Love Found Me (A City Love Novel, Book 1)

BOOK: Love Found Me (A City Love Novel, Book 1)
5.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Love Found Me

A City Love Novel ~ Book 1

Nina Amari

Also Available

In A City Love Series

in paperback

Love Found Me

A City Love Novel ~ Book 1

ISBN:  9780982549636

Love Found Me

Successful NYC forensic accountant, Danielle Prentiss has it all: beauty, a posh penthouse, fancy car, and all the luxuries a girl could want— except for love. Danielle spent her life chasing a career, and coming home to a lonely bed, believing love to be seriously overrated. Though she has just made partner at a prominent firm, her entire world's about to turn upside down once she realizes -- success and secrets come at a price.

IT Consultant and technology expert, Roman Jules is well known for his brilliant and elaborate takedowns on very rich and powerful people— and having absolutely no interest in love and marriage. He's happy being the party boy with all his toys. That is, until he meets Danielle and unexpected circumstances thrust them into a world where corruption, secrets and betrayal are less complicated than the attraction they share.

Danielle soon realizes that the life she is trying so hard to avoid is about to catch up with her. But when Roman proves to be a man worthy of her trust, Danielle begins to realize there just might be more to the debonairly handsome man than she'd previously thought. Or is he? Can a woman hiding from her past and anyone who could love her— and the party boy who has no interest in being reformed— find forever together? Maybe a little chaos is just what Danielle needs to get her life on track, and realize what matters most. Or will she?

Love Found Me

© Copyright 2015 Nina Amari

All Rights Reserved

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, events and incidents are productions of the author's imagination and used fictitiously. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, places, events or locales are purely coincidental.

No part of this book may be used or reproduced, transmitted, or stored in whole or in part by any means, including digital, graphic, electronic, or mechanical in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

Chapter One

Danielle Prentiss stood near the wall of glass, gazing out onto the palatial view of the city skyline that wrapped her forty-first floor office. Exotic teas, the best champagne, and rich Indonesian cocoa beans surrounded six-figure luxury that she was well accustom to.

Her office was a calming spot, a place she'd often sought to contemplate her thoughts and calm her nerves after landing a posh position as “partner” at the sought-after
Finch Young and Prentiss CPAs
accounting firm that tripled her already immense workload. 

She loved the view from her vantage point, especially as the sunset began to hide its presence and slip the day into evening and then to night, as the darkened nightscape glittered lanterns of light over Manhattan.

She shifted her focus from the skyline to her desk with a cup of spicy oriental cinnamon tea swirling ribbons of warmth in one hand and a folder marked "Confidential" in the other, as she positioned her slender contour into the leatherback chair. She was a caffeine connoisseur, but only the best. After all, she'd needed the energy jolt for the nights she'd devoted to work.

She started reading the contents of the folder, which contained an anonymous letter that read, “Ms. Danielle Prentiss… suggesting accounting improprieties..." Strangely, she found this letter odd and began to uncover its substance and proceeded to unravel its content. She scooted her chair closer towards the computer. Her eyes focused on her computer screen, as she faced its bright glow. Instantly her eyes narrowed, "Hmm, interesting."

Her phone rang. She became startled. “It's three o' clock in the morning. Hello… Hello… Who is this?” Nothing but silence echoed. "Hello...” Danielle said again. There was no voice heard, only silence. She looked down at her phone and saw the display glowed an unlisted number. The phone was still pressed to her ear when all of a sudden–
. She watched her display turn black the instant the call had disconnected.

Her expression had changed from calculating to suspicious. She whispered, “Who could be calling me in the middle of the night... at a time like this?" Her hand clutched the phone in her palm, but then she'd suddenly released it when she'd brushed it off murmuring.
This must be some kind of sick joke that's all. It has to be a joke.
But then considering the hour, it was rather eerie.

Danielle sank down in her chair and sipped her tea that had turned cool. Minus the mysterious phone call, unfortunately, this was no surprise, only the reality of how most of her evenings ended on such a low note.

But this was the life she'd gotten used to. A long way for a girl from a farm in Pennsylvania--to a penthouse in SoHo--to living life beyond her parents' expectations.

She was seven years old when her parents, Margot and Dean surprised her with an antique cash register that donned shiny buttons and sparkled like a fancy music box. Later drawn to it without much effort, mastering numbers, she'd known by then she was meant to be an accountant--a numbers cruncher.

Money and luxury came at a price. Up here she felt like the accomplished woman at the top of her game, but down there in the maze of the big apple, was totally the opposite.

Unfortunately, she couldn't seem to turn her success into action where she needed it most. She liked being a forensic accountant, but her dating life was in shambles. She'd rarely seemed to find the time outside of work to find--
the one
. And when she did, she'd turn up a severe case of loser, just like her ex, Jack that left her months after their engagement. No one else met a fraction of her list of requirements.

Anxiety told her to compromise and fall short of her expectations or risk prolonging her thirty-year old ticking time clock. Every year she'd yet to find a steady relationship was another year she'd spent alone.

She'd always been afraid of being thirty and alone. But, that's exactly where life has taken her. As much as she wanted love, she was also scared of being vulnerable. But, all she knew for sure … she wanted someone to love and protect her. 

But this time was the beginning of her new lease on life as night slipped into sunrise gliding over the city on Sunday morning. The ensuing natural daylight peered through the glass, as she swiveled toward the computer.

She shifted her gaze to the piles of paperwork carefully organized across her desk. Something did not sit well with her. Danielle's gut feeling prompted an element of caution and danger.

She'd restored files to active for asset recovery of unresolved cases that cropped up during her years as an accountant. Crooked cover-ups got her analytical juices flowing...deciphering even the trickiest trails…looking behind the numbers uncovering hidden money…tracing suspicious funds…compiling evidence to beat down ruthless conglomerates.

Only an expert could unveil the maze of hidden and covert schemes, “cooking the books” embezzling and money laundering operations--and she was that expert--that dedicated over a decade to detect the most complex fraud schemes.

Danielle reached for a folder with "Confidential" emblazoned across the front, on top of a stack of other folders. Her eyes narrowed on the screen, "This is slick."

"All of these transactions happened exactly when--" Her muttered words raised a thought, but it was well into morning, and she wasn't going to solve the matter with another jolt of caffeine staring her straight in the face in her oriental almost empty teapot. The atmosphere soon shifted to a threatening gray swirling the skyline. Rain started pouring outside, and Danielle could see from the darkening sky that she'd better get going now rather than later.

With an important meeting tomorrow morning at the office with her partner Finch Young, Danielle needed time to prepare for the usual status updates on everything from the fraud and audit departments to the general year-end reporting. But, as much as she craved unraveling the forbidden secrets, she'd needed to get home and face her own agony.

The ride through downtown would take slightly longer than usual in the rain, and she didn't want to chance the possibility of the weather worsening, so she'd quickly flung her pearl white pea coat over her shoulders, and domed her glittery pashmina over her dark flowing hair. Blowing out a deep breath, Danielle wished she still hadn't felt that emptiness, going home to an empty penthouse.  But maybe her wish would come true when she murmured, "I just want someone to love me."

Danielle grabbed her alligator handbag and flung it over her camel hair shoulder just after she'd smoothed a fresh coat of honey raspberry to her puckered smooth lips. Then the next instant, her door clicked shut as she rounded the corner to the hall elevators and headed out.

It was a few minutes later, as Danielle's Mercedes maneuvered the grid of downtown New York City to her SoHo penthouse. Her windshield wipers barely sensed much rain, and the sky was starting to brighten once the rain lightened to drizzle. All she'd wanted to do for hours was take a deep soak in her oversized tub, and relax every tense muscle in her body.

She'd craved the peace of her concerto-- violins stringing their swooning melody and harps heralding their angelic chorus. She couldn't wait to pour herself a glass of wine and melt her troubles away-- at least for the time being.

But Danielle knew this time of morning the new tenant and his Lamborghini should've been long gone-- after one of his supercharged nights of loud music and carousing had most likely taken him out on the town, she'd still hoped she could finally catch a peek of the man behind the machine.

The signal had just turned green at Canal Street when another wave of cabbies drenched her windshield in a rippling blur. Veering past a pothole, she'd carefully maneuvered the uneven pavement surrounding it as she chugged behind a stream of gutsy pedestrians.

She loved the big city. City life changed her perspective and transformed a girl with mud-slicked jeans and work boots into a woman in a tailored suit and stilettos. Her options were limitless--especially for a woman with the backbone of a suit of armor.

It was in those times, she'd realized she'd come a long way from the ranch to big city living. From pushing buttons on a cash register to running one of the most prominent accounting firms in New York City. Of course, it wasn't easy.

Early on in her career, Danielle worked her way up from intern-junior level positions without the financial support of her parents. She'd taken odd jobs to manage the increasing costs of survival. Her struggle was met with anxiety and worry that could've trumped her whole reason for transitioning her life in a new city.

But somehow, her focus always overcame her feelings and she trudged through her problems in triumph. Nothing was ever perfect-- but knowing she'd done her best and succeeded was all the more reason Danielle believed a woman could do anything she set her mind to.

Danielle almost missed her turn, as she saw the drizzle was all about gone. Just as she rounded the curb toward the garage, her body enfolded a strange and eerie calm.

There wasn't a car driving anywhere in sight. Everything had gone silent, except the glow bursting ten 'o clock in the morning on her dashboard. On a morning like this, people ditched their cars for a morning stroll for coffee or a late sleep in.

Even so, there was a stillness that seemed bizarre, as she spiraled slowly up the narrowing ramp toward the tenth floor. Not only was there complete quiet, but also the loud burst of the vent fans encircling the garage hadn't kicked on yet.

Wondering why things seemed unordinary, she clenched her hands tightly against her steering wheel as she peeped around the curve scanning the garage ahead and behind her with caution.

Realizing she was starting to feel unsteadiness, Danielle started to turn the wheel, but before she'd had a chance to react, the only thing that grasped her attention was the sudden sound of skidding tires echoing out of nowhere.

Beads of sweat suddenly burst like pimples, drizzling down her forehead, and her shoulders tightened like a lifeless mummy. Before she'd realized what was happening, she was panicking. She'd never felt so worried-- at the fact she could hear the skidding, but had yet to see anything coming. Her heart quivered in her chest when she'd practically flinched at the loudness piercing her ears with greater intensity.

It took her a quick second to steady her pulse as best she could when her eyes flew open in shock at a fast-moving SUV racing toward her. Danielle felt her hands sticking to the leather wheel, slicked with sweat, while her heart was pumping so fast that her breath couldn't even catch up with it. Blinding headlights glittered her vision and plagued her nerves on the brink of extreme danger.

Instantly, she swerved her Mercedes toward a row of expensive luxury cars, nearly chiseling the side mirror off a fiery red sports car. When she'd slammed on her brakes, immediately she'd glanced in her rearview mirror. All she could see was tinted windows camouflaging its insane and deranged driver. 

"Oh. My. God. He's--"

Her breath hawed in and out for several seconds when she saw the SUV had slammed on its gas again. She was close enough that the skidding left a stench of burnt rubber. Groping her stomach, she sat in a stunned state, as her heart raced into another tailspin.

She was shaking and panting from the scare. But her peril wasn't over yet. When she'd finally caught her breath, he'd whipped past her with a force intense enough that sprung tears to her eyes. At that instant, she was yanked back in her seat when instinct prompted her to swerve the wheel.

The SUV had practically sandwiched her next to a row of cars when it quickly zigzagged back in its lane at the last second. Danielle nearly missed a barrier guarding against thrusting her up over an elevated garage wall. The moment her reflexes kicked into action when she'd dodged him and the rock hard perimeter.

She never lost her focus, although her nerve hadn't caught up with the scream she belted out with an all out panic.

Pushing her long hair from her face, her gaze darted ahead and in her rearview mirror, as she shifted her body up in the seat to regain composure. But before she knew what was happening, she saw black smoke threading over the rows of luxury cars at the other end of the garage when he'd suddenly made a u-turn.

Her scream was pulsing sirens in the luxury of her heated cabin. But all that heat stirring inside her car was simmering an already unsteady pile of nerves on edge and needing a breath of cool air. Silence echoed for a few seconds when the SUV sat like a bull riled up and ready to run with its headlights blaring straight at her.

BOOK: Love Found Me (A City Love Novel, Book 1)
5.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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