Every Little Thing

Page 25


To see the monthly accounts in front of him showing further decreasing profits at that particular hotel burned more than it would with any of the others.
“Vaughn, I’m telling you it’s the restaurant. The new chef just doesn’t compare to Renata.”
“This is the third chef we’ve hired since Renata moved on. Surely to Christ there is a cook out there just as good as or better than goddamn Renata.”
“We just haven’t found him or her yet.”
“Then try harder. And Grant . . . Don’t just blame it on the restaurant. The room occupancy rates are down, and the online reviews are not improving. There are complaints of inefficiency with the concierge service, rude customer service, dirty pillowcases, and unclean showers. What the hell is going on at my hotel? You have twenty-four hours to give me a detailed, concise report on the root of the problems or I’m flying out there. And if I have to fly out there to fix this, you can kiss your job good-bye, Grant.” He slammed down his phone just as his secretary, Ailsa, popped her head around his door.
She winced at the sound of his phone crashing against his desk. “I’m sorry if this is a bad time, Mr. Tremaine, but Dr. Huntington is here to see you and insists that she has to see you now before her lunch break ends.”
Vaughn closed his eyes as he rubbed at the throbbing pain between his eyes. What the hell could Jessica want? It wasn’t like her to just show up. If it were anyone else, he’d tell Ailsa to say he was in a meeting.
“Send her in.”
A few seconds later, Jessica strode in looking pretty as a picture in a silk blouse tucked into a figure-hugging navy pencil skirt. How good she looked, however, was overridden by the concern creasing her brow.
“Jessica, what brings you to the hotel?” He stood up and gestured to the seat opposite his desk. She took it as he leaned against his desk.
“I’m worried about Bailey.”
Those four words made his heart rate pick up speed, but ever the consummate businessman he kept his expression bland. “How so?”
“I think Ian Devlin is gearing up to cause her trouble at the inn.”
“And you think this why?” His tone belied the sudden heat in his blood. Every protective instinct inside of him wanted to demand Jessica tell him what she knew so he could go straight to Devlin and threaten to castrate him.
Jesus Christ. That damn redhead had turned him into a caveman.
“I just had lunch with Bailey. One of the Devlins caught her arguing with Tom the other night and made comments about her being stressed out. The next thing you know Bailey’s dad and brother both get calls from Ian Devlin asking if they were reconsidering selling in order to reduce Bailey’s stress during the difficult time of her breakup.”
“You think they’re going to come after her while she’s vulnerable over the breakup?”
“Yes.” Jessica cocked her head to the side in study of him. “Although, just so you know, Bailey is doing fine. Better than fine. Breaking up with Tom was the right thing to do and she knows it.”
He ignored her pointed info-share. “But Devlin doesn’t know that.”
Jess looked disappointed at his avoidance but repeated, “But Devlin doesn’t know that.”
Processing this, Vaughn stood up and moved around to his side of the desk. “Okay.”
“What does ‘okay’ mean? Are you going to look into this?”
“There’s not a lot to look into.”
She glowered at him. “Don’t play cool with me, Vaughn. Neither of us wants Devlin bothering Bailey.”
Sullen, he wondered how the hell the good doctor had worked out he had feelings for Bailey Hartwell. He guarded his emotions like they were precious stones. Yet somehow, somewhere he’d given himself away in front of Jessica Huntington.
He didn’t like it.
“Am I to take your intimidating silence to mean you’ll look out for her?”
“You don’t trust Cooper to?”
“Cooper wouldn’t let anything happen to Bailey. But he also doesn’t have the money, power, or influence to squash a bug like Devlin.”
“Devlin hasn’t done anything wrong yet. If he crosses the line, let me know.”
Huffing, Jessica stood up to leave. She seemed to think better of it and glanced back at him. “You don’t know how perfect you two are for each other. One ice, one fire, but both stubborn as hell.”
He didn’t respond to her rather poetic barb.
In answer she narrowed her eyes on him. “I also came here to say that Cooper and I want to get married at the end of the summer. On the boardwalk. You have the only establishment big enough to host a wedding reception.”
“At the end of the summer? The conference center is almost booked out for the summer, and even if it wasn’t, it’s not enough time to prepare for a wedding reception.”
She shrugged. “We don’t want to drag our engagement out. I’m sure you could consider it a favor to Cooper.” She smirked. “We both know you wouldn’t do anything to harm that little bromance.”
He rolled his eyes. Save him from these devious Hartwell women. “Good-bye, Dr. Huntington,” he bit out.
“I’ll take that as a yes. I’ll speak to Ailsa about setting up a meeting with your events coordinator.”
He watched her leave, an unwilling smile tugging at his lips.
Vaughn sat in silence for a while, knowing he should return to worrying about Grant’s management skills. Instead he sat stewing over the idea of anyone trying to cause trouble for Bailey.