She's Having the Boss's Baby

By: Kate Carlisle

One

“What else can go wrong today?”

Aidan Sutherland stared at the latest cryptic email from his foreman on the nearby construction site and swore. Usually, Aidan let stuff like this slide right off him. Despite his power and wealth, he prided himself on his easygoing nature and smooth ability to roll with the punches. It wasn’t like him to complain or whine about an unexpected setback.

But this latest problem was number fifty-seven in a whole list of complications and snafus that had cropped up today. And hell, it wasn’t even lunchtime. Enough was enough.

He read the foreman’s message over again and confirmed that as far as problems went, this one wasn’t too earth shattering. Aidan would need to get it taken care of within twenty-four hours though, so he would have to re-prioritize a few agenda items and shift some man power, and the issue would be solved. No sweat.

“So why am I sweating it?” Irritated with himself, he shoved his chair back from his desk, stood and crossed the wide expanse of his penthouse office suite to the wall of windows. As he stared out at the lavish grounds of the gorgeous Alleria Resort that spread out in all directions, his irritation slowly dissolved and satisfaction rose up in its place.

With a quiet laugh, Aidan thought back to the days when this island paradise had been little more than a pipe dream. As youngsters, he and his twin brother, Logan, had plotted and dreamed of becoming like one of their comic book superheroes. Iron Man, maybe, or Batman, with wealth and power beyond imagination. If they could wangle a superhero talent like X-ray vision, that would be a bonus. But above all, their imaginary scheme involved amassing a vast empire, and for two California kids who were swimming before they could walk, what would better serve as their empire headquarters than a remote tropical island? They would conduct business from a couple of hammocks under a shady coconut palm tree.

Aidan watched as a catamaran set sail from the marina below. He and Logan had pretty much achieved the dream—although their hammock and palm tree headquarters had been traded in for several large suites at the Alleria Resort Hotel. Not bad for two working-class guys who’d spent much of their youth surfing and partying.

For several of those years, the brothers had been lucky enough to sweep most of the surfing competitions they’d taken part in. They’d managed to collect enough prize money to finally fulfill the promise they’d made to their father years before. More than anything else, Dad had wanted them both to go to college.

No one was more surprised than Aidan and Logan when they were accepted to one of the most elite universities on the East Coast. While there, as legend had it, they’d won the deed to their first bar in a fraternity poker game.

Aidan and Logan had also excelled in all their classes, graduated with highest honors, and gone on to collect MBA degrees. But those dry facts had little or no entertainment value, so these days, most business magazine articles featuring the Sutherland brothers chose to highlight their misspent youth by recounting sordid tales of surfing, gambling and partying.

Aidan and his brother didn’t really care what the articles claimed. The truth was that they had succeeded beyond their wildest dreams through a capricious combination of business acumen, poker winnings, surfing philosophy, sweat and hard work. Added to all that was some good timing and a hell of a lot of dumb luck, and the result was the present-day empire known as Sutherland Corporation. Now their lavish bars and exclusive resorts could be found in every part of the world, including their very own island, Alleria.

They were living the dream.

The Alleria Resort had become the number-one destination for discerning travelers the world over. It also doubled as the headquarters of Sutherland Corporation. And thanks to the brothers’ stewardship, the entire island of Alleria was now a bustling, thriving port of call in the Caribbean.

Aidan returned to his desk and grabbed his coffee mug. While he refilled it from the coffeemaker on the sideboard, he thought about his twin brother. Logan was currently in Europe on his honeymoon with his bride, Grace.

“That’s why everything’s been going wrong lately,” he realized aloud. “Too many weddings.”

Once the happy couple returned, things would get back to normal around here, Aidan thought. Well, not right away, he amended. Because speaking of weddings, his own father would be taking the plunge soon, too. Aidan shook his head. As if he wasn’t already surrounded by enough blissful lovebirds to mess up his mojo for years to come!

He couldn’t begrudge Dad and his beloved Sally their nuptials, though. The two had found each other after years of living alone, so Aidan was happy for them. Still, all of his problems had seemed to start around the same time that everyone began to get happy and fall in love.

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