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Authors: Kimberly Foster

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Unforgettable

BOOK: Unforgettable
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UNFORGETTABLE

by

Kimberly Foster

Published by Kimberly Foster
Copyright © Kimberly Foster, 2013
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Special Thanks to

Dezzan Stock for the Original Background stock

Jason Aaron Baca for Male cover Model

Erwin Layaoen Photographer

Liam stock for Female Model Stock

Fallen Stock for the hair brushes used

A Very Special Thank you to Sharon van den Bronk-McNeil for all of your mad editing skills, your friendship and for always shining that flashlight in the dark allowing me to find my way out. Also to Lisa Jo Spriggs Gulfport, MS for making the awesome Cover Art.

Chapter 1“The Heartless Lion”

“I don’t gi’ a damn, Patrick! Ye’re workin’ ta hard, ta long, an’ fer what? There be only sa much ye can do in a week, lad.”

“Look, I appreciate your concern, but it’s uncalled for.”

“Uncalled fer?” Liam Flynn exploded, his Irish brogue thickening audibly as his anger grew. He was desperately trying to get through to the young man whom he had loved as his own son from the moment he was born.

“Tha’ be why yer secretary came ta me in tears, is it? Ye bit tha lass’s head off fer doin’ somethin’ ye ordered her ta do. I know Marie. She’s tha best damn secretary there be. She’s been wi’ this company fer 25 years an’ she was ready ta quit because o’ ye. She’s taken a lot from ye, lad, but I ha’ ne’er known her ta cry!”

“I apologized for that,” Patrick Day replied flippantly, wishing he’d never left his home on the Upper East Side this morning just to be lectured like a schoolboy by his uncle. He didn’t feel a bit of remorse or regret for any of his actions, including snapping at Marie.

“Apologized? Is tha’ what ye called it? A halfhearted, half mumbled ‘sorry,’ as ye blew past her desk? Ye were better than tha’, Patrick!” Liam intentionally used the past tense hoping something would strike a chord in Patrick. “Tis come ta me ears tha’ our own employees be callin’ ye ‘Tha Heartless Lion’ behind yer back. They say ye be cold, hard, an’ ruthless. Did ye be knowin’ tha’, laddie?”

“Yes, I know it,” Patrick scoffed. He was proud of it, too…damn proud. “You have to be ruthless in this business or lose your shirt.”

“Perhaps, at times, ye do, but not in yer private life. Ye ha’ no private life, Patrick. E’er since Caroline left, ye’ve had no life a’tall,” Liam said. Patrick glared at him viciously at the mention of her name. For a moment, Liam thought he was going to snarl at him. By God, he was done tiptoeing around this boy. He ignored the look Patrick gave him.

“Ye’ve become uncarin’ towards everyone an’ everythin’. Tha only thin’ ye do is work an’ I don’t believe ye do tha’ because ye enjoy it.”

“What’s all this about, Liam? What are you driving at?”

“I think ye work sa hard because yer tryin’ ta prove somethin’ ta Caroline an’ ta yerself. I think ye be workin’ sa hard because ye’ve gi’en up on everythin’ else, except fer money. Tis tha only thin’ ye ha’ left ta hang onta.”

“That’s absurd!” Patrick insisted, although the old man had inadvertently hit the nail right on the head. However, Patrick refused to listen to that niggling internal voice and immediately silenced it.

“An’,” Liam continued “I’m thinkin’ if ye keep goin’ tha way ye’re goin’, if ye keep workin’ this hard fer nothin’, yer goin’ ta wind up a wealthy man in an early grave.”

“Meaning?”

“No hidden messages, Patrick. Yer killin’ yerself an’ I hate ta see tha’ happen.” Liam sighed heavily. He already knew the answer to the question he was about to ask, but he would do what he had to do for Patrick’s sake, even if it meant the boy would hate him for it. He sighed again and cleared his throat. “I don’t suppose I could talk ye inta takin’ a vacation, could I? A long, extended vacation?”

“A vacation? Have you gone mad, old man? A vacation? Now?” Patrick exploded.

“I was afraid ye’d react tha’ way, lad. Sa, fer yer sake, I’m pullin’ rank.”

“Pulling rank?”

“Aye, Patrick. When yer Da died, God rest his soul, he left ye an’ me controllin’ interest in Day’s Department Stores. Howe’er, he left me 1% more than he left ye sa I’d ha’ final say in all matters until I felt ye were capable o’ handlin’ things on yer own. He made me promise not ta turn tha company o’er ta ye until ye straightened out yer personal life. I ha’ been ready ta gi’ ye tha’ control an’ retire fer a long time, now. But, a promise is a promise, an’ I always keep me word. Yer Da waited three years ta find tha old Patrick he knew an’ loved. I ha’ waited an additional seven years ta find him, but ye’ve buried him sa deep inside yerself, I wonder if he’ll e’er escape. Sa, since I know ye willna take a real vacation, I’m sendin’ ye on a workin’ vacation.”

“What in God’s name are you talking about, Liam?” Patrick snapped, aiming a suspicious glare at his old friend and business partner.

Liam sat on the edge of his desk, hands resting on top of his ornate, silver headed cane. Patrick could glare all he wanted, but Liam had known the boy since the day he was born and he would not be stared down now. He held Patrick’s gaze as he answered the impertinent question.

“I’m sendin’ ye ta open tha newest branch o’ Day’s in Shelbyville, Indiana. Ye’ll ha’ complete control o’ everythin’ an’ ye’re goin’ ta stay there until after tha grand openin’. All ye need is in this file, includin’ yer plane ticket. Ye leave first thin’ Monday mornin’.” Liam dropped a huge file in Patrick’s lap.

“You can’t do this, Liam! I own 49% of this company. You can’t make me take a job that is beneath my abilities in my own company.”

“Ah, but tis still my company, at least fer now. I can an’ I am goin’ ta do it, Patrick, an’ there’s nothin’ ye can do about it. Thanks ta yer Da bein’ an intelligent man who had the foresight ta know just how stubborn an’ bullheaded ye can be, he left me this tiny little stipulation in his will.”

“Which is?”

“Simply put, as long as I ha’ control o’ 51% o’ this company, I ha’ tha last say, e’en o’er ye. I can e’en fire ye an’ take away yer 49%, if I see fit. Sa, ye can take this job or lose this company altogether. Tis yer choice, Patrick.”

“Is it? Dad sure put a lot of trust in you, Liam.”

“Aye, tha’ he did, lad, sa don’t be fooled fer a moment. I willna betray tha’ trust. I’ll use everythin’ he ga’ me ta see tha’ ye’re all right… tha’ ye can survive an’ lead a normal life wi’out Caroline, e’en if I ha’ ta strip all yer power from ye ta make ye realize yer true potential. God knows, ye ha’ enough o’ yer own money ta buy anythin’ any 10 people could e’er want. There’s nothin’ I can do about tha’, but I’m no’ talkin’ about material things, Patrick. I’m talkin’ about love, happiness an’ friendship. These are the only things in this world o’ any real value yet they canna be bought. Ye possess none o’ these things, Patrick. All ye ha’ is a job an’, if I have ta take tha’ away from ye ta gi’ ye these other precious gifts, then I will.”

“You’d do it too, wouldn’t you,” Patrick spat. It wasn’t a question.

“Yer damn right, I would! Yer Da an’ I built this company an’ when ye were old enough, we made ye a partner in it. Day’s was founded on our friendship, love fer our wives an’ fer ye. We poured our lives inta it fer o’er se’en decades, but we continued ta enjoy life at the same time. E’er since yer Da died, this place ha’ become nothin’ mor’n a machine. It ha’ lost its heart. I willna let ye tear the heart an’ character from this place like Caroline tore it from ye. It means ta much ta me. Ye mean ta much ta me, too, Patrick. I canna stand here an’ watch it happen an’ no’ say an’ do everythin’ in ma power ta stop it from happenin’. Take this job an’, when tis o’er, come back an’ we’ll talk.”

“And if I choose to get a lawyer and fight for what rightfully belongs to me? What then?” Patrick smirked as if he saw a way out of this ridiculous situation.

“Yer Da thought ye’d try somethin’ like tha’. He made sure his will was a legal an’ bindin’ document, free o’ any an’ all loopholes. If ye try tha’, I am ta take everythin’ away from ye, by yer Da’s own wishes, an’ yer only hope o’ gettin’ it all back is ta start at tha bottom o’ tha ladder. Try tha’ an’ I’ll take yer 49% an’ ye’ll get a sack boy position in tha lower part o’ Queens. Tis a harsh thin’ ta do ta ye, I know, but it was yer Da’s decision, no’ mine. Howe’er, I’ll stand by it because I loved him like a brother an’ I love ye like ye were me own son. Take the job I’m offerin’ ye, lad. Tis yer only choice an’ tis the kind o’ work I know ye love.”

“This job you’re forcing on me will take a little over two years, if we’re lucky. What happens if, in the end, nothing changes for me…if I haven’t changed?”

“I do na know, Patrick. God forbid tha’ ta happen, but if it does…” Liam trailed off in mid-sentence. He didn’t know what else to try, if this failed. He could only hope and pray it wouldn’t fail.

Stunned, Patrick sagged back in his chair and stared at the man he used to call Uncle Liam. As always, he saw genuine love and concern in his eyes. Despite their many heated arguments, Liam was still the only person in Patrick’s life he trusted and respected enough to call his friend. Not that he’d been much of a friend in return, lately. Not in a long, long time; too long. Hell, he wasn’t kind, or even polite, to anyone. This whole idea of Liam’s, though, was crazy. Without another thought or word, he picked up the file and left.

Liam sighed in relief, wondering what Patrick would have done had he known the truth about the will.

Chapter 2 “Too Hot to Handle”

Sweet baby Jesus, it’s hot out here
, Breezy thought. It was late September and she couldn’t recall Shelbyville ever having been so hot and humid at this time of year. Hoping for some relief from the heat, she tried rolling down her window but the humidity was so high only extremely hot air flowed in, making it even more difficult to breathe. Of course, her stupid air-conditioner would choose to break down two days ago, leaving her no choice but to keep the windows down. Unfortunately, the mechanic had told her it would take two more days before the parts she’d ordered would arrive.
That’s what you get for fixing up this old Mustang
, she told herself.
It serves you right
.

Breezy turned the radio on to take her mind off the broken air-conditioning.

“… its 98 degrees out there, folks, with the humidity at 88% and still climbing. I sure hope you’re all keeping cool because it’s going to be a hot one today. But, just in case you’re not, here’s a little song that just might cool you down and cheer you up.” The DJ was a friend of hers and his familiar voice emanated from her radio as he proceeded to play, “Rhythm of the Falling Rain.”

“Wise-guy!” Breezy snorted, as she stuck her tongue out at the radio and promptly shut it off. She made a mental note to personally kick Rick’s tush the next time she saw him.

Good Lord, I’m gonna melt before I get there
, she thought, dabbing at the perspiration on her face. She should have just stayed home and ordered a pizza or a sandwich from the deli. Instead, she’d had the bright idea of going to the grocery store, winding up outside in this miserable heat. Big mistake!

Even as a child, the combination of intense heat and humidity had made her feel weak, dizzy and nauseated. She had to admit her condition hadn’t improved with age. She felt that way now and it was growing stronger. She’d spent most of her childhood summers playing indoors where it was cool.

Finally pulling into the parking lot, she once more dabbed at the perspiration on her forehead. As she opened the car door and stood up, the heat and humidity, intensified by the hot blacktop, hit her full force. She fell back against the car, grasping the door frame for support against the growing dizziness and wave of nausea that accompanied it.

“Are you all right, Miss? Do you need any help?” a strange man’s voice inquired.

“No, thank you. I’ll be fine. Just a little dizzy, that’s all,” Breezy replied. She didn’t raise her head to see the man, feeling much too weak for any movement at all. She knew from experience that, if she just remained still and waited for the dizziness and nausea to pass, she’d be fine.

The man stood next to his car, watching her. He was reluctant to leave because something was definitely wrong with her.

“Are you sure you are all right, Miss?” he asked again.

“Yes, I’m fine. Thanks again,” she replied. With a great deal of effort, she pushed herself away from the car and shut the door. Although she still didn’t feel strong enough to walk, she forced herself to take a deep breath and slowly start towards the store. She couldn’t let this man, whoever he was, stand outside in the heat of the parking lot and wait for her to get it together. As she was walking, she was aware of him watching her, making sure she got into the store safely.
That’s a nice thing for him to do
, she thought.

BOOK: Unforgettable
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