Never Dare A Tycoon

Elizabeth Lennox - The Attracelli Family #1 - Never Dare A Tycoon

Never Dare A Tycoon (The Attracelli Family #1)
Elizabeth Lennox



The storm raged outside, rain pelting the long windows of the large family room making the usually cozy atmosphere cold and ominous. Occasionally, the wind whipped around the corner of the house and the eerie howl could be heard inside.

The crackling fire, bright lights and most of her family working at various tasks around the room didn’t seem to diminish the feeling of doom Antonia was experiencing. Glancing around the large room, she tried to pinpoint the problem. But nothing seemed unusual. Everyone was in his or her customary place. Her mother was sitting at the end of the sofa cross-stitching; her four older brothers were either at the dining room table doing their own homework or were lounging in a chair reading. Antonia’s father saw her taking in the scene and winked at her from behind his newspaper, his cigar smoke curling around the room, adding a slight cinnamon smell to the surroundings. The only two missing siblings were the oldest children of the Attracelli family. Salvatore, the oldest of the six children was in his second year at Harvard and Sophia, the next oldest, was in her first year at MIT.

Refocusing on her homework, Antonia bit her lower lip in concentration as she tried to figure out the algebra problem for her assignment. It was her first week of fifth grade and Antonia was trying to make a good impression with her new teachers. She was the only student in her grade that was allowed to take algebra and she was determined to prove she could excel at the task. She dismissed her uneasiness, attributing it to her imagination.

The shrill ring of the telephone seemed to make everyone jump.

She heard her mother’s cheerful greeting as she spoke to the person at the other end of the line. Antonia sensed her mother’s change in mood before she noticed the tensing of her shoulders. Her brothers were still doing their own homework, oblivious to the changed atmosphere. Antonia instinctively knew that her mother was in pain but she didn’t understand why. She kept searching the faces of the rest of the family, trying to decide if her instincts about her mother were silly.

Antonia stood as the phone fell out of her mother’s hand, landing with a foreboding thud onto the floor. She watched as her mother’s shoulders began shaking. Her hands went to cover her ears as if she could stop the agonizing information from coming. As Antonia watched, her mother bent over the table and an anguished wail tore out of her soul. It was as if her life were being pulled from her body.

The sound was the most horrific in Antonia’s young life.

Instantly, Antonia’s father threw down his paper and came over to his wife, holding her up as she melted into the security of his arms, sobbing out her pain and anguish but unable to tell him what was wrong. Carlos came over and picked up the phone, attempting to ascertain the situation while their father tried to comfort their mother.

“Hello?” Carlos said, his voice just recently changing to the deeper tones of adulthood.

Apparently the person assumed it was the father and repeated the information. Antonia’s fear intensified as she watched Carlos’ face turn white. But he nodded his head, then calmly put the phone back on its receiver.

When he turned around again, the tears were already rolling down his cheeks. He cleared his throat and put one hand on the back of his still sobbing mother, communicating his understanding of her pain. “Sophia…” he started, only to stop and push back the emotion, “Sophia died,” he explained. “She and a friend walked by as a burglar was trying to get away. It was late last night. Sophia died on the way to the hospital.”

Chapter 1

Fifteen Years Later

Out in the street, traffic was heavy with afternoon lunchers moving either to their meal spot or from it. Either way, Brett Hancock was impatient with the lunch hour traffic. Being only a few minutes late for his lunch appointment meant that he’d missed the window of lighter traffic. Punctuality was an asset, he thought to himself as he negotiated his BMW into traffic.

He was about to turn off the main street and head down a side one in order to cut a few minutes off his time when a motorcycle zoomed by him, nearly hitting his black BMW in the process.