Lingering Shadows. Penny Jordan

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Название Lingering Shadows
Автор произведения Penny Jordan
Жанр Короткие любовные романы
Серия Mills & Boon Modern
Издательство Короткие любовные романы
Год выпуска 0
isbn 9781474030656

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than market price.’

      ‘Thus wiping out the benefit to the company of the government’s financial incentives,’ Saul said drily.

      ‘Well, there would always be the profit from overseas sales,’ Sir Alex pointed out, ‘but, in essence, yes.’

      ‘So why are you interested?’ Saul asked him.

      ‘Because if the research does not produce a marketable drug, the government cannot claw back any of its investment.’

      ‘Ah, yes, I think I begin to understand,’ Saul said. ‘You buy the company, fund what on the surface looks like a genuine research department, with very generous assistance from the government, of course, but, as we know, with the complexities of modern company finance, a good accountant can quite easily lose large, if not vast sums of money by moving it from one company to the other, and, if ultimately the research fails to produce any marketable results, well …’

      Sir Alex smiled at him.

      ‘I’m relieved to see that your recent attack of conscience and friendship hasn’t totally atrophied your brain, Saul. There are several other companies worth investigating, but none quite as perfect as Carey’s. It is a very shorn little lamb, so to speak, and I’m very much afraid that without our protection it could all too easily fall prey to the ravages of some hungry wolf.’

      ‘And you want me to find out as much as I can about how vulnerable this lamb is and how cheaply we can acquire it.’

      ‘Yes. You can be our wolf in sheep’s clothing. A role for which you’re admirably equipped.’

      A wolf; was that how the other man saw him, a predator who enjoyed the terror, the mindless blind panic his appearance created in others? Saul wondered acidly.

      As he took the executive lift down to the ground floor, a line from one of Byron’s poems came into his mind.

      The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold.

      The words, like the visual images it conjured up, disturbed him. He had been suffering far too many of these disturbances recently, of these unfamiliar attacks of conscience.

      Of conscience or of rebellion—which? The thought flitted across his mind and was quickly dismissed. He had work to do.

      The receptionist watched him as he walked past her desk. She sighed faintly to herself. He was one of the sexiest men she had ever seen. All the girls who worked for the Davidson Corporation thought so, and yet he never exhibited any interest in any of them. There was an austerity about him, a remoteness, that challenged her.

      He would be a good lover, too, you could see that from the way he moved. She wondered if his body hair was as thick and black as that on his head.

      His eyes were the most extraordinary shade of pale blue, his face hard-boned, like his body. There was a hunger about him, an energy, an anger almost, that stirred a frisson of sexual anticipation in her body.

      Saul walked out of the building into the early summer sunshine. Cheshire. His sister, Christie, lived there.

      Perhaps it was time that he visited her.

      He would ring her this evening. He would have to ring Karen as well. It was over five weeks since he had last seen his children. He had had to cancel his last access visit. He frowned, his body tensing. He doubted that either his daughter or his son minded not seeing him. But he minded like hell. They were his children, for God’s sake. He remembered his own father, how close they had been.

      Too close, Christie had once told him. He had accused her of being jealous and she had laughed at him. Theirs had been a turbulent relationship. They were alike in so many ways and yet so very different in their outlooks on life, so very, very different.

      Again he felt the shadow of the malaise which seemed to be clouding his life, confusing and disturbing him. He, who had always seen his life’s objectives so clearly. And he had achieved them, hadn’t he? He had succeeded, fulfilled his promises to his father. So why did he feel this emptiness, this fear that somehow he had omitted something, neglected something, this hesitancy about reaching out for the trophy that was now so nearly within his grasp?

      In another few years Sir Alex would retire and Saul would take his place. It was what he had worked for … what he had planned for … what he had promised his father.

      But was it what he wanted? He cursed under his breath. Why the hell did he have to have this attack of mid-life crisis now?

      Saul strode out into the street, joining the crowds, joining them but not becoming a part of them, nor being absorbed by them. He wasn’t that kind of man. His contemporaries, his peers, envied him, he knew that, and why shouldn’t they? The financial Press praised him, acclaiming his astuteness, his shrewdness. In the years he had been with it he had taken the company Sir Alex had founded to the very top of its league.

      If Sir Alex was the old-fashioned type of entrepreneur, a buccaneer almost, then Saul was the financial diplomat, the man who had turned the raw materials of Sir Alex’s company into the sleekly powerful thing it was today.

      Through Saul its growth had been planned, controlled. When the recession came, Saul had been prepared, Saul had looked ahead, and where Saul went, others followed.

      He was a pioneer, admired and envied, and now he was virtually throwing it all away, breaking his own rules, the rules laid down for him by his father.

      Even he wasn’t sure why he had warned Dan Harper that Sir Alex wanted to take over his company. They were friends, it was true, but not close friends. Saul did not allow anyone to get close to him. Not any more.

      Not men, nor women. Since the break-up of his marriage there had been women, relationships. Discreet, orderly, controlled relationships that threatened no one, and he had certainly not had an affair with Dan’s wife, despite Sir Alex’s comment.

      There was no one at the moment, but he had a single-minded ability to dismiss sex from his life when he felt it necessary. He had never been driven by his appetites, nor controlled by them.

      Sometimes, when watching a competitor greedily consuming the meal he was paying for, greedily consuming the bait he was putting down … greedily anticipating what advantages might accrue to him through his involvement with him, Saul was filled with a sharp sense of disgust for that greed, for that wanton waste when so many were without.

      It was his Scots blood, he told himself sardonically. All those generations of strict Presbyterians and their moral outlook on life.

      Sir Alex was testing him, he knew that. His boss was sometimes laughably easy to see through, even though Sir Alex believed himself to be a master of subtlety.

      Normally he would never have given Saul such a routine task. Normally they employed agents, at a distance of course, on this kind of business, keeping their own identity secret until they were ready to move in for the kill.

      His stomach twisted. He was forty years old, fitter than many men fifteen years his junior, no grey as yet touched his dark hair, and yet sometimes he felt immeasurably old; divorced, distanced somehow from reality, completely alone and alienated from the rest of the human race.

      At other times he felt a deep sense of resentment, of anger, of somehow having been cheated of something, and yet he could not quantify what.

      Why had he warned Dan about the take-over? Why had he felt so much distaste about the thought of destroying the small old-fashioned company that had passed from father to son for five generations? After all, he had done it before without any qualms. Why now … now, when Sir Alex had virtually promised him that he would soon be stepping down and that he, Saul, would be taking over the chairmanship?

      He could still recoup the ground he had lost. Sir Alex’s speech today had confirmed that.

      So why had he experienced that overwhelming impulse simply to walk away, to turn his back on Sir Alex and his own future?

      There was a very deep