Losing Control - By Robyn Grady

Chapter One
Eyes shot up and all conversation ceased as Cole Hunter burst in and let loose a growl. Cole wouldn't apologize. He abhorred being kept in the dark, particularly when the deception concerned the man he respected most in the world.

Once, Cole's father had been a corporate powerhouse, a leader to be admired and, frequently, feared. More recently, however, Guthrie Hunter had softened. The responsibility of running Hunter Enterprises had fallen largely upon Cole's shoulders. The eldest of four, he was the person family leaned upon in a crisis, whether the drama unfolded here in Sydney or at one of the other Hunter offices located in Los Angeles and New York City.

Cole didn't want to think about that ongoing drama in Seattle.

His father's personal receptionist flew to her feet. With a look, Cole set her back in her seat then strode toward colossal doors that displayed the flourishing Hunter Enterprises emblem. How the hell could he keep things well oiled and on track if he wasn't informed? Dammit, he couldn't fix what he didn't know.

Cole broke through the doors. Turning to close them again, his gaze brushed over the three openmouthed guests waiting in the reception area, one being a woman with wide summer-blue eyes and flaxen hair that fell like tumbles of silk on either side of her curious face. His raging pulse skipped several beats before thumping back to life. Work in television production meant beautiful ladies day in and day out, but true star quality was one in a million and this woman had it in spades. She must be auditioning for a show, Cole surmised. A special project if Guthrie Hunter planned to conduct the interview himself.

Something else he knew zip about.

His jaw tight, Cole slammed the doors shut. Swinging around, he faced the polished hardwood desk, which had prefaced that wall of glittering awards for as long as Cole could remember. Unperturbed, a silver-haired man sat in a high-backed leather chair, receiver pressed to an ear. Cole's sources said three hours had passed since a second attempt had been made on his father's life. Guthrie had probably wondered what had kept his firstborn so long.

Stopping dead center of the enormous office suite, Cole set his fists on his hips. Despite broiling frustration, he kept his tone low and clear.

"Whoever's responsible won't see light outside of a prison cell before both poles have melted." When his throat uncharacteristically thickened, Cole's hands fell to his sides. "For God's sake, Dad, shots were fired. This guy's not about to stop."

Guthrie muttered a few parting words into the mouthpiece then set the receiver in its cradle. Surveying his son, he tipped his clean-shaven chin a notch higher.

"I have this under control."

"Like you had it under control a month ago when your car was run off the road?"

"The authorities concluded that was an accident."

Cole looked heavenward. God, give me strength. "The license plates belonged to a stolen vehicle."

"Doesn't mean the accident was an attempt on my life."

"I'll tell you what it does mean. Bodyguards until this is sorted. And I don't want to hear any argument."

When Cole went too far and shook his finger, Guthrie's smooth expression fell. Sixty-two-year-old palms pressed upon the desk and Guthrie pushed to his feet with the agility and posture of a man thirty years younger. Cole's jacketed shoulders rolled back. There wasn't a man alive who could intimidate him, although, even now, with an ax to grind, his father came close.

"You'll be happy to know I have organized a bodyguard," Guthrie said. "He's a private detective, as well."

Absorbing his father's words, Cole willed away the red haze rimming his vision. His temper dropped a degree and then two. Flexing his fingers at his sides, he blew out that pent-up breath.

"What were you thinking, keeping this from me?"

"Son, I've only just got in." Rounding the desk, the older man crossed over and set a bracing hand high on Cole's jacketed arm. "You have enough to worry about. Like I said...everything's under control."

Cole winced. Guthrie was kidding himself.

Four years ago, when his father was recovering from bypass surgery and Cole had turned thirty, the family empire had been sectioned up and each son designated an equal portion to manage. Here in Sydney, Cole manned the Australian television cable and free-air interests. When he wasn't chasing skirt, Dex, the middle son, looked after the motion picture end of business in L.A. The overindulged, overachiever and youngest of the Hunter boys from Guthrie's first marriage, Wynn