Sunday, April 15, 2012

What Came Before...The Tycoon's Secret Daughter

I'm very happy to have a duet out this summer. First Time Dads tells the two stories of the romances of Max and Chance Montgomery and how a  mistake their dad made thirty years before might prevent anyone in their family from having a happy ending.

So get a cup of tea or cocoa, settle in and read this little prologue for book 1...The Tycoon's Secret Daughter. Then click on the excerpts button for and read the first scene. See why Max and Chance hate their dad and why Chance never wants to come home again.


Being the boss's son was difficult under the best of circumstances. But being Brandon Montgomery’s son came with its own special set of problems.

Max Montgomery headed for the break room and a date with a snack cake.

His dad was a cheat. A liar. And he wasn’t above giving or taking bribes. He’d bribed and cheated his way from a one-man handyman company to a construction company which was now a development company. Some people applauded his initiative. Others, like Max, just waited for the house of cards to come tumbling down.

Two feet away from the break room, he noticed the door was open. He heard the hushed voices of two secretaries and winced. He hated walking in on complaint sessions, but if he waited until no one was whining about his dad, he’d never get breakfast.

He sucked in a breath and headed for the door.

“Chance Montgomery really is Chance Montgomery.”

He stopped. Frowned. What the hell did that mean? And why the hell would two secretaries be talking about his adopted brother, as if it was odd he’d taken the family name?

“I’m telling you…He’s a flirt, a runaround. And his wife knows. She has to know.”

This time his eyes narrowed. At first he’d thought they were talking about Chance, who truly was a flirt and a runaround. Eighteen, handsome as sin, and with family money at his disposal, he attracted women like bees to honey. But Chance wasn’t married.

“His wife can’t know! What woman would agree to adopt the son created when her husband cheated? It’s preposterous.”

Max reared back.

“That story has to be an urban legend.”

“Really? Go back through the photo albums from the company picnics. Nineteen years ago, Brandon Montgomery’s secretary was all but hanging on him in half the pictures…then suddenly she’s pregnant.”

“And Brandon and Gwen adopted her son.”

“And then she left.”

“Maybe she couldn’t stand to be around the baby she had to give up?”

“Or maybe he gave her a big payoff. Did you know she opened a shop at the beach?”

“A shop?”

“It’s a little doughnut thing, but she makes oodles of money in tourist season. I don’t think she could have saved up the cash she’d need to rent a space on the boardwalk just by being Brandon Montgomery’s secretary.” There was a pause. “But if Brandon wanted to raise his son…he could have paid her off.”

Max flattened himself against the wall. It was a rumor. It had to be a rumor.

But the mantra fell flat in his brain. He and his adoptive brother looked too much alike. And he remembered that picnic. He was a ten the year Rayanne got drunk and hung all over his dad. Oh, he’d brushed her off. But there was something about the way they interacted that had struck Max in the gut. Then she’d gotten pregnant, his dad and his mom had made arrangements to adopt her child and then she just disappeared.

His stomach twisted. He ran his hand along his mouth. Then turned and headed up the hall to his father’s office.

Faith Martin, his dad’s latest secretary, smiled at him. “Hey, Max. Your dad’s on a call right now…”

He barely heard her as he breezed by and smashed open the door. “Get the hell off the phone.”

Tall, with white “wings” at the temples of his black hair, his dad rose as he said, “My son just walked in. I’ll call you back.” He smiled. “Max, I thought we talked about how you were to treat me.”

He slammed the door. “Just answer one question. Is Chance really your son?”

His dad chuckled. “That rumor has been circulating for…”

“Don’t lie to me! I was at that picnic!”

“All right.” He sat. “You’re old enough now that maybe I should admit some things.”

“Not some things. This thing. Is Chance yours?”

“Yes. And your mother doesn’t know. So unless you want to break her heart, I’d suggest you keep this to yourself.”

Max’s breath hissed out. “You bastard.”

Brandon leaned back in his chair. “Right. Like you’re perfect. Running around on your pretty little girlfriend, Kate.”

“I don’t run around on Kate.”

“Oh, pardon me, Mr. Perfect.”

“Don’t start, Dad.”

“You started this, son. You want your mom upset? You want Chance to question everything he knows?” He leaned back again. “Get your priorities straight. Lots of people depend upon us for an income. We don’t have time to wallow in grief over a mistake or two.” He shook his head. “Such a baby. Get your head out of your behind and get in line or you’ll be the first Montgomery to be fired and kicked out in the street.”

“I’m telling Chance.”

Brandon smiled. “And who do you think they’ll believe?”

“A simple DNA test will straighten this out.”

With that he walked out of the room, his heart racing, his head spinning.

His dad broke a lot of rules, but this one took the cake.

This one would destroy their family. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But someday.