Nanny for the Millionaire's Twins

By: Susan Meier

 Before he knew it, he was at the elevator. The security guard said, “Good morning, Mr. Montgomery.” Punching a few numbers into a keypad, he opened the elevator, motioned Chance inside and stepped back as the doors closed.

 The ride to the fourth floor took seconds. The elevator doors swooshed open. More potted trees accented a low, ultramodern green sofa and chair. A green print rug covered part of the yellow hardwood floor.

 Sitting at the desk in front of a wall of windows, Max looked up and instantly rose.

 When they were kids, everyone would comment on how cute it was that they both had dark hair and blue eyes, even though Chance had been adopted. Now, everyone knew why.

 “Chance. Sorry about that mess up downstairs. I told them you were coming. I also told them to give you the code for the elevator.”

 He flopped on the sofa before Max invited him to sit down. “Well, they didn’t.”

 “And you’re mad.”

 “No, actually, they made my case about why I don’t want to work here. Dad would be so proud.”

 “Dad had nothing to do with just about everything that goes on here now. I changed how we do business with subcontractors and vendors. We don’t make backdoor deals with union    s. We don’t cheat employees out of bonuses. And I won’t lock you out of a company that’s as much yours as mine.”

 Chance said, “Humph. Mom said you were different.”

 Max sat on the chair across from him. “Losing your wife, admitting you’re an alcoholic and going to AA will do that to you.”

 Chance sat up. The alcoholic thing floored him, but Kate leaving shocked him so much he forgot he was angry. Though Max and Kate were older, the trio had been like the Three Musketeers before he ran away. Chance had loved Kate like a sister. “You and Kate split up?”

 “For eight years. She kept my daughter, Trisha, from me. She just left and didn’t even tell me she was pregnant.”

 “Holy cow.”

 “It took a while, but we reconciled.”

 “And the alcoholic thing? Was that because she left?”

 Max shook his head. “I became an alcoholic after you left, Chance.”

 He froze. “Me?”

 “I loved you, kid. Still do. You’re my brother. I was sorry for everything that happened and I shouldered all the responsibility and the blame. And started drinking. But after Kate left, I realized drinking wasn’t helping and once I got sober, I saw how bad Dad really was. I learned every department, read every lease, talked to every contractor and vendor. And ultimately took over.”

 Chance gaped at him. “You kicked Dad out?”

 “He resigned—sort of happily, really. His last two years he and Mom traveled.” He shrugged. “I’m not just blowing smoke when I say things have changed. The company is different. I am different. You can trust me.” He rose from his seat. “Rather than talk about what I’ve done, let me give you a tour of the place.” He motioned to a richly detailed, double-door entrance. “And you can see for yourself how different the company is and see for yourself that I’m not running it like Dad.”

 Chance also rose, but he rose slowly, without any enthusiasm. He might have a strange sympathy for his brother rattling through him now, but that didn’t mean he wanted to work for him. “I don’t know, Max.”

 “Come on. What can it hurt to look?”

 He shook his head. “I don’t want to. I’ve distanced myself from you and the company.”

 “And you hate me?”

 “No more than you hate me.”

 Max frowned. “Why would I hate you?”

 “Because you grew up as the favorite son. The ‘real’ Montgomery child, while I was adopted. Then we all found out I’m as much of a Montgomery as you are. That had to sting.”

 “Not really.” He sighed. “Look. I don’t think we hate each other. I think we had one ugly family fight. I’m not going to let that stand in the way of our being a family. Mom wants this.”

 A warm feeling flowed through him at the mention of their mom, the woman who loved him even though he was the product of her husband’s affair. So did the reminder that in some respects he owed her.

 Max turned him in the direction of his office door. “I’m not going to browbeat you into coming to work for me. We can give Mom a family without you working for me. Hell, you can move back to Tennessee and we can still be a family. But if you like what you see, why wouldn’t you want to work here?”

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