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Authors: Kathleen Brooks

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"Thi
s better be good," she mumbled.

"It is. Now get your ass out of bed." Morgan's eyes shot open as she bolted upright
on the
bed at the sound of her boss, David Wa
shington.

"What's going on?"

"I need you to
start an investigation for me. Tad found a company he thought might be a good prospect. I’ve l
ooked over the surface material,
newspaper
coverage
,
and so on and thi
nk it has
potential for a takeover,” David snapped. He never sounded nice and it was particularly grating so early in the morning.

“Why isn’t Tad doing the investigation?” Tad was an ass
-
kisser and David loved to pit them against each other.


Oh, Tad wants it and he’ll get it if you screw up. But t
he company is
over in Lexington, Kentucky. You're from Kentucky, aren't you?"
h
er boss asked with his constant
ly
disapproving voice.

"Yes, I grew up close to Lexington. I know the
area
well."

"Good.
That’s why you have the lead.
This has potential to be a big deal. I want to know everything about this company
—f
inancials, the ones on the record and the ones hidden. I want to know their standing in the community, who each member is
, and what they grow. I want to know
what the president of the company eats for breakfast and what the table he eats it on is worth. Assets, debts, deals in the works
—I
need all of it.”

“That’s going to take a while, David,” Morgan told him as she typed notes into her tablet.

“I know it is. Just do it right. I need to have all my ducks
in a row for this one. Then we’ll see if you can actually close the deal,” David sneered. She could feel his squinty eyes over the phone.

It didn’t matter that she had been doing just that for five years at Top Producers. David was
still
surprised she managed to drive herself to work through
DC
traffic in the morning,
let alone
actually clos
e
a deal. He was just a prick. Th
ere was no other way to put it.

"Of course I can. What am I working with?" Morgan
asked as she
took
more
notes
.

"The company name is Family Farms
. It's this co-op type business. Pain in the ass is what it is. Just took the Kentucky Restaurant Council
contract from us. All the farmers a
re members in the LLC. The president
of the LLC neg
otiates contracts on the farmer
s

behalf
in order to compete with companies like mine.
I sent the bastard an email congratulating him. I’m sure it would make him suspicious if he had half a brain, but he’s nothing but a redneck. I need all the info you can find
."

"I can do that. What
do you think it’s worth now?”
Her fingers flew over the tablet as she tapped in her notes.

"Twenty
million. The
by-laws require the president
to take any offer to the farmers who hold a stake in the company. My guess is the majority will agree to allow him to negotiate the best deal he can on their behalf… or reject any such deal. The best is to stop him from getting that majority
. I
f you can't,
then
work directly with the president
.
Depending on what you find out in your investigation
,
I’ll give you authority to go up to thirty
million if you need to. I want that company, one way or the other."
 

Boy, today was going to suck for David's executive assistant. It was Sunday at five in the morning and she could feel his blood pressure rising over the phone. She started a new section in her
notes as David ranted about no-
good stupid farmers with crops for brains.

"Who's the owner and what do we know about him?"

"
A tight ass named Miles Davies." Morgan's head swam as the sudden image of her high school crush crashed upon her memory. "I can't find out too much on him
besides that he went to Texas A&
M and graduated with a B.S. in Agricultural Studies. Then he went on to Purdue to get his MBA in Agricultural Management. Immediately upon graduation he enlisted in the Army. When he got out he started this company. That's all I got on him. I couldn't get anything out of what he did in the Army or where he served. Although, I guess it doesn't matter. A nerd like that would be placed in some command center
to play with
his computers and files."

A nerd? No, Miles'
wasn't that. Yes, he was smart. B
ut you could never look at a man like that and think all he did was shuffle files. Even at just eighteen he was more of a man than any of the men she'd dated since. There'd been
lawyers, doctors, financial advisors,
a
personal trainer
,
and even a very flexible yoga instructor with better hair than
hers
. Still, Miles always
eclipsed them.
T
he memories faded
as the years passed
, but the feel of that kiss never did. She'd dream of it only to be awoken by him telling her he
would
never date a gi
rl like her. Now here she was
in a luxury condo with a sports car and no one to wake up with.
No one to share it with.

"Morgan! Morgan, is the
re a problem? Do I need to hand this over to
Tad instead?"

"No David. I'm fine. I was just taking notes." She refocused on her tablet and took a calming deep breath
,
taught to her by the flexible
yoga instructor
,
to
clear her mind.

"Good.
I want you to get started on this immediately.
And Morgan…"

"Yes?"

"You better make this happen."

Morgan placed the phone on her nightstand
and
flopped back down on her bed. Why did the mention of his name turn her into a scared self-conscious teenager again?

 

Chapter
Two

 

Miles had followed Marshall
to the dirt turn
off that led to his
home in the early morning hours after Marshall wrapped up the crime scene.
His brother was doing a
terrific
job as
s
heriff. Miles made a quick sandwich and sat in the leather chair overlooking the farm. The large windows glowed as the sun rose over the ro
lling hills of the countryside.

Miles finished his sandwich and rose to check the locks on all the doors and windows. He set his alarm system and climbed the stairs to his bedroom. He knew every creak of the floorboards, every background
noise from the air conditioner or
refrigerator, and
every
sound
that
was out of ordinary. His house was still and quiet, an
d that was the way he liked it.

He entered his room and locked
the
door before taking off his suit coat and tossing it on the upholstered chair. He
yanked his tie fr
ee
,
strode across the room
stripp
ing his
shirt off
,
and flipped on the
bathroom
light

A large glass shower
took up the majority of the
brown and cream tiled
sidewall
.
He unbuckled his belt and freed
the button of his slacks
before turning
on the hot water.
Miles
pulled his cell phone and wallet
out
of
his slacks before stepping out of them.
The shower was the one place
where
he felt he could relax. He had
had
multiple
showerheads
installed.
A
glass door
and
the large window
in
the bathroom
allowed him a view of his
fa
rm.

Miles opened the glass door and was about to step in when he heard his phone vibrate.
It was probably his mother reminding him of family dinner. For
each of
his thirty
-
six years they had family dinner every Sunday night at six. Yet, every Sunday morning for the past six years his mother called him. "This is your mother," s
he’d
say, as if he didn't already know. "Remember we have dinner tonight at six. Don't be late." It was usually followed up with, "dress nicely
,
we have a guest coming," which
meant
his mother had found a date for him. Some mothers knit
ted
, some baked, but his moth
er hunted for potential brides.

"Yes
,
"
h
e snapped when he saw a number he didn't recognize. He was tired, naked
,
and just wanted to get into the hot shower.

"Um, Mr. Davies?"

"Yes, what is it?" The mumbling scared voice only confirmed his suspicion this was probably someone wanting to know his views on the upcoming election or some garbage like that.

"
I’m
calling on behalf of
Top Producers
."

"Again, what is it?"

"
Please hold for a call from Miss Hamilton
."

"Fine.
But hurry up, will you?
"
He was naked and starting to get cold
, which
made
his shower look even more
inviting.
Boring music flowed through the phone
as
he waite
d for Miss Hamilton.

“Miles, dear, what a coincidence that you’re the president of Family Farms!” A woman’s voice floated across the line. She had a confident voice with the cutest hint of a southern accent.

“I’m sorry. Do we know each other?” Miles ran through all the people he knew at Top Producers that he’d met at conferences
but
couldn’t place her.

“It’s been a while.
Seventeen years or so.
But I still remember you. What does the Keeneston water tower say now?”

Miles didn’t blink. He didn’t breath
e
and his heart
practically
stopped beating. Not Miss Hamilton
—M
iss
Morgan
Hamilton! “Morgan.”

“Is that all you
have to say after the way we parted?”

“Well, if you’re giving me a call on behalf of Top Producers then it can’t be out of the goodness of your heart since we
both
know you and goodness don’t go together.”

Morgan’s laugh sent a tickle through his ear as he waited for her response. “Miles. Your
dry sense of humor is still in
tact after all these years. It was so very attractive when we were in high school together.”

“Stop with the pleasantries. What can I do for you?” He didn’t know what it was, but he was sure it wasn’t good.


Smart as always. David told me he sent you an email of congratulations and while he doesn’t know you, I do,” she said smoothly.

“Don’t presume to know me, Morgan.”

“Play nice, Miles.
I know that
when you got that ema
il you knew we were interested in learning more about your company. Yo
u
have
a nice little thing going. C
ongratulations.”

“Little? So little we’re starting to win the contracts Top Producers is bidding on. Look, M
organ, I appreciate you not tip-
toeing around the subject. You want to take us over.”

“You’re getting a little a
head of yourself. I’m just telling you that you’re doing well enough to warrant
us taking
a look under your skirt
to
see if we like what we find.”

BOOK: Acquiring Trouble
5.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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