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Elise threw herself into her work. She kept the television on. Microprose held press conferences weekly. She had always suspected it was her father’s boss’ way of keeping attention on himself.
“I’d like to shower some attention on him.” She bit out as she typed “The End”.
It had taken her less time than she had thought to finish the book. She was about to call Leslie when she heard a pounding on her door. For a moment, her heart skipped. Had her father come to his senses? She hadn’t talked to him in three weeks. Three very long weeks.
She had tried not to dwell on the aspect of their relationship she had discovered; the intense, mind-shattering pleasure she had experienced at the hands of her father. It was too confusing. Too unsettling. She felt as if she had surrendered more of herself than she had wanted to; something she should have surrendered to someone other than her own flesh and blood.
She had told Leslie everything including the conversation she had heard between Culver and her father when she was just coming around. Leslie had, at first, been shocked. She had held her through her tears and cursed Culver to hell and back.
Elise had been grateful for Leslie’s strength. Leslie was the perfect combination of business mixed with great fashion sense. She always wore suits by all the top designers. At six foot, she was tall for a woman with long lustrous curly red hair she never kept up. It always spilled down around her shoulders. Her moss green eyes always gleamed mischievously as she waited for an adventure to scoop her up. She had a petite slender frame and a perfect beautiful face.
The only good news Leslie had been able to bring was that she had inadvertently recorded everything Francine had said about setting her up and had discovered that Francine Carver wasn’t just Francine Carver. She was Francine Culver.
Elise suspected it was common knowledge in the workplace but the outside in the real world it was hidden. She knew some of the same people they did and knew no one would have understood or approved of a daughter not only marrying her father but having children by him. Leslie was leaving it up to her to think of a way to use it to their advantage.
“Leslie?” She was surprised. Normally it took a major crisis to get her out of the office. “What are you…?”
Leslie threw herself at her and hugged her tightly.
“I am so sorry, Elise. I am so very sorry.” She murmured.
Elise was too shocked to move. What in the hell was going on now?
“Leslie?” She frowned and looked at her questioningly as she stepped out of her embrace. “What are you sorry about?”
“You don’t know.” Leslie was shocked. “It’s been on every major network, NBC, ABC, and CBS. Culver held a press conference.”
Elise took a deep breath and braced herself. She had known this was coming. She had been waiting for it for three weeks.
“That can’t be. I’ve kept the television on every day for weeks.” She protested.
Leslie grabbed her arm and stepped inside shutting the door behind her. They both went into her living room and Leslie checked the channel.
“Wrong station.” Leslie checked her watched. “They’ve been playing it every hour.”
She turned it to ABC just as they were talking about it.
“Lewis Culver announced this morning that he has made Alec Michaels, Vice-President of Microprose, Incorporated despite the recent scandalous tape where Michaels’ daughter romance writer, Elise Michaels, admitted to having an incestuous sexual relationship with him since she was eighteen.” The newswoman reported. “Here’s a look at this mornings press conference.”
“Due to his recognizable sacrifices for the company, I am appointing Alec Michaels as Vice-President of Microprose, an honor he deserves for the dedication he has shown to the company for the last thirty years.” Culver smiled arrogantly at the camera.
“Francine was right about one thing.” Elise muttered to herself. “He is a distinguished older man.”
Leslie snorted in response.
Elise hadn’t expected him to be ugly. Francine was anything but. She could see from his stance where Francine got her arrogance, her ruthlessness, and her cold heart from. She could see the fearless look in Culver’s eyes and on his face. He wasn’t worried at all that anyone would or could take him down.
He was tall with the face of an aged warrior king and aristocratic features that reminded her of a marble immovable Greek statue. He was stoic and strong. He had broad shoulders and looked to be three inches taller than her father’s six foot. He wore a black suit with a matching black tie more suited to a funeral than a place of work. Nothing was out of place despite the windy day. It was almost as if because he thought it nothing could touch him.
She had written villains’ like him before and had always made sure they got theirs esenyurt escort in the end. She didn’t think Lewis Culver would be any different. In fact, if he did what she thought he was going to, (some plots were so predictable), then she was going to make his life a living hell.
“When I made the decision.” Culver continued on. “I decided to look into the allegations made against him by his own daughter and discovered the tape released is nothing but a disgusting edited tape released by a person who will remain unknown who was jealous Ms. Michaels recently received the RWA Romance Writer of the Year award. This person has been dealt with and punished accordingly.”
“I’m sure.” Elise murmured.
“I’m sure he’s disgusted by something he’s secretly doing.” Leslie growled angrily.
“Because of the situation and the possible effects on the company, Alec Michaels has graciously agreed to end all contact with his daughter. The situation could not have been created if she had learned to control her mouth.”
Elise felt rage fill her. He was blaming her! Her face turned red and she clenched her hands as her father replaced Culver on the podium confirming and agreeing with everything Culver said. The news anchors came back expressing relief that it hadn’t been true and chiding Elise for allowing herself to be tricked.
Her body trembled. She let out a shaky breath. Her father had given in. He had let Culver win. She could set in the determined way his jaw was set, knew he had hardened his heart to everyone and everything around him. She had seen it briefly once before when her mother had turned her back on them and walked out the door before he remembered he’d still had her.
Leslie watched her carefully; closely. Elise knew she expected her to break down in tears. Leslie knew how close she was to her father. Tears wouldn’t come. She was too fucking angry for that.
“Elise, its okay to grieve for him.” Leslie placed a comforting hand on her arm. “You loved him. You offered up yourself to protect him. I don’t understand how he could turn his back on you like that after everything you did for him; with him.”
Elise could. He was the man with no faith she had written about in her first historical romance. He was resigned to the fact his life was as it was. There was no way back. The world had betrayed him. There was no one who could help him. The only way for him was forward.
“Culver is the Lord Rian of Glastonbury and my father is Rolf The Conqueror.” Elise turned off the television and began pacing.
“Oh.” Put in that context, Leslie understood. “What are you going to do now?”
“You still got all that information on Francine and Culver and the tape?” Elise bit out.
“You know I do.” Leslie crossed her arms over her chest and eyed her warily.
“Go back to the office.” Elise ordered finally turning to her; a determined look much like her fathers’ on her face. “Call Sean Parks at Murray, Murray, and Murray. Tell him we’re going to war. Tell them I want to sue Francine Carver for one hundred and seventy-six billion dollars.’
“Elise!” Leslie stared at her in shock. “Francine doesn’t have that kind of money! Why in the hell would you ask for that amount?”
“Because that is how much Microprose is worth.” Elise replied, folding her own arms across her chest. “Francine is legally married to her father. She can easily get the money by liquidating her husband’s assets.”
Leslie stared at her for a full moment before a broad smile broke out on her face.
“You are a genius!” Leslie shook her head in awe. “See this is why they made you romance novelist of the year. What made you think of it?”
Elise let out a deep breath and tried to calm her nerves.
“They took from me what was the most important in my life.” Elise swallowed the lump in her throat. She couldn’t afford to give in to her emotions now. There was too much to do. “What’s most important in theirs is power and prestige. That’s what gives them the ability to ruin people’s lives. Without it, they’re nothing.”
Leslie gave her a quick hug and hurried to her front door. She turned right before she exited and gave her a quizzical look.
“What are you going to do?”
Elise smiled and tucked her hair behind her left ear.
“I have calls to make. Favors to call in.”
Leslie blew her a kiss and bounded cheerfully out the door.
Elise turned and headed for the cordless phone in her living room. She glared at the television. Her father would be more hurt by the possible liquidation of the company. She knew another way to hit him below the belt as well. Her mind whirled, thought, considered, and saw the possibilities. She had something much more special planned for Culver and his daughter/wife. Something that would take some time to put in place. She had time. They avrupa yakası escort wouldn’t expect a reaction out of her.
“It’s three of you against me now.” She whispered to the empty room. “You want a war. I’ll give you a war.”
* * * * *
Three months later, her plan was put into action on a day she knew the board met regularly. She had paid a lot of money to gather the information. Her contacts had been shocked to hear from her. Their skills weren’t of the norm. After she had explained the situation, they had readily agreed to help her.
She entered Microprose followed by the ten lawyers from Murray, Murray, and Murray. Sean strode purposefully behind her easily able to keep up with her long strides. The heels of her stiletto boots clicked on the black and white marble tiles as she made her way to the elevators in the lobby. It had taken a month after the dreaded press conference to put everything in place. She’d planned very carefully. She’d waited an additional two months to give herself an extra advantage.
She had dressed for war. Her hair hung down past the middle of her back. It had grown in the months since she had last seen her father. She wore a tight black t-shirt that showed all the curves and lines especially the outline of her firm breasts. She could still feel his hands on her. Her body tingled at the thought. She had worn a tight pair of black leather pants which complete the look she was aiming for…ball buster.
In part, it was also to torment her father. She couldn’t forget what had happened between them no matter how hard she tried. And she had tried. She burned and yearned for him in a way she had written about but never experienced. She wanted him to suffer as she was. She wanted him to suffer for turning his back on her. They could have gotten through it or talked about it. She had to admit a part of her wanted to explore that part of their relationship further. She had never felt anything close to what she had experienced in his arms. She wanted him to feel the same. She wanted him to look at her, remember, and salivate.
They entered the elevator. She pressed the twentieth floor. The Board Of Directors meeting was always on the twentieth floor in Culver’s office. She had done her research well. The doors opened and they stepped out; a queen and her army. Sean placed a hand on her arm as they approached the secretary’s desk which sat to the left of the double doors.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” He stared at her intently. “Culver is not a man to mess with.”
Elise stopped and turned to stare at him.
“I’m not a woman to mess with so we’re even there.”
Sean had been her lawyer long enough to know. When she wanted to, she could be merciless. He nodded. She continued on.
“Can I help you?” Charlotte Davis, Culver’s secretary asked before she looked up. Elise could tell she recognized her instantly. “Ms. Michaels, you can’t be here.”
“Be that as it may I am here.” Elise arched a brow and gazed coldly at the woman. “Excuse me.”
She pushed past her ignoring Charlotte’s vehement protests. She threw open the door holding her folder close to her chest and marched straight in with her lawyers following her.
“What in the hell is this?” Culver shouted angrily as he stood up.
Like puppets, everyone stood when he did. Her father stood glaring at her angrily to his right and Francine practically oozed hatred to his left. The other board members around the large, oval, oak conference table glared at her angrily for interrupting their board meeting.
Culver’s five lawyers from Brickman, Brickman, and Coons stood eyeing her ten lawyers warily. She had learned that Culver kept them extremely close which is why she had arrived with hers.
“You have no right to be here, Elise.” Her father’s voice was hard and cold. “I have publicly stated that I want nothing more to do with you. We are in the middle of an important board meeting…”
“I know.” Elise arched her brow staring just as coldly back at him. “The merger with Lexapro.”
She heard gasps of shock and disbelief. Even Culver and Francine looked surprised. Her father was stunned. The merger was Lexapro was being kept hush-hush until it went through. No one outside of this room was supposed to know about it.
“How in the hell…?” Culver began.
“Oh, we’ll get to that later.” Elise looked over at Sean and nodded her head. “See I wasn’t going to come here, but I just had to see the look on your face when you realize exactly what I’ve done.”
“What do mean what you’ve done?” Culver snarled.
“Francine Carver.” Sean said as he passed Elise and headed toward Francine. He took a folded piece of paper out of the inner pocket of his jacket. “You are hereby notified you are being sued by Ms. anadolu yakası escort Michaels for destroying her relationship with her father for the sum of one hundred and seventy-six billion dollars.”
He handed her the paper which was immediately grabbed by Culver’s lawyers. They stared at each other grimly as it was passed around. This was no joke.
“You are expected to appear in court in New York City at ten a.m. January 16th, 2013 to stand before Judge William O’Rourke.” Sean said as he made his way back to Elise’s side. “Failure to appear will result in a warrant for your arrest.”
“You’re kidding.” Francine smirked and laughed. “You have a sick sense of humor.”
“This is all very real, Ms. Carver.” One of the lawyers informed her, looking at Culver. “This has already been signed by a judge.”
“Yeah, but I don’t have one hundred and seventy-six billion dollars.” Francine said. “And no judge would give her that amount. Besides you don’t have an proof that I had anything to do with the demise of the relationship with your father.”
“Actually I do.” Elise held out her hand. One of her other lawyers passed her tape player. “You see, you’re not the only one who can be deceitful. When I called you the morning you released the tape, I had my agent Leslie on the other line. She listened to the entire exchange and actually managed to record it.”
She pressed play on the tape player. She watched the color leech out of her face as every word she had spoken echoed in the now silent room. Elise pressed stop at the end of it. And let the silence stretch. Her father was staring at her as if he had never seen her before.
“I also have proof right here.” Elise threw the folder on the table. “That you, Francine Carver are really Francine Louise Culver. I have copies of your birth certificate, your change of name document, and your marriage license all of which prove your true relationship with your father/husband as well as some really interesting pictures.”
“Judge O’Rourke is a family man.” Sean stepped in. “He considers incest to be the worst sort of perversion; has actually been quite vocal about it. When this information is presented at court, you’ll be lucky to keep the shirt on your back much less the children resulting from your union.”
Tears poured down Francine’s face.
“My child…?” A horrified look appeared on her face.
Elise arched a brow amazed at the possibility she card about something in the world besides herself. It was an interesting notion.
“I don’t…” Her voice cracked as she sat down hard. “I don’t have one hundred and seventy-six billion dollars.”
“No.” Elise nodded her head in agreement. “But that happens to be the exact amount this company is worth. Being as how your husbands assets are joined to yours, Microprose could be liquidated to cover the cost.”
Everyone in the room gasped. Culver sat down hard. He suddenly looked very old. He stared into space as if he didn’t understand how this could have happened. Alec was beyond stunned. No one else had had the balls to challenge him. Now not only had she, but she was winning. Culver’s lawyers looked at each other and shook their heads in dismay. My god. He realized. She could actually pull this off.
“How do you know about Lexapro?” He demanded, a sinking feeling in his gut.
“You ever heard of Michael Pose.” Hannah arched, her brow. “The mystery writer.”
Everyone in the room murmured in the affirmative.
“You ever bother to find out what his real name is?”
Her question was met with silence.
“His real name is Robert Alistair.” She heard everyone’s shocked gasp. “I see you’ve heard of him.”
It was Alec’s turn to sit down. Robert Alistair was the vice-president of Lexapro.
“Bob doesn’t need to work, but he does because he enjoys it.” Elise continued. “We dated for a few months. He was surprised to find out my father worked for Microprose. We conveniently stayed away from that topic. It was safer. But we remained friends after our relationship ended. I’ve told him everything. And I mean everything.”
She looked pointedly at her father. Alec paled. Good god, she had told him they’d had sex.
“Bob doesn’t look kindly on you anymore, Culver.” Elise smiled broadly. “In fact, he’s left the entire decision in my hands. As you know, Microsoft has been looking to merge with Lexapro for years. One word from me and your deal falls through.”
Tears poured down Culver’s face. Elise felt triumphant. Who said there was no reward in revenge.
“Why are you doing this?!” Francine screamed. She stood up and slammed her hands hard down on the conference table.
“You took the most important thing in my life from me.” Elise gathered up her folder and the tape recorder refusing to be swayed by the other woman’s grief. “I intend on taking everything from you. See you in two months.”
She turned and watched out the door ignoring her father as he yelled her name. There was such grief and anguish in his voice. She had hit them all where it hurt. She was glad. She had never felt better…or sicker in her entire life. This was not something she had wanted to do, but she couldn’t let them get away with what they had done to her. They needed to learn.
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