Aiden James Grayson is the alluring, womanizing, and careless CEO of Grayson Enterprise – a company passed down to him from his overbearing father.
Trouble is what many people associate Aiden with because he can never stay out of it. Aiden is the type of man who likes to play by his own rules, he does whatever he wants and refuses to answer to anyone but himself. Being born into money, Aiden can get whatever his heart desires and more. He lives his privileged life to the fullest, caring only about his own happiness.
But at the age of twenty-nine, Aiden's destructive lifestyle throws him into a situation that puts him and those that he loves in danger. Everything around him starts to spiral out of control thanks to an anonymous woman that he hurt in the past. This unpleasant blast from Aiden's messy past turns his lavish life into a living hell after she threatens to blackmail and extort him for millions.
The woman is out for vengeance and will not stop until Aiden and his empire is taken down.
With his life now seemingly in shambles, Aiden's family intervenes and works hard to protect the troubled CEO. Thomas Grayson, Aiden's domineering father, quickly sets him up with Julian McAndrew – one of the best bodyguards in the business.
Julian is ordered to stay by Aiden's side twenty-four-seven. No exceptions.
Even though this is all for his safety, Aiden loathes that he's being forced to have a second shadow follow him everywhere. Nevertheless, Aiden tries to make the best out of his chaotic situation, but it's hard for him to connect with Julian McAndrew when the men have nothing in common. The two are complete opposites, like night and day, which makes their relationship tense and incredibly awkward at times.
In spite of their differences, there is one thing that the two men can agree on and it's that neither of them cares all that much for the other, at least not at first.
When Julian McAndrew was first contacted by Aiden's team, he almost turned down the job offer due to the fact that he would be working so closely with Aiden Grayson – an impulsive, stubborn, rich snob that Julian didn't have the patience to handle. Julian knew all too well of Aiden's distasteful reputation and has seen his scandalous affairs play out in the media one too many times. He wasn't impressed by Aiden Grayson in the least bit.
However, money talks.
Thomas Grayson cuts Julian a deal that will give him the ability to retire before he's thirty-five, he'll never have to be put in the line of fire again once Aiden's threat is captured. Julian weighs the pros and cons and, ultimately, he decides to take on the role of becoming Aiden Grayson's personal bodyguard.
That decision, unbeknownst to either of the men, seals both their fates for the better and for the worst.
Warning: this story contains strong language and mature content in certain chapters.
Chapter 1: Watch Your Back, Grayson
01. Watch Your Back, Grayson
After he partied all weekend and consumed more alcohol than what he should have, Aiden somehow managed to show his face at work this morning. As he staggered to the boardroom completely hungover, a pair of dark shades covering his bloodshot green eyes, he groaned in discomfort with each step that he took.
His body ached and his head wouldn't stop throbbing. He overdid it with the drinking, the hardcore partying, and not to mention all the women that he managed to fuck and dump in under twenty-four hours. Still, for a man like Aiden, he'd never admit out loud that he was in the wrong and probably should have taken things easy when he knew that he had an important business meeting to attend today.
Aiden Grayson, unfortunately, knows neither of those things: how to take it easy or when to admit that he's wrong about something. And it's not because he's incredibly stubborn or super egotistical, maybe partly, but more so because he's never accepted fault for anything in his life.
It's just not in his hardheaded nature to do so.
"Has this stupid meeting started yet, Davina?" Aiden rudely muttered to the secretary that worked the floor as he shuffled past her desk, not caring enough to even look in the woman's direction as he passed her by.
"No, Mr. Grayson. They've all been waiting for your arrival," Davina replied in a professional tone while secretly rolling her eyes at the insolent asshole that was her boss.
Great, now I'll have to sit through the whole damn thing, Aiden thought.
Once he finally reached the door to the boardroom, he barged inside like he owned the place - which technically he did - and didn't acknowledge anyone inside as he went to take a seat at the head of the long conference table.
Having to attend a meeting this early in the morning was the farthest thing on Aiden's to-do list. He'd much rather be at home and asleep in bed than here at the office. His hangover was beyond intolerable, but sadly, for him, his presence was required for the meeting that was being held today.
He had no choice but to show his face or else his business partner and part-time babysitter, Kyle, would have been all over his ass if he hadn't made an appearance. To not have to deal with Kyle's tiresome nagging about how he's unprofessional and irresponsible, Aiden would do his best to sit through the meeting and play nice.
"Let's get this party started shall we, gentlemen?" Aiden yawned, causing all eyes in the room to land on him and his wrinkled navy blue Armani suit.
The three visitors that had come from out of town sat motionless in their seats, judging the notorious Aiden Grayson. They all questioned in their minds for as to whether coming here had been a colossal mistake or not, thanks to Aiden's apathetic demeanor.
As for Aiden, on the other hand, he couldn't have cared less how the men viewed him, or how anyone viewed him for that matter. He wasn't here to impress anyone. For all he knew, the three men were here to make an impression on him.
As for Kyle, his brother from another mother, he stared at Aiden from his seat and couldn't feel more annoyed that his messy business partner of the last five years had actually shown up here completely shitfaced like he didn't have a care in the world. Kyle was exasperated, to say the least.
Then again, there was a part of him that knew none of this had been new for Aiden. After all these years of dealing with the stubborn mule, Kyle was almost used to Aiden's half-assed way of doing things, but that didn't mean that he wasn't completely unbothered by it all.
No matter how many times Kyle would preach to Aiden about how he should do better as a businessman, and as a man in general, deep down inside he knew that his boss would probably never change. It seemed like Aiden had issues that nobody could fix. He was too set in his destructive ways. He was pushing close to thirty but acted like an ill-bred child.
Having hope that one day he'd turn his life around for the better was pointless, Kyle felt. Aiden was a lost cause as much as Kyle didn't want to admit it.
Meanwhile, the three visitors looked back and forth from one another, shifting uncomfortably in their seats as it appeared that Aiden was starting to doze off. Kyle knew that he needed to get to the point of things quickly before the men lost interest and left. So, putting his feelings aside, he shook off how irritated he felt with Aiden and took charge of the meeting because somebody had to do it.
"Aiden, joining us today is Mr. Wong, Mr. West, and Mr. Pryor from Blanc Industries. You remember me telling you about them the other day, right?" Kyle looked over at his brother and when it took too long for Aiden to respond, he took his foot and hit Aiden in the shin from underneath the table.
Aiden almost immediately came to. He cleared his throat and sat up straight in his seat. "Yeah, yeah, I know who they are. What about them? And why are we all here today, Kyle? Get on with it already. Some of us have more important places to be this morning."
The nerve of this asshole, Kyle thought to himself.
"I called this meeting today because I believe in Blanc Industries and what they stand for," Kyle said. "I think it'd be wise for us to partner with them on the upcoming project that they're working on called Echo. I emailed you all details last week," Kyle said to Aiden. "Did you read over them?"
Aiden shrugged his shoulders. He could barely remember what he did last night, let alone what he did last week. "Briefly."
Kyle sighed in frustration. "Like Grayson Enterprises, Blanc Industries started off with nothing, but now they're rising to the top and are close to taking over. With the two of us working together, we'll be unstoppable. I say sealing this deal will be an easy win for everyone involved."
Kyle was talking about partnerships and with that came making negotiations about money; Aiden's attention was finally captured. He removed his two hundred and fifty dollar sunglasses to look Kyle in the eyes.
"You vouching for these men that I've never met before makes me a little nervous, Kyle. You see potential in them that I don't. They must be some pretty decent men, huh?" Aiden paused. Kyle nodded, looking anxious. "If they're as good as you say, that means these men could easily turn into competition for me one day. Which brings me to the question of why would I ever want to work with my future competitors, Kyle?"
Kyle didn't immediately come back with an answer. He hadn't expected things to take this kind of a turn.
"We're nowhere near your level of success, Mr. Grayson. I assure you that you won't have to worry about us ever becoming a problem for you or your company. You'll always be the top dog around town." Pryor was being a kiss ass while his partners remained quiet, letting him take the lead.
As independent as they were as a company, the three men really needed this deal to go through, along with Aiden's money, so Pryor would say whatever he had to in order to walk out of here with a check in his hand.
"A man should never be a brownnoser, Pryor," Aiden said to the older man. "I may be a lot of things, but stupid isn't one of them. I know you're just telling me what I want to hear because you need my money. Kyle may think us working together is okay, but I'm not all that interested, not anymore. I don't care what your business is up to right now. My company has been doing fine before you got here and it will continue to do so without this deal that'll probably benefit you more than it would me." Aiden then looked to Kyle with a bored expression. "I'm going home now."
"This is preposterous! He didn't even hear us out!" One of the men exclaimed after Aiden put his shades back on and rose from the table, headed for the door.
Aiden had been here for less than ten minutes and he was already leaving. None of the men could believe it. None of them had expected for Aiden to be so indecorous. Kyle, though, was beyond embarrassed and humiliated.
"What a complete waste of time!" Another one of the men shouted. "Kyle, you said that he'd be on board with this. We trusted you."
"Gentlemen, please settle down. We can all still work something out..." Kyle worked nervously to keep the three men calm whereas Aiden was already out of the room and in the hallway headed towards the elevator doors, leaving his brother behind to deal with the three angry businessmen he'd just royally pissed off.
"Hey, a package just came up for you, Mr. Grayson!" Davina called out as Aiden had gotten ready to enter the elevator. "I put it on your desk."
"Fucking hell," Aiden snapped and then turned to storm down the hall towards his office. As horrible as he felt, he couldn't leave without seeing what the package was. Sometimes his curiosity got the best of him. "What the hell is this? It's not my birthday," Aiden said aloud in a confused tone as he eyed the small white bag sitting on his desk. Balloons were tied to the handles and it was filled with colored tissue paper. Having reached the bag, he quickly dumped its contents out onto his desk.
An envelope and a black rectangular box fell out.
Popping off the top of the box, a positive pregnancy test rested inside. Aiden immediately felt sick to his stomach. The two blue lines were there as clear as day and there wasn't any denying it. Whoever sent him this was definitely pregnant.
Whoever sent this to him was also sending the message that he's the father.
Aiden felt like the room was spinning. With all the women that he'd been with in the past week alone, he could have impregnated anyone! He was just that damn careless. And now it seemed like his recklessness was coming back full force to bite him in his irresponsible ass.
"This has to be some kind of sick joke. There's just no way..." Aiden wanted to drop to his knees as he felt the walls of his office start to close in on him. "Davina! Get in here right now!"
With trembling hands, Aiden placed the pregnancy stick back into the bag to tear open the envelope that held a handwritten letter inside.
Dear Mr. Grayson,
As much as I'd love to tell you who I am, I've decided to keep my identity a secret because I don't need you trying to track me down and scare me off before things start to get good between us. You should know that you won't be in charge of what's going on here - I will be.
And you should also know that I'm not going away anytime soon. I'm going to have fun watching you crash and burn, but that won't have to happen so long as you give me what I desire - $5 million. I know that I could ask for so much more given who you are and whatnot, but lucky for you, I'm not feeling all that greedy while writing this.
Give me the money and I can promise you that you'll never hear from me again. The world won't have to find out that you have a baby on the way. Give me what I'm asking for and I'll make sure that there won't be any baby coming at all.
Give me what I'm asking for and I won't have to hunt your lousy, selfish, good for nothing ass down and... Well, hopefully, we won't have to take things that far because I'd hate to get my hands dirty with you.
I must go now, but do keep an eye out for another letter to await further instructions from me.
Watch your back, Grayson.
"Mr. Grayson? What's wrong?" Davina rushed into her boss' office just as Aiden went around his desk to vomit into a wastebasket. "Oh God, are you all right?"
"Who sent this up here?" Aiden ignored her question and pointed to the white bag lying on his desk. If this person was bold enough to threaten him via a handwritten letter, of all things, then they had to have been bold enough to deliver the threat themselves, Aiden assumed. "Don't tell me that it was the delivery guy because I don't want to hear that shit."
Davina stood frozen in place not knowing how to respond. She was completely taken aback by Aiden. As much of an asshole that he could be to her sometimes, she'd never seen her boss act like this before, so distraught and out of his damn mind.
"B-but it was the delivery man, Mr. Grayson," Davina stammered. The look now lingering in Aiden's green eyes sent chills down her spine, not the good kind. And it was then that she knew she had blown it. Her answer wasn't the one that Aiden had wanted to hear and now he was about to explode on her for something that she had no control over. "Who else would it be?"
"I don't fucking know! That's why I'm asking you, Davina." Aiden sighed, shaking his head. He was way too angry, confused, and repulsed by this unexpected threat to feel sorry for the woman he unnecessarily bitched at. "Just get the hell out of here."
"What is going on? What's with all the yelling?" Kyle entered the room after having heard the loud commotion from down the hall. He looked over at Davina, who was on the verge of crying and couldn't help but pity the pretty woman. He promptly dismissed her and shut the door to the room as he walked up to Aiden and grilled him. "What is your problem, man? Why do you always have to be such an asshole to people? And thanks for earlier, by the way. You handled that just like I thought you would. That deal could have been great for us and--"
"Read this." Kyle's words went in one ear and out the other as Aiden came from around his desk and shoved the letter towards him.
"Aiden..." Kyle glared at his friend in bewilderment and for a split second, he couldn't tell who it was that was looking back at him. "What's the matter with you? Has something happened?"
"Just read the damn letter, Kyle," Aiden repeated himself, face expressionless.
Kyle hesitantly took the letter from Aiden and read it while Aiden paced the floor of his office, freaking out.
"When I find out who's behind this, they'll pay!" Aiden exclaimed. "No one dares to blackmail me. No one!"
"Wow, this is... wow," Kyle whispered once he finished reading the letter. Aiden looked at him with an unreadable expression and Kyle knew what he wanted to ask, but couldn't, because of his pride. "I'm not sure what you should do about this, honestly. Beef up security? I mean it could just be a bad prank, right? Can you think of any women that you might've pissed off recently? Maybe one of them is behind this."
Aiden sighed heavily, shaking his head. It felt like his entire world was slowly crumbling down around him. He'd hit a brick wall and it looked like there was no way of getting past it.
So what was he to do? How was he supposed to handle this new threat and not create yet another messy scandal for him and his family?
Kyle was the smartest person that Aiden knew. He went to him for all his problems whether they were personal or business related. It didn't matter the issue because Kyle would always come through and 'handle' things for him. But he couldn't this time, for whatever reason, and that threw Aiden for a loop.
And so, it seemed like the reckless playboy was left to deal with his first ever pregnancy scare all on his own.