Jack Wilde looked up from the blue-print-covered desk, the size of a dining room table, when Colette knocked on his open door.
“Hank Dawson would like a word if you have a minute.”
“You bet. Show him in.” Jack tossed down the pencil he’d been jotting notes down with and rose from the desk. He met Hank with a firm handshake. “It’s good to see you.”
“How’s the family?”
“Did you hear, Sorene and Ash Bleu are getting married.” Jack couldn’t help the grin that split his face from ear to ear.
“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.” Hank gestured to the double door left wide open. “Mind?”
“Not at all.” Curious, he offered Hank a drink. “Want some coffee?”
“I’d prefer something stronger for this conversation.”
Hmm…sounds serious. Without saying a word, Jack walked around to his office desk, opened the bottom drawer, and pulled out a bottle of whiskey.
“Now you’re talkin’.” Hank hitched up his Dockers and took a seat across from the desk.
Jack grabbed a pair of aluminum tumblers and poured them each two fingers.
“Sorry to bother you at work, but I couldn’t meet you at the Pump House, not with Avery there all the time.”
Jack swallowed down the whiskey. “How is your boy? Seems like he’s established himself a world class brewery. Up for an award now with his new beer.”
At his words, pride reflected on Hank’s lined and leather face, the result of weather and working most his life outdoors. Jack was impressed how Hank still held his own with the younger guys he hired to work the development side of Dawson Realty and Development, even though he worked more in the office these days.
“Avery does have a way with hops and fermentation. I have to tell you, I was mighty upset he refused to follow in my footsteps, but I have Drew who will take over if I ever agree to retire. At least, I hope he will.”
Hank swallowed the rest of his whiskey, and Jack held up the bottle, which he waved off. “Let me get to the point. I heard about the ruse you and Quinn pulled to get Sorene and Ash to finally get their heads out of their asses and realized they were meant for each other. I need your help with Avery and Catriona.”
Jack leaned back in his chair. “Catriona? My Wild Cat? Now that’s a tall order. Have you met my daughter?”
Hank choked out a laugh. “That I have and she’s a fine stubborn woman. One that Avery won’t be able to walk all over. Which is why I think they broke up in the first place. Avery realized that a relationship with Cat would require work. He wouldn’t be able to skate like he has with all the other women he’s dated. He doesn’t know it, but he needs the challenge.”
“Cat is a challenge all right. She’s been serial dating since she went out with your boy. Are you sure they’re good for each other?” Since she ended dating Avery Dawson, she was running through men like a box of chocolate creams, taking a bite out of each one and putting them back in the box. Maybe she still cared for Avery? Another daughter married increased his chances of becoming a grandfather sooner rather than later. Lord knew, his offspring weren’t taking getting married and settling down seriously. And his and Quinn Bleu’s success with Sorene and Ash had him willing and eager to try matchmaking again. “I thought she only went out with him the few times.”
“Enough times to have Avery running for the hills. I never thought one of my boys would turn coward with a woman. It’s downright not natural. Avery hasn’t been the same since they dated. But he’s apprehensive when it comes to serious relationships. Lord knows, I haven’t been the best of role models. He still holds it against me that I couldn’t make it work with his mother. I know you and Nicola were soul mates, and rightly so, but Janine and I were never meant for long term. We were great for kindling, but for a long-lasting burn, not so much.”
“Are you sure he wants Cat?” Jack frowned. Then again, who wouldn’t want one of his comely daughters?
“You can’t even bring up her name in his presence. A few weeks ago, I was in the Pump House when Catriona was dancing with that man who owns Heart Springs Enteral Spa and Resort, and I thought Avery might explode. He couldn’t take his eyes off her and nearly bit my head off when I mentioned it.”
“All right, I’m willing to look into this. I need to see them together first.” He wasn’t going to play matchmaker unless he knew Catriona had feelings for Avery. “If we decide to do this, I see a major problem. How are we going to get them together? They don’t run in the same circles.”
It had been easy to throw Sorene and Ash together because they both worked in construction. Seeing them together, so happy and in love, made him want to see all his children that way. And if they needed some parental matchmaking so be it.
“Catriona contacted me about finding a commercial spot for her new business venture,” Hank said.
Jack nodded, pride puffing his chest out. “That girl is going to be a huge success.”
“What if the only property available is right across the street from the Pump House and Avery?”
Jack shared a crafty smile with Hank. “They’d see each other every day, and that property would be a good location for what Catriona has in store.”
“It will drive Avery crazy to have her across the street. He won’t be able to ignore how he feels about her. Come out to the Pump House tonight. Catriona usually shows up there on Friday nights and you can see for yourself the sparks that flare between those two.”
“It’s a date.”
Hank reached out a hand and they shook on it.