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The Billionaire Next Door

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Blurb

He licked his lips and then looked at hers. She resisted the urge to mirror his movements. He looked as if he wanted to kiss her.

She held her breath because the idea of Penn kissing her sounded like a good one. She wouldn’t resist, but would she regret it when they were done? Life was short and she should probably encourage him.

***

Penn Wharton, a former cop, is due to take over his family’s company since his father’s death, and now he needs some time to think about his life. He discovers the remnants of a murder near his house and catches a glimpse of a woman, then follows the trail to a seedy part of town where Brooke Madison, a romance writer, lives. Penn rents the apartment next to her to watch over her because he knows the assassin will show up eventually and the police can’t protect her. But when real feelings start to develop between them, can he keep them both safe?

The Billionaire Next Door is created by Chris Redding, an eGlobal Creative Publishing Signed Author.

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Chapter 1: Life is Changing
Penn Madison's life was about to change. He knew it and he'd never seen it coming. As a cop and detective, he's always been situationally aware. He knew what was going on around him at any given moment. He prided himself on never getting into situations he couldn't get out of. This current turn of events was startling at best and unnerving at its worse because he couldn't have anticipated it. He sat on his porch in the dark contemplating what his next move would be. For the first time in his life, he wasn't sure what was going to happen. This was the last night in the house he'd proudly purchased five years ago after a series of crappy apartments. This house would fit inside the house he was moving to tomorrow. All of his stuff was there already, but he needed to say goodbye to the place he'd purchased with his meager cop salary. His new salary as a CEO of a company he'd never known he would inherit blew him away. He was still sure that someone was going to come into his office at some point and tell him it was all a mistake. He was no longer a cop. He couldn't imagine what his life was going to be like now. He had a family or at least some cousins that he'd never know about. Having grown up in foster care, he didn't trust anything. That trait was the reason he'd been a good cop. Everyone lied and he suspected someone had been lying to him when they told him his biological father had left him his company. He'd never searched for his birth parents, but apparently, his father had been searching for him. The neighborhood was surprisingly quiet. It was winter and he should be inside in the warmth, but the one thing that had drawn him to this house was the porch. So he was going to spend his last night here surveying the neighborhood. He'd considered himself the neighborhood watch and the folks here had called on him when things were rough. He'd liked the role and felt as if he were abandoning his neighbors. Maybe that's why he was on his porch one last time, making sure everyone was safe. A car drove slowly down the street. He didn't recognize the car, but in the fading light, he couldn't know for sure. He watched it anyway, hoping it was just someone visiting. The car stopped at the house across the street. Penn hadn't introduced himself to that person because whoever it was had moved in just as the estate for his father had contacted him. Penn had been skeptical at first, but he'd seen the DNA tests. The man had been his father and wanted him to run his company since his death. The time had been a whirlwind as Penn attempted to close out as many cases as possible. The car idled across the street and Penn wondered what was going on. He still had his weapon and would probably carry it for years to come. He didn't feel right if he didn't have a gun on him. He wasn't moving to a bad neighborhood, but he still liked to be prepared for anything. His phone buzzed in his pocket. He answered it. “Jeeves?" Jeeves was his butler. He had a butler. The idea made Penn laugh. “Will you be joining us this evening?" The “us" in his statement was the rest of the staff at the obscenely large house he'd moved his furniture to after removing the garish pieces his father had bought. If he must live in a mansion, he was going to make it his own. “I'll be sleeping at my old house tonight. “ “Is that wise?" Penn chuckled. “I need one more night before I step into this new life, Jeeves. You can give me that. Take the night off. Go to a movie." “Take the night off?" Jeeves said as if Penn had asked him to dance naked in the street. “Yes. You can take a night off, Jeeves." “You understand that I come with the house," Jeeves said. “You can fire me." “I'm not firing you, just realize that your duties may change. I've never had a butler and I'm not sure I need one." “Someone has to take care of the house." “Then take care of the house. I've been taking care of myself for a long time." He knew that Jeeves was probably bristling at his words, but Penn gave the man credit. He'd never looked down his nose at the former cop turned CEO. A woman emerged from the car finally, but she leaned back into the car. At this distance, Penn couldn't hear the words, but she was saying goodbye based on her body language. This wasn't the resident of the house, but maybe a visitor. “I understand that Mr. Madison, but your life has changed. “ “Yeah, I know that, Jeeves. It's going to take me a little while to get used to that." “Yes, I see that. Will we expect you for breakfast?" “I don't know, Jeeves. I'll let you know." A sigh came through the line and Penn figured it would be like this for a while. He'd been single for his whole adult life and he'd never had to answer to anyone during his time off the clock. Would Jeeves put some tracking software on his phone to know where he was? No, that was cop thinking. Jeeves wouldn't intrude that much. “Okay, sir." Sir? Sure he'd commanded that kind of respect from people when he wore a uniform. He still wasn't used to it from other people when he was out of uniform. “Goodnight Jeeves." Penn tucked his phone back into his pocket as the car drove down the street. The woman watched it go and then turned towards the house. He studied her in the dimming light. The street lights had turned on, but he could see well in the dark as she made her way to the front porch. She knocked and then entered the house as if she knew the person. He should probably go to bed on the air mattress he'd blown up for just this occasion, but something niggled at his brain. There was something not right about the situation across the street. That's when he heard the gunshot.

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