A Miami Affair

By: Sherelle Green

CHAPTER 1

“You’ve reached The Aunt Penny Foundation. Sorry, we are unable to take your call at the moment. Please leave your name, number and a detailed message, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”

Joshua DeLong cringed at the sound of the annoying beep indicating that he had to leave yet another message for Becca Wright, the director of public relations for The Aunt Penny Foundation. It was even more frustrating that he didn’t have Ms. Wright’s direct cell phone number, forcing him to call the main line. Just as he was about to leave a voice mail, he got another call.

“At least someone is calling me back today,” he said right before he switched to the incoming call. The call went precisely how he wished most of his business calls would go. Brief and in his favor.

Josh welcomed the light breeze that twirled through his curly cocoa-colored hair. It was the perfect Miami June morning to spend outside on the upper deck of his luxury yacht that was more of a home to him than his condos in New York and LA. Maybe he preferred his yacht more than his other homes because it was the only one that offered the opportunity to escape reality whenever he wanted to. It’s not that Josh normally needed a break from his everyday life, but lately he hadn’t found solace living in any place that wasn’t gently rocking from the waves made by boats leaving the private South Beach marina.

Josh placed his iPhone on the polished teak table and picked up his iPad while scoffing at his sunny-side up eggs and crisp turkey bacon. A quick glance at the time indicated that the morning was already getting away from him. He needed to leave for LA in the afternoon, so he had to be productive this morning. Unfortunately, Ms. Wright played an important part in that. Last night, he’d emailed a couple contacts to see if they could get ahold of Ms. Wright’s personal cell number, but he hadn’t heard back yet.

He scrolled through the articles about The Aunt Penny Foundation he’d bookmarked yesterday and began reading where he’d left off last night. It was an interview with Becca Wright and the founder of the organization, Haley Adams. Although both women had impressive résumés, it was Becca’s that had caught his eye. Ivy League graduate with years of charity and fundraising experience. Accomplished violinist. A host of academic accolades. Given what he’d briefly read about Becca in two other articles, he wasn’t surprised by those details.

A calendar reminder popped up on his iPad prompting him to call his friend and fellow Prescott George member Daniel Cobb. Josh remembered a time when he’d been building his brand as a corporate raider, hoping for an exclusive invitation to join Prescott George—or the Millionaire Moguls as they were informally known—a prestigious, all-male national organization that was as powerful as it was discreet. However, he’d always assumed it was wishful thinking. Prescott George didn’t invite just anyone to join, especially a man of his caliber, who was considered a nouveau riche tycoon instead of an old-money legend. The latter were handed invitations into the organization based on their last names or historic financial statuses. When he’d finally gotten invited, by another member of the nouveau riche, he’d jumped at the opportunity to join Prescott George.

Staring at the calendar reminder once more, Josh reset the notification to have it ping him in another hour. He scrolled a little further through the article he was reading until he landed on a picture of Becca Wright. She was wearing a white collared shirt buttoned to the neck underneath a black suit jacket that appeared two sizes too big for her. Either that or she just had broad shoulders. He couldn’t tell.

Josh opened another tab on his iPad to Google images of Becca. More pictures appeared, each one more conservative than the next. One photo made him pause. In it Becca was wearing a beige cardigan over a plain white top. Her hair was pulled atop her head in a tight bun and her large black-rimmed glasses were a tad too big for her oval face. She was wearing little makeup and although she was smiling, her smile didn’t reach her eyes. Have I seen her somewhere before? There was something vaguely familiar about her photo, but he couldn’t quite place it.

Grabbing his phone, he decided to call the foundation once more and leave another voice mail. Once again, he was greeted by the beep.

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