Elizabeth Lennox - The Sisterhood #4 - The Billionaire's Gentle Rescue
The Billionaire's Gentle Rescue (The Sisterhood #4)
Zoe Parker stared at the piece of paper detailing her company’s financials, closed her eyes for a moment while she took a deep, calming breath, and then opened her eyes so she could look one more time. Unfortunately, the numbers didn’t change! She took another deep breath and tried to calm down. Something had to be incorrect because this balance simply couldn’t be accurate.
That negative sign before the ending total surely couldn’t be right! There had to be a mistake, someone had calculated the amounts wrong or a number entered incorrectly.
With shaking fingers, she dialed her bank, not even patient enough to deal with an e-mail which she normally would have preferred to use. That negative balance at the bottom of the page was too terrifying to wait for an e-mail response.
When she finally reached a human being, Zoe gave the teller her account information and all the pertinent information. “Can you confirm my company’s bank balance?” she asked, almost whispering through the phone.
When the woman read off the amount, it was the exact same amount that was on her statement. “But how can that be?” she asked, trying to think and not let the panic overwhelm her. “The balance on last month’s statement was…” she rifled through the papers on her desk and came up with the prior month’s statement, “It was over one hundred thousand dollars,” she said, swallowing painfully.
“That’s correct ma’am, but there was a large payment made one week ago, a check submitted to a bank in the Cayman Islands.”
Zoe was already shaking her head. “No. That can’t be correct. There’s a mistake. I don’t do business with anyone in the Cayman Islands.”
There was a moment of silence on the other end of the phone, then some tapping on a keyboard. “I’m sending a scan of the check to you now.”
Zoe gripped the phone with one hand while she pulled her keyboard closer with the other, typing in the password to get to her e-mail account. “I see it,” she said and pressed the key that would open up the check. As she stared at it, she started shaking. “No, this isn’t possible. We don’t have any business with this vendor. I don’t understand.”
“There have been over a dozen other checks made to that account in the past ten months, ma’am,” the teller explained kindly. “Could this possibly be a matter that we need to bring the police in on?” she asked politely.
Zoe nodded her head, then realized that the teller couldn’t see her. “Yes. I believe this is definitely a matter for the police. I think there’s been a mistake. Let me call my accountant and I’ll get back to you.”
She hung up the phone and quickly dialed Andrew Miller’s private office, her fingers almost missing the numbers they were shaking so violently. The phone line didn’t pick up although she let it ring more than twenty times. She hung up the phone and jumped about a foot when someone knocked on her door.
“Look at this fabric!” her assistant Debbie said, bubbling over with excitement as she showed Zoe a bolt of butter yellow silk satin that seemed to change colors as Debbie moved it in the light. One moment it was buttercup yellow, the next it was a shimmering peacock green. “Isn’t it amazing?”
Any other time, Zoe would have instantly moved from her desk to her drawing board, coming up with several dress designs that would suit fabric so stunning. But right at the moment, there was no creative inspiration, no designs zinging through her mind and no price point on which to sell the final design. There was nothing but a paralyzing fear of what the future of her clothing design company might be if she didn’t find her accountant and get this mess straightened out with the bank.
“It’s lovely,” Zoe replied with as much enthusiasm as she could muster under the circumstances.
Unfortunately, Debbie wasn’t fooled. “What’s wrong?” she asked, placing the bolt of fabric onto the table. “Did Justin break it off like you were expecting?”
Zoe had completely forgotten about her wayward boyfriend who had missed the last few dates they had set up. This morning, Zoe had been pretty blasé about the whole thing, not hurt at all by Justin’s defection. In fact, she’d actually been relieved because she knew she wasn’t interested in Justin although she’d tried very hard this time around to show more interest. Her friends had been teasing her about her lack of romance, and all because she refused to settle for lukewarm ardor from a man. She’d experienced intense passion once, although it was a long, long time ago. They all told her that mind blowing, finger zinging passion didn’t truly exist, except in her imagination and she needed to be more realistic and give men more of a chance.
Zoe had tried, but she just couldn’t settle. She’d never been one to settle in her life, which was why she’d been able to create her own company, manufacturing her own designs every quarter with seven percent annual growth over the past four years. She’d never settled romantically either, although she’d dated some genuine losers over the years trying to recreate that passion she’d experience once.
“Justin wasn’t one of those liars or cheats you’ve dated in the past,” Debbie was saying. “He was the genuine article. He was one of those nice, sweet, dependable guys a woman can count on and settle down with. You even ran a background check on him, nothing came up. So what was the problem?”
Zoe shook her head, her long, brown hair falling about her shoulders over the long sleeved red sheath dress she’d worn today, reminding her that she was supposed to meet Justin for lunch. “Justin and I didn’t break up,” she said. “But I have something urgent to do.” Her mind worked frantically to come up with an excuse that wouldn’t throw her friend and assistant into the same panic Zoe was currently fighting. “The fabrics for the spring line are held up so I need to find another supplier,” she lied, coming up with the first thing she could think of. She hated lying to Debbie who had been with her since the beginning, hanging on during the troubled times with late nights, no sleep, pricked fingers, crazy vendors, clients and employees as well as lots of tears and laughter. Zoe couldn’t tell her friend that the business might be bankrupt. Not right now anyway.