Jessica Clare - Bluebonnet #1.5 - The Billionaire of Bluebonnet
The Billionaire of Bluebonnet (Bluebonnet #1.5)
When Travis Jesson’s ninety-eight-year-old grandmother died, he was in Europe brokering a deal. He sent flowers to the funeral since he couldn’t be there and ignored the pangs of loss caused by her passing. She was an old woman who had lived a full life. It was to be expected.
What hadn’t been expected was the e-mail he received from his grandmother’s solicitors when he returned to Houston a few weeks later. He almost missed it between meeting invites and contract negotiations. He glanced at the e-mail on his BlackBerry during a board meeting, and it froze him in place while in the middle of watching a very important PowerPoint presentation given by a senior vice president.
It seemed that Grandma Pearl Jesson had left her old Victorian house to him—and her pet, Gregory. The will stated that he had loved going to her home when he was a boy, and she wanted him to have someplace to retreat to when his life got too hectic. It also stated that Gregory would keep him company because she knew he was lonely.
And for some reason, that made him pause.
Travis hadn’t seen his grandmother in more than two years. Though Bluebonnet was only an hour or so outside of Houston, he hadn’t been able to get away from the office to take a few days off and visit. There was always another deal coming in, or another board meeting to be handled, or an investor to visit in London. There was no such thing as “vacation time” to a CEO, especially not one in his thirties.
And yet . . . Travis thought of his grandmother’s warm smile. Drinking a glass of lemonade on her porch as a boy while she’d stroked his hair and comforted him when his parents had left him there for the summer. He’d loved that old house—the clutter in the attic, the rooms that seemed full of odd and wonderful discoveries. The backyard full of massive pecan trees. He’d loved visiting there as a child.
He just hadn’t had time as an adult.
Gregory would keep him company because she knew he was lonely.
She wanted him to have her pet dog? He wasn’t lonely. He was driven. Ambitious. There would be time for a relationship when he decided to take some time off from work—but that wasn’t anytime soon.
Travis had his assistant, Amy, shoot off a quick e-mail to the solicitors, asking them to send all information to her so she could make arrangements to have the house disposed of, and to call the nearest pet adoption agency and send Gregory there. He didn’t have time for a dog. Not with his travel schedule.
His assistant unhappily delivered the bad news to him: Not only could the solicitors not release the keys to the house, because his grandmother’s live-in companion was still in the process of moving out, but also the local shelter refused to accept Gregory. The solicitors suggested that if he could please come and take care of the situation as quickly as possible, it would be ideal.
As Amy relayed this news with a wince, Travis glared at his BlackBerry. He glared again when his Friday afternoon meeting had a cancellation. He had no excuse, it seemed. His grandmother had been buried in Bluebonnet and he needed to visit and pay his respects anyhow. Might as well kill three birds with one stone. “Tell my driver to pull the car up front.”
“Right away, Mr. Jesson,” Amy said, retreating out the door.
After visiting the graveyard, Travis decided to go the house. He’d had Amy call the solicitors’ office to let them know he was on his way, and they’d quickly explained that the keys to the place were with his grandmother’s live-in companion. Travis vaguely remembered hiring the woman a few years ago to help out his grandmother. He paid her salary, but when he tried to put a face to the position, he blanked out. Had it been that long? He didn’t remember the last time he’d visited Grandma Pearl. Two years ago at Christmas? With Caroline at his side? That hadn’t ended well, and his bitter relationship with Caroline had soured him on others for quite some time. He hadn’t dated anyone since.
The car pulled in front of the house and his driver glanced in the rearview mirror. “Should I park, Mr. Jesson?”
“I don’t anticipate staying long,” Travis said curtly, pocketing his cell phone and opening his car door. He stepped out of the car and shut the door, then paused in the gravel driveway.
Travis regarded at the old house. The trees in the front yard were thicker with greenery than he remembered, but other than that, it was like stepping back in time. A porch swing hung to the right side of the front door, and the large columns supporting the front balcony seemed as white and curving as ever. Potted plants hung above the railing, and the door had a white wreath on the front with a black ribbon across the door. Upstairs, he could see lacy curtains fluttering in the open windows of the second floor. Under the carport there was a small blue hatchback—not his grandmother’s. She didn’t own a car, if he remembered correctly. It must belong to her live-in companion.
Well, this wouldn’t take long, then. He strode to the house and up the white wooden steps of the porch, noticing that his grandmother’s favorite rag doormat still lay in front of the door. He put his hand on the doorknob, and then frowned when he realized the door was locked.
Grandma Pearl had never locked the door in all the years that he’d known her. And the damn house was his now. He had to wait to be asked in? Irritated, he shoved a finger at the doorbell. It chimed. No response. Now annoyed, he held his finger down on the button, imagining the constant, grating chime inside.
Footsteps raced down the hall. “I’m coming!”
A moment later, the door opened. A tall woman stood there in a bikini, a towel wrapped around her waist.
Travis forgot everything he’d thought about this not taking long. The woman opening the door was gorgeous. Was this Grandma Pearl’s companion? He didn’t remember her. He’d have remembered if she’d had such a curvy, delicious creature assisting her. The woman standing before him was stunning—full br**sts heaved and glistened with trickles of water, and the belly above the towel was soft and slightly rounded. Her dark hair was pulled up into a thick bun atop her head, wild tendrils escaping and framing a lightly freckled face. Bright blue eyes stared back at him with surprise.
Her mouth fell into a lush O of surprise. “Mr. Jesson! Please come in.” Her cheeks were bright red, and he didn’t know if it was due to his presence or the fact that he’d just gotten her out of the pool. “I’m so sorry I didn’t hear the door. I was in the backyard giving Gregory a bath. He likes to swim.”