CHAPTER 27 | double jeopardy

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📎A/N.  Hello my lovelies, remember me? The very slack person who hasn't updated in a while.  I have juggled a few things around which will allow me to spare some time to write. This will mean we can return to our regular get together ... YAY! :-)

If you are after some reading material, I can recommend 'The Soul Reaver' by @Dalleena , you will not be disappointed.

Enjoy the rest of your week, and don't forget to vote if you enjoy the chapter.

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Ethan hesitated before knocking. He glanced down at the bottle of Sangiovese and wondered not for the first time in the last two hours, why he just didn't cancel. How he was going to get through this was beyond him.

For reasons Ethan didn't wish to dwell on, he had been looking forward to this evening from the moment he had suggested it. In fact, up until mid-afternoon he had contemplated leaving work early and finding an excuse to turn up on Sydney's doorstep before the agreed time.

His good mood was destroyed the moment Janet had walked into his office.

"Hey Mac, I'm just heading out to Zeal & Thayne, I want to get a second opinion on the contract when I get back. I'll bring the Chinese."

"Sorry, I have a dinner engagement this evening. Perhaps in the morning?"

Janet's blinked twice and frowned. "There was nothing in your diary about a client meeting."

"It's not work related."

"I see," she said, more to herself than Ethan. There was a slight pause before she spoke again. "I was trying to get hold of you last week."

Ethan stopped attempting to concentrate on the paperwork in front of him and glanced at Janet. "I know, things were a little hectic. I even struggled to keep in touch with Latisha," he said, referring to his secretary.

She crossed her arms over her chest. Janet clearly wasn't thrilled with Latisha. "Yes, well she wasn't very helpful when I tried to find out when you'd be back to the hotel so I could call you."

Ethan sighed and made a mental note to buy his secretary some of the specialty chocolates she liked. His previous good mood was deteriorating with each word from Janet's mouth. Janet, at the best of times, wore his patience thin. She was the niece of the Chairman of the Board and, as such, used the connection to push her way into a prime position within the company and onto his team. It wasn't that she wasn't good; it was the ruthless way in which she carried out her job that disturbed his ethics.

"Janet," he said, trying not to come across agitated. "If it was important you would have found a way to contact me."

"I would have told Latisha, but I didn't think you'd appreciate everyone knowing you'd been conned."

An uneasy feeling swelled from the pit of his stomach. Janet was looking too smug and sure of herself. "What the hell are you talking about?"

Janet kept a neutral expression as she checked her nails. "It had bugged me since the night of the Future Finance Dinner. The name rang a bell, but the face didn't. It wasn't until I was chatting with mother and Rosa began serving us coffee that it struck me why."

Still none the wiser, Ethan's uneasy feeling rose a notch. This was no idle chitchat. Janet was building up to something. "Just get to the point," he said with barely concealed exasperation.

"Well, I remembered that Rosa's sister, Maria, cleans for Penelope Hutton. The Penelope Hutton," Janet said as her smile turned malicious.

Ethan's chest tightened at her words. He now understood where Janet was going with this.

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