Trading Hearts is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons in coincidental. Photo courtesy of www.islandhideaways.com.
Later that evening, Brian Goddard strolled through the gardens of Emerald Bay House with his business partner and longtime friend Alan King. Realising his companion was in a pensive mood, Brian left him alone with his thoughts and enjoyed the panoramic view spread out before him.
At the end of the fenced-in garden, lush grass gave way to sandy beach and coconut trees. Two wave runners and a dinghy belonging to the property were tied up on the beach, and a few yards away children from a neighbouring property squealed happily as they played in the crystal clear water.
“So, what’s your take on Natasha Taylor?” Alan asked suddenly.
Brian ran a hand through his blond hair. “She seems professional enough, eager to get started. I think she’ll do fine.”
King glanced sideways at his friend. “But?”
Brian smiled wryly. “I can’t hide anything from you. I may be wrong, but I think I sensed something between Ms. Taylor and Michael earlier. What do the romantics call it? Chemistry?”
Alan King laughed heartily. “You’ve been a bachelor for too long, Brian.”
He sobered up after a few seconds. “But seriously, you think a professional woman like Natasha Taylor would be interested in a lowly construction worker?” he asked sceptically.
Brian shrugged. “Stranger things have happened. Opposites attract and all that. Is it going to be a problem?”
Alan rubbed his jaw. “No, I don’t think so. Actually, it might work to our benefit. Once we get started it wouldn’t hurt to have a Taylor on our side.”
Brian nodded. “It certainly was a nice coincidence when I realised the connection. And I also discovered something else Ms. Taylor and ourselves have in common. She used to go out with Matthew Sealy, from our legal firm Whittaker Mason Sealy.”
Alan sucked his teeth. “That brown nosing idiot? Didn’t he dump his longtime girlfriend to marry Stanley Whittaker’s daughter?”
“That would be Natasha Taylor. From what I’ve seen of both women Sealy made the wrong choice,” Brian sniffed reprovingly.
Alan King nodded grimly, taking one more look at the lovely scenery before moving back to the house. “If things go according to plan, Natasha Taylor and her family might be richer than the Whittakers could ever dream of. Seems like Sealy traded in the wrong woman.”
“Dad, you should see this place. It’s something else!” Kim exclaimed as the Taylor family lounged in their living room after dinner. Although Natasha had moved into her own home just after her 30th birthday, she still had dinner with her parents and sister almost every evening.
Frank Taylor grunted, not bothering to look up from reading the newspaper. After 20 years of cleaning pools at luxury homes and hotels, it took a lot to impress him when it came to real estate.
“She’s right, Daddy. This is going to be a big one for us,” Natasha grinned happily. “We’re talking ten bedrooms with full bathrooms, and that’s only in the main house, ‘cause the guest cottage has two bed and baths as well. It’s got a swimming pool with a waterfall and a Jacuzzi spa.”
“And don’t forget the indoor gymn and a theatre that can seat twenty,” Kim added smugly.
Their mother Marie laughed. “You all sound like kids in a candy store. It does sound very posh.”
Natasha sighed blissfully. “Eighteen thousand square feet of heaven. I can see why King Properties moved into the luxury villa market, with all those expats out there wanting a taste of paradise.”
“Speaking of which,” Kim chuckled devilishly, “I wouldn’t mind a taste of gazebo guy, although I think he prefers you, Tasha.”
Marie sat up attentively. “Who’s this?”
Natasha groaned. Since her breakup with Matthew, her mother was on the hunt to find a suitable replacement, much to Natasha’s horror.
Kim continued. “A guy who’s doing some construction work at the house. He’s fineness personified.”
“Ignore her, Mum. Remember, you always said never to let our eyes go shopping for our hearts.” Natasha aimed a dirty look at her sister, who feigned innocence.
Marie giggled like a school girl. “Well, if he’s as hot as Kim says try and whip out the credit card, girl!”
Natasha blushed furiously as Marie and Kim rolled around in hysterics. Frank decided to come to his elder daughter’s rescue.
“Don’t mind them, Tasha. Don’t bring no more men ‘round here till you’re ready. I still have an *ss whipping for that boy Matthew. He lucky I trying to walk right with Jesus,” he fumed.
At the mention of Matthew Sealy’s name Marie sobered up. “That reminds me,” she began, wiping her eyes, “I ran into Iris yesterday and she asked for you.”
Natasha smiled faintly at the mention of Matthew’s mother. “I need to give her and the others a call.”
Her mother nodded. “They miss you. She’s still upset about how Matthew treated you.”
“But she relies on him to keep the family afloat financially, so she has to toe the line,” Natasha added bluntly. “It’s all good though, Mum,” she added hastily when she saw the concerned look on Marie’s face. “That fool did me a favour. If we were still together I’d probably be barefoot and pregnant, depending on him to bring home the bacon instead of a running my own company. One thing he taught me is that I need to rely on myself, not a man.”
“And you are a highly successful business woman,” Marie conceded. “But child, you still need some romance in your life. All work and no play isn’t good at all.”
“Neither is mixing business with pleasure,” Natasha added firmly. “I’ll admit this Michael guy’s easy on the eyes, but I’m not about to appear unprofessional to Brian Goddard. Remember, if we can impress him by doing a good job with Emerald Bay, King Properties has over 100 more listings out there we might have access to.”
Marie sighed. “I hear you, daughter mine. Just remember, you only live once. Don’t let any chance for happiness pass you by.”
“Or at least some mind-blowing sex,” Kim said under her breath.
Struggling to keep a straight face, Natasha bade her family goodbye and headed home.