Enamored - J. S. Scott Page 0,1

recently discovered I was pretty damn good at being a dick when it came to business.

I was a property developer, and Sinclair Properties was quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in commercial real estate. I couldn’t afford to be a damn bleeding heart.

I ignored my sister’s question. “I’m not giving up that property, Jade,” I said tersely. “It’s a prime building lot right on the beach. There aren’t many of those spots available anymore.”

The small city of Citrus Beach was growing rapidly. With its proximity to San Diego, it was bound to happen sooner or later. The area was becoming the place to be when one wanted to hit the beach.

“So your stupid resort is more important than killing off an entire species?”

I shot her a disgusted look, something I rarely did with my younger sister. Then again, Jade was usually a lot more even-tempered. She only got this tenacious when it came to killing off endangered species. “They can go nest somewhere else next season.”

“They came here because they probably lost their previous spot to some jerk who didn’t care that they were about to become extinct.”

Okay, that hurt a little. I was used to my younger siblings looking up to me as a somewhat paternal figure. Me, and my brothers Aiden and Noah, had been the only parent figures my three younger siblings had ever really had. Jade had certainly never referred to me as a jerk. She used to idolize me.

Guess those days are gone.

Of course, Jade was no longer a kid. Hadn’t been for a long time. There actually weren’t that many years between us. Jade was highly educated, with a doctorate in wildlife conservation, and was now married to a very powerful billionaire, a guy who also just happened to be my mentor and silent partner, Eli Stone.

At least she hadn’t mentioned this to . . .

“I’m going to talk to Eli,” she threatened, immediately nullifying my previous thought.

So much for not using her husband as a weapon. Just when I’d been thinking that she wasn’t going to throw Eli in my face, she . . . did.

Truth was, I needed Eli’s advice. Often. That’s what happens when a guy goes from being a construction worker to a billionaire in a matter of minutes.

Up until the current moment, Eli and I had worked well together. My brother-in-law had his own business to run in San Diego, but he always made time to help me out.

I wasn’t seasoned enough yet to go it on my own. Problem was, Eli adored Jade and worshipped the ground that my little sister walked on. If Jade even hinted that she wanted something, Eli would find a way to get it for her.

My property doesn’t stand a chance if Eli gets involved.

I shrugged. “Do what you have to do. I’ve already argued this with the tree hugger a million times.”

“Riley is not a tree hugger,” Jade said defensively. “She’s a highly respected attorney who champions endangered wildlife.”

I lifted a brow. “Which means she is a tree hugger.”

“Then so am I,” she said, sounding indignant. “And I’m not ashamed of trying to protect any endangered species, nor am I about to apologize because I care about the environment.”

I raked a hand through my hair in frustration. “There’s nothing wrong with that, Jade. But giving up a deal this lucrative would be crazy.”

“It’s not crazy,” she said in a softer tone. “It would be the right thing to do. And I really don’t want to be forced to put my husband at odds with my own brother. I know you two are close. Honestly, if you give up the land and make it a wildlife refuge, you’d never even miss the money. If you want, I’ll buy it from you.”

“Not happening,” I said brusquely.

Not that my billionaire sister and my billionaire brother-in-law couldn’t afford to drop what for them would be a minuscule amount of funds on some land. That wasn’t the point. My issue was that I could never take a dime from Jade, and she probably knew it.

“Then I guess I’ll just encourage Riley to keep fighting this through legal channels,” Jade said in a snippy voice I’d never heard come out of her mouth before.

“When in the hell did you two get so chummy?” I asked unhappily.

Jade frowned. “She didn’t come to me, if that’s what you’re thinking. I actually sought her out after I read an interview with her in the Citrus Beach News. I was