Winning Wyatt (The Billionaire Brotherhood Book 1)

BOOK: Winning Wyatt (The Billionaire Brotherhood Book 1)
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This is a work
of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the
author’s imagination or they are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
events, locales, or persons, living are dead, is purely coincidental.

 

Winning Wyatt:
©2015 by Jacqueline Floyd

Cover Design:
Kim
Killion
, Hot Damn Designs

 

1st Edition

 

All rights
reserved.

 

In accordance
with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic
sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the author
constitutes unlawful piracy and theft of the author’s intellectual property. If
you would like to use material from this book (other than for review purposes),
prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the author.

 
 
 
 

In loving memory of my parents,

Robert and
JoAnn
McNatton

 
 
 
The
Brotherhood Begins
 
 

Los Angeles, September 11,
2001

 

One
of the worst days of Wyatt Connor Maitland’s seventeen-year life turned out to
be one of the worst days in the history of the United States.

After
a late night practicing for a prep school debate tournament, an early morning
phone call from home awakened him with bad news. He needed to get back to
Atlanta ASAP his mother said, his sister said, and his Uncle Jackson said. Like
the more people that told him, the quicker he could get there.

After
throwing his things into a bag, he called the hanger to change his flight and
then went down the hall to tell his debate coach that he was leaving. Which
created a debate of its own that ended up requiring permission from his
devastated mother, the school principal, the entire debate team, maybe the
Governor of Georgia, and who knew how many other people?

When
the limo let him out at LAX’s charter hangers, an odd, anxious hush hung over
the place like a noxious cloud. People scrambled about, but quietly. Groups
gathered around television screens shaking their heads, looking over their
shoulders, and checking the time. Even weirder? No passengers were being
allowed to board any aircraft. Planes weren’t being prepped for flight. Jets
were lined up outside the building, but none were taxiing toward the runways.

The
National Package Delivery hanger was similarly inactive. Wyatt strode to the
NPD offices to determine the whereabouts of his plane. No personnel populated
the reception area. Following voices to the staff’s small break room, he found
the entire NPD team riveted to some big news story on TV.

“Hey,”
he said, not used to being ignored. “Who died?” He hoped it wasn’t his father.
Surely that story wouldn’t make the national news.

“Thousands,”
Joan, the receptionist, said. She dabbed her eyes with a Kleenex and turned to
him with tears streaming down her face. “We don’t know who or how many yet.”

His
gaze settled on the television screen where smoke billowed out of the Twin
Towers. “My God, I’m sorry. I didn’t know. What happened?”

“Tom
Brokaw says it’s a terrorist attack,” one of the mechanics said, his voice
shaky. “Some whack jobs flew two planes right into the World Trade Center. And
there are others out there, too. The Pentagon’s been hit and the White House
has been targeted. Nobody knows how many more flights have been hijacked.”

That
couldn’t be true. This couldn’t be happening. Wyatt searched for Marshall, the
regular Maitland family pilot. The retired Air Force pilot was in his
shirtsleeves with his tie loosened, not his usual spit-shine appearance.

“Rumors
or fact?” Wyatt asked.

Lines
of concern marred Marshall’s face. “Hard to say. Some of both. The Twin Towers
and Pentagon have been hit for sure. There’s footage on both of those.”

Not
that Wyatt wasn’t concerned, but New York and Washington were a long way off.
“When will we be able to takeoff? We can track the story in flight, can’t we?

Marshall
gave him a hard look. “We can’t leave.”

“What?
Why?”

“All
non-essential military flights have been grounded. None of the NPD planes or
any others—commercial or private—are getting off the ground, no matter where
they are or where they’re going.”

“Until
when?”

The
pilot shrugged. “Until further notice.”

“But
I need to get to Atlanta.” If Wyatt didn’t know he sounded like a spoiled brat,
the disapproving scowls of the men and women in the break room told him so.

“Not
today, I’m afraid.”

“Does
my mother know about this?” In Wyatt’s world, his mother was the ultimate
authority. And she wanted him to come home with all possible speed.

“It’s
been on all the news. I haven’t spoken to your mother or anyone from NPD since
you called to change your departure date earlier this morning. The tower
approved the flight plan before this happened.” Marshall nodded to the
television screen.

Wyatt
motioned the pilot outside. “My father’s had a heart attack. I’m needed at
home.” His mother wouldn’t want him to tell anyone that machines were keeping
the old man on life support until Wyatt could get there.

“I’m
sorry, Wyatt. I’ll take you as soon as the blackout is lifted. But I doubt that
will be today. Probably not tomorrow.”

“Then
how will I get home?” Again with the spoiled-brat whine.

“I
don’t know.” The pilot’s shoulders stiffened to military precision. “Maybe you
can get a ride with someone, but I wouldn’t leave now if I could. Some of the
hijacked flights were United out of Boston and that’s my brother’s regular
assignment.”

Well.
That put Wyatt in his place. He couldn’t blame Marshall for his concern.
“You’ll want to get back in there and wait for news then. I hope your brother’s
okay.”

The
pilot’s posture eased up a little bit. “Come with me. We’ll figure out
something when we know more about what’s going on.”

“I’ll
be in soon. I’m going to hang around out here for a while. See if anyone else
knows anything more.”

Marshall
gave a little shake of his head. “There’s nothing you or your mother can do
about this situation.”

“I
know.” But surely there was something. “I just don’t want to stay cooped up in
the office all day. You’ve got a personal stake in this, and you need to get
back in there. Call me on my cell if you hear anything, okay?”

As
Marshall went back into the NPD offices, Wyatt gazed around at the terminal’s
organized chaos. Some passengers were throwing tantrums about not being able to
go where they wanted to go, but most people were milling around in shock.

Two
boys about his age were talking to a pretty girl with a killer body at a
private gate. He headed that way to listen. One of them was doing all the
talking and getting right up in her face. The other one, tall and muscular,
looked like a walking billboard for Eastham Sporting Goods.

“But
my uncle’s a senator,” the frantic one said. Like that information would make
any difference.

“How
nice for him.” The pretty girl didn’t seem all that impressed. She probably got
people more important than senators through here all the time. People like
presidents. Princes. Movie stars. “Is he here with you in L.A.?”

“He’s
in Washington or New York. I can’t get calls through to him, and I’m worried.”

“I
heard that Senators who were at the Capitol Building have been moved to a
secure location,” Pretty Girl told him, patting his hand.

“Look,
my mother and sister are in New York. My Grandfather’s company has offices

on
the upper levels of the Twin Towers. I know a lot of people who work for him,
for God’s sake, and it’s just been blown to bits. I really need to get back
home.”

Pretty
Girl’s face softened. “I sympathize with your situation, Mr. Bradford, but this

airport
is officially shut down. You can’t go to New York today. You can’t go to D.C.
You can’t go to Philadelphia, or Hartford either. You can’t go anywhere. Not by
plane anyway.”

Bradford.
Well, that explained the kid’s
attitude. The
Bradfords
were political royalty, like
the Kennedys or the Bushs. They were used to people jumping through hoops for
them.

The
Prince of Entitlement shook his head at her sad lack of cooperation. “Okay,
I’ve got it. I’ll figure it out myself. Thanks for your help.”

Bradford
pulled Logo Boy by the arm away from the desk. Wyatt followed.

“I
wonder if Amtrak is running,” Logo Boy ventured.

“Man,
that would take forever,” Bradford said.

“Yeah,
my mom tried to take the train from St. Louis to Kansas City once, and it
sucked.

I
guess in a national emergency it would be even worse.”

Bradford
brushed his famous hair off his forehead. “Let’s rent a car.”

Wyatt
thought that was a bad idea. Logo Kid agreed. “I heard all the rentals are
already gone. Besides, we’re too young.”

The
Prince paced back and forth. “Where’s your driver from this morning?”

“A
campus van dropped me off and left. I can call the school and have them send

someone
for us, but they probably won’t drive us all the way to St. Louis and New
York.”

“They
would if we offered them enough money.”

Logo
Kid’s eyes lit up. “Hey, why don’t we buy a car? Something really cool like a
Porsche or a Ferrari or a Maserati.”

Prince
Bradford stopped pacing. “Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that? St. Louis is
closer than New York. Maybe by the time we got there, planes will be flying
again. Let’s take a taxi to the nearest dealership and see what the Black Card
will get us.”

Driving
cross-country seemed like a decent idea to Wyatt, too. Driving cross country
with two other guys taking turns behind the wheel sounded even better. He stepped
in front of the prince. “You guys are going to drive east? How long will that
take?”

Prince
narrowed his eyes. “What do you care?”

“I
want to go too.”

“Where
you going?”

“Atlanta.”

Lobo
Kid shook his head. “That’s not on our way.”

“Just
take me as far as you can, and I’ll figure out the rest. I kinda need to get
home.”

“Join
the club, dude.” The prince shoved his way past Wyatt. “That’s what everyone
here

wants.
Why should we take you with us?”

“Three
drivers are better than two. And I’ll pay for a third of the car. Or all of it.

Otherwise,
I’ll just head out on my own.”

Prince
Bradford tried to fry him with a glare. “Who are you?”

“Wyatt
Maitland. From Atlanta.”

“Like
the Wyatt’s Department Stores?” Logo Kid asked. “Yep. And National Package
Delivery.”

“Cool,”
Logo Kid said. “You got any ID?”

“You’ll
see it when I buy the car.”

“I
guess we will. Come on then.” Prince and Logo Boy began collecting their bags.

“Let’s
go get a car. A fast one with a screaming sound system.”

That
would never do. “
Not
a Porsche,
Ferrari, or a Maserati.”

“Why
not?”

“Too
small,” Prince Bradford said. “We’ve got a long way to go, and we’re all at
least six

feet
tall.”

“Especially
the walking logo,” Wyatt said as they headed for the taxi stand. “What are you?
A body-builder?”

“Football
player.” Logo Kid answered. “Stanford wants to recruit me, and I came to L.A.to
practice with the team.” He stuck out his hand for Wyatt to shake. “Ryan
Eastham.”

“No
shit?” Wyatt asked. “All the Eastham crap you’re wearing isn’t just a coincidence?
You’re a human calling card.”

To
his credit, the kid didn’t take offense. “My dad likes me to wear his company’s
stuff. He’s proud of it and of me.”

“I’ll
bet he is.”

And
he had good reason to be. Over the next two days, no matter what happened or
whose temper flared, the football player smoothed things over and kept them all
calm.

As
they travelled across country in their newly-purchased Lincoln Navigator, they
split travel expenses three ways. Ryan and Dylan, friends from the same prep
school, took some time to warm up to Wyatt. Tense and nervous for the first few
hours, they each spent more time on their cell phones than they did observing
their surroundings and each other.

As
horrific as September eleventh had turned out to be, by the time they reached
Nevada, Dylan had talked to him mom, his uncle, and his grandfather. His
senator uncle had lost friends at the Pentagon. Dylan’s grandfather’s brokerage
had been wiped out, along with about half his employees. Although his family
members were safe, he still wanted to get there and see them for himself.

By
the time they reached Albuquerque, Ryan admitted he wasn’t just anxious to get
back to his team for the upcoming football game. His parents had separated over
the weekend, and it looked like they were splitting up. Despite his concern, he
predicted his family would take the hit, but in the end, they would bounce back
and be just fine. Just like the country would rebound from the day’s terrible
events.

And
by the time they reached Winslow, Arizona, which, as it turned out wasn’t that
fine of a sight to see, even Wyatt loosened up enough to reveal that his father
had suffered a heart attack and was being kept alive through artificial means
until all the family had a chance to gather. And to turn it into a juicy
scandal, the heart attack had occurred while the revered judge was handcuffed
to his mistress’s bed.

With
their worst fears behind them, the trio talked non-stop of other things.
Joking, teasing, bragging, and sharing topics about being an over-privileged
son of a famous American family. About how that honor and privilege came with
expectations and responsibilities most other teenagers could never imagine.

BOOK: Winning Wyatt (The Billionaire Brotherhood Book 1)
2.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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