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Chapter 1

Reclined in her first-class seat, she mentally prepared for the meeting. The Vandicamp brothers would enter the conference room as she sat confidently at the head of the long table ready to charm them. When the meeting began, she would be impressive and unstoppable,displaying charts, graphs, and answering all questions without hesitation.

"Good morning, this is your pilot speaking. It’s 9 a.m. and National Airport is under a blanket of fog. Expect a delay of at least fifteen to thirty minutes."

"Damn it! This is just great. I’m tired, I have a meeting later today, and now I’m stuck in the sky circling this airport because the pilot can’t find the runway. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if we run out of fuel and plunge into the river."

The large jumbo jet gradually ascended through the misty sky into a holding pattern.

The flight attendant smiled and gave her the cordless phone from her jacket pocket.

"Thank you," said Jacks as she dialed her office.

"J.A. White, may I help you?"

"This is Ms. White. Is Peter or Derrick in?"

"Derrick is with a client, but Peter is available."

"Could you ring his office for me?"

Jacks impatiently tapped her hand on the armrest as she waited for Peter to answer the phone.

"Peter Carlton. May I help you?"

"Hi, Peter, this is Jacks. I’ll be landing in about twenty minutes. Could you please send the car?"

"Jacks, I’m glad you called. The Vandicamps have moved their meeting time up to noon."

"Who okayed that?" she said as she quickly changed from her relaxed seating position.

"Derrick. I tried to stop him, but he wouldn’t listen. He said if you didn’t return in time, he would handle the meeting."

"Thanks for the update. I’ll be in the office as soon as I can."

The stadium-sized airport was congested with weary travelers.

The long lines at the ticket counters obstructed the walkways. Parents were trying to hold on to their luggage as they struggled with their excited children. The place appeared unorganized, as if no one knew where to go.

Jacquelyn White’s five-feet-six-inch hourglass frame stood like a Beverly Hills store. Her outward appearance was the storefront—beautiful, inviting, and intimidating to those who didn’t feel wealthy enough to enter. However, once you dare to enter, you felt welcomed and would discover an abundance of valuable and unique items.Jacks’ black Chanel purse swung against her cherry-red double-breasted suit as she impatiently tapped her foot. Deep in thought as she waited for her luggage to appear, she tried to think of a way to reprimand Derrick. She couldn’t believe he would go behind her back and do such a thing. He knew that this meeting was important to her. He knew he didn’t have the authority to change her appointments without her approval. He must be reprimanded, but how?

Her black luggage appeared around the corner. Releasing some of her frustration, she snatched it up. Weaving her way in and out through the crowd, she dashed toward the exit to wait for her limousine.

Standing in front of the airport, she watched the parade of cars and cabs. Her black limousine emerged through the crowd, license plate number JAW 62. The trunk sprung open as the limousine stopped in front of her. The handsome driver quickly made his way around the limousine to assist her with the luggage.

Relieved that he finally had arrived, she said, "Thank you, Miles. This had been an enjoyable trip until I called the office." She ducked her head and slipped into the car.

Miles placed the luggage into the trunk and ran back to the front of the car. Winded, he positioned himself behind the wheel, checked the rearview mirror, signaled, and slowly merged back into the flow of traffic.

"I need a drink," said Jacks as she reached toward the small bar.

Miles glanced at her in the rearview mirror.

Miles was a streetwise man in his early thirties. His olive complexion, dark brown hair, hazel green eyes, and thick eyelashes gave him an exotic islander appearance. To Jacks he was like a convenience store, always open and nearby. A weight lifter, his physical appearance resembled a boxer, toned and muscular. His boyish smile was charming, alluring, and ignited thoughts of passion.

"A drink this early! Are you having problems with the business?" he asked.

"No, I just have a problem with Derrick. He has overstepped his line of authority by changing a very important meeting," she said as she took a big swallow of her rum and Coke. "Oh, I created this monster, and one way or another, I’ll put him back into his cage."

Jacks reached for the phone and dialed Peter on his direct line.

"Peter Carlton."

"Peter, is Derrick done with his meeting?"

"If you don’t mind waiting a minute, I’ll check." Peter laid the receiver on the desk. The line went silent for a few minutes, and then there was heavy breathing. "Yes, I saw him sitting at his desk."

"Please tell him to be in my office before I get there. I’ll be there in about ten minutes." She switched on the radio and began to listen to a talk show.

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