Read an Excerpt
Kincaid Vaughn turned his chopper onto the road leading to the AJ Ranch. He flicked a switch to slow the throttle, and noted it was a smooth transition. So far, he was pleased with how his new custom Yamaha was operating. He had built it for himself in his own free time. His shop, Vaughn Choppers, was so busy he didn't have much time to work on his own bike. It had taken him a year to get the bike done. This was his inaugural ride.
He frowned at the rolling hills of green, dotted with cattle and horses. Kincaid sighed. He couldn't figure out how he had let his close friend Jolie James convince him to come to her family ranch for a weekend of horse riding. Her assurance that horse riding was like riding a motorcycle did nothing to ease his concerns. He knew it was a load of shit, anyway. A bike, he could control. A horse, on the other hand, was a being that could think on its own. And he was sure that if it decided it didn't like him on its back, it would pitch him off. He tightened his hands on the bars of the bike, imagining how much that would hurt.
Jolie had been working on getting him out for a visit for over six years. They had met when she was still a newbie marketing director who had taken on his shop's marketing plan. Kincaid hadn't wanted a new person, since he had a good working relationship with the man who had previously handled his account. The company's explanation that the previous person was no longer available for his account, although he still worked in the firm, had pissed him off. He'd fired them. Jolie had shown up at the shop anyway, and her brash attitude and refusal to take no for an answer had convinced him to give her a chance.
She had taken it and got his business more worldwide exposure. They had started out as business associates, but quickly became friends. When she had left the marketing company to work for her brother's businesses, Kincaid had asked her to keep working on his business. She had agreed, saying that after all her hard work she wasn't about to let someone else muck it up. Kincaid and his family were part of her family now, and she wasn't about to let that change.
Family was the reason why he'd finally let her convince him to come to the ranch. He hoped he could talk Jolie into just hanging out at the cabin and shooting the breeze. Knowing her, she would not be hard to convince. They had a good friendship, and she liked to mess with him. He returned the favour, but they both understood how far they could go with each other. That was why their friendship worked so well. That, and she wouldn't put up with his shit. Jolie would call him on it, then proceed to tell him off. She never stayed mad with him for long, nor he with her. She was like the little sister he and his brothers never had. All his family loved her. The male cousins, uncles, and Kincaid's dad all enjoyed her sassy wit and devil-may-care attitude. She stood up to them and called all of them on their crap as needed. The female cousins, aunts, and his mom loved that she stood up to the men and could put up with the craziness of their family.
Kincaid frowned as he thought of Jolie's absentee brother, Alistair James. In all the years he had known Jolie, Kincaid hadn't met him. But he had heard about the numerous times he had cancelled plans with Jolie. Alistair didn't seem to have time for Jolie, his only family member. He was too busy jet-setting around the world, making money. Kincaid hoped to meet Alistair one day, so he could tell him what he thought of the way he treated Jolie-like another business obligation instead of family.
From Jolie he knew that, although Alistair used Hollisville as a base of operations for his business, he didn't actually have offices here. Over the years, the few times Jolie had mentioned Alistair was in town, he had been conducting business from the ranch or the office space he rented for his employees who were in Hollisville. Recently, Jolie had moved into the new permanent offices of James Corporation, which was adjacent to Alistair's latest business venture-Enigma, the research and development firm that his brother's partner, Enrique, had founded with friends. When Kincaid had asked Jolie if Alistair would be more present in Hollisville and for her, she had said that since he was rarely in Hollisville, he'd decided it would be a waste of space to have an office of his own. It had taken everything in Kincaid not to tell her what he thought of that. Jolie was fiercely protective of her brother. He had learnt not to say anything about his true thoughts about Alistair James.