Read Touched by a Phoenix Online

Authors: Sophia Byron

Tags: #Romance, #Military, #Romantic Suspense, #Mystery & Suspense, #Suspense

Touched by a Phoenix

 

To all who love fearlessly and without restraint.

 

To the men and women who serve our country.

You sacrifice everything to protect our freedom.

Thank you!

 

JLA, my deepest thanks.

 

And, to my loving husband…

How does one express the depth of gratitude

for loving me the way you do?

For knowing all my mischievous thoughts…

and still putting up with me—for

always encouraging me to follow my dreams.

I love
you!

 

Prelude

A
lexis made a
mad dash to Phillip’s office.

As she rounded the corner and entered the receptionist’s office, she slammed into a solid mass of rock hard muscles. A hard body stopped her dead in her tracks. Powerful arms reached out to steady her as she teetered dangerously on the verge of falling.

The words caught in her throat as she peered into the most magnificent blue eyes she had ever seen. A sudden rush filled her soul. The stranger’s touch scorched her skin, igniting a spark. Within a fraction of a second, a single spark exploded into a chain reaction until every nerve in her body felt as if she stood in a sea of fire. The breath rushed from her at the indescribable, overwhelming sense of completeness. A divine oneness unlike anything she recognized. She couldn’t think—couldn’t breathe. The lone sound…the thunderous beat of her heart as the blood pounded through her veins like the rhythmic cadence of an ancient tribal drum.

“Splendid catch, son,” Phillip said as he patted Brad on the back.

Alexis flushed deep red. She missed the meeting and found herself wrapped in what could only be Brad Scott’s arms. He captivated her with those smoldering eyes. Intense would be an understatement; they darkened to the color of the night sky. Silvery streaks flashed, resembling bolts of lightning racing across the midnight sky. He allowed her a glimpse of the intense storm raging within.

“Well my dear, I’m glad you finally managed to find time within your busy schedule to join us.” Phillip’s voice dripped with sarcasm, as he continued, “Brad, let me introduce you to my daughter and Senior Corporate Attorney, Alexandria Saunders.”

Brad released Alexandria as if she had the plague. The sudden absence of his hands pressed firmly against her back took her by surprise, and she stumbled backwards.

“Alexandria, I’m delighted to meet you.”

“Alexis, I’d like for you to meet Brad Scott, our new Senior Executive VP of Technology and Development.”

Without his vexing touch, Alexis quickly regained her composure. “Likewise, Mr. Scott,” she said in the most aloof tone she could muster.

“Please call me Brad,” he said as he reached out to shake her hand.

She dismissed his request with a sweet smile and steeled herself against another jolt of electricity. “Mr. Scott, please accept my apology for running into you and for my tardiness. I was concluding negotiations.”

A delightful smile began at the corner of his mouth and spread to his eyes as a soft chuckle rose in his throat. “I’ve often thought they should install traffic lights in office buildings to prevent such occurrences.”

“Well now, since you were unable to join us, why don’t you grab your things and meet us downstairs for dinner. You and Brad can get to know each other before he begins work on Monday.”

“Father, I don’t….”

“Nonsense Alexis, you will join us for dinner.”

She sighed. She had work to do but it would be futile to argue with Phillip. “Yes Father, if you will give me a minute, I will meet you in the lobby.” She did not agree with his decision to hire Mr. Scott; surely, her crisp tone would serve as a reminder.

Alexis walked down the long corridor, chiding herself for such schoolgirl behavior. She shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts as she stepped into the restroom to powder her nose. Oh, what difference does it make if your freckles show? Even if you were interested in him, you’re not his type. Mr. Playboy only dates socialites who spend their days flitting from one store to another, according to Bill’s report.

Mr. Scott—the genius. She couldn’t imagine how someone as brilliant as Brad was supposed to be could be such an egotistical, shallow individual.
Whatever
, she concluded as she slammed the lid down on her laptop and gathered her things.

As she walked to the elevator, she stopped to peer over the balcony to the main level. Mr. Scott and Phillip were in deep conversation. What an unlikely pair they were: Her father, 100% Marine, and a—what was he? He took her by surprise. She had been expecting a computer geek, a pocket protector, an awkward individual, perhaps somewhat of a nerd. Not—not a stunning specimen of a man. Geniuses simply did not look like that!

Her father had been so eager to show her all the magazine articles about Mr. Scott but she simply handed them to Bill and requested that he run a complete background check on the man. According to the investigative report, Mr. Scott had been a child prodigy with an IQ of 226. He attended MIT at the age of fourteen and earned five degrees in aeronautics and astronautics, chemical engineering, computer science, nuclear engineering, and physics—all by the time he was twenty-five. She shook her head as if trying to understand what possessed anyone to push themselves that hard.

And father thought I was driven.

She had tried to convince Phillip the company did not need him but Phillip had flat out refused to listen.

Damn, perhaps I should have read the articles rather than review the summary report. At least I would have seen the photos and been prepared. What had Bill’s report stated? Elusive, private, workaholic—ah yes, he had called him the boy wonder
.

As she continued to study the men from the balcony, she shuddered. Mr. Scott was the most handsome man she had ever laid eyes on!

The elevator ding snapped her back into reality, and she stepped inside and leaned against the wall. She took a deep breath as it began to descend. His warm, powerful scent still lingered, like an ocean breeze floating gently, intoxicating her senses. Alexis closed her eyes and took a deep breath as the inviting tropical scent washed over her. She’d have to focus on something else if she planned to make it through dinner.

As they walked across the street to Angelo’s, Phillip whispered in her ear, “Alexis, you can be unduly hard on people at times. Please don’t chew the boy up and spit him out. At least not before dessert,” his voice was brimming with excitement.

Alexis laughed nervously. Why did the idea of having Brad Scott for dessert startle her? Bill’s report portrayed him as a thirty-three-year-old multimillionaire inventor, the face of the future, the elusive playboy who flaunted his wealth and his women. She thought it disgusting.

She shot her father a sideways glance. Phillip was a wise man and could be hard as nails when the Marine kicked in. He was not a man to trifle with. It was unlikely that you would pull one over on Phillip Kincaid, but if by chance you did, there would be hell to pay when he figured it out. Alexis simply shook her head. And he wonders where I get it from.
Father you taught me well!
she thought.

“All right Father, I will play nice for now. However, you do realize, if I think he will not be good for you or AAS, I will toss him out on his ear in a heartbeat, regardless of what you think.”

Phillip laughed. He knew Alexis just made him a promise, a promise that she would most definitely keep.

He kissed Alexis on the cheek. “Alexis, my darling girl, I love you. I am doing what’s best for us all, you’ll see. Everything will turn out just fine.”

“I love you too, Father.”

Phillip smiled to himself as they entered Angelo’s. He replayed the offer he had made Brad. He was one of the brightest young men he ever had the pleasure of meeting and had agreed to develop a new surveillance system for AAS. Phillip planned to use the new technology to improve their work on the military’s drones. If Brad performed as well as Phillip thought he would, Brad would secure the company’s future—Alexis’s future.

Phillip knew Alexis would do as he asked. He just needed to give her a little time to wrap her head around the idea of a stranger coming into their lives. He chuckled, in a pleasing way only he could get away with; he had won this round!

Although he hadn’t liked the sight of Alexis running smack-dab into Brad at the office. There had been a spark and while he was delighted to witness someone rattling his daughter’s cage, he would have to keep a close eye on the situation. He wanted Alexis to find someone to fall in love with and have a happy life, but this man was not the man he wanted his daughter involved with. He was a player.


Aah,
Alessandria. My dear, you look lovely this evening,” Angelo greeted her in a heavy Italian accent. “It is so good to see you again.”

She placed both hands in his, leaned forward, and gave him a soft kiss on each cheek. “Thank you Angelo.”

“Your father must be working you too hard. Your beauty has not graced our humble establishment in weeks,” Angelo said in a teasing tone.

“Why Angelo, you are going to make me blush,” she said lovingly as she tucked her hand in the crook of his arm.

Angelo beamed at his favorite patron, although Alexandria was more of a niece than a patron. “Phillip, Sir,” he nodded, “please come this way, I have a table waiting for you.”

Angelo escorted Alexandria to a quiet table in the back as they chatted softly. The two men were left to follow as they saw fit. Angelo guided Alexandria to her seat. “Signorina, may I bring you a glass of your favorite wine?”

“Yes Angelo, that would be lovely, grazie,” she replied.

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