Irresistible Billionaires by Summer Brooks
Coffee was only my first stop, and I hadn't expected to have some sort of mind-altering experience while I was there. But sitting at my father's house, next to my brother, my mind was still back at the shop, clamped tightly around that woman. Something about her rich-brown hair and full lips sparked recognition, but I couldn't quite place where I knew her from. It was driving me crazy.
I tried to pay attention to my brother, but everything kept drifting back to her. I told myself it was because she seemed so familiar, but if that were the case, I probably wouldn't be stuck on those hips or the plumpness of her lips.
Logan snapped his fingers in front of my face. "Hello. Earth to Zach. Is there any intelligent life left on the planet known as your brain?"
I laughed and shrugged. "Sorry. I was just deep in thought."
Logan frowned. "You rarely zone out like that. Are you okay?"
I looked up at the ceiling, trying to think of a response that would satisfy his curiosity. Lately, our dad, Robert Stone, was struggling to run the family business, OBEL. Still, he wasn't willing to retire or hand over anything to us. I lied to Logan, using that as an excuse for my drifting. "It's nothing. I was just thinking about our father. That's all."
His lip curled up in an understanding half-smile. "Ya. I get that. Can you believe he forgot to renew the contract with one of our manufacturers? If someone else hadn’t caught his mistake, the company could’ve lost a huge chunk of its supply chain. When the manufacturer called him angry, he just kept mumbling something about how he’d sworn he'd signed the contract and sent it. Plus, he forgot to hire a new accountant after the old one left, so no accounting got done for weeks."
I shook my head, standing and walking over to fill my coffee cup. "I know it's concerning. And every time I ask him about retiring, he acts like everything is fine."
Logan crossed his arms over his chest. "If it's up to that stubborn old goat, he'll never retire."
Logan and I exchanged a knowing look and spoke in unison. "We need to convince him to step down."
I went back to the table and sat next to my brother. "Do you have any bright ideas?"
Logan shrugged. "Not really. You've always been the idea guy." He jabbed at my shoulder. "What do you have up your sleeve this time?"
I thought about it for a moment. "I have an idea for the company. We could make waterproof sneakers for working people. I thought he'd appreciate it since it's a good working-class shoe but with a twist."
Logan nodded. "I say go for it. Maybe he'll like the idea, and you can take over, so we don't have to keep worrying about him."
I raised an eyebrow at him. "Don't you want to run the company?"
Logan shrugged and leaned back in his chair. "Not really. I'm more of a go with the flow kind of guy. You know that."
I rolled my eyes. "Sure. We'll call it that. It's definitely not laziness. Not at all."
He smiled. "I never said I wasn't lazy, just that I didn't want to run the company. Not everyone is as ambitious as you, you know. I'm only twenty-nine. I have other plans, but maybe you're ready to settle down."
I shot Logan a glare when he winked at me. "It's not about settling down. It's about making sure our father doesn't push himself too far."
Logan waved me off. "I know. I'm just messing with you." He put his chair back onto the floor and leaned in closer. "Between you and me, I'm starting to worry that he has dementia or something."
I let out a sigh. "Me too. I'll see if I can convince him to hand over the company to me, even if just for a little while. It has to be one of us because I'm sure he won't accept help from anyone who isn't family."
Logan nodded and sat up just as the housekeeper walked into the room. As she walked toward us, she dangled a pair of black-lace panties in the air. Her other hand was on her hip. "What do you want me to do with this, Logan?"
Logan's face turned a deep crimson. He rushed over to her and snatched the underwear. "Don't worry. I'll take care of it."
"Those really aren't your color," I joked.
"I know, but they were all out of red."
I chuckled. "It's only Tuesday. How do you do it?"
Logan flashed me a cocky grin that resembled my own. He crossed his arms behind his head. "Well, you know I have a way with the ladies." He gave me a wink that was so overdone it made me cringe.
I rolled my eyes at him. "Well, enjoy some dessert after breakfast. That is if you haven't scared her off yet."
He gave me a mock salute. "Aye, Aye, Captain."
"Surprise, surprise. Logan had another girl over last night. I knew I didn’t just hear things. I may be old, but I'm not deaf yet." We both stiffened when we heard our father's voice call out.
Logan gave a sheepish grin. "What girl? There was no girl. It must’ve been your imagination."
Our father laughed. “I'm not dumb, either.” He gestured to the underwear hanging from Logan's pocket. “I know what you were doing last night. Just try not to be so loud next time.”
I pushed back my chair and waited for my father's eyes to fall on me. “Hey, can we talk about something?”
“If it’s about handing over the company, I'll think about retiring when one of you two can show me you're responsible enough to take over…or when I die, whichever comes first. Anyway, you boys enjoy your breakfast. I have to get to work a little early today.” Our father grabbed a banana from the basket of fake fruit and headed for the door.
I raced after him. "Dad, that's the plastic fruit. The real fruit is in the bowl in the kitchen."
His gaze became distant for a moment before shaking his head with a chuckle. "Oh, yes. That's right. I'll go get some."
He handed me the banana, but instead of heading to the kitchen, he started walking toward the door again.
I ran into the kitchen and grabbed a banana, then raced back to him and gave him the real fruit. "Here. You almost forgot your breakfast. Have a good day. You have a driver taking you to the office, right?"
He nodded and waved over his shoulder. "Thanks, Logan."
I shook my head, ignoring that he'd called me by my brother's name.
I turned back to see Logan frowning as he grumbled quietly. "No problem, Dad."
Logan lifted his brow and nodded toward the door. I turned to find our father paused, staring off into space again. It was as if he had forgotten where he was going. Things were progressing faster than I imagined they would. While we didn't have a diagnosis for what was happening, I was pretty sure forcing him to the doctor would be one of the next things on my list. If he didn't get himself hurt by wandering off, we would have to have a pound of wax fruit removed from his stomach.
I sighed and walked over to him, putting my hand over his shoulder. "Come on, Dad, I'll get you to the car. Your assistant is waiting at the office."
He cleared his throat and nodded. "Yes. Of course."
I guided him outside and watched as the driver nodded knowingly to me before helping him into the car. We had been going back and forth, taking care of him for quite some time. It took an entire team some days.
I knew that the company needed to be turned over before the board took things into their own hands. But my father was dead set on not retiring until one of his sons showed him they were serious. I already knew, staring over at my brother with panties hanging from his pocket, that he wasn't going to be a candidate. Maybe I needed to get back out there.
Responsible…right. Got it…I think…