Oh, this man.
“So just say yes, and let’s get our timeline moving.” When his head slowly bent down, her eyes automatically closed and her lips parted, Tilly waiting for a kiss…that wasn’t meant to happen.
The sound of the head housekeeper’s voice had Tilly’s cheeks burning as her eyes flew wide open. She saw the billionaire smirking and Enid doing her best not to laugh, and she could feel herself turning a deeper shade of red.
“The guys at the gatehouse radioed in. They say the Crown Prince of Namja is on his way.”
“Hartland, Wyoming,” Logan mentioned casually as he scribbled his signature on the sales contract that would transfer ownership of one of his prized foals to the Crown Prince. “You have a stake in it, don’t you?”
“I’ve been wondering what it was in my portfolio you had your eyes on…” The prince’s lips twitched.
“But I have to confess: I wouldn’t have thought of that particular investment at all.”
“My friends and I had tried buying in as early as last year, but we were informed that someone from the inside must vouch for us first.” Logan offered his pen to the prince as he spoke, and the other man smiled, appreciating the timing of the gesture.
Raj scrawled his signature on the other dotted line while his thoughts turned towards the billionaire’s unspoken request. Hartland was a newly established settlement a few miles outside Laramie, Wyoming, and while it looked no different from any other small town in the Cowboy State, everything and everyone in it was actually the product of a meticulously detailed plan almost five years in the making.
The rising number of terrorist attacks, increased gun violence, and other similar threats had prompted a select group of extremely private billionaires to pool their resources into setting up the Hartland Initiative.
While the idea had been inspired by Isla de Flores, a coastal town in the Key West that was quietly protected by its community of secret millionaires, Hartland was designed to take things a step further. Envisioned as a town that could serve as the group’s sanctuary in case public safety could no longer be guaranteed elsewhere, all of Hartland’s permanent residents were carefully vetted and handpicked, and no piece of land within its property lines could be sold without the entire board’s approval.
All of this, however, took place strictly behind the scenes, and any tourist passing by Hartland was unlikely to find anything out of the ordinary. Locals from nearby ranches and neighboring towns were always welcomed, and cowboys galloping to McDonald’s on horseback was still a fun but regular sight. There was nothing for anyone to suspect the truth, such as the fact that it was pharmaceutics billionaire Slade Wyndham who typically manned the counter at the coffee shop in 7th Avenue or that it was the I.T. tycoon Thornton Brandt who owned the bookstore across the local church.
Raj himself had his own role to play, being one of the assigned riding instructors at the Hartland Stable, and the time he spent there, under the guise of being the quintessential average Joe, always proved to be a refreshing and much-needed interlude from his normally high-pressure, fast-paced lifestyle.
The Crown Prince handed the pen back to the billionaire. “Shukran, my friend. And as for your interest in Hartland…” He made a gesture that encompassed Logan’s place as a whole. “Isn’t Evergreen much like Hartland already?”
“There are existing similarities,” Logan acknowledged, “but I doubt they’re enough to make Evergreen qualify as a sister town for Hartland.”
Raj leaned back against his seat. So that was the billionaire’s ultimate objective: to turn Evergreen into the Hartland of Texas. Such an alliance would be beneficial, but before he could speak, the doors to the stable opened, and a beautiful, buxomy woman with long, sable-colored hair came in.
Logan cursed under his breath at the sight of Tilly walking inside the stable. Shit. He had promised to give her riding lessons today, but the thought had slipped his mind at Raj’s unexpected visit.
Tilly stumbled to a halt when she saw that the billionaire wasn’t alone, and she gazed at him uncertainly. Should I go?
The billionaire’s handsome face softened slightly, the sight letting her know without words that he didn’t mind her sudden presence. Tilly relaxed, and as she resumed walking towards them, she couldn’t help darting a curious glance at Logan’s companion. Was he really a Crown Prince? The man was extremely attractive and he certainly carried himself in a way that suggested his ease in wielding power and authority.
A good catch all in all, Tilly thought matter-of-factly, but as far as she was concerned, Logan was still the better man.
Most women would have been bowled over by now, but the lady walking towards them was clearly immune to him, and the fact intrigued Raj. “Who is she?”