I’d barely moved back to my quaint hometown of Tranquility, and I already missed the New York hustle and bustle. I hoped I hadn't make a mistake coming home.
As I sat in my new sky rise office, I frowned at my schedule for the week. Blank pages stared back at me. I may have to get used to this if my new venture did not pan out. I was grateful my old school friend hired my new Public Relations firm to publicize the opening of his new bed and breakfast on Lighthouse Island.
Our bad boy billionaires club from boarding school, the Brentwood five, was dwindling fast. I couldn’t help but smirk. The notorious playboy Manly Manos was currently happily married with children; twins, no less. Man whore Richard Van de Graaf Jr. was getting married this weekend.
Nate, the only responsible one, married his sweetheart from Brentwood years ago. That left me and Theo to pick up the pieces of all the brokenhearted women left behind.
I was looking forward to spending the weekend out of Tranquility. I would be able to oversee the details of the PR campaign for the new bed and breakfast opening July Fourth weekend.
The opening coincided with Richard’s and Mackenzie’s wedding. Richard did not want to use the Van de Graaf’s PR team. He wanted this new chapter in his life to be free of his old life. For years he was groomed to take over for his father.
A designer at heart, Richard decided to give up being heir to the country's largest shoe dynasties to follow his passion.
It was the break I needed and I was grateful for the opportunity to jump on board and offer my services.
The services of my new Public Relations firm. Naile Public Relations.
I was getting tired of the trust fund baby title. At twenty-nine, I wanted to make a name for myself other than the billionaire’s son.
Aleksander had broken away from his mob lawyer father’s shadow. Richard left his father’s shoe fashion dynasty to run a bed and breakfast with the love of his life.
Why couldn’t I succeed at something other than the ability to spend my father’s money?
I was going to head out Thursday night and get an early start Friday. Richard had decided that he and his fiancée would move to the honeymoon cabin early. This would free up one room in the inn for me and my crew.
The family and wedding party were going to take up residence in the second bed and breakfast on the island. That one was going to be run by Richard’s twin sister and her husband.
I checked with my assistant , Anita, that all travel arrangements for the necessary staff were confirmed. They would arrive on Friday. I also made her head of the new PR team. Once I got established, I could hire more staff and she would not have to do double duty.
She assured me she did not mind. She was grateful to have been given a chance to show her talents. It was her first job and she wanted to prove herself.
Richard gave me the choice of arriving by boat or by land. A permanent causeway had been built to the mainland. This eliminated the need to watch the tides and try to maneuver the sandbar.
My sailboat could serve me well if I decided to take advantage of any one of the single bridesmaids who needed to feel special.
Weddings were always a great place to pick up woeful women who were always bridesmaids and never brides. No one expect to find Mr. Right at a friends wedding. More like Mr. Right now.
I was there to oversee the campaign and attend the wedding. No reason I couldn’t mix a little business with pleasure.
I was not going to sleep with my associates. When I interviewed for my company, I needed to filter which candidates were interested in being professional and doing the best job they could. Which were only there for the mind blowing sex I could offer. And which ones thought they could use me as a science project and try to change my womanizing ways.
I witnessed the hordes of women who passed through my father’s company. Women who were no longer suitable for their position. Or the position my father found suitable at the time. I loathed the way my father treated those women. The way he threw money at them so there would be no sexual harassment suit.
I was not going to operate like that, like my father. I wouldn’t be sleeping with my associates, no matter how mutual the arrangement. I would always have the upper hand because I was the boss.
Once the firm was fully standing on its own, I would go out and celebrate. I would find myself the hottest piece of ass at The Swan, New Yorks exclusive nightclub and promise her the best night of her life. She would accept; they always did.
It was a badge of honor to get nailed by Jackson Naile.
I also had Anita make arrangements for a rented SUV to be waiting at my apartment. My driver would appreciate the weekend off. It being my first time at Lighthouse Island, I choose to drive myself. I had no ideal where I was going to start with the campaign. Plus I decided bringing my driver to the small personal wedding was not exactly part of the plan.
I tossed my bags in the back and got a feel for the vehicle. I decided if I was going to promote the bed and breakfast, I should at least try out the room. I could always do further research and spend a weekend on my boat later.
Arriving before the sun set on Lighthouse Island, I took the scenic route to get a feel for the place. The campaign should have started a month ago to promote the Fourth of July opening.
Richard made it perfectly clear that this would be what was considered a soft opening. Word of mouth. That was to prevent the small family wedding between Richard and Mackenzie from turning into a media circus.
Arriving at the North Side Inn, where the family and wedding party would be staying, I couldn’t help but snicker at the most glorious sight. A bed and breakfast for the rich and pampered, was more like it. This had to be the best kept secret of all.
What I had expected was a small colonial style home with rustic charm. Instead I was confronted with a large Gone with the Wind style mansion.
I admired the full wrap around porch complete with swing.
I noticed Aleksander with his wife Haley practically molesting each other. I cleared my throat. “Ahem.”
The honeymoon stage for the two of them was definitely not over. It was common knowledge amongst friends that the two of them constantly behaved like rabbits in heat.
Aleksander pulled away from his wife long enough to acknowledge my presence. “Jackson, nice to see you. You remember my wife, Haley?”
“Nice to see you again, Jackson.” Most women would be ten shades of red having someone witness the PDA. Haley loved her husband and did not care who witnessed their affectionate nature.
“I wanted to check in with Richard, is he around?”
“Richard and Mackenzie took a walk a while ago.” The way he looked at his wife told me I was being dismissed for better things.
“No problem, I’ll come by later and let them know I arrived.”
I headed to my car, trying not to watch the spectacle taking place on the swing.
On my way to the South Side Inn, I noticed small trails and outside buildings. I passed the lighthouse and a small cabin near the docking stations. I finally reached my destination and parked my SUV beside a small blue sedan.
This building was an exact duplicate of the one I had just left.
Minus the couple making out on the swing.
The South Side Inn was close to the lighthouse and curiosity got the better of me. I proceeded to the tall structure and let myself in.
Sounds and giggling sounded from up the stairs.
I had better announce myself before heading up. “Hello, anybody there? Richard, is that you?”
“Shit, be right there.” Richard's voice echoed from above.
I think I actually blushed. I might have walked in on an amorous encounter between Richard and his bride to be. Was I destined to spend the weekend on an island with couples who were going to behave like a bunch of horny teenagers?
It was very out of character for me to be embarrassed by anything, yet interrupting this small indiscretion caused that reaction in me.
Richard descended the stairs a few minutes later. No doubt after he composed himself. “You’re here, great, what do you think so far?”
“I think this is going to be the easiest sell once the word gets out what you have here.” I kept my voice steady.
A beautiful blonde descended the stairs. I approached, hand out. “You must be the beautiful Mackenzie Richard doesn’t stop gushing about.”
“Nice to meet you, Jackson,” her eyes cast shyly downward.
Yep, they were doing exactly what I thought they were doing. I didn’t think I’d blushed this much in my entire life. I barely stammered out a congratulations on the wedding before Richard was escorting me out the door.
“Have you made your way to the Inn?”
“On my way there now.” I kept my tone professional, attempting not to embarrass myself any further.
“I’ll take you over and show you where you will be staying.” Richard kissed Mackenzie and whispered something that made her blush again, then ushered me out the door.
“Sorry, man, you really should have put a sock on the door, you know.” I teased, not sure how to break the awkwardness.
“Don’t worry about it. Since the family arrived it’s been hard to get some time alone.” Richard shrugged it off. “We are going to put you in our room at the end of the hall. You will have to share a bathroom with the wedding photographer. She will be in room next door. The east wing is our family unit. The rest of the place is for visitors.
So the blue sedan must belong to the wedding photographer.
Take a tour at your leisure, enjoy the weekend, then Monday we can talk strategies.”
“Sound great, that will give me time to explore the grounds before my staff arrives tomorrow. You have a really great place here. I’m impressed with the amount of solar energy being used. I can’t believe you have your own cell tower.”
“Vacation or not, people still want to be in constant contact with the outside world. Nate helped me with that one. Communications is his domain.” We all knew Nate was being groomed to take over Bentley Communications since birth.
“Will Nate and Theo be joining us this weekend?” This would truly be a reunion for the Brentwood five. I think it had been at least four years since we all got together for Nate’s and Carrie’s wedding.
“No, this is family only.” He smirked, “The only reason you got an invite is that you’re doing the PR for the place. Technically, you’re not really a guest, but I’ll look the other way if you decide to mix a little pleasure with business.” He winked at me.
Richard slapped me on the back. “I have to get back to the lighthouse.” The smile on Richard’s face let me know to stay away from snooping up there for now.
I made my way to the rented SUV to retrieve my bags and headed to my room. I stowed my items, pulled out my tablet and plugged it in. I checked a few emails and let my assistant know everything was on track. I debated taking a shower and decided it might be best to check out the grounds first before nightfall set in.
I realized I never thought to ask about how functional the bed and breakfast was at this time. I made my way downstairs and let my nose do the walking. A most delicious smell was coming from the kitchen. I stuck my head inside and saw a small boy with his back turned to me.
The boy was emptying the contents of his bag on the kitchen table. Camera equipment—must be the wedding photographer. Better let this guy know that my team will be arriving tomorrow to take pictures of their own for the campaign. It would be best to set boundaries at the start.
I remember the spastic behavior of the photographer at Nate’s wedding about everyone getting in the way trying to take personal pictures with their phones. I wanted to let this guy know we would not be getting in his way.
The small boy turned around and almost dropped his camera. I should have made my presence known before startling him. He removed his baseball cap.
Not a he, a she, with the most shiny flowing curly auburn hair and a pretty heart shaped face, dressed in the most unflattering baggy hoodie and sweatpants.
No wonder I believed her to be a boy. The shapeless clothing on her tiny frame would have fooled anyone. But those eyes were ice blue and crystal clear, like you see on a doll.
They were wide with shock. Those eyes triggered a memory, but why, and of what, or who?”
“You scared the hell out of me, Jackson, what the fuck?”