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Home > Billionaire Undaunted: Zane (The Billionaire's Obsession #9)(3)

Billionaire Undaunted: Zane (The Billionaire's Obsession #9)(3)
Author: J.S. Scott

How many days had he been searching? One day had rolled into the next, but Zane had been so laser-focused on his mission that he really hadn’t bothered to do much else except stay hydrated.

He was grateful that he’d bought the new SUV just a month or two earlier. It was snowing hard here at high altitude, and his speed had been beyond reckless on the slick mountain roads. He knew he was driving too fast for the rapidly worsening weather conditions. Problem was, he was getting desperate. He knew which area Ellie was in because of the soil samples he’d taken from an old pair of James’s shoes, and then from the tire treads from a late-model truck in his garage. After he’d found a tiny piece of a wilted, rare flower in the asshole’s house, on a hunch, he’d taken those dirt samples, an intuition that had paid off after some intense analysis, pinpointing the only areas where that type of flower could grow and the soil it needed to thrive. The dirt he’d gathered had confirmed his suspicions. He was doubtful that James drove that older truck for anything other than mountain travel. The shoes were old and tattered, and a superficial asshole like James wouldn’t wear them except in muddy areas where he wouldn’t be seen. After matching the soil to the wilted flower, Zane had a very good idea of the area Ellie could be hidden. But a search of cabins and properties in the vicinity had brought up nothing that James owned, so Zane had to assume it was a place that wasn’t titled under his real name.

“Where the fuck did he hide her? God dammit!” he growled as he slammed his hand against the steering wheel in frustration, knowing he was running out of time. Chances were he might be recovering a body instead of rescuing Ellie.

Not. Happening.

He shook off the possibility that Ellie could be dead and kept heading up to a small cabin a little bit farther up the nearly nonexistent dirt road he was currently climbing.

Wiping the sweat from his forehead with his hand and jamming his fingers through his hair in irritation, he deftly steered out of a spin on the ice and snow one-handed until he was climbing up the steep road again.

Pretty soon I’m going to have to face it; I’ve checked almost every cabin and home in this area with no fucking luck.

Zane had no idea how long it had been since he’d slept. He’d been doing research on the soil he’d found, and then working on pinpointing areas to investigate. He was exhausted, but a clock was ticking in his head, and if James had kept Ellie alive, she was probably running out of food and water. James was dead, and had been incapacitated before he’d offed himself. She’d been alone for too damn long.

I can’t stop looking. I promised Chloe I wouldn’t. I won’t stop until I find her.

He shook his head absently, knowing that was a good excuse as to why he was out here searching, but his dogged persistence wasn’t all about Ellie being his little sister’s best friend. Instinct was gnawing at his gut, and it hadn’t stopped.

He understood Ellie well enough to know that if she’d been able to get away, she would have. Some people claimed that Ellie was quiet, but he’d seen how bossy she could be when they were kids. As a teenager, she hadn’t changed. She’d never had a problem voicing her opinions. Not with him.

Honestly, he’d never minded her anally retentive desire to organize. In fact, he’d kind of liked it since he wasn’t exactly orderly in his personal life. Never had been. When it came to his work as a scientist, he was meticulous, but everything else went to hell outside of his lab. Truthfully, he’d always been fascinated by the way Ellie was able to juggle so many things at one time, and take care of them all in a hyper-organized way. She’d always been that way, even as an adolescent.

Zane could admit to himself that he’d liked Ellie in high school. But being his little sister Chloe’s best friend had put Ellie completely off-limits for anything other than friendship after they had become adults. In high school, she’d been too young, too closely connected to his family. Not to mention the fact that he’d been so socially awkward in high school that he never would have had the balls to ask her out on a date, even if she hadn’t been too young. But he’d liked her as a friend, too, and he still had fond feelings for her, even though he’d seen very little of her after he’d graduated from high school. He’d gone off to college, and had never come back home to live in Rocky Springs full-time.

He groaned as he pulled up to the cabin he’d been seeking. “Shit! It looks like a seasonal place.”

Although the dwelling was in decent shape, it wasn’t something a physician would own. It was tiny, and looked more like a hunting or fishing cabin.

Snow was drifted against the door, and it didn’t look like anyone had been here since the first snow had flown. The white flakes were blowing and coming down in epic amounts as he jumped out of his vehicle, not bothering to lock it. Hell, nobody was coming up to this off-road cabin in the middle of a blizzard.

He trudged through the drifting snow and then kicked the accumulated white stuff from the front door as he turned the handle to enter, finding it locked. Annoyed and determined not to leave a single stone unturned, he put his shoulder against the door until the flimsy lock gave and then pushed it open.

“Ellie!” he bellowed loudly, even though the place was so small he probably didn’t need to shout.

He strode through the small cabin with a living area to one side and a small kitchen in the other direction. He inspected the tiny bathroom before he came to an abrupt halt at the door of the only bedroom in the cabin. His body tensed as he saw the nearly unrecognizable figure shackled in the corner, huddled in a fetal position, completely naked.

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