Her Billionaire's Bargain

By: Yvette Hines

Chapter One

“Why the hell don’t I have the final contract and plans on my desk for the Grand Overlin project?” Zac stormed behind his desk and eyed the people filling the chairs on the other side. He’d just finished a meeting at the Strategic Improvement Development East team. SIDE was a group of civic organizers, businessmen and leaders in the city who discussed and planned advancements in the Charlotte area. They looked at all angles and levels, both economic and civil.

In a few days, he would be headed to the Mayor’s office. Mayor Layla Foxx was more than anxious to have the Overlin Project development underway. The success of it would mean more revenue for the city and after the political convention placed a hole in the Queen City budget, she was looking for big ways to fill it. Luxury and sports went hand in hand in Charlotte. Especially in a place where they had their own major league football, hockey and basketball teams, as well as the NASCAR industry.

After college he had considered relocating his dad’s business back to Seattle where his mother’s family was from. Katherine, his mother Adele’s sister, was married to Joseph Anderson and still lived in Washington. For Zac, Charlotte the city he had spent most of his life was starting to grow, fast, and he wanted a piece of the pie. Over the last ten years, he got more than a slice of it, but he was gorging on his prosperity. He was more successful than his father had been.

His cousin Alex was experiencing the same kind of corporate success. As were Alex’s two brothers Lucas and Mark in their own right. He was close to his three cousins. Just like him, they put career first and foremost. Well, except for Lucas who fell hard over a year ago when he was shot in the ass by cupid’s nine millimeter.

Shaking his head, Zac felt sorry for his older cousin, even if the man appeared happy with his wife and new baby. It would never happen to him.

Zac’s younger brother, Rand, was an artist and wanted no part of the business world. Rand had married his high school sweetheart a few years after leaving school. Another difference between the two of them.

Zac let his mind focus on The Grand Overlin project. It was what the city needed. Hell, what he needed. The success of it would give him the clout to seal other deals. Management of the new Independence stadium for one.

Dillon Rodgers, his personal assistant and Rebecca Sanchez his lawyer both stared back at him with anxious looks on their faces.

“Mr. Powers, we’ve had a lot of success in the last two weeks with the tenants and shop owners in that area agreeing to sign. They’re seeing this as an opportunity for retirement and new homes, bigger better things—”

Placing his hands flat on his desk, Zac locked his gaze on her. “I don’t care what they decide to use the large amount of cash we are tossing their way for rundown homes and stores that have barely stayed above water in years. As. Long. As. They. Are. Leaving.” He punctuated each word with a pause so she clearly understood his message. He wanted and needed this project to start yesterday and it was already taking much longer and stalling him from moving forward.

Rebecca glanced over at Dillon as if pleading for a little help. “They have all signed except…”

“Except what?” Resuming his full height, he waved his hands over his desk. “Except there isn’t final paperwork on my desk.”

“There’s one person that seems to be holding out.” Dillon jumped in.

“Holding out? For what damn it?”

Rebecca licked her lips and glanced down at her tablet.

Dillon not flustered by Zac’s temper still leaned back cool in his chair. That was one of the reasons Zac had kept Dillon on as his assistant for so many years. Dillon was steady and could usually be trusted to get the job done; exactly what Zac wanted for Zac Acquisition & Development.

“I assume more money.” Raising a hand to forestall Zac, Dillon continued, “And we have offered her quite a bit for her little store. Hell, double what other tenants have settled for.”

That gave Zac pause. The stores on Lincoln Drive weren’t even worth the lump sum they had drafted up to offer them, but someone was refusing to sell—wanting more. “What’s her…?”

“Kourtney Deen,” Rebecca informed him. “She’s some kind of cupcake baker that has been there for years.”

Staring pointedly at Rebecca and then Dillon, Zac’s brows drew together. “You’ve got to be kidding me? The big plans for this city are being held up, not by some community center or a retirement home, but an old lady selling pastries?”

He was pleased to see that they both had enough sense to look contrite. Shaking his head, Zac turned and faced the large window behind his desk and stared at the light rail, Time Warner Arena and main bus depot to his left. People below him in the Queen City were scurrying about at the end of the day, some on their way home from work others rushing to whatever concert or game was being held tonight at the sports center. Zac didn’t keep up with entertainment events unless it was a function he was sponsoring or something he was required to attend for one reason or another. In his world, business was life and life was business. Acquire, develop and expand that was the motto of Zac Acquisition & Development.

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