What a Westmoreland Wants

By: Brenda Jackson

Prologue




Callum Austell sat in the chair with his legs stretched out in front of him as he stared at the man sitting behind the huge oak desk. He and Ramsey Westmoreland had become friends from the first, and now he had convinced Ramsey that he was the man who would give his sister Gemma the happiness she deserved.

But Callum knew there was one minor flaw in his plans. One that would come back to haunt him if Gemma Westmoreland ever discovered that the trip to Australia he would offer her would be orchestrated for the sole purpose of getting her off familiar turf so that she would finally come to realize just how much he cared for her.

“I hope you know what you’re doing,” Ramsey said, interrupting Callum’s thoughts. “Gemma will give you hell when she finds out the truth.”

“I’ll tell her before then, but not before she falls in love with me,” Callum replied.

Ramsey lifted a brow. “And if she doesn’t?”

To any other woman Callum’s intense pursuit might seem like a romantic move, but Ramsey was convinced his sister, who didn’t have a romantic bone in her body, wouldn’t see things that way.

Callum’s expression was determined. “She will fall in love with me.” And then the look in his eyes almost became one of desperation. “Damn, Ram, she has to. I knew the first moment I saw her that she was the one and only woman for me.”

Ramsey took a deep breath. He wished he’d had the same thoughts the first time he set eyes on his wife, Chloe. Then he would not have encountered the problems he had. However, his first thoughts when he’d seen Chloe weren’t the least bit honorable.

“You’re my friend, Callum, but if you hurt my sister in any way, then you’ll have one hell of an angry Westmoreland to deal with. Your intentions toward Gemma better be nothing but honorable.”

Callum leaned forward in his chair. “I’m going to marry her.”

“She has to agree to that first.”

Callum stood. “She will. You just concentrate on be coming a father to the baby you and Chloe are expecting in a couple of months, and let me worry about Gemma.”





One


Gem, I am sorry and I hope you can forgive me one day.

—Niecee





Gemma Westmoreland lifted a brow after reading the note that appeared on her computer after she’d booted it up. Immediately, two questions sailed through her mind. Where was Niecee when she should have been at work over an hour ago and what was Niecee apologizing for?

The hairs on the back of Gemma’s neck began standing up and she didn’t like the feeling. She had hired Niecee Carter six months ago when Designs by Gem began picking up business, thanks to the huge contract she’d gotten with the city of Denver to redecorate several of its libraries. Then Gayla Mason had wanted her mansion redone. And, last but not least, her sister-in-law, Chloe, hired Gemma for a makeover of the Denver branch of her successful magazine, Simply Irresistible.

Gemma had been badly in need of help and Niecee had possessed more clerical skills than the other candidates she’d interviewed. She had given the woman the job without fully checking out her references—something her oldest brother, Ramsey, had warned her against doing. But she hadn’t listened. She’d figured that she and the bubbly Niecee would gel well. They had, but now, as Gemma quickly logged into her bank account, she couldn’t help wondering if perhaps she should have taken Ramsey’s advice.

Gemma had been eleven when Ramsey and her cousin Dillon had taken over the responsibility of raising their thirteen siblings after both sets of parents had been killed in a plane crash. During that time Ramsey had been her rock, the brother who’d been her protector. And now, it seemed, the brother she should have listened to when he’d handed out advice on how to run her business.

She pulled in a sharp breath when she glanced at the balance in her checking account. It was down by $20,000. Nervously, she clicked on the transaction but ton and saw that a $20,000 check had cleared her bank—a check that she hadn’t written. Now she knew what Niecee’s apology was all about.

Gemma dropped her face in her hands and felt the need to weep. But she refused to go there. She had to come up with a plan to replace that money. She was expecting invoices to come rolling in any day now from the fabric shops, arts and craft stores and her light fixtures suppliers, just to name a few. Clearly, she wouldn’t have enough funds to pay all her debts. She needed to replace those funds.

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