In Plain Sight (Sisterhood #25) - Fern Michaels
Five years earlier
Everything about Lincoln Moss shrieked money, right down to his monogrammed jockey shorts. He was still on the sunny side of fifty, the half-century mark, though just barely, with three short months to go till he hit the big five-o and moved to the shady side of the calendar. He hated the thought but was wise enough to know time was the one thing in his personal life that he could not control.
Lincoln Moss was all about control.
Time marched on, and time didn’t care that Lincoln Moss was already a millionaire at the age of thirty-six. Time didn’t care that Lincoln Moss became a multibillionaire at the age of thirty-nine, and time didn’t care that Lincoln Moss retired at the age of forty-five with more money than God.
Time didn’t care that Lincoln Moss had the President’s ear and was welcome at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue any time of the day or night. Time didn’t even care that he was married to French model Amalie Laurent, dubbed the most beautiful woman in the world by the media and the face of the billion-dollar international cosmetic company La Natural. Owned, of course, by the very same Lincoln Moss.
Lincoln Moss, along with the current President of the United States, Gabriel Knight, a cousin three or four times removed, had grown up on the wrong side of the tracks, poorer than poor, often with not enough food to eat. Lincoln was the go-getter, the hustler, while Gabriel was the worrier of the duo, who went along for the ride. Lincoln’s motto from the age of sixteen was “I want to be rich. I want to be powerful, and I won’t stop until I achieve that goal.” Gabriel didn’t care about the money per se; he wanted to go into politics and be somebody. Lincoln promised his cousin and best friend that he would make it happen.
On Gabe’s twenty-first birthday, Lincoln asked him if he would like to be President of the United States at some point. To which Gabe replied, “I think I could handle the office.”
At that point in time, the bond between the two men deepened even more, and both young men knew that nothing on earth could drive them apart. Nothing. They even did that blood-brother thing, where each of them cut the palm of his hand and mixed their blood. And the deal was sealed, as Lincoln said, “until death do us part.” It’s just like a marriage, he’d told Gabe, and Gabe had agreed.
Lincoln put his nose to the grindstone and within ten short years he was involved in shipping and leasing companies, diamond mines and oil. From there he branched out to banks and steel mills and dabbled in European car manufacturing. Because he was a pro at networking and knew how to schmooze, it wasn’t long before he was making money hand over fist—so much money that it was hard to stay on top of it all. And that’s where Gabe came in because he was a whiz with numbers. He invested the money, sought out small companies for Lincoln to buy out and build up and unload at ten times the buying price. In essence, Lincoln Moss, under Gabriel Knight’s tutelage, became his own hedge fund. But the money he was investing was his own, not the public’s. And money earned on those investments started pouring in so fast that even Gabe, financial genius that he was, had a hard time keeping up with the flow.
There had only been one disagreement between the two men, and that was when Gabe insisted that Lincoln buy a French cosmetic company called La Natural. Lincoln called it a dog of a company, selling cheap cosmetics, and on the verge of financial insolvency. Gabe countered that all they needed was a face for the company to send it off the charts. Lincoln continued to argue that owning a war-paint company did nothing for his image, much less his bank account. Gabe held his ground, and within three short years, the company was bringing in $10 billion a year under Gabe’s sharp eye and expert management.
Lincoln Moss hung his head in shame, clapped his friend on the back, apologized for doubting him, and promised never again to underestimate his genius.
The $10 billion a year tripled the day La Natural engaged the new face for La Natural, a model by the name of Amalie Laurent. Lincoln had met her a year or so earlier, and on Gabe’s advice, Lincoln wooed her, wined,