Redemption of a Ruthless Billionaire

By: Lucy Ellis
CHAPTER ONE

‘I’VE FOUND YOU a girl,’ was the unexpected news his grandfather greeted Nik Voronov with cheerfully. ‘She’s local, so you’ll have to come down.’

The key words, Nik suspected, were, You’ll have to come down.

His conscience pricked. He hadn’t set out ten years ago, when he’d founded his company, to work twelve-hour days and seven-day weeks, but he did. He had the world on his shoulders, and his grandfather more of late on his conscience, and balancing the two was hard.

Nik lowered his head as a gust of wind buffeted him on the approach to the complex of site buildings where he had an office.

Around him was the site where his company, Voroncor, were sinking down exploratory equipment and mining kimberlite deposits from the rich Siberian earth. Work went on all year round, and because it was January everything was white except in patches where the ashy black earth showed through.

At least the wind had died down and he could see what he was looking at. Three years’ hard work to pull this reserve into the Voroncor fold.

‘Is that right, Deda?’

‘Her name is Sybella and she has everything a man could want. She cooks and cleans and she’s wonderful with children!’

The triumvirate of qualities guaranteed to ensure a man a good life, according to his seventy-nine-year-old grandfather.

Nik was well aware he could remind the old man he had a chef on the payroll, cleaning staff for all four of his international residences and no children to speak of. Moreover, no woman in the twenty-first century would view cooking, cleaning and raising children her sole responsibility.

But he’d be wasting his breath and it wasn’t the point.

Tactfully he rolled out the line he’d been using since his grandfather became actively interested in his personal life, which had—not mysteriously—coincided with the loss of his own wife, Nik’s adored grandmother.

‘When and if I do meet the right woman, you’ll be the first to know, Deda.’

His grandfather harrumphed. ‘I’ve seen you on the Internet with that model.’

The Internet? The last time they’d spoken the old man was using the tablet he’d got him as a tea tray.

But he knew who his grandfather was referring to.

Voroncor’s sister company Voroncor Holdings had bought out a retail corporation and Nik found himself in possession of some premium retail brands, including the fashion house Spanish model/actress and ‘it’ girl Marla Mendez was currently spruiking for.

The lady had pursued him around the world seeking his investment in her personal project, a lingerie line, not exactly his field but he had a personal reason for stumping up the funds that had nothing to do with Ms Mendez herself. A few photographs of them together at events had been enough for the tabloids to seize on the idea they were personally involved. He saw no reason to set his grandfather straight.

‘That woman is not right for you, Nikolka. There is something hard about her. She would not be good with little children.’

Nik considered reminding his grandfather he had no children, but he suspected that was Deda’s point.

‘Sybella works with children,’ his grandfather added helpfully.

No surprises there.

‘I think you should come and see her at work. I think you would be impressed, moy mal’chik.’

There was a long pause as Nik shouldered his way down the corridor and into his office, signalling for a coffee as he passed one of his admin assistants.

‘Did you hear me, Nikolka?’

‘I’m here, Deda. How did you meet her?’

Nik began pulling off his gloves, idly glancing at the information he’d asked for on the screen of a laptop another assistant silently opened in front of him.

‘She lives down the lane from the Hall, in the village. She’s a tenant. I believe she pays you rent.’

Vaguely Nik remembered some old English custom of the squire having first rights to local virgins. He held fire on mentioning it to his grandfather.

When he’d bought Edbury Hall a year ago he’d flown over in a helicopter. The village below had been merely a small sea of roofs swallowed up by the encroaching forest. His attention had been on the magnificent Elizabethan ‘E’, its outbuildings and the undulating pastureland around it.

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