Charade (Billionaire in Disguise Series, #3)By: Lexy Timms
Billionaire in Disguise Series, Volume 3
I THOUGHT ALL MY TROUBLES were over.
The men scheming to kill me met their own ends, and I made it clear to my beautiful bodyguard Samantha I wanted something more than just protection from her. When she told me she loved me back, I knew what true happiness was.
My brief moment of joy was dashed when the FBI stormed in and arrested me on false charges. It was like my old enemies had reached from the grave to pull me down with them. The government seems convinced that I’m one of the bad guys and not a victim.
Where does that leave me?
Sam still believes me, but with my accounts frozen and my resources limited, I’m not sure I can find out who might be interested in finishing what my old enemies started. So I’ll do whatever it takes to protect myself and the woman I love, even if it involves making deals with gangsters.
Sometimes justice is a charade.
I sat in the courtroom with my cane between my legs. Derek’s bail hearing was today, and I was a nervous wreck. Between assuming the position of the head of his security at his company and trying to vet a new security team for his home all over again, my head was spinning. Espionage? Conspiracy? It was all so outlandish. My heart was telling me Derek was innocent. My rational mind was telling me he was innocent. If he was engaging in any practices like that, I would’ve known about it. I would’ve seen it because I was plugged into his work at all times. I was hovering over him every second of every day trying to make sure he was okay.
And yet, my conscience knew better than that.
John had just betrayed me. He’d been the only person I even remotely considered a best friend. We had been on life-altering missions together. Saved crying children from cynical terrorists and peppered volatile landscapes with bullets to free civilians. He’d headed up so many of my task force teams and worked alongside me when I was still a grunt trying to work my way to the top. I had lost more men in my arms with him at my side than any other human being I’d ever worked with.
Yet, he’d betrayed me.
Which meant it wasn’t a far cry for Derek to do the same thing.
That man I’d called my best friend had nearly killed me, put a damn bullet in my leg and was ready to splatter my brains on the pavement. Who was to say Derek wasn’t capable of getting greedy? That was what this was. Rich men accused of shit like this always did it because they got greedy. Just like Jacob had.
And the two of them had been best friends. Who was to say one hadn’t rubbed off subconsciously on the other?
It was hard to know for certain. On one hand, this could've been shit Jacob was doing underneath Derek’s nose at the company. And with Jacob dead, the federal government was looking for someone to take the fall. It wouldn’t be hard to pin a dead COO’s illegal actions on the owner of a company. But on the other hand, I had to keep as unbiased of a lens as possible. Getting biased was what had disabled me from seeing Jacob and again from seeing John. If I wanted to prove Derek’s innocence—or accept his guilt—then I had to stay as unbiased as I could.
But was that possible after I’d already fallen in love with him?
It wasn’t just that, however. Not only was my mind running around with all the possibilities of the truth or lies in this shitstorm, but my gut was shrieking at me higher and louder than it ever had in my entire life. There was more to this situation than merely Jacob or John. There was more to this than a man wanting to own a company or a bodyguard getting paid off to tie up loose ends. Something with John’s entire situation didn’t sit right. Even if the man had no integrity, he’d had standards. I personally saw the encrypted transactions between his bank account and Jacob’s. The money wasn’t anything to shake a stick at. Hell, Derek had been paying him more on a bimonthly basis than Jacob was paying him.
Something wasn’t right about that. John wouldn’t agree to kill a client and his longest-running partner over a payday that didn’t bank him more than he was already making.
“All rise for the honorable Judge Mattis.”
I rose to my feet as the judge took his seat on the stand. Derek was standing there, his body clad in a very expensive suit as he turned around to look at me. I found his eyes, vacant but full of fear, and I wanted to reach out to him to take his hand, comfort him, and tell him it was going to be all right and that I would find a way out of all this like I’d promised him when our journey started five months ago.