the police.”
She pokes my chest, and her eyes narrow as she stares up at me. “No. Now, Mr. Forte. The police will find her.” She pokes me again, but a little
harder. “You may have spent some time with Lauren, but how do I know you have her best interest at heart?”
“Cassie.” I back away from her slender finger and daggerlike nail. “Come on. Don’t be crazy.”
Her eyes widen, and redness creeps up her neck as she steps forward and pokes me harder. “Crazy? You’re the man trying to steal her company. I find it hard to believe that you have her best interest at heart.”
I can’t blame her. From the outside, I appear to be the enemy. No one
really knows what happened on the island or the way Lauren has
completely captivated me. She’s like a drug that I crave and can’t get
out of my system. One taste and I was hooked.
No one has ever had that effect on me before. I’ve been with many women, more than I really care to admit, but I’ve never chased someone before her.
I wrap my hands around Cassie’s arms, but I grip her gently. “Listen. If we call the police, the media will find out. It would be disastrous for
Lauren and Interstellar if word about her abduction got out. No matter
what you think, I’m doing what’s best for Lauren.”
She tenses and bares her teeth. “You better find her fast, or you won’t be able to control what happens inside Interstellar.”
Truer words have never been spoken. We only have a few hours to come up with a way to buy some time to keep the brass at Interstellar content with her absence.
“I’ll handle it.”
She pulls away and takes a deep breath as she tugs down her dress shirt that’s come untucked from her knee-length skirt. “I’m sorry, Mr. Forte. I didn’t mean to sound like a bitch, but I love Lauren like a sister. I like control, and I have none right now. I don’t know what to say to anyone tomorrow morning.”
“Let me take you home, and by the time you walk through the doors of Interstellar tomorrow, I’ll either have Lauren back or I’ll have a cover story for you to use to keep people from asking too many questions.”
“You better make it good, Mr. Forte. Lauren never misses work, so it’ll be a hard sell.”
“Believe me, Cassie. I’ll make it bulletproof.”
She twists her lips, staring me in the eyes like she’s reading my thoughts.
With an assistant like Cassie, it’s not hard to understand how Lauren has begun to conquer the world.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chelle Bliss has dedicated her life to education.She has been a teacher for over ten years and holds a Master of Education degree. Teaching has given her a creative outlet, but she yearned for something more. Writing has given her that, no longer about
just creativity, it became a journey.
Chelle is an avid reader; consuming contemporary romance, dark reads, young adult, and all things erotica. Chelle wanted to create a book filled with characters that readers could relate to with real world problems and matching wallets.
Chelle loves to travel and her favorite cities are New Orleans and Paris. She currently lives in Ohio.