Read His Allure, Her Passion Online

Authors: Juliana Haygert

His Allure, Her Passion (11 page)

BOOK: His Allure, Her Passion
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“I’m sorry about my husband,” his mother said.

“Don’t cover for him.” Dylan still stared at his father, his arms tense underneath Hayley’s hand.

“It’s the only thing I can do.” His mother pointed to the empty chairs around the table. “Please, sit down.”

Dylan escorted Hayley to a chair beside his younger sister. He sat on her other side.

“You’re prettier than I remembered,” Celine said, smiling at her.

“Thank you.” Hayley tried smiling, but she was shaking too hard.

Celine held her hand. “Like my mom, I’m sorry about my father. He can be a real creep sometimes.”

“What he really wants is to make me lose it,” Dylan snapped. He cupped Hayley’s face in his hands. “Are you okay? Please tell me he didn’t get under your skin.” His stare was worried and sad.

“I’m fine.” And to prove it, she leaned in and kissed him.

Dylan relaxed a tiny bit under her lips.

“Aw,” Celine meowed when they broke apart. “So cute to see my brother in love.”

Hayley’s heart skipped a beat. Dylan? In love? If his sister knew about the deal, she wouldn’t think that.

“Do you want me to nag you about how mushy you and Robert are?” Dylan asked, a teasing grin on his lips.

“Leave me out of this,” Robert said. “I’m trying to behave so I don’t get a lecture, too.”

“Oh yeah,” Dylan said. “My father isn’t a fan of Robert.”

Celine patted Hayley’s leg. “You’ll grow on the old man, just need to give him time.”

Would she have time to grow on him? She wasn’t sure how this fake-dating thing would go with Dylan. And honestly, she couldn’t think about it right now lest she break down and cry before the four hundred guests of the fancy Valentine’s Day ball.

Hayley scanned the room and her eyes fell on Dylan’s father, seated on the next table, talking to other men. He was such a creep.

Squinting, she leaned to Dylan. “Why do you want to please him so badly?”

Dylan tensed. For a moment, she thought he would lose it. But then he turned to her, his eyes serious. “When Bryan was alive, my father used to be fun. We got along very well, the three of us, even when we all knew I wasn’t going to follow their footsteps. My father was pleased Bryan would, and he didn’t mind that I did whatever I wanted. Back then, we were truly a family. And my father cared for me.” He sighed. “I want that back. I’ll never be my brother, and I don’t want to. But I want my father to accept me as I am, and be a real father again. Besides, Bryan wouldn’t want me to just walk away from him and the company like that. Or my mother.”

Hayley nodded and squeezed his hand, understanding his actions now. She hoped his wishes would come true.

The beginning of the night was a breeze. Hayley talked to Celine, Alexis, and Mrs. Deveraux as if they had been friends for a long time—and she avoided Dylan’s father.

After the dinner, the music began and Dylan and Hayley danced. She rested her head on his shoulder and let him guide her through the ballroom.

“You know, this is my first serious Valentine’s Day date,” he confessed. “Before, I didn’t have a serious someone to go out with. Well, honestly, before I didn’t care about Valentine’s Day, period. Until today, it was only a day invented by florists to make more profit.”

Hayley pulled her head back and stared at him. He was dead serious, staring back at her. “I know,” she said, tingles of anticipation spreading through her chest.

“Thank you for being here with me. This means a lot to me.”

“Thank you for inviting me.”

Dylan pressed her closer against him. He leaned down and kissed her, a deep and sweet kiss that made her all fuzzy inside.

Soon, the directors and the owner were called onto the stage. It was time for the speeches.

“Good luck,” Hayley whispered before kissing Dylan again.

She went back to the table as he marched up to the stage with the other men.

First, Mr. Deveraux spoke, thanking everyone for their presence and officially launching the plant in the state of New York. Next, each director spoke about their experiences and how wonderful the Deveraux family was, how amazing the company was, and so on.

Then, the last director with the microphone passed the stage to Dylan. Mr. Deveraux didn’t disguise his surprise.

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,” Dylan began, his voice sure and charming. Hayley smiled. A large white screen lowered behind him. “I have a surprise planned for tonight. It’s a surprise even to my father.” He gestured toward his father, whose face was distorted in an ugly knot. The first page of his PowerPoint presentation appeared on the screen.

First, Dylan told the public about his background in college. How he never became interested in anything until his brother Bryan told him he should do something with his talent. Drawing. Across the table from Hayley, Dylan’s mother had tears in her eyes. Then he told them about the project he saw from another student, the project about boats that got him thinking about cars and design.

“And that’s how these two,” the image behind him changed, showing two sports cars, “were born.” A general, loud gasp emitted throughout the room, followed by whispers and many camera flashes. “I designed these cars.”

His mother turned to Hayley. “Did you know about this?”

“Yes,” she confessed.

A smile spread over his mother’s beautiful features. “Amazing.” Her eyes returned to her son.

“This is
Allure
,” he said in a subtle French accent, pointing to a red, orange, and black car. A real sports car, very low, with round edges, catlike headlights, visible engine, and many details. “It means speed in French. I designed it for NASCAR. The second one is
Passion
.” Again, he pronounced the name of the car in French.

The other car was also a beautiful sports car, but more elegant than the previous one, in a dark silver color, with fewer add-ons. “I don’t think I need to translate this one, right?” His smile was contagious, and everyone laughed along with it. Hayley felt very proud of him. “I designed this one to compete with my own car, and you all know which car I drive.” Loud laughter filled the room. “And this is the car I’ll have when it’s produced.” He talked as if his father had already approved the project. Very brave. “Here they are.” The back curtains fell and the cars appeared in real size. Only their beautiful shells, but a much better surprise than the drawings. Applause rang loudly. “I dedicate
Allure
to my brother, and
Passion
to my girlfriend.”

Hayley’s heart fluttered.


Passion
, girlfriend.” Celine winked to her. “And I thought he hated Valentine’s Day stuff.”

“This is amazing,” Alexis said, her eyes wide at the screen up stage. “I’m in awe. I didn’t know Dylan could draw like that. Nor that he was up to something.”

“Looks like someone changed our brother,” Celine teased Hayley, bumping her elbow on her arm.

“It wasn’t me,” Hayley said. “Bryan was the one who started this.”

Once more, his mother looked at her, tears and pride mixed in her eyes.

“Young lady,” Mr. Deveraux’s voice came from behind her. Celine and Alexis stiffened. Careful, Hayley turned to face him. “Please, come with me.”

Hayley looked around the table, searching for support, but nobody glanced at her, afraid of him.

Without options, she followed him to one of the corners of the ballroom, while Dylan kept enchanting the public and presenting his cars.

She barely halted before Mr. Deveraux, and he pointed his finger at her face. “What’s your plan? The plan you both conspired against me?”

Her eyes widened. “What? Sir? We don’t have any plan. Dylan is just trying to make you proud of him.”

“By stealing my show and surprising me with that?” Mr. Deveraux pointed to the stage, to both cars flanking Dylan. “How much did he pay you to come here with him?”

She flinched. “Excuse me? Dylan didn’t pay me. We’re together.”

“Yes, and the pictures of him on that boat with another girl were what? Another of his girlfriends?”

She didn’t know what to say to that. She wouldn’t explain to him what had happened then and how much trouble they had gone through because of that picture. “That was a mistake, sir. We sorted that out.”

“I’m sure you did. How much did he pay you?”

“I’m sorry if you’re bothered by me, sir, but Dylan didn’t pay me.” Not in money, at least. “We’re really together.”

“And how long do you think that will last? Until next week? Until next month?” He glared at her. “Don’t you know my son? He will switch you in a blink of an eye. Even if he wanted to be with you, I wouldn’t allow it, not if he wanted to still be my son. You’re not worthy of my last name. You think I don’t know the truth about your profession? Models are prostitutes who sell themselves for work. I won’t have a prostitute anywhere near my family.” Her heart stopped, and she gaped at Dylan’s father. “Do him a favor before I
disinherit
him and go home.”

Mr. Deveraux walked away, leaving Hayley paralyzed and out of breath.

What had happened here? She was only dating his son, nothing more. Not yet, at least.

Just two days earlier, Dylan had joked about being disinherited. Hayley had seen how much that scared him. Would she be the one responsible for it? As far as she knew, his father was a serious man who never joked about anything.

More important, this was Dylan’s moment to shine, Dylan’s chance at redemption before his father’s eyes. He had finally grown up and faced his worst fears with a braveness she envied.

Hayley glanced at Dylan on the stage. Charming as always, he had the public in his hands. She had no doubt he would be a success, that his father wouldn’t have another choice other than accept this project now that it was out and the public loved it.

She loved it. She loved him.

Hayley wiped the tears before they could fall and, careful not to draw any attention, left the ballroom through the back door.

 

 

Chapter Fifteen

 

 

When Dylan finished his presentation, the board of directors surrounded him at once, congratulating him for his genius idea and absolutely beautiful designs, praising him for his skills and for a chance to enter the family business. They told him they wanted the cars and now only needed his father’s approval.

The difficult part.

The ball resumed and the guests advanced onto the stage to gawk at both cars before going to the dance floor.

Dylan found his father waiting for him just down the stage’s side stairs.

“I can’t believe you betrayed me like that,” his father said, his stare cold and threatening.

“If I didn’t do it like that, you would never have heard me out.” Dylan stood tall, not afraid of him. “The board of directors approved both cars.”

“The whole world approved.”

“Except you.”

“Except me.” His father’s gaze went past Dylan, to the cars on the stage. “But I know when I’m defeated.”

His chest tightened. “You mean you’ll produce them?”

“I mean, I’ll consider it.” His father looked at him again. “I just don’t understand what is wrong with the cars we have.”

“Nothing, Father. But they are only for guys like you, past sixty years old. And most sixty year old men want a more modern car nowadays. Honestly, it’s more about attitude than age. I want a more daring car, sportier, less stuffy. You’ll reach out to a whole new public, account for many more sales. It’s time to innovate.”

His father’s eyes turned wary, but less hard. “We’ll see.”

A new sense of pride and victory filled Dylan. With a winning smile, he nodded to his father and marched to the table where his woman was.

Though as he approached it, he didn’t see her.

“Where is Hayley?” he asked Celine as she stood up, her hand on Robert’s.

“I don’t know.” Celine shrugged. “During your presentation, father came and called her away. I haven't seen her since.”

An invisible blow hit his stomach. “What?”

Celine went to the dance floor with her boyfriend and Dylan turned to his mother.

“Don’t look at me, dear,” his mother said, avoiding his eyes. “I have no idea what happened.”

Dylan scanned the ballroom. “How long ago did she leave?

“Twenty minutes? Half an hour? I’m not sure.”

It took him another fifteen minutes to find his father. He was with the directors, engrossed in serious conversation.

Dylan marched to the center of the circle and growled in his father’s face, “What did you do with her?”

“What are you talking about?” His father laughed to his employees, as if Dylan was high.

“Don’t kid me.”

“Excuse us, gentlemen.” His father walked to a corner, Dylan following close on his heels. “Are you insane to talk to me like that in front of the directors?”

“I couldn’t care less about that.” With his fists clenched, Dylan tried to control the urge to choke his father. “Now, what did you do with Hayley?”

“Nothing important,” his father said, a nonchalant tone to his hard voice. “I just told her the truth.”

“And what is that?”

“I told her a whore would never be worthy of my last name and, if she had any decency left, she would leave
my
ball.”

Dylan staggered back, his breathing slowing down. “You didn’t. Damn, you asshole!”

“Watch how you speak—”

“Hayley isn’t a whore. She never was and never will be. She’s the most amazing woman I ever met.”

“Apparently you didn’t meet many. Besides, I bet she only wants your money.”

“She doesn’t care about my money!”

“That’s what they all say.”

Dylan couldn’t believe it, couldn’t grasp it. To his father, their last name and their money were more important than anything and anyone. His father would do
anything
to keep their status, even if that meant weeding out simple, nice girls.

“You know, I feel like you should be proud of me right now. Your directors certainly are. But no. Anthony Deveraux only liked his oldest son. Dylan is the left-over shit. Even after I swept everyone off their feet, you still can’t accept me as I am.” He gritted his teeth. “I always thought I was a jerk, but you’re worse. You’re the biggest jerk of all.”

BOOK: His Allure, Her Passion
7.49Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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