The Perfect Life (The Perfect Stranger #4) - Charlotte Byrd



With the marina and hotel in my name, I don't take long mingling with the Elliott family. The patriarch is happy with the deal because I paid the asking price.

The other members of the family are not exactly pleased. Having spent half an hour in the room with them, I highly doubt that their displeasure has anything to do with their legacy. It's really the money that they’re after.

With Mr. Elliott transferring the marina to my name, all of the money from the sale goes to him rather than to his offspring. And he’s not very old and still quite healthy and spry.

It's drizzling outside, the familiar type of weather in this part of the world. The Pacific Northwest is covered by a blanket of clouds for nine months out of the year. It rarely gets very cold here, but it almost always requires a jacket.

I walk down to the marina and survey my domain. There are boats of every size starting with small twenty-four-footers to over a hundred foot ones. Most of them are motorized, but there are more than a few sailboats as well.

The marina is situated on the magnificent Elliott Bay with picturesque views of the Seattle skyline and the jagged Puget Sound. The marina is not named after the bay but rather after Mr. Elliott who moved here in the 1950s, worked on both, and saved up to open his own place. It acquired the name a long time ago when Seattle was first populated.

I look over the length of it and wave hello to the security guard. I walk past him to the restaurant as well as the repair facility, the fuel dock, the convenience store, and the event center.

Who would've thought that an escaped convict, who the whole world is looking for, could set up shop here in the rainy part of the United States and run such an extravagant spread?

As soon as the thought occurs to me, my chest tightens.

I haven't considered my old life for quite some time. I was haunted by the past for a long time and then I decided to put all of it out of my head.

There is no point in dwelling on it. There is no point in going around about the what-ifs and what could have been done differently.

That's why I came here. When Isabelle and I separated, I started driving and kept driving until I saw a sign for the Canadian border. Then I figured that I either had to turn right and head back east or look around and try to make my life here.

I had never been to Seattle before, but I liked the feel of it. It’s the complete opposite of California with its bright blue skies and rolling golden hills. The trees are evergreen and never lose their leaves. The clouds hang low, wrapping you up almost like a cocoon of wetness.

The grayness of its world was fine by me. I felt like whatever spark I had within me was extinguished when I found out that Isabelle took what was supposed to be our money and disappeared with it.

Isabelle and I shared a lot during our brief time together and I thought that she would be a part of my future. Once I realized that she had betrayed me, everything changed. I wasn't going to make anymore mistakes. I have had enough people in my life turn on me and this was enough.

I came to Seattle with the clothes on my back and an idea. I had built up a multimillion dollar hedge fund before and that meant that I could do it again. I started trading back in California but I only got really serious when I got here. Whenever I made a little bit of a profit, I invested all of it back into the business. Eventually, my profit started to snowball.

My life became completely regimented and planned out. I rose at four a.m. and I went on a five mile run. Then I was ready for the market to open in New York at six a.m.

I traded and I researched and I traded again.

Ten months later, I had $12 million. It wasn't just my hard work that got me there, it was also a little bit of luck. I scoured the forums and found out about a company called Green Fern. They were working on an innovative medical device and they were just about to make that announcement public. That was all speculation and I had no way of