ClandestineBy: Ava Harrison
Dedicated to Melissa
You’re the ying to my yang. Thank you for always being there for me. I’d be lost without you.
Exposed: Spencer Lancaster, CEO of The Lancaster Hotels, was recently rumored to be attending clandestine meetings with UK developer Henry Gilbert. Sources close to Gilbert say Lancaster is looking to expand his currently domestic brand of hotel chains into the European market. If you recall, when the senior Lancaster retired five years ago, he snubbed his younger sons and left the hotels solely to his eldest. Spencer Lancaster appears to be anxious at the news that his estranged middle brother Grant Lancaster is starting his own brand of luxury hotels. The brothers are set to go head-to-head in a few months. Will the black sheep or the golden child playboy come out on top?
We can’t wait to report.
“Fucking media.” The words are laced with venom as they move past my lips. I can’t believe this shit. The bastards can’t keep their noses out of my business. It’s fucking bullshit. Ever since my father named me the CEO to The Lancaster Hotel chains, they’ve been watching my every move.
I swear I can’t catch a break. No matter where I am, they’re right behind me. The constant attention from the press isn’t the surprise. I’m used to it by now. But what really pisses me off is their need to constantly pit brother against brother. Pierce is too young to be part of the drama, but Grant isn’t, and Grant is a major issue. The media is relentless when it comes to our estranged relationship.
We may be estranged, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about him. Yes, we haven’t been in the same room in years. No, we don’t speak. But it doesn’t mean they have to make something where it’s not. Born only twelve months apart, we look almost identical with our square jaws and, as the tabloids say, “piercing” green eyes, but that’s where the similarities end. I’m no golden child, but I don’t make dumb ass decisions all the time, unlike my brother.
“Mr. Lancaster?” my assistant Lucy calls from the adjoining room. “I have Gloria Reynolds on line one.”
My nose scrunches at the unfamiliar name. “Who? I don’t know any Gloria,” I state.
“She’s Mr. Gilbert’s secretary, sir.”
“Put her through,” I bellow, grabbing the phone and pulling it to my ear. “Hello, Gloria. To what do I owe this pleasure?”
“I have Henry Gilbert holding for you. Mr. Gilbert, I have Mr. Lancaster on the line.”
“Thank you, Gloria. I’ll take it from here.” Gilbert’s thick English accent rings through the line. “Lancaster, why must your press always stick their nose in other people’s business?”
“When you have the answer to that question, please share your wisdom.” My eyes roll to the ceiling in frustration, and I bring my hand up to run through my hair. “What can I do for you, Henry?”
“We need to talk. Since the news has leaked that I’m looking to develop the property in Manchester, my phone has been ringing nonstop with offers.”
I knew this would happen. When word got out that I was interested in that property, others would wonder what potential I saw in the location. The fact that I haven’t already sealed the deal and purchased the land is a mistake I intend to rectify.
“I hate to break it to you, but I have a string of people on the phone offering twice what you did.”
Fuck, I should have known. “You wouldn’t dare.” The threat is thick on my tongue. Henry Gilbert got his start with my endorsement. I’d bury him as quick as I built him and he knows it.
“You’re correct, champ. I’m too loyal. But Randall isn’t. We both know he’d never answer your call if I weren’t involved.”
He’s right. There has been bad blood between Randall Taylor and myself ever since a deal fell through with our fathers years ago. If it weren’t for Henry’s involvement and acting as the middleman between us, this deal wouldn’t have even gotten this far.
“If I were you, I’d sign the papers before he goes above both our heads.”
“I’m not signing shit until I see the property.”