Wedding His Takeover Target / Inheriting His Secret Christmas Baby. Emilie Rose

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Название Wedding His Takeover Target / Inheriting His Secret Christmas Baby
Автор произведения Emilie Rose
Жанр Контркультура
Серия Mills & Boon Desire
Издательство Контркультура
Год выпуска 0
isbn 9781408922989

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urge to check out the brunette’s backside as she left. “I apologize if I woke you, sir.”

      Caldwell waved his apology aside. “Fell asleep watching the news channel. Damned depressing babble. All gloom and doom even if it is delivered by hot blondes in short skirts and high heels. Time to get up anyway. Can’t sleep what’s left of my life away. What can I do for you, Gavin Jarrod?”

      “I’d like to buy back the property my grandfather lost to you.”

      “Should have known one of you would pick up where your father left off. Badgering me seems to be the Jarrod way. At least you had the gumption to pester me face-to-face instead through a damned lawyer. Can’t respect a man who won’t handle his own dirty work.”

      Gavin digested the animosity. He’d have to work around it. “As you’ve no doubt discovered, the mine is worthless.”

      “Depends on what you consider the valuable part. Ain’t necessarily the minerals.”

      Cryptic old coot. “The acreage is in the middle of Jarrod Ridge.”

      “And me owning it is like a burr in your butt, ain’t it, boy? Drove your daddy nuts, too.” Mischief fanned crinkles from the old, but sharp eyes.

      “My oldest brother and I would like to build a bungalow on the property.”

      “Don’t you folks have enough going on up there already? Lodges all over the damned place plus Jarrod Manor.”

      “This would be a different caliber accommodation for guests needing more privacy and additional security than the hotel or existing lodges could provide.”

      Henry snorted. “Married Hollywood types sneaking off with somebody they oughtn’t to be with.”

      Another strike. “We were thinking more along the lines of heads of state.”

      “Don’t care if you’re putting up the president. The land’s not for sale.”

      Gavin struggled to keep his frustration in check. “What purpose does keeping it serve you, Mr. Caldwell? There’s no road access which means you can’t build on it. You can’t even get to it without obtaining written permission to cross Jarrod property.”

      “Y’think so? Son, I’ve been visiting that mine for fifty years—often enough to know you’re one of the young’uns who used to camp down in the shaft.”

      Interesting. Until his most recent return Gavin had never seen signs of anyone visiting other than him and his brothers. The entrance was pretty well hidden. “Yessir. All three of my brothers and I did, but I probably spent more time there than the rest of them combined.”

      “Cleaned up after yourself, too.”

      “Our father forbade us to go there. We didn’t want to leave any tracks.”

      “He forbade you because he didn’t own it.”

      “A fact he didn’t share with us, and one we’d like to rectify. I’m prepared to offer you—”

      “Don’t matter how much you offer. I’m still not selling. Which one are you? The architect, the engineer, the marketing man or the restaurateur?”

      Caldwell knew quite a bit about the Jarrods, but considering the family had been a fixture in Aspen for generations, the interest in their lives wasn’t surprising. “I’m a construction engineer. My brother Blake is a developer who commissioned the design for the bungalow we’d like to build. Our offer is more than generous.”

      “Don’t care about your money.”

      “Your inn could use a little work.”

      Caldwell snorted. “I’ll get to it.”

      “Opening day for the ski slopes is only a few weeks away.”

      “That’s not news.”

      Gavin didn’t like bringing personal issues into a business problem because it gave his opponent leverage, but he had no choice. “Mr. Caldwell, as you’ve noted, that mine has sentimental value to me. I spent a lot of my youth there. The site holds some good memories.”

      Those intensely blue eyes held his. “For someone who never comes home, you’re sure tied to the place. Could be the mountain’s dug her claws into you. Some folks claim once she gets hold of you, she never lets go.”

      The old man’s folktales didn’t change the fact that Gavin intended to get the hell out of Dodge as soon as he’d fulfilled his part of the will. “Our plans will preserve the mine and its historical value. The bungalow will blend into the setting.”

      “I’m still not interested in selling.”

      “What can I do to change your mind? Would you like to see the blueprints?”

      “I don’t care about any blueprints.”

      Gavin clenched his teeth so hard he was lucky he didn’t crack a molar. He had to find a way to get through to the man, and at the moment his mind was blank. He pulled the written offer from his pocket and offered it to Caldwell. “Take a look at our price.”

      When the man made no move to take the envelope, Gavin laid the package on the coffee table. “Think it over. Thank you for your time.”

      He strode toward the entry.

      “What’d you think of my Sabrina?” Caldwell called after him.

      Gavin stopped and pivoted. “Excuse me?”

      “Liked her, didn’t you?”

      What was the old man up to? “Your granddaughter is quite attractive.”

      Caldwell nodded. “She’s easy on the eyes, that’s for sure. Like her grandma, my Colleen. Shut that door.”

      Unsure of where the conversation was headed, Gavin complied. The envelope remained unopened on the table where he’d left it.

      “How badly do you want that land?”

      That sounded like a loaded question. “I want to see the Jarrod property intact.”

      Caldwell scratched his chin. “A deed will earn you the deed.”

      What in the hell did that mean? The man seemed lucid, but Gavin wondered if he’d misjudged him. Gavin slowly crossed the rug. “I’m not following.”

      “Marry Sabrina and I’ll sell you the land.”

      Shock knocked Gavin like a wrecking ball to the chest. Was everybody marriage-crazy today? First Blake, now this. “Marry her?”

      “It could work.”

      Gavin shook his head. Caldwell had to be senile. But Gavin couldn’t afford to offend him. “I just met Sabrina, sir, and you weren’t in here long enough to notice she’s not exactly impressed with me.”

      Caldwell smiled, smirked, really. “She’s interested.”

      Gavin’s pulse spiked. “She told you that?”

      “Nope. I just know.”

      This conversation seemed surreal. What could be so wrong with the woman that her grandfather had to bribe someone to marry her? “Mr. Caldwell, you don’t know me well enough to wish me on your granddaughter.”

      “My Colleen was one of those mail-order brides. Didn’t set eyes on her until the week of our wedding. But we had chemistry from the minute we met at the train station. Same as you and Sabrina.”

      Gavin didn’t bother to deny the attraction. “I’m glad that worked for you, but frankly, I’m not interested in marriage. My career keeps me on the road. I move from site to site, usually only staying in one place for six months to a year. No woman wants to live like that.”

      He’d learned that the hard way.

      “The mountains