The Millionaire Affair

By: Jessica Lemmon

Landon stepped into the hallway and, with one more cautious look over his shoulder, made a break for the kitchen. “I can’t get anything done with him here,” he said as he neared the end of the hall. “How did you keep him for two weeks?”

The way he’d said it made two weeks sound like two years. May as well be. Lyon had thwarted both attempts at getting on his company’s conference call and several other attempts to check his e-mail from his phone. “Seriously, did you drug him or something?” he asked, only half kidding.

“Maybe I’m more maternal than you think,” she quipped. He thought of Angel’s struggle to get pregnant and felt the pang of loss for his only sister. She would make an excellent mother, and they all knew it. Never one to welcome pity, she shifted subjects before he could respond. “First of all, I took off work the first week he was here. After that, he had a routine and I was able to work some in between.”

“And you had Richie.” Her husband. Landon had himself, and the team of designers he’d assigned to the account, who were having a conference call without him with their client and the owner of Windy City potato chips, Otto Williams, this very minute. “I can’t take off this week.”

“Yeah, well our billionaire cousin used to say the same thing. Funny how after Shane found Crickitt, he found time for a vacation.”

At the mention of his cousin, he thought back to Shane and Crickitt’s summer wedding last year. Shane was a lucky bastard. He’d managed to meet Crickitt, who was not only considerate and kind, but also understood him. Landon had yet to find a woman who possessed one of those qualities, let alone all three.

That thought brought forth one involving his ex-girlfriend—technically ex-fiancée—Lissa, and his eyebrows scrunched together. They were better off apart, especially since their relationship had been an empty husk for years—way before she’d locked lips with actor Carson Robbins on the temporarily-famous YouTube video that had gone viral. Carson Robbins, Landon thought with a chuff, his pride stinging despite his efforts to keep from it. Why she had left him for that no-talent ass clown, he had no idea. The mind boggled.

A remote-controlled monster truck sped down the hall, narrowly missing Landon’s toes before crashing into the baseboard. The recently installed, special-order, Macassar Ebony baseboards. He pulled in a deep breath. The slapping sound of tennis shoes on the wooden floor followed the path of the car as Lyon blew past. “Careful, buddy!” he called to his nephew. Then to Angel he repeated, a little desperately, “I can’t take off this week.”

The truck slammed into his ankle and he bit back a curse. “Lyon!” His nephew’s eyes grew wide and Landon promptly slapped a patient smile on his face despite the pain in his foot. “Not in the house, okay, buddy?”

“Okay, Uncle Landon,” he said, lifting the car and stamping in the other direction again.

Landon limped into the sanctuary of the carpeted living room. “Help me, Angel, you’re my only hope.”

She laughed, at his expense, but he was beyond caring. The mighty Lyon Downey had defeated him. “Well, you can’t ask Evan to leave his immersion workshop.”

“Give me a little credit.” He knew what this workshop meant to his youngest brother. Evan hadn’t done much for himself since his wife died and he’d become a single dad. His MO up until six months ago had been caring for Lyon and making as much money as possible at his tattoo shop. Then he’d started painting on the side, for fun, or so he’d told everyone. But it wasn’t Evan’s dark, broody cartoon-style works that had captured Landon’s attention. It was the light back in his brother’s eyes. Evan had finally started living again instead of just surviving.

Next thing he knew, Evan was calling to let him know a friend of Angel’s had a friend in the children’s book publishing industry.

“He needs to create five more paintings this week for his agent,” Angel said, still arguing her point.

“I know that.”

“He could be a real illustrator, Landon. You have to find another way. Ever since Rae died, he’s been marginalizing the things he wants. It’s about time—”

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