Every December 31, Hunter Hutchinson Alden Jr. made the same two New Year’s resolutions.
- Be worth X dollars by the end of next year.
- Quit drinking.
This year’s goal was five billion, and considering the fact that his current net worth was 4.86 billion, getting there was a slam dunk. But forty-five minutes and three glasses of Pellegrino into his father’s New Year’s Day party, he knew that number two was doomed to failure. Again.
He crammed himself into the corner of a blue calfskin Himmel settee at the east end of the Great Room so he could avoid eye contact with the swarm of well-heeled narcissists who were strutting around Hutch Alden’s Fifth Avenue triplex, flaunting their glorious Christmas-in-Saint-Barts tans.
It was the same crowd every year—the A-list of the Rich and Shallow—and Hunter was there for only one reason. He was duty-bound to charm the hell out of his old man’s guests.
But not yet. Right now he was too pissed to be charming.
He glared at his iPhone, willing it to vibrate, beep, chirp, or in any way show some sign of life. One of them would call eventually, and he was willing to bet it wouldn’t be his son. The kid wouldn’t have the balls to man up, so he’d pass the buck to Peter, who would apologize profusely and blame himself for Tripp’s bad behavior.
The first note of his ringtone erupted from the phone, and he hit the green Accept button the instant it blossomed onto the screen. “Where the hell are you?” he growled, not even knowing if he was dealing with Tripp or Peter.
“Is that any way to talk to a lady?” a sexy female voice drawled.
“Sorry. I was expecting a call from the most irresponsible eighteen-year-old on the planet. Or at least from the driver I sent hours ago to bail him out of trouble.”
“I’m none of those, but I’m blonde, I’m hot, and you seem to be extremely agitated. Perhaps I can do something to calm you down.”
“I’m sure you could.”
“Are you available?”
“Technically I’m married, but I’m not a fanatic about it.”
“Good,” the blonde said. “Ditch her. You’re exactly the kind of man I’ve been looking for.”
“What kind is that?”
“A lifelong challenge.”
“But worth the effort,” he said. “Where can I find you?”
“The same place Romeo found Juliet.”
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