Stepping off the plane and into the sterile, bustling airport, I dug in my pocket for my phone and switched it off airplane mode.
Tossing my large duffle bag that served as my carry on over my shoulder, I found my way out of the large airport and splurged on a taxi.
“Covill Security, please,” I told the driver. As he merged into the sluggish New York traffic, I once again pulled out my phone and drafted a message to my brother, Cory.
Off plane. Heading your way.
I hit send and settled back in my seat, closing my eyes. Why my billionaire brother didn’t feel the need to pick me up in a limousine was beyond me. After all these years, he still treated me like the black sheep of the family.
The taxi pulled up to Covill Security’s large headquarters, these guys were the big wigs. I stepped onto the pavement, scaring away a few pigeons, and gave the driver his pay.
Slinging my bag up onto my shoulder, I strode through the large glass doors and into the large, modern building.
I walked straight up to the front desk, where an overweight man sat in a shirt and tie, clicking around on his computer. I glanced at his nametag, which read Tom Mayflower.
“Hey, mate,” I said. “Any chance I can get in touch with Cory Walker?”
“Name, please?” Tom asked.
“Tristan. Tristan Walker. He’s my brother.” I grinned.
Tom chewed at his fat lip as he clicked through files on his computer. “Oh, yeah. The crazy rich guy,” he snorted. “I’ll have to reach out to his secretary.”
I rolled my eyes. “You can’t just call him?” I asked
He shook his head. “He isn’t a Covill employee. He’s only squatting here temporarily while he works out a deal with the big boss on some project or other.” He reached for his phone and dialed in a number, waiting a moment while it rang.
“Hello, yes? A Tristan Walker is here for Mr. Walker. Okay. Thank you.” Tom hung up. “Brittany is coming down to fetch you,” he said lazily.
I rapped his desk with my knuckles. “Thanks, Mr. Mayflower,” I said.
I wandered the lobby as I waited. The place was nice, ritzy even. Exactly the kind of company Cory would work for. I stared out the window at the bustling street. Pedestrians walked along the sidewalk and hurried across the street, coffee, and briefcases in hand.
After flying in from the mountains of Colorado, this was a suffocating change.
My phone vibrated, and I glanced down. Several notifications from Facebook and Instagram popped up on my screen. I grinned, the photo I had posted as I descended into New York was already a hit.
I noticed a personal text message and opened it.
Hi, Tristan. It’s Roxy. Remember me?
I squinted my eyes at the number, it was a California area code. I racked my brain, trying to remember California. The last time I was there, I was in Los Angeles. There was booze, bonfires, and women. I could have given my number out to anyone.
I turned and spotted a woman with raven black hair walking towards me, her pencil skirt clutching her full hips. I smiled darkly, shaking my head, Cory even had the hot secretary.
She stopped in front of me, eyeing me up and down like something the cat dragged in. I supposed I could have shaved before arriving.
“That’s me,” I said. “I need to see Cory.”
“I’ve gathered that,” she said. “My name is Brittany. Follow me.”
She led me into a large elevator and hit the button for the tenth floor – the highest in the building. I snorted. Even at a company that was not his own, he had to have the best seat in the house.
The elevator dinged as we arrived and Brittany led me to an office door, knocking confidently.
“Come on in,” I heard my brother call from the other side.
Brittany opened the door and motioned for me to go inside. I nodded my head to her in a thank you and strode through the door.
The office was the size of a studio apartment, with a large oak desk stretched in front of a floor-to-ceiling window, looking over the city. My brother stood, shoving his hands in his Armani pockets.
“Hey, bro!” I called, striding to his desk. “Nice place you’ve got here.”
“It’s temporary,” he said, not even a sliver of a smile gracing his lips. “The CEO, Walter Covill, is currently in California. I’ve taken his office in the meantime.”
I didn’t know who that was, and I didn’t care. I stepped around his desk and pulled him into a one-armed hug. He quickly backed away.
“You know I’m not the touchy-feely type,” he said curtly.
I laughed. “I don’t seem to remember that when you stole away my girlfriend in high school.”
That earned a crooked smile from Cory. “You’re not the only ladies’ man,” he said. He eyed me up and down, taking in my stubbled face and long hair. “You’re looking…. Rugged,” he said.
I shrugged. “What can I say? Don’t have time to shave every day.”
Cory snorted. “Because you’re off clowning around with your video camera.”
“Hey, I’m making a decent living from that thing,” I said.
Cory raised his brows condescendingly.
I rolled my eyes. “Not like billions, obviously. But I’ve become quite the celebrity on YouTube.”
Shaking his head, Cory sat back down behind his borrowed desk. “Maybe if you didn’t drop out of college and actually tried to hold down a job, you could have ended up like me.”
I scoffed. “You realize there are currently only about 500 billionaires in the US, don’t you? You’re just lucky that app you designed took off the way it did.”
“Yeah, but I didn’t stop there,” he said. “If you want something bad enough, you’ll get it.”
I scratched at my jaw, already tiring of my brother’s pompous ass. “I didn’t say I wanted what you have,” I said. “I am perfectly happy bringing in a comfortable six figures from my online business, thank you.” It was time for a subject change. “Hey, Mom said you were dating exclusively now,” I said. “When did that happen?”
Cory cleared his throat. “A few months ago, actually. Emalee is the real deal. I’ve slept around enough to know. She’s not in it for the money. She didn’t even realize I was rich on our first date.”
“Oh, whatever,” I said. “You brag about your wealth all the time.”
“Not this time,” Cory said, sighing. “This time… I wanted something real.”
I didn’t know whether to feel happy for my brother for taking the high road when it came to relationships or to barf at his romantic implications. “Tired of the fake boobs?” I teased.
I’d gotten on Cory’s last nerve. He fished inside his pocket.
Cory extended his hand, a silver key in his fingers. He dropped it into my palm. “The apartment key,” he said. “Please try to behave yourself while you’re here.”
“I doubt that,” I said with a grin, pocketing the spare key. “Is Emalee living with you? Will she be home?”
Cory glanced at his watch. “No, Emalee works. She’s only currently staying at my place because she’s in the process of moving to another apartment. I’m meeting her for lunch in about an hour.”
“I’ll make myself comfortable, then,” I said. “See you tonight.”
I left my brother’s office, still silently laughing at how cocky he could be. I could only imagine what kind of stuck-up treat his new girlfriend would be.