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Authors: Shayne McClendon

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Erotica

Hudson

BOOK: Hudson
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HUDSON

Refuse to compromise.

 

Shayne McClendon

HUDSON
by Shayne McClendon

Copyright
© 2013 Shayne McClendon

 

Published
by Always the Good Girl LLC

www.alwaysthegoodgirl.com

All
rights reserved.

This
is a work of fiction.  Names, characters, places, and incidents either are
the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any
resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events,
or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

 

 

Dedication

I’d like to thank my
best friend, Alexandra Andersen for talking me off the ledge I like to climb up
on when my creative flow gets shaken up.  I managed to sabotage our entire
editorial schedule and she’s still talking to me!

This book was an
exercise in new ways of losing it.  I’d written two-thirds of it – thought I
was almost finished – when the entire plot went sideways.  The story I
originally intended was hijacked by my main character and he
refused to
compromise
in any way. 

I removed more than
30,000 words that no longer “fit” and wrote another 50,000 I hadn’t planned
on.  I rearranged entire chapters, cut and re-pasted multiple scenes in new
orders, and (basically) completely re-wrote the damn thing. 

I hope you enjoy
Hudson
…the
man is (still) an enigma.  That pretty much guarantees you will see him again. 

Much love,

Shayne

Chapter
One

 

Gabriella Hernandez knew things were about to get bad.  No
one could live in New York – even in a crappy apartment – without money. 

There was no way she was calling her parents who would worry
and send her a plane ticket instead of help until she could find a job and a
place to live.  Her mother would cry and her father would be bitterly
disappointed in her choices. 

She couldn’t call her older sister who would rant for an
hour in rapid Spanish with a strong emphasis on, “I
told
you…didn’t I
tell
you?”

The sad part was Izzy
had
told her…several times…and
Brie hadn’t listened. 

Their last conversation had taken place just yesterday. 

“Hudson
loves
me, Isabella.  He’s been courting me
all this time.  Don’t you think I know him by now?  He wants me to come to
Manhattan
,
Izzy!  He wants me to live with him and he’ll help me find a job.  I can finally
use my degree.  Why can’t you be happy for me?  I don’t want to stay here
anymore.  I’m tired of this town.” 

Older by two years, Izzy pushed her hair back from her face,
smiling at the curls that would not be contained without a whip and an
industrial straightener. 

“Brie, please listen.  You don’t
know
this man.  In
all this time, he hasn’t met your family.  You have big plans and I get that. 
Caution, that’s all I’m asking for.  It seems too good to be true – can’t you
see that?”

Brie pushed herself away from Izzy with a grunt.  “I do what
everyone
else
wants.  All the time.  I’m such a good girl and for what? 
I’m twenty-eight.  I have no man, no life, and no real career.  I haven’t been
anywhere
and I just want to
go
.” 

Turning back, she took in her beautiful sister’s long, lean
looks and gave her a self-mocking smile.  “We don’t even look related.” 

For once, the sadness about their difference in appearance
didn’t hurt as much.  She gave the credit for that to Hudson.  He told her all
the time, “I love you just as you are, Gabriella.”  He never shortened her
name.  Never made her feel like the younger sister without a real future. 

“Why do you always do that, Brie?  Why do you think you’re
less
than
when you are wonderful and beautiful in so many ways?” 

She didn’t
know
why but it always seemed so
important. 

Today, she boarded a plane and left her small town in eastern
Washington for New York.  Her mother and father were unable to hide their panic. 

“Call us when you land, Brie.  Don’t forget.”

“I won’t forget, Papa.” 

She hugged them both then moved to her sister.  “I love you,
Izzy.” 

“I love you, too.  Please be careful.  Call me if you need
anything.  I don’t care what it is.”  As they hugged, she added, “Between us. 
I won’t breathe a word to Mom and Dad if you need help.  I just want you to be
safe.  You’re my only sister, you know?”

With a nod and tears in her eyes, she picked up her backpack
and carry-on, turned, and entered the security checkpoint.  The flight was
uneventful and when she landed in La Guardia, she knew she would never want to live
without the hustle and bustle of city life again. 

She took a cab to Hudson’s condo.  Barely able to contain
her excitement, she waited patiently as the concierge buzzed his place without
answer.  Sitting down to wait in the beautiful lobby, she smiled at the doorman
until he relented and smiled back. 

“This is my first trip to New York.  It’s very beautiful. 
Very different from Washington.  That’s where I’m from.”

“A rookie!  You’ll have much to see and do while you’re
here.”  It was a beautiful late-summer day, starting to cool down but still a
long way from the cold she knew was coming. 

Brie glanced at the concierge and he smiled with a little
shake of his head.  “What brings you to New York, miss?”

“Please call me Brie…I’m Gabriella Hernandez.  It’s nice to
meet you.”  Holding out her hand, the doorman shook it with a look of confusion
on his face.  “I moved here for
love
, if that doesn’t sound too
nauseating and cliché.”

“My name is Henry, miss.”

The concierge came from behind the desk to approach her.  “I’m
sorry.  Brie, right?”  She nodded cheerfully.  “I’m Carlo.  The tenant you
asked us to ring for you, Hudson Winters…is that…the man you came here to New
York for?” 

Brie nodded and felt her smile slip at the silent
communication that passed between the two men.  That
feeling
, the one
her grandmother and both of her aunts got sometimes, fluttered in the pit of
her stomach. 

“Why?  What is it?”

Carlo parted his lips to reply when the front door opened. 
A group of three people entered the lobby laughing and holding hands.  Two of
the most beautiful men she’d ever seen held a vibrantly pretty brunette between
them. 

“Henry!  Don’t rush!  We
are
capable of opening the
door, you know.  Don’t let us interrupt.”

“Miss Riya.  Lovely day, isn’t it?”

“Always.  All of them are pretty spectacular.”  The brunette
paused in front of Brie and held out her hand.  “I’m Riya.  Are you new here?” 

The men on either side of her
smiled as if she fascinated them.  Unable to deny the woman’s enthusiastic
nature, she nodded and shook her hand.

“I…I think I am.  I’m here to see Hudson Winters…?”  Riya’s
fingers tightened imperceptibly on Brie’s and the flutter in her stomach intensified. 
Looking around at all of them, she whispered, “Please.  Can someone tell me
what’s going on?”

Without looking away, one of the beautiful men with Riya
said quietly, “Carlo, please have Rodney hold the car for a bit longer.”  He
had the most beautiful English accent but Brie was unable to enjoy it.  She sat
down on the leather bench behind her with a rapidly rising feeling of dread.

“Yes, Mr. Micah.” 

Riya sat beside her and said, “How do you know Hudson,
Brie?”

She felt foolish and inexplicably afraid.  “The winery where
I work.  He visited there two years ago.”  The other woman held her gaze.  “He’s
been coming back every few months since.  He…told me to come.”  Swallowing past
the lump in her throat was painful.  “Can’t you tell me what’s happened?”

“Maybe nothing.  Possibly a misunderstanding.  These are my
husbands, Max and Micah.”  At the widening of Brie’s eyes, she laughed.  “Don’t
let us frighten you off.  We’re shockingly normal once you get to know us.” 

With a pat on her hand, Riya stood and tugged Brie up with
her. 

“Why don’t you come up and have coffee while you wait? 
Carlo will ring the penthouse when Hudson arrives.  I promise you’ll be safe. 
I can’t just leave you in the lobby.”

At that moment, the front door slammed wide and a powerful
figure stood there with a phone to his ear.  “Henry!  I don’t believe you’re
paid to fraternize with the fucking tenants.  One job. 
Door

Man

Let’s see if we can make that happen, shall we?” 

He glared at Max and Micah but inclined his head at Riya.  Brie
could tell it was his attempt at civility.  The woman Brie had only known for a
handful of minutes laid her hand on his forearm as he neared and he stopped as
if startled that she had touched him. 

“Wait just a moment, if you don’t mind, Hudson.”  Her eyes
met Brie’s over her shoulder.  “Do you recognize this man?”

Brie stood up straight and took in the big man’s expensive suit,
watch, and shoes with a roll of her eyes.  “No.  I do
not
.”  All the
stress of the situation bubbled up inside her and she sucked her teeth.  “Money
might buy many things but not
manners
apparently.” 

He snapped his phone shut and faced her fully.  He was
almost as tall as Riya’s men were.  What he lacked in height, he made up for in
physical presence.  He glared at her from pure black eyes, taking her in like a
mosquito he wanted to slap flat. 

With a slight forward lean, he cocked his head, and said in
a low voice, “What the fuck did you just say to me?” 

Hands on her hips, she matched his posture exactly.  Each
word was perfectly enunciated. 

“I
said
…money does not buy
manners
.  You are an
asshole.  Using your fucking wealth…”  She made a dismissive gesture at his
clothing.  “Your supposed
power
to trample on people in service
positions.  Pretty shitty behavior for a
child
much less a grown-ass
man

I suppose it would
kill you
to say
please
and
thank you

Maybe not denigrate the staff so you can feel superior just because you don’t
open doors for a living.” 

She crossed her arms over her chest and cocked her hip. 
Izzy called it the Mexicana
fuck you
stance.  “You ought to be ashamed
of yourself.  I’m damn well ashamed
for
you.” 

“Brie.  This is Hudson Winters.”  Riya’s voice came quietly
from just behind her. 

The feeling became a rock instantly and she nodded once in
acknowledgement.  “Something told me…never mind.”  She laughed bitterly.  “Obviously,
I’ve been played.  I’ve never seen this man before in my life and I don’t give
a damn if I never do again.  I’d likely kill him inside a week.” 

She murmured a few choice insults under her breath in
Spanish.

Stooping, she gathered her things and smiled at Riya and her
men.  “Thank you for trying to help.  Some things are not meant to be.  It was
nice to meet you all.” 

Desperate to escape before she had a nervous breakdown, she
headed for the door.

Over her shoulder, she called, “Henry, Carlo…you’re
fantastic.  Thank you for putting me at ease during a situation that must have
been hellishly awkward for you.  Have a lovely day.”

 

Riya turned to go after Brie but Hudson grabbed her upper
arm. 

Max stepped between them.  “Hands fucking
off
, mate.”

Hudson Winters released his neighbor with a murmured apology
as he stared after the young woman who’d dressed him down as no one had dared in
his life other than his mother. 

He couldn’t help watching her ass as she walked away. 

“What the fuck is going on?”  Riya turned her frown on him
and he recognized another woman with the power to make him feel bad.  She
actually ground her teeth as she took a deep breath.  “Excuse my language,
Riya.  Who was that woman?”

“Jesus, you’re an ass, Winters,” Micah said furiously.  “If
you could have been civil for a few solid minutes in a
row
we might have
been able to get more details.” 

His accent was more pronounced with his irritation and under
other circumstances, Hudson would have provoked him just because he could.

Sighing, Riya turned to Henry.  “Please keep her in sight.” 
He nodded and she looked at her men.  “I’ll need Rodney to do some running
around today.  Will you need him?”

Max smiled.  “Love, you
do
realize we all live to
serve you, correct?  We can drive ourselves but I think we’ll be staying in for
the afternoon.”  His accent was similar to Micah’s yet a touch gentler.

Henry went to the glass doors.  “She’s at the entrance to
the park.  She looks distressed.  I’ll not lose her, ma’am.  Mr. Winters, she
said her name was Gabriella Hernandez.”

Nodding curtly at the doorman, Hudson put his hands on his
hips and waited for Riya to explain what was happening. 

She rolled her eyes.  “I realize you like things to move at
a lightning pace, Hudson, but you’re going to have to
wait your turn
.” 
Gesturing to Carlo, he stepped behind his desk and handed her a pen and piece
of paper.  She jotted a couple of notes down.  “Did she say where she was
from?” 

“Washington, Miss Riya.”

The pen tapped her lower lip.  “Definitely Washington State
since she mentioned a winery.”  Hudson set his palm on the counter beside her
and lifted his brow.  “Dear lord, you’re impatient.  I gather Miss Hernandez
has been swindled by a man impersonating you.” 

He drew himself up to his full height and any other woman
would have taken a step back at the thunderous expression on his face.  Riya
didn’t notice.  “We don’t know to what extent but the person definitely told
her to come here.  She just arrived in New York today.” 

“Someone must have run a con on her,” Max added. 

Opening his mouth to rage, Hudson was interrupted by Henry. 
“Oh dear.  She made a phone call and now she’s absolutely
overwrought

Poor thing.  Shall I bring her back, Miss Riya?”

“Riya, not that I’d dream of leaving a woman stranded alone in
New York, but what exactly do you intend to do now?”  Micah moved to stand
beside her. 

“I’m going to find out what happened.  If she wants to stay
in New York, I’ll help her find a job and a place to live.  Otherwise, we’ll
help her get back home.”  Raising her brows, she dared any of the men present
to argue with her.

Max leaned forward and kissed her cheek.  “Tell us what you
need.”

“I need her to come back.”  The way she rubbed her hands
together made everyone nervous.  “Then I can help.  You
know
how I love
to help.”

Hudson shocked them all when he offered, “She can work for
the building if she doesn’t think it’s beneath her.  I have an apartment she
can rent.  Anyone breathes a word that either of those offers is connected to
me and I will rescind them instantly.”

Riya patted his arm consolingly.  “I know.  It would be such
a crime for the world to find out you’re not the evil bastard you like them to
think you are.”  Hudson’s eyes widened but he said nothing.  “I take it you’ll
track down the person using your name to rob unsuspecting women?”

BOOK: Hudson
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