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Blue Bayou Final by Kate, Jiffy (1)

Chapter 1

Maverick

“You’re so spoiled...weak,” he mutters under his breath, running a hand down his face in disgust and frustration.

I grit my teeth and pinch the bridge of my nose in an effort to not respond. That’s what he wants. He wants me to fly off the handle and prove I am what he says I am—a wild card, unpredictable, unfocused. And now, I guess, spoiled and weak should be added to his ongoing list, but what he’s really angry about is that I’m not him.

My last name might be Kensington, but I’m definitely not like him.

Sighing, he collapses into his oversized, leather office chair and spins until his gaze is on the city in front of him. The shiny buildings of downtown Dallas are a backdrop to his soliloquy.

“You had one job today. Close on the McDaniels properties. That’s all you had to do, but just like everything else, you fucked it up. Royally. Kensington Properties is not in the salvaging business. We buy. We filter out the shit. We resell. We make a profit.” His voice rises as he goes and I’m sure, if I could see his face, it’s probably an angry shade of red. But I want to laugh at his we because what he really means is he. He buys. He sells. He makes a profit. It’s all about him and it’s all about money.

“You want to do things your way?” he continues. “Fine, but not on my time or my dime. When you have your own money, you can do whatever you want. For now, you work for me. You do what I say when I say. It’s not up for discussion. You’d think after six years, you’d have that down, but I think I made a mistake by bringing you up the ladder too fast. I should’ve left you at the bottom and let you claw your way up.”

He pauses for a second, his chair rocking slowly. I think he’s done and I’m going to make my exit before things really get fucked up, but he starts again.

“Tomorrow, you’ll go back to McDaniels and you’ll get the fucking contracts signed. And you’ll be there on demolition day. It’ll be a good life lesson, showing you how things work. Your mother and grandfather coddled you too much. They made you into a bleeding heart, but that will get you nowhere in this life. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, Maverick.” Finally, he turns his chair and faces me, folding his hands in front of him on his pristine desk. “You should write that in your little journal.”

I stare at him for a minute, wondering how I came from him. How is this man my father? I’ve always sought his approval. I went to the college he wanted. I got the degree he wanted. I came to Kensington Properties fresh out of school. I started in the mailroom, which was my favorite job thus far—it wasn’t a dog-eat-dog world.

Who says life has to be like that?

Without a nod of my head or a word of agreement, I turn on my heel and walk out. When I get to the corner, on autopilot my feet head toward my office, but I stop. No. I don’t want to.

I’m not going to.

What I want to do is tell him I quit. But I can’t do that, not yet.

So, I’ll stand up to him the only way I know how. Words don’t work with Spencer Kensington. He can argue his way out of a brown paper sack. He should’ve been a lawyer. Or a fucking politician.

All he cares about is money. Simply put, he wants to purchase properties, demolish the existing structures, and turn them into shiny, high-rise apartment complexes. Today, it just so happened to be in the middle of a predominantly historic district and I couldn’t do it—I couldn’t close the deal. Scratch that. I didn’t fucking want to make the deal. Work, for me, has become a soul-sucking rat race and I can’t do it anymore. Today’s deal was the proverbial straw.

Consider the camel’s back broken.

Turning left, I walk toward the elevator and bypass it, going for the stairs. I need to blow off some steam before I get to my car.

I guess if I don’t show up tomorrow, he’ll have to close the McDaniels deal on his own.

When I pull into the drive at my house, I sit in my car for a minute, still forcing myself to cool down. Banging my head against the seat, I groan out my frustration. I’ve hated my job for a while. I knew a long time ago that I didn’t want to be the next Spencer Kensington. Shit, I don’t even want to be associated with him.

A few years back, I considered going out on my own or finding a job somewhere else. I have a fucking college degree. I can get a job. But in the real estate world, my father’s word is golden. What he says matters, unfortunately. So, if I made a move, I’d literally have to make a move. I wouldn’t be able to stay in Dallas. But the thing that keeps me here is the company. Even though Kensington is now on the side of the high-rise building, my grandfather built the company.

Maverick Johnson, the man I was named after, started in real estate more than fifty years ago. Unlike my father, he made an honest living buying and selling properties, while making a difference in people’s lives. He found dream homes. He put people’s businesses on the map by finding them prime locations. He was active in his community and was known as a philanthropist. The summers I spent on his ranch were some of the best days of my life.

But when my father took over after my grandfather died, everything changed.

I guess I’ve always hung on in hopes I could change things back.

In two years, I’ll have access to the inheritance my grandfather left me. It probably won’t be enough to buy my father out, but I could try. Regardless, I’ll definitely have enough to open up a company of my own.

Twenty-eight is kind of late in the game to still be trying to decide who you are, but here I am: stuck in a job I hate, with a father who hates me and a life I’m not satisfied with.

Eventually, I get out of my car, pack a bag and lock up my house. I need to get away, clear my head, and there’s only one place I can think of that’ll get the job done.

Laissez les bon temps rouler.

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