Page 12

His Lover's Little Secret Andrea Laurence 2022/8/3 13:54:31

The small, luxury jet company specialized in private transportation. Whether you were taking a few friends for a weekend in Paris, transporting your beloved poodle to your summer home or simply refused to fly coach, Exclusivity Jetliners was ready and waiting to help. At least for now.

Roger Simpson wanted to retire. The business had been his life, and he was ready to finally relax and enjoy the fruits of his labor. Unlike BXS, he didn’t have a well-groomed heir to take his place at the head of the company. He had a son, Paul, but from the discussions Roger and Gavin had shared, Roger would rather sell the company than let his irresponsible son drive it into the ground.

Gavin quickly made it known that he was interested. He’d been eight years old when his father let him ride in the cockpit of one of their Airbus A310 freighters. He’d immediately been enamored with planes and flying. For his sixteenth birthday, his parents had acquiesced and got him flying lessons.

He’d even entertained the idea of joining the Air Force and becoming a fighter pilot. There, sadly, was where that dream had died a horrible death. His father had tolerated Gavin’s “hobby,” but he wouldn’t allow his son to derail his career path for a silly dream.

Gavin swallowed the old taste of bitterness on the back of his tongue and tried to chase it with his coffee. His father had won that battle, but he wasn’t in charge anymore. He clicked on the email from Roger and scanned over the message.

BXS was about to offer a new service that would push them ahead of their shipping competitors—concierge shipping. It would appeal to the elite BXS clientele. Ones who wanted their things handled carefully and expeditiously and were willing to pay for the privilege.

The fleet of small planes from Exclusivity Jetliners would be transformed into direct freight jets that would allow the rich art lover to see to it that their new Picasso bought at auction over the phone would arrive safely at their home the same day. It would allow the fashion designer to quickly transport a dozen priceless gowns to an Academy Award nominee while she filmed on set two thousand miles from Hollywood.

It was a risk, but if it worked, it would give Gavin something he’d been wanting his whole life—the chance to fly.

Sabine had encouraged him years ago to find a way to marry his obligations and his passions. It had seemed impossible at the time, but long after she was out of his life, her words had haunted him.

Just as her words had haunted him last night. He’d lain in bed for hours, his brain swirling with everything that had happened after he’d answered Clay’s phone call. Sabine had always had the innate ability to cut through his crap. She called it like she saw it, as opposed to all the polite society types who danced around delicate subjects and gossiped behind your back.

She didn’t see Gavin as a powerful CEO. The money and the privilege didn’t register on her radar at all, and really it never had. After years of women chasing after him, Sabine was the first woman he was compelled to pursue. He’d spied her across an art gallery and instantly felt the urge to possess her. She had no idea who he was or how much he was worth at first, and when she did, she didn’t care. He insisted on taking her out to nice dinners, but Sabine was more interested in making love and talking for hours in bed.

But she couldn’t ignore their differences. They’d lasted as long as they had by staying inside the protective bubble of the bedroom, but he could tell it was getting harder for Sabine to overlook the huge, platinum gorilla in the room. She didn’t see his power and riches as an asset. It was just one thing on a list of many that made her believe they didn’t have a future together. She would rather keep her son a secret and struggle to make ends meet than to have Jared live the life Gavin had.

What had she said? ...You know what it’s like to set aside what you love to do for what you’re obligated to do.

He did. Gavin had done it his whole life because of some misguided sense of duty. He could’ve walked away at any time. Joined the Air Force. Sacrificed his inheritance and what little relationship he had with his parents. But then what would happen to the company? His brother couldn’t run it. Alan hadn’t so much as sat down in his token office in months. Gavin wasn’t even sure if he was in the country. His baby sister, Diana, had a freshly inked degree from Vassar and absolutely no experience. His father wouldn’t come out of retirement. That meant Gavin ran BXS or a stranger did.

And no matter what, he couldn’t let that happen. It was a family legacy. One of his earliest memories was of coming into this very office and visiting his grandfather. Papa Brooks would sit Gavin on his knee and tell him stories about how his great-grandfather had started the company. Tears of pride would gather in the old man’s dark eyes. Gavin and his father might have their differences, but he wouldn’t let his grandfather down. He’d been dead for four years now, but it didn’t matter. BXS and its legacy was everything to Papa Brooks. Gavin wouldn’t risk it to chase a pipe dream.