was erected along the pristine shoreline of the Caribbean. And “her man” was a beautiful sight that took her breath away each time she entered his lobby. And she would take care of him, continue to make him prosper the way her father would want her to do. Now that her parents were gone, this hotel was the only thing she could depend on for happiness.

Brandon Washington glanced around the room he had been given, truly impressed. He had spent plenty of time at the Garrison Grand but there was something about this particular franchise that left him astonished. It was definitely a tropical paradise.

The first thing he’d noticed when he had pulled into the parking lot was that the structure was different from the sister hotel in South Miami Beach, mainly because it was designed to take advantage of the tropical island beach it sat on. And it was nested intimately among a haven of palm trees and a multitude of magnificent gardens that were stocked with flowering plants.

The second was the warmth of the staff that had greeted him the moment he had walked into the beautiful atrium. They had immediately made him feel welcome and important.

And then it was his hotel room, a beautiful suite with a French balcony that looked out at the ocean. It had to be the most stunning waterscape view he’d ever seen.

Brandon was more than pleased with his accommodations. And since he planned to stay for a while, his comfort was of the utmost importance. He had to remind himself that this was not a vacation, but he’d come here with a job to do. He needed to uncover any secrets Cassie Sinclair-Garrison might have that could be used to persuade her to give up her controlling interest in Garrison, Inc., his most influential client. Not to mention that members of the family were close friends of his.

His father had been John Garrison’s college friend and later his personal attorney for over forty years and Brandon had been a partner in his father’s law firm. When his father was killed in a car accident three years ago, instead of transferring the Garrison business to a more experienced and older attorney, John had retained Brandon’s firm, showing his loyalty to the Washington family and his faith in Brandon’s abilities.

Brandon had known John Garrison all of his thirty-two years and he was a man Brandon had respected. And he considered Adam Garrison, one of John’s sons, his very best friend. Now Brandon was here at the request of Parker and Stephen Garrison. It seemed John’s illegitimate daughter refused to deal with the corporation in any way and had refused to discuss any type of a buyout offer with Parker.

Before resorting to a full-blown court battle, the two eldest brothers had suggested that Brandon travel to the Bahamas, assume a false identity to see if he could get close to Ms. Garrison and dig up any information on her present or her past, which would give them ammunition to later force her hand if she continued to refuse to sell her shares of Garrison, Inc. Another smart thing John had done was retain exclusive control of this particular hotel, the one Cassie had managed and now owned. No doubt it had been a brainy strategic move to keep his secrets well- hidden.

Brandon pulled his cell phone from his coat jacket when it rang. “Yes?”

A smile touched his lips. “Yes, Parker, I just checked in and just so you’ll know, I’m registered under the name of Brandon Jarrett.”

He chuckled. “That’s right. I’m using my first and middle name since I want to keep my real identity hidden.” A few moments later he ended his phone call with Parker.

Brandon began unpacking. He had brought an assortment of casual clothes since it was his intent to pose as a businessman who’d come to the island for a short but very needed vacation. That shouldn’t be hard to do, because since John Garrison’s death and his secrets had been revealed, Brandon had been working long hours with the Garrison family to resolve all the unwanted issues.

Contesting the will had been out of the question. No one wanted to air the family’s dirty laundry. Doing so would definitely send John’s widow, Bonita, over the edge. There were a number of people who would not sympathize with the woman, saying it was her drinking problem that had sent John into the arms of another woman in the first place and that he had stayed married to her longer than most men would have.

Then there would be others who would think that John’s extramarital affair is what had driven the woman to drink. As far as Brandon was concerned, there was no way Bonita hadn’t known about John’s affair, given the amount of time he spent away from home. But from the look on her face during the reading of the will, she had not known a child had been involved. Now she knew, and according to Adam, his mother was hitting the bottle more than ever.

Brandon rubbed his chin, feeling the need of a shave. As he continued to unpack he knew that sometime within the next couple of days he would eventually cross paths with Cassie Sinclair-Garrison. He would make sure of it.

Cassie stood on one of the many terraces on the east side of the hotel, which faced Tahita Bay. It was late afternoon yet the sky was still a dazzling blue and seemed to match the waters beneath it. There were a number of yachts in the bay and several human bodies were sunbathing on the beach.

She smiled and waved her hand when a couple she’d met yesterday when they’d checked in recognized her and gave her a greeting as they glided by on a sailboat. At least she had met the woman yesterday; the man she already knew from the numerous times when his family’s corporation-Elliott Publishing Holdings; one of the largest magazine conglomerates in the world-had utilized the hotel to host their annual business conference. Their main office was located in New York and the Garrison Grand-Bahamas was the ideal place to hold a seminar during the winter months.

Teagan Elliott was here vacationing with his wife of eight months, a beautiful African-American by the name of Renee. An interracial couple, the two looked very good together and reminded Cassie of what she thought every time she would see her parents together. And just like her parents, it was easy to see their love was genuine.

Thinking of her parents sent a feeling of forlornness through her. Now that the business of the day had been handled, she decided to stay at the hotel for the night instead of taking the thirty-minute drive to her home, which was located on the other side of the island. Maybe later she’d take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline in an area that wasn’t so crowded.

She thought of the Diamond Keys, an exclusive section of the hotel that had beachfront suites with parlors and French doors that opened directly to the water, providing a commanding view of endless beach and ocean. The rooms, which were extremely expensive but definitely worth it, were nestled in the hotel’s most intimate settings.

Cassie headed back inside, making her way to her bedroom to change out of her business suit and slip into a pair of silk lounging pants and matching camisole with a print design. It had been a long time since she’d carved out some time for herself. Over the past months she had spent the majority of her time wallowing in work and mourning the loss of her parents, as she tried to move on through life, one day at a time.

She had been at her mother’s funeral, standing beside her father, who’d remained in shock over their unexpected loss. What hurt so much even now was that she hadn’t attended her father’s funeral. By the time she had received word of his death, the funeral had already taken place. All she had was the memory of the last time they had spent together, a few days before his death.

He had shown up on the island unexpectedly, not at the hotel but at her condo, waiting for her when she had arrived home from work that day. The handsome and charismatic man she’d always known and loved had held sadness in his eyes and pain in his features.

That night he had taken her out to dinner and before he had returned to Miami, he had placed in her hand the deed to the beautiful ten-acre estate in the exclusive Lyford Cay community that he had purchased for her mother fifteen years ago. It was the home she now occupied and called her own.

Cassie took a glance around as she stepped out onto the sandy shores. Daylight had faded and dusk had set in. But that didn’t bother her. In fact she much preferred it. She always thought the beach at night was breathtakingly beautiful. In the background she heard the band from the lounge as it mixed with the sound of the waves crashing against the shore. She leaned down and took off her sandals, wanting to feel the sand beneath her feet. Being on the beach always made her feel better. It helped her momentarily forget her pain, and made her feel carefree, energized and invigorated.

She bit back a smile and glanced around again, just to make sure she was alone, before pretending to play hopscotch on the sand. She laughed out loud when she almost slipped as she continued to hop around on one foot from one pretend square block to another. What a wonderful way to work off the day’s stress, she thought, and today had definitely been a busy one. The hotel’s capacity was at an all-time high, with requests for extended stays

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