Merger to Marriage (Boardrooms and Billi - By Addison Fox
EIGHT YEARS AGO
Mayson McBride watched the hordes of Las Vegas tourists stream through the convention hall and gave herself a mental high-five.
They’d done it.
A heady streak of pride ran through her.
Another glance toward all the smiling faces marching up and down rows of food, wine, appliances and home décor only reinforced that feeling.
“I’m still not sure why you and your sisters bothered with this.” Andrew McBride sidled up to her, and she couldn’t hold back her surprise at her father’s sudden arrival, as if she’d conjured him up from her recalcitrant thoughts.
She gave him a hug and not for the first time wondered, what it would be like to be happy to see him. “I thought you weren’t coming.”
“Changed my mind. Wanted to get in on a poker tournament down at the Mirage.”
“How’d you do?”
He lifted up his hands, his arms held wide and a lopsided smile playing around his mouth. “I’m here, aren’t I?”
Of course he was. Her father wasn’t known for his gambling savvy. Or his business savvy. Likely because he managed both with the same wild streak of inconsistency, simply seeking some sort of gambler’s high as opposed to doing any real work or using any measure of strategy.
Mayson couldn’t hold back a smile of her own. “Beyond expectations. We already have signed letters of intent from forty exhibitors waiting to get in on next year.”
“Wow. Your sisters were working it.”
She brushed off the flare of annoyance that skittered down her back. “We were all working it.”
“Sure, sweetie. I know a lot of set up went into the layout and design.”
She gritted her teeth. “I designed the layout for the entire hall. Ensured each booth had a specific look and feel. And I helped close on the sales.”
His smile fell. “Mayse, you’re always so prickly. I wasn’t trying to insult you.”
“What did you mean, then?” Because I sure as hell wouldn’t classify it as a pep talk.
“You’ve got your mother’s eye for design. At least you’ve figured out a way to make something of it.”
“Unlike Mom, who sat on her ass and did nothing?”
“Again, you’re misinterpreting my words.” He patted her on the back, his discomfort at being called out evident in the way he’d begun to glance around the hall, seeking an out. “It looks great. Everything looks great. But we’ll see. The proof is in the receipts.”
“You don’t think Keira, Camryn and I did it?”
Keira’s challenge to their father had been simple and direct. If they turned a profit on the home show, he’d give them the entire Home and Family asset to run. Magazine. Website. Trade show. Cookware extensions. All of it.
“Like I said, the proof will be in the final tally.”
“Get ready to turn over the keys, Daddy. We not only did it, we blew the doors off.”
“Our deal was two years. Two years to turn a profit.” He held up two fingers to punctuate his point, but he couldn’t hide the slight tremble that gripped his limbs.
“I can guarantee we just did it in one.”
“We’ll see when Camryn runs the financials.”
“Aren’t you seeing what I’m seeing?” Mayson did a swift turn around the hall, the throng of people like a cocoon around them.
Her father gave the room an impatient glance. “Yes. Lots of pretty booths. We’ll let Cam do the final tally and then decide what comes next.”
Mayson knew exactly what came next. She’d known it for months, as she and her sisters worked tirelessly to make something of their lives and their legacy. They all had gifts—Keira for management, Camryn for finance, and her with her eye for design—and they were going to bring McBride Media back from the brink of disaster.
Her father had underestimated their determination to make something of themselves and their sheer fortitude to bring it to fruition. It was a trait he’d never understood or appreciated in his children. But it was about to have consequences for his role as head of McBride Media.
NEW YORK CITY, PRESENT DAY
Mayson McBride stared at the lovely red wine stain that spread across the front of her champagne-colored bridesmaid gown and wondered why the hell it couldn’t have been the other way around.
“Why did it have to be that delicious Bordeaux?” she muttered to herself as she slipped out of her ruined dress. The guests at her sister’s wedding reception had already lined up at the bar for glasses of the thousand-dollar treasure, and she was going to miss whatever was left in the time it took to change her