Breaching the Billionaire: Alethea's Redemption
Page 4

 Ruth Cardello

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“Today? Here?”
Jake shook his head. “No, at Corisi’s main headquarters. I haven’t said anything to anyone because it may be nothing. Right now it’s a series of computer glitches and a rumor that someone is doing it deliberately.”
Marc frowned. “The kind of technology you’re talking about is not my area of expertise.”
“I know that, but if this isn’t a series of minor code errors, then someone is sabotaging our software again—but the firewall that Jeremy designed should be impenetrable.”
“So do you think it’s an inside job?”
Looking a bit grim, Jake said, “It would have to be. I’ve had our people on it, but so far they believe the errors are unrelated.”
“And the rumor?”
“Unknown source of initiation. I don’t know what to think, but I want you to keep your eyes open. Watch for anything out of the ordinary. Don’t bother Dominic with this. He’s in Daddyland right now. It may be nothing. I don’t want to bring this to him unless we find evidence of tampering.”
If the saboteur was good enough to circumvent Dominic’s pet hacker, getting evidence wasn’t going to be easy. “I’ll beef up the physical security at the main building and at the satellite offices. I can have additional cameras installed discretely. We’ll comb through the security clearances and background checks. If someone is where they don’t belong, I’ll find them.”
Jake nodded. “I have every confidence that you will.”
Marc looked down the hallway at the service elevator. Coding errors that did nothing more than reveal a weakness in a firewall. He didn’t want to believe that his late-night fantasy woman would go that far, but he had to admit it fit her pattern. “You don’t think . . .”
Rubbing the back of his neck tiredly, Jake said, “I hope not. She means well, but there isn’t a line she won’t cross when she thinks she’s right.”
“A bit like someone else we both know.” Marc referenced his boss, who had made his fortune living by his own code of ethics.
“Dominic has me to keep him in check, though. Alethea listens to no one.” Lowering his voice, Jake said, “I want you to watch her closely. It would break Lil’s heart if she found out Alethea was causing more trouble. No matter what you discover, bring it to me first.”
“Understood.”
Business done, Jake smiled. “Time for me to head back in there and see if Dominic still has his manhood.”
Marc almost asked what Jake meant, but decided he didn’t want to know.
Chapter Three
“This isn’t good,” the doctor said, watching the monitor. “The baby is in position but she’s not moving as much as I’d like. The heartbeat is still steady.” He wheeled a small machine closer. “We’ll need another ultrasound.”
Abby put a protective hand over her stomach. “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know yet,” the doctor grumbled, and pulled more equipment into the room. He ran a wand over Abby’s stomach.
“That’s not good enough,” Dominic snarled.
The doctor looked from Abby to Dominic and said, “I will have you removed from the room, Mr. Corisi, if I believe your presence in any way inhibits me from saving the life of your child or her mother. Do you understand me? You may bark orders in your boardroom, but this is my world. My patient.”
Deflating a bit, Dominic said, “What can I do?”
“Hold your wife’s hand, talk to her, and let me do my job.”
Dominic nodded and went to look down at his wife’s worried face. He sought the words to comfort her. In all of his life he’d never felt as terrified as he was right then. “The doctor said everything is normal. He’s just being cautious.”
Abby smiled bravely. “I heard him, Dom.” She squeezed his hand. “He’s right. Something’s different. I can feel it.”
Talking around them instead of to them, the doctor started barking orders. “The baby’s heartbeat is slowing. It looks like a potential umbilical prolapse.”
“What does that mean?” Abby asked, gripping Dominic’s hand tighter.
“We have to act now. If the umbilical cord drops out before the baby we risk compression, which means blood and oxygen may be cut off.”
“Do what you need to,” Dominic said harshly. He held his wife’s cold hand to his face. “I’m here, Abby. Right where I’ll always be. Right beside you.”
She gripped his hand and said, “I’m scared.”
As the doctor worked, Dominic took his advice and kept his attention on the only place he could help. He said, “Do you remember backing your car deliberately into mine the first day we met?”
Some of the fear left her eyes as she defended her actions of that day. “You were an arrogant ass. I couldn’t believe you’d offered me money to spend the night with you. You’re lucky your car was the only thing I hit.”
He smiled down at her, using those memories to soothe her. “I didn’t know it at the time, but I fell for you the moment I laid eyes on you. No one had ever stood up to me the caring way you did. You made me want to be a better man.”
Abby’s eyes filled with tears. “You were a good man before you met me, you just didn’t know it.”
The doctor said, “Looks like we can stay here. She shifted. What a smart little girl you have. And impatient. She’s coming out fast.”
Dominic looked at the doctor and then back to Abby. She said, “Go meet her.”
Watching his daughter come into the world filled Dominic with a rush of feelings. Shock held him immobile even as the doctor caught her and cleaned her off quickly. The nurse said, “Time to meet Mommy,” and laid her down on Abby’s chest.
Ever so gently, Dominic touched the tiniest fingers he’d ever seen. He met the doctor’s eyes across the bed. “Thank you,” he said quietly.
The doctor merely nodded and started giving instructions to the nurses again.
Abby kissed her crying daughter’s forehead and said, “She’s so beautiful.”
“Is her head going to stay that shape?” he asked without thinking.
Abby smiled down at the baby with love. “If you’d read the baby book I gave you, you’d know they all look like that.”
“I read some of it,” Dominic said. When she raised her eyebrows in disbelief, he said, “Okay, I had Jake read it. He was supposed to give me the bulleted notes. Knowing him, he’s cross-referencing everything in it against medical journals. I’ll be briefed before she comes home, I promise.”
Abby laughed and shook her head. “Briefed? Like she’s a new project?”
He leaned down and kissed Abby’s cheek, then the back of his daughter’s head. “The most important project of my life. One we need to name. I know we came up with a list and said we’d choose when we met her, but I’ve been thinking. What about Judith Rosella?”
“Judith for my mother and Rosella for yours. I like it.” Abby tipped her head to one side. “What do you think, Judy? Do you like the name?”
At the sound of her mother’s voice, the baby stopped crying. Abby smiled up at her husband. “Judith Rosella Corisi it is. We’ll name the next one after Marie.”
Dominic swayed on his feet. “Next one?”
The doctor said, “Mr. Corisi, would you like to cut the cord?”
Feeling a bit queasy at the idea, Dominic nodded once with authority and took the scissors with shaky hands. “Of course.” This was his wife, his baby. Refusing was not an option he considered.
He returned to Abby’s side with relief.
“Just a few more contractions and we’re done, Abby. How are you feeling?” the doctor asked.
Abby looked down at her baby and then up at Dominic. The love in her eyes clogged Dominic’s throat with emotion. He prayed the doctor wouldn’t ask him a question. He doubted he was capable in that moment of saying anything that would make sense.
With a few adjustments to the bed, Abby was comfortably covered again and propped in a semi-seated position. Dominic nodded and sank into the chair beside Abby’s bed. The nurse took the baby for a moment to tag her with a wristband and run some routine diagnostic tests.
In hardly enough time for Dominic to catch his breath, Judy was back. This time the nurse handed her to him. He held her in the crook of his arm, looked down into the most beautiful blue eyes he’d ever seen—a smaller version of Abby’s—and fell even deeper in love with his wife and the child they’d made together.
A few moments later, Lil burst into the room, stopping at the sink to wash her hands, and then rushed to where Dominic sat. “I’m so sorry I was . . . I had to . . . forget it. Where’s my niece?” Jake was on her heels, the love he had for Lil evident in his eyes, as he watched her wiggling with excitement beside Dominic until he handed Judy over to her. With Judy in her arms, Lil went to Abby’s side. “She’s perfect, Abby. Just perfect.” Then she looked over her shoulder at Jake and said, “Jake, I want another baby. Colby needs a sister. And maybe a brother.”
Dominic stood and offered his chair to a suddenly pale Jake. “You look like you need this more than I do.” Jake shook his head, but he wasn’t fooling anyone with his brave face.
Walking over to Lil’s side, Dominic asked, “Abby, tell me if this is too much for you. I can clear the room.”
Lil hugged little Judy to her and laughed up at him. “You could try.”
Abby held out her hand to Dominic. He took it in his, loving the strength and love in her eyes. “I’d love it if you brought Nicole, Rosella, and Marie in. I’m sure they’re dying out there.”
He bent down and kissed the cheek of the most generous woman he’d ever met. “I didn’t want to invite my family until you were ready.”
“Our family,” Abby said softly, looking over at their new baby with so much love that Dominic had to clear his throat of the emotion welling there.
It wasn’t difficult to gather the three Abby requested; they practically fell in the door that led to the outer room of the suite. Nicole and Rosella were crying happy tears and—for the first time Dominic had seen—embracing. Marie’s eyes were shining with emotion, but she was attempting to remain composed.
“Abby is asking to see you,” Dominic said.
Nicole gave Dominic a kiss on the cheek and flew past him into the room. Marie cocked her head to the side in question, and it didn’t take more than a slight nod from him to send her in with equal haste.
Rosella stood before Dominic, tears on her cheeks, hands clenched so tightly in front of her that her knuckles were white. “You, too,” he said gently.
Fresh tears flooded her eyes. “Are you sure? I’ll understand if you want me to wait.”
He cleared his throat. “Abby is asking for you.” When she still looked uncertain, he instinctively held his arms open and his mother flew into them, hugging him so tightly he could barely breathe. He wiped a betraying bit of moisture away from the corner of one eye, and felt a bit uncomfortable when he looked up and realized all eyes were on them. That feeling quickly faded when he met Victor Andrade’s eyes across the room. He and his brother, Alessandro, were nodding with approval. Having grown up with a cruel and judgmental father, he was not used to the warm feeling their approval filled him with.