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Lost You(Forbidden Love Series Book 9)

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Chapter One

Twenty-two year old Laurence Lennard didn't have any time to go pub-hopping with his school batchmates, who were only interested in booze and women. However it was his best friend, Troy Wagner's birthday and he dragged Laurence along with him to celebrate. Laurence had never liked Nolan Young even when they were at school and his behavior towards the young waitress pissed him off.

He tried his best to dissuade Nolan from complaining to her employer but he didn't listen. The Young's were a regular patron at this bar and as such had a very good rapport with its owner. After the punch from Laurence, Nolan swore to complain about the matter and he went ahead with it. Laurence didn't pursue it any further and waited for the beautiful young creature outside the bar, his heart constricting with pain even thinking about her ordeal.

At twenty-two, he was already established in his jewelry business specializing in diamonds. His jewelry brand, Sparklez, was doing well and he was on the verge of opening a chain of stores in New York, Los Angeles, Paris and London. Having completed his graduation in Jewelry Designing from New York's prestigious FIT Institute, his designs had already carved a niche for itself in the world of fashion. Three years back while still studying, he had taken over the reins of his dad, Harry Lennard's costume jewelry business and turned it into a profit making diamond jewelry brand Sparklez.

He didn't wish to relocate from New York to Las Vegas but his parents were adamant as his dad's old friend Eric Parker lived here and he wanted to reconnect with him. Laurence was a man of few words. He was reserved, quiet and a perfect son. After voicing his disapproval a few times, he ultimately gave in and shifted his head office to Las Vegas. His mother, Penny Lennard was always ill and he didn't argue much with them on any topic. His little sister, Lisa was ten years younger to him and he loved her the most in the world. She too was more attached to him than to their parents.

Being extremely busy with his business empire, he had no time for relationships. His shy, reserved nature too made him stay away from too many friendly interactions with women. So he had only one friend, Troy, in the whole world and no girlfriends at all. Infact apart from a few one-night stands during his college years, he had zero experience with women.

However, at the bar, the moment he had walked in, his eyes had been drawn towards a very beautiful young girl with big blue eyes, a small plump red mouth and cascading golden hair. She didn’t look more than eighteen but what drew his attention was the lost look on her face. It was obvious that she was new to this bar scenario and didn't seem to fit in there. The more he observed her, the more interested he became to know her more. He saw her stare at their table with that same lost look of apprehension in her deep blue eyes. She had no idea how gorgeous she was, and no idea at all as to how all the men were ogling at her. He noticed how all the other waitresses were helping her out.

Laurence had never noticed any woman like the way he noticed her. It seemed that he had absolutely no control over his own eyes. They were drawn to the beautiful girl who at last approached them. He just sat there and kept staring at her, mesmerized by her sweet, melodious voice. It suited her. So, when his friend Seth, who was a football player, displayed his displeasure at being served late, Laurence quickly handled the situation. But to his utter dismay, Nolan Young's lusty eyes fell upon her and he started his dirty ways which he always employed with all the women who he fancied.

Outside the bar, he waited patiently for her. Suddenly the door opened and she rushed out, colliding with him in her haste. His whole body came alive the moment her soft body touched his. He felt strange electric tingles course through his whole body, something which he had never experienced before. But before he could hold her to steady her, she regained her balance and looked up into his eyes. His breath hitched as he stared back at her angelic but sad face from so near.

"I'm sorry, sir, I didn't see you," she said, lowering her eyes. His heart felt her pain. She might have lost her job because of Nolan.

"No, it's I who should apologize on behalf of Nolan. I tried my best to stop him but he didn't listen," he said softly. He was stunned that he spoke so much to a stranger. Apart from professional client interactions, he didn't interact much with strangers on a personal front.

"No, no, it's not your fault at all, sir. In fact I'm thankful to you for supporting me. It's just my bad luck that I lost the job," she said looking up at him and then again at her feet. She didn't wish to encourage him to think that she was available just because he had shown her a little compassion.

"Thank you, it's getting late. I need to go home," she said, turning to walk down to the bus stop. If she didn't hurry, she would miss the last bus home.

"Please let me drop you. I'll feel less guilty," he said, walking alongside her.

"It's okay, sir. I'll take the bus," she said, walking faster.

"Please, I insist," he said. Suddenly to her utter dismay she saw that the last bus was pulling away from the bus stop. Even if she ran after it, she wouldn't be able to board it.

"Please?" Laurence insisted. He didn't know why he wanted to take care of the young girl, but he did. He wanted to know her name, he wanted to protect her, he wanted to keep watching her.

"Okay, sir. Thank you so much," she said and Laurence led her to the parking lot of the bar. He unlocked his white Bugatti Chiron and helped her to the passenger seat. Arianna felt the plush leather seats and the luxurious interiors of the car. She was five when she last rode in a good car. Ever since her dad went bankrupt, she had only seen luxurious cars such as this from a distance.

He went to the driver's seat and started the car. "I'm Laurence Lennard, what's your name?" He asked curiously.

"Arianna Willis," she said quietly.

"Tell me your address. Where do I drop you?" He asked. Arianna was hesitant about giving him her address. He looked quite well off with his designer suit and shoes while she lived in the most poverty-stricken area of suburban Vegas.

"You can drop me at Wellington street sir. I'll walk down from there," she said, hesitantly. Laurence nodded, not pressing her any further. Maybe she wasn't keen on sharing her address with a complete stranger.

He drove towards Wellington street as she had asked him to. "Have you been working here for a long time?" He asked her, briefly glancing at her worried face.

"No, I had just joined yesterday, " she informed him.

"Oh, this was your first job?" He wanted to know. She was so young, maybe she had just graduated from school and was doing a brief stint for extra pocket money.

"No, sir, this is my third," she informed him absentmindedly, looking out of the window.

"Third? How old are you then?" He asked, puzzled by her admission.

"I turned eighteen last month. I started working at sixteen. First at a library as well as at a small cafe. The pay wasn't enough so I joined the pub," she informed him, looking at him.

Laurence was surprised at her admission. "What about your parents?" He asked curiously.

"My mom died two years back and my dad's an alcoholic, " she admitted.

"Would you get your old jobs back?" He asked with concern.

"No, sir. It's okay. I'll look for other jobs," she reassured him.

"You can join my company, Arianna," he offered, amazed at himself for offering her without even a background check.

"I don't have the basic qualifications, sir. I had to drop out of school two years back," she said quietly. She knew that he was taking pity on her and she didn't want anyone's pity.

"Why don't you come down to my office tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock? I'll see what job you could fit into," he offered. He had never offered a job to anyone like this. He was very particular about his employees and selected his staff with care and after a grueling interview. He didn't know why he asked her to come over to his office knowing that she didn't possess any qualifications. Her honesty bowled him over. Not only did she tell him that she wasn't fit to work at his office, but also didn't ask him for any kind of help or compensation for making her lose her job.

"I don't want to trouble you sir and I also don't want anyone's pity. Please don't feel guilty. I can manage somehow," she said, quietly, looking at the road ahead of her. "Here, you can drop me here, sir," she said.

Laurence looked at the place where he was in. Wellington street was not only a crime prone neighborhood but also dirty and congested. He parked his car and took out his business card.

"I'm not doing this out of pity or guilt, Arianna. I like your honesty and I think you deserve a chance. Here, take my card and come down to my office tomorrow. I'd be expecting you," he said, handing her his card.

She took it from his hands. "Thank you, sir," she said, opening the door and disappearing into a small lane nearby.

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