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Man of Fame

Man of Fame

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Published by MinaDina
Jordan Wainwright was born with a platinum spoon in his mouth. As heir apparent to the Wainwright real estate dynasty, he’s never wanted for anything. But burnout prompted him to leave his seven-figure job at a prestigious law firm, and a quarrel with his cantankerous grandfather has him questioning his very place in the world. The only bright spot in Jordan’s life seems to be his budding romance with Natasha Parker, a woman he hires as his personal chef after his grandfather intimidated her out of a much-needed summer job.
Jordan Wainwright was born with a platinum spoon in his mouth. As heir apparent to the Wainwright real estate dynasty, he’s never wanted for anything. But burnout prompted him to leave his seven-figure job at a prestigious law firm, and a quarrel with his cantankerous grandfather has him questioning his very place in the world. The only bright spot in Jordan’s life seems to be his budding romance with Natasha Parker, a woman he hires as his personal chef after his grandfather intimidated her out of a much-needed summer job.

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Published by: MinaDina on May 08, 2011
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Man of FameBy: Rochelle AlersJordan Wainwright was born with a platinum spoon in his mouth. As heir apparentto the Wainwright real estate dynasty, he’s never wanted for anything. But burnoutprompted him to leave his seven-figure job at a prestigious law firm, and a quarrel with his cantankerous grandfather has him questioning his very place in theworld. The only bright spot in Jordan’s life seems to be his budding romance withNatasha Parker, a woman he hires as his personal chef after his grandfather intimidated her out of a much-needed summer job.Anxious to make a real difference in the lives of everyday people and not corporate fat cats, Jordan asks to join the private Harlem-based practice of his former mentor, Kyle Chatham. But his first case offers a unique challenge: taking onhis grandfather’s corporation in a landlord-tenant dispute…Chapter OneJordan Wainwright maneuvered onto the newly paved private road leading to his family’s summer estate. Downshifting, he decelerated around a curve and the Wainwright compound came into view. It was easily recognizable by its Victorian style and connecting three-bedroom guesthouse that resembled an intricately constructedwedding cake with an exquisitely two-tiered wraparound porch and turrets. Of thefour thousand homes that made up the Chesapeake Ranch Estates, also known locally as the Ranch Club, no two were alike.Originally, the Ranch Club was a gated community manned by round-the-clock guards, but in the late 1990s a majority vote of property owners mandated removal ofthe gates. Instead of going to sleepaway camp or visiting with his grandparentslike other children, Jordan had spent his summers at the Ranch Club. Though nowa grown man, he still joined the rest of his family in Maryland for the mandatory Memorial Day get-together.Jordan slowed before coming to a complete stop behind his parents’ vintage Mercedes Benz sedan. There were already three other cars in the drive."Jordan!"Smiling, he peered through the windshield to find his sister racing toward him.He’d just stepped out of the low-slung sports car when she launched herself at hischest. Catching her in midair, he swung her around until she pleaded with him to stop."How’s my favorite sister?"Chanel Wainwright rolled her eyes upward. Jordan hadn’t seen her in weeks, although they lived within walking distance of each other in New York City. She lived with their parents and brother Rhett in a Fifth Avenue Beaux Arts mansion overlooking Central Park, and Jordan had recently purchased a charming maisonette at Ninety-eighth Street and Fifth Avenue. Jordan knew his distant behavior—and his recent change in attitude toward their grandfather—worried Chanel, but when she’d askedhim about it his response was to say it didn’t concern her."I’m your only sister."Jordan dropped a kiss on the fashionably cut sun-streaked hair she’d tucked behindher ears. He adored his fifteen-year-old sister. "Thanks for reminding me."Going on tiptoe, she kissed his cheek. "Where have you been? Mother has been waiting for you so we can all can sit down and eat together.""I made it down and that’s what important, Charlie." Chanel, tired of everyone teasing her about her name, had told Jordan she preferred Charlie to Chanel."Don’t let Mother hear you call me that. She’ll open a vein."Jordan, cradling her smaller hand in his, led Chanel around to the rear of the house. He was familiar with Christiane Wainwright’s dining practices: breakfast andthe midday meal on the back porch, and dinner in the formal dining room."Perhaps we should let her hear it so we can find out if her blood is red or blue.""Stop it!" Chanel hissed.Her blue-green eyes sparkled when she smiled. Jordan could count on his sister to provide a bit of sunshine on what he predicted to be an otherwise boring weekend. Most of the Wainwrights, Christiane in particular, were much too serious.Jordan stopped short when he saw the one person he hadn’t wanted to see: Wyatt Wai
 
nwright. His grandfather’s black eyebrows flickered at the same time his mouth tightened into a thin, hard line. The resemblance between the two men was uncanny,and Jordan knew what he would look like in another forty years. The only difference was eye color. Wyatt’s eyes were the color of a blue sky on a cloudless day and Jordan’s were brown with pinpoints of gray and green, depending upon his mercurial moods."Grandfather," he said softly in acknowledgment.Wyatt Wainwright inclined his head. Despite his casual attire of navy blue linengabardine slacks, white shirt, opened at the collar, and white pullover V-necksweater he was still an imposing figure. His gaze narrowed as he glared at his eldest grandchild. The last time they’d met, months ago, he’d permitted Jordan to saythings to him that he never would’ve permitted another human being to utter—not even his own son. But Jordan knew full well he had gotten away with it because Wyatt had plans for him, plans in opposition to what Jordan had in mind for his ownfuture."It’s good seeing you, Jordan."Jordan wanted to tell his grandfather the feeling wasn’t totally reciprocated, butthen decided he didn’t want to ruin the kickoff to the Wainwright summer gatherings. Christiane came to the Ranch Club every weekend in June, then closed up theFifth Avenue mansion, moved the entire household staff and spent the months of July and August in Maryland."It’s nice seeing you, too, Grandfather."It was a half-truth, but he’d promised himself that he would make an attempt to becivil to the seventy-eight-year-old widowed tyrant, who could easily pass for aman fifteen years younger. He’d said things to his grandfather that were damningand blatantly disrespectful, but were warranted given the circumstances. They’d seen each other at Christmas, but hadn’t until now exchanged a word."Everyone’s in the house waiting for you."Jordan’s gaze shifted to the cloth-covered table with china, crystal and silver for six place settings. "Mother knows not to wait for me.""It’s not your mother who’s waiting."Jordan’s raven eyebrows lifted a fraction. "If it’s not Mother, then who is?""It’s your father," Wyatt said over his shoulder as he turned on his heel and walked through the door leading into the kitchen, his grandson following his lead."Bonjour, Master Jordan."Jordan gave his parents’ live-in chef a warm smile. "Bonjour, Monsieur Durant."His mother had gone through countless cooks until she’d settled on Jean-Paul Durant, who’d recently celebrated his twenty-second year in the Wainwright employ. Butit wasn’t the longtime employee that captured Jordan’s attention; it was the petite,young, dark-skinned woman assembling an antipasto tray. She glanced up and he smiled at her, and she returned his smile with a dimpled one of her own.Taking long strides, Jordan caught up with his grandfather.Christiane rose from an armchair, a practiced smile pasted on her face. The smile that curved her mouth did not reach her frosty green eyes. "Now that you’re here, we can sit down to eat."Jordan knew his mother was piqued, because she hadn’t bothered to greet him. He hadn’t given her a specific time when he would arrive. But more than that, she was still perturbed by the fact that he’d yet to find another position since leaving the high-powered law firm of Trilling, Carlyle and Browne almost a year ago. Despite the fact that he was more than comfortable living off his trust fund, and thesavings from his seven-figure salary, Jordan knew his mother still disapprovedof his current lifestyle. He’d also disappointed her hopes for a wedding when hislong-distance love affair with Debora, a legislative assistant, has soured aboutthe same time.Jordan’s gaze shifted to his father, who gave a barely perceptible shake of his head to his youngest son. Rhett’s expression spoke volumes. He was bored. Rhett would turn twenty-one the following year, and at that age would be exempt from spending his summers at the Ranch Club, like his twenty-two-year-old brother Noah, who was nowhere to be seen.Minutes later, everyone sat at the table on the back porch. Edward and Christian
 
e sat opposite each other at the head of the table, Jordan next to Rhett and Chanel on Wyatt’s right. Goblets at Rhett’s and Chanel’s places were filled with chilledlemonade and the adults’ with dry French rosé. Jean-Paul and his assistant brought out the antipasto tray with a basket of bread sticks and focaccia bread.The weather was perfect for dining alfresco. The temperature was in the low eighties with a warm southerly breeze. Jordan stared under lowered lids at those sitting around the table. Edward and Christiane Wainwright were known as the goldencouple amongst those in their social circle. Three of their four offspring hadinherited their fair coloring, ash-blond hair and blue or green eyes. The exception was their firstborn, whose dramatic dark looks made him a standout when compared to his siblings."Dad, what is it you want to talk to me about?" Jordan asked Edward Wainwright.Edward gave his son a long, penetrating stare. "As you know I’m turning fifty-fivein July and I’m thinking of retiring." Everyone stopped what they were doing andstared at him."Teddy!" Christiane gasped."What the hell are you talking about?" Wyatt shouted.Chanel blinked back the tears. "Are you sick, Daddy?"Edward’s hand came down hard on the table at the same time a flush crept up to hishairline. "Will you please let me finish what I was going to say?"Jordan hid a smile. It wasn’t often his father exhibited a display of temper and he felt a measure of pride for the man who, unfortunately, was never able to comeinto his own because of his tyrannical father and haughty wife. Edward may havebeen president of Wainwright Developers, but Jordan knew the real power was inhis grandfather’s hands. He’d been present at board meetings where Edward hadn’t beenable to give a senior VP a definitive answer without first checking with Wyatt."Please continue, Dad."Edward nodded. "Thank you, Jordan. I plan to resign as president of Wainwright Developers, but I plan to stay on as a consultant." He smiled at Chanel. "And toanswer your question, sweetheart, no, I’m not sick. I’ve been telling your mother for years that I want to travel.""Travel, or play golf?" Christiane mumbled under her breath."That, too," Edward confirmed.Wyatt cleared his throat, glaring at Edward. It was obvious he hadn’t expected Edward to resign without speaking to him first. "When were you going to tell me?"Edward seemed to visibly retreat from his father’s intimidating stare. "I thoughtit best to make the announcement during a family get-together.""Who are you going to recommend as your replacement?" Jordan asked Edward. A pregnant silence settled over the table’s occupants following his query.Reaching for his wineglass, Edward took a sip, held it in his mouth for severalseconds before swallowing the vintage rosé. He extended the glass to Jordan."I want you to replace me."Chapter TwoJordan shook his head. "I can’t, Dad.""You can’t, or you won’t?" Wyatt asked."Both."Edward drained his wineglass, and the chef’s assistant, standing off to the side,came over to refill it. "Why not?"Five pairs of eyes were trained on Jordan as they awaited his response. "I can’t,because I’ve got other plans."Christiane pressed a hand to her throat. "What plans, Jordan?""I’ve asked Kyle Chatham, a former colleague from TCB who recently set up a practice in Harlem, to create a position for me."Wyatt choked on his wine. Reacting quickly, he coughed into his napkin. "Did yousay Harlem?"Jordan’s revelation had not only shocked his grandfather, but everyone sitting atthe table. They stared at him as if he’d announced that he’d come down with bubonicplague. "Yes, I did say Harlem.""But…but why on earth would you want to work up there?" Christiane sputtered."What’s wrong with working up there, Mother?" he countered.

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