Rich (Benson Security #5) - Janet Elizabeth Henderson Page 0,1

end. Not until all the good her family had achieved was trampled into the dirt, and her parents’ life work was gone. No, she couldn’t tell anyone about the attack.

Even if it meant giving up everything she’d ever wanted.

“If you need anything, just buzz,” the nurse told her. “I’ll be right here. But please, honey, think about talking to the police. Nobody should get away with what happened to you.”

Rachel didn’t reply. She just stared up at the mark on the wall as the lights dimmed and the door closed softly. All that was left to keep her company was the beeping machines, that sterile hospital smell, and the dark, spreading smudge.

And while Rachel stared at it, she fought through the haze clouding her brain, attempting to figure out what she was going to do with her life now. She was due back in Glasgow soon, to begin her final year at university. She’d always planned to return to her family business once she graduated. Her mind had been set on becoming CEO from the moment she’d realized what those letters meant.

That wouldn’t happen now.

But there was something she could do. Her friend, Harry Boyle, was a programming genius, poised to start his own company and clueless about how to go about it. She would help him. And she’d tell her parents that being away from home had changed her goals. She no longer felt her future lay with TayFor Pharmaceuticals.

And that was the truth.

Because the message spread across the photos of her rape had stated that if she were to return to the company as planned, details of the worst night of her life would be made public. The press would receive copies of the photos, along with proof that the drug used to spike her drink came from her family’s very own labs.

It would ruin them.

It would ruin her.

The inky darkness that had started as a minuscule spot high on the wall grew large enough to fill the room. It engulfed Rachel. Seeping into her pores. Settling in her DNA. Changing her forever as it made itself at home deep within her.

And as she fell asleep, she thought it only right. The darkness could live in the place that once held hope. The place that was now empty.

Chapter One

Benson Security, London Office, Present Day

* * *

Rachel Ford-Talbot should never have allowed her father to hire her company. There were plenty of other security experts in London who could have worked with him just as easily. But no, she’d let sentimentality get the better of her, just because he’d had one teeny, tiny heart attack, and now she was the one suffering. If that wasn’t a lesson in why you shouldn’t help people, she didn’t know what was.

“I don’t see why I have to get involved in the investigation,” she told Callum McKay, one of her business partners.

As usual, the Scotsman was in a bad mood. One that’d started the day he was retired from the SAS after losing both legs to a bomb in Afghanistan. Even though he had state-of-the-art prosthetics now, he was still permanently grumpy—unless you were his wife or his children. For them, he tried to act human.

“Because,” he said through a jaw clenched so hard it was a wonder he could talk at all, “you’re familiar with your family’s pharmaceutical company, and you’re the one who can get us close to the family members on the board.” He folded his arms over one of his many gray Henleys and glared at her.

Like that would have any impact. Honestly. Didn’t he know her?

“You have a professional spy leading the investigation.” Rachel waved a hand in the general direction of Michael Carter, whom everyone called Harvard. She had no idea why, since he’d studied at MIT. Sometimes it was as though everyone she worked with was still in middle school. Shouldn’t nicknames be banned as soon as you hit your twenties? Wasn’t there a law making it so? “Surely a former CIA agent can take care of this investigation on his own. After all, it isn’t like he has to infiltrate Al-Qaeda; we’re talking about a pharmaceutical company in Surrey. Compared to investigating ISIS, getting to the bottom of some industrial espionage should be a walk in the park.”

On the other side of the conference table, Harvard sat back in his chair, relaxed and smiling. Those dark eyes sparkling at her in challenge. Something he’d been doing ever since joining Benson Security months earlier. It was