“I didn’t dump the proposal on your desk and take off. Jesus, Dad,” Brandon Barlow-Barrett growled into his
Droid as he waited to check his luggage. His gaze wandered to the check-in line next to him while he
continued to listen to his father’s biting tones on the opposite end. “I’d like to remind you I’ve had this
vacation scheduled for more than two months. On top of that, I gave you the proposal two weeks early, so
you would have time at your leisure to go over it in its entirety.”
A curtain of long, blond hair several people ahead in the row next to him caught his eye.The owner towered
above the people surrounding her. His gaze traveled from the hair to the ass, outlined in a pair of snug, faded
jeans, and he smiled in appreciation. Long, long legs ended in high-heeled cowboy boots that just added to
the woman’s already considerable height.
“I won’t listen to your response right now. You’ve had the proposal on your desk for all of one hour, and it’s three hundred pages. I don’t want you to flip through it. I want you to read it. You aren’t Congress, and this isn’t health reform.”
Brandon ground his teeth as his father continued to insist he’d already seen what he needed to.
“Dad! Times are changing. If we don’t change with them, there will be no Barrett Newspapers to pass along to anyone.” He reached the counter and slapped his suitcase in the space next to the ticket agent. “Look, gotta go. I’ll be back in a week. We can talk about the proposal then--once you’ve had the chance to read it.”
Brandon clipped the phone to his belt. He knew better than to allow Alexander Barlow-Barrett time to respond. He handed the suitcase to the airline agent, got his baggage claim receipt and his boarding pass, then glanced around in a casual way to see if he could locate “Legs” anywhere, but she was already gone. Damn. Flirting with her could have made for an interesting flight. After locating his gate, he discovered the plane was on time and already boarding. Great.If there was one thing he hated, it was spending any more time than he had to aboard a commercial flight. Even in first class, he found the seats didn’t have the leg room he needed.But, since stepping into his elder brother’s role, he’d become a lot more conservative with the company’s cash, so no taking the private jet for vacation.
A gate agent and a flight steward stood at the open door to the boarding ramp. When he approached he caught the tail-end of their conversation.
“God, what I wouldn’t give for one night with a woman like her.”
“You got that right, dude. Can you imagine those legs wrapped around you?”
Brandon arched a brow. The two men grinned at him. After checking his boarding pass,the steward’s demeanor became deferential. “Thank you for flying National, Mr. Barrett. Linda will be your flight attendant. Just let her know what you need.”
Brandon nodded. Laid would be nice. Sex hadn’t happened in months, but he doubted it was one of the choices on Linda’s menu. It turned out she was younger than his mother by only a few years, so he settled for a shot of bourbon on the rocks.
* * * *
Lucy looked out the window, watching with interest the luggage being loaded aboard the jet. It might have been mundane to most travelers, but then she wasn’t most travelers. In fact, this was the first flight she’d ever been on. Little Lucy Cameron was getting a vacation at long last.For a week, she would be able to leave behind Jasmine LeFleur, the name she used as one of the top dancers at Flamingo Road. The high-end strip club catered to well-heeled clients around the Washington, DC area. It also paid extremely well.
Reflected in the glass next to her, her smile gleamed. She’d earned enough dancing at the club to pay off her college loans--even the ones for her masters--in less than five years. So traveling to Colorado to go skiing was a treat she was giving herself. Sure, she would have to stick to the easiest slopes since she didn’t have experience, but her primary purpose in flying there was to see the Rockies.
The baggage handlers had finished their task and were moving the ramp away from the body of the jet. The engines picked up RPMs, and Lucy looked around at her fellow passengers.Most of them looked bored or were already plugged into laptops, iPods or whatever was their technology drug of choice. No one seemed to share the excitement she experienced just being onboard. Okay, maybe she needed to dial down her enthusiasm a couple of notches so she wouldn’t come off like an unsophisticated goofball.
Nevertheless, she paid close attention while the flight attendant went through all the preflight instructions about fastening seatbelts, getting emergency oxygen and using her seat cushion as a flotation device. Since they were going from DC to Denver, Lucy had serious doubts a flotation device would be necessary. At least she hoped not.
They roared down the runway, engines whining, and the pressure of take-off weighed on her. The whole time, she watched everything grow smaller and smaller on the ground below until it resembled the patchwork quilt at the foot of her bed, one of the few things she could say had belonged to her real family.
Once they landed in Denver, Lucy checked her schedule. She would be taking a commuter flight from there. The itinerary said it was a propjet, whatever that was. As she made her way to the correct gate, she began to suspect propjet was simply a synonym for small. Her musings about the plane ended when she reached the gate area and saw the other passengers, one in particular.
He stood out from the skiers and vacationers, his expensive suit making him look like he’d just stepped out of a boardroom, and had in all likelihood. Lucy glanced at him from the corner of her eye. In general, she avoided staring at men because they were usually staring at her.It made her uncomfortable--and wouldn’t that make everyone laugh. Who’d ever heard of an exotic dancer who didn’t want people watching her?
The man’s gaze swung her way, so Lucy averted her eyes, studying the resort poster hanging on the wall to his left. Not very smooth, but the best she could come up with, short of spinning away from him. She’d gotten enough of a glimpse of his face to know he wasn’t the type to have any trouble getting women to fall at his feet. Hazel eyes, more a combination of topaz and green, sun-streaked hair that glinted gold in the light, and a wide mouth with a full lower lip--yeah, he would make most girls’ hearts throb.
“Flight 780 to Falcon’s Head is now ready for boarding. Please use the door for gate 74Aand follow the steps.” The disembodied voice came through the public address system. This time there was no ramp. They exited the building straight onto the tarmac, then climbed the short flight of steps into the commuter plane. Propjet not only meant small--it didn’t even mean a jet.
Lucy felt someone’s gaze on her, so when she reached the top step and ducked through the door, she glanced over her shoulder. Mr. Boardroom was right behind her. He smiled. Lucy swallowed and turned away, almost bonking her head as she straightened. Wow! His smile was devastating. Forget other women falling at his feet, she was about to join them.