There was already a rumble of chatter across the hall, but then, suddenly, the excitement grew.
It was time. The journalists in the front stood, and flashes of light from cameras going off almost
blinded me as I looked ahead.
“That’s Chad Arnaud,” the woman next to me said with keen interest.
The man who walked up to the podium immediately caught my attention.
He caught my attention in a way that threw me off kilter, and for a few moments, I’d forgotten
why I was here.
Those bright, bright blue eyes were enough to do the trick. They were blue like the Caribbean
Sea. I remembered from a trip as a child to St. Lucia when we visited my great uncle. The
piercing, vapid color of the sea was what got me back then.
That same color got me now as I stared at this guy.
With his dark blond hair that had been cut into a sharp faux hawk and his short beard that
enhanced the angles and planes in his face, he stole my breath away.
There were only a few times in my life when that had ever happened.
This was perhaps the most memorable because I was on a damn mission and shouldn’t be
ogling the enemy.
Beautiful faces with ugly hearts. Chad Arnaud was Conrad’s other son. The one we didn’t hear
much about. I didn’t know what the story was with him as to why, but that wasn’t my concern.
Gorgeous as he truly was, I doubted he was any different from his father or his brother.
And if he was doing the presentation tonight, he would unfortunately be on the receiving end of
“Welcome, everyone,” he began in a rich, cool voice that carried with a presence over the room.
It was deep and masculine, strong and alluring.
“Thank you all for coming. We’re excited about this project and hope it will bring something good
to the community. It has always been our goal to provide the best, and we intend to do so with
our launch of Arnaud Heights, and entire complex of affordable luxury apartments.” Everyone
started clapping. Of course, they would. It all sounded like such a wonderful thing.
Chad continued like he liked the sound of his voice. It was nice, but everything he said was
bullshit. “It’s our way of bridging any gaps in our communities, providing quality to all.”
What a big load of fucking bullshit.
Bridging gaps and affordability for luxury apartments.
I couldn’t even laugh, and if I managed it, it wouldn’t be a laugh of humor. It would be cynical
and full of sarcasm.
“Thank you. Your excitement fuels us. I’ll now take questions.”
That was my cue, and I seized it.
“Do you sell that shit to everyone?” I spoke loudly, cutting into the woman at the front who’d just
started to say something.
Everyone looked back at me in shock.
Chad, Mr. Gorgeous, zeroed in on me and fixed those eyes on mine. We were about ten meters
apart, but when he looked at me, it felt as if he was right in front of me. It was the intensity.
Then, instead of looking appalled like everyone else, he smiled down at me.
And God, my mind slipped away again.
The smile revealed a cleft in his chin and dimples.
An uncontrollable blush swept over my skin and cascaded throughout my body.
“No. Didn’t you like what I said?” he asked, smile brightening.
All eyes were on me. Curious, watchful eyes.
“It sounded really good. In fact, it’s almost believable that you guys actually care about the
community, but you don’t.” I shook my head.
Someone gasped behind me.
Mr. Gorgeous clasped his hands together as he leaned onto the solid wood of the top of the
If not for the lascivious smile he gave me, I would have compared him to a pastor giving a
sermon for Sunday Service. Someone like Pastor Bailey, Mom’s pastor, who she thought was
an angel incarnate from heaven.
This guy here was definitely not that, and I was very interested to hear what the hell kind of
comeback he’d have for me.
“I would love for you to elaborate. There must be a reason why you think we don’t care.”
The poor guy. He didn’t know that was an invitation to unleash the secret I knew the Arnauds
“Were you going to tell the community that you plan to tear down the entire block of apartment
complexes that cover the expanse of East New Town to build your luxury apartments?”
That got his attention. Got it in a big way. It got everyone else’s too, and they started whispering
amongst themselves in shock.
Instead of the sinful smile, he now gave me a curious look.
Seeing he had no answer, I continued my tirade.
“I’m sure you know those apartments are filled with some of the poorest and most needed
members of the community, who will most likely be homeless after you throw them out of the
homes they’ve lived in for decades. Elderly people in their seventies to nineties, single mothers
who have to work God knows how many jobs to feed their children, families who are so below
the poverty line they have no hope of ever having a good life. You say you want to bring quality
to the community and bridge gaps, but yet you gave them a month to vacate the premises. A
Oh, people were seriously talking now. The room instantly came alive with it, and all the
reporters and journalists started throwing questions at him.
All at once, all in a rumble, with no coherence.
And yet his eyes were still fixed on me.
I didn’t know what bothered me more. The interest that flickered in his eyes or the effect he had
It didn’t matter. I’d said my piece, and now it was time to go.
I turned on my heel and moved through the crowd that was trying to question me too.
And still, I could feel his gaze on me. It followed me all the way through the door.
I had done what I came here to do, and now he could go and guess how I came by the
He’d probably conduct the standard investigation people like him would do to see who leaked
and ratted them out to the press.
But he would find no leak.
I knew what was going on because my mother had told me.
Mom knew everything.
It was all set out in her eviction notice she got two days ago practically telling her to get gone by
the end of next month.
She was one of the tenants who lived in the New Town complex called Winsor Estate. That was
one of the buildings they were going to tear down to build Arnaud Heights.
The apartment she lived in was where I grew up.
This wasn’t just about a job or an exposé for me.
It was personal.