Her Pregnancy Secret(40)

By: Ann Major

Of course, she would need to talk to Chance and get him to agree to appear in the television spots and print ads that she had planned. But she wasn’t worried. She’d been told all of the Lassiters had a strong sense of family. Surely when she explained why she had been asked to extend her stay in Cheyenne and how important it was to restore the Lassiters’ good name, Chance would be more than happy to help.

Finding a place at one of the round tables that had been set up on the beautifully terraced patio, Fee sat down and took her cell phone from her sequined clutch to enter some notes. There were so many good ideas coming to her that she didn’t dare rely on her memory.

“Do you mind if I join you, dear?”

Fee looked up to find a pleasant-looking older woman with short brown hair standing next to her. “Please have a seat,” she answered, smiling. “I’m Fee Sinclair.”

“And I’m Marlene Lassiter,” the woman introduced herself as she sat down in the chair beside Fee. “Are you a friend of the bride?”

Shaking her head, Fee smiled. “I’m a public relations executive from the Los Angeles office of Lassiter Media.”

“I think I remember Dylan mentioning that someone from the L.A. office had been handling the publicity for the Lassiter Grill opening here in Cheyenne,” Marlene said congenially. She paused for a moment, then lowering her voice added, “And when I talked to Sage yesterday, he said you were going to be working on something to smooth things over after Angelica’s threats to contest J.D.’s will and her being seen with the likes of Jack Reed.”

“Yes,” Fee admitted, wondering how much the woman knew about the board of directors’ concerns. Something told her Marlene Lassiter didn’t miss much of what went on with the family. “I’ll be putting together some television commercials and print ads to assure the public that Lassiter Media is still the solid, family-friendly company it’s always been.”

“Good,” the woman said decisively. “We may have our little spats, but we love each other and we really are a pretty close family.”

They both looked across the yard at the pretty dark-haired woman talking rather heatedly with Sage. It was apparent she wasn’t the least bit happy.

“I know it’s probably hard for a lot of people to believe right now, but Angelica really is a wonderful young woman and we all love her dearly,” Marlene spoke up as they watched the woman walk away from her brother in an obvious huff. Turning to Fee, Marlene’s hazel eyes were shadowed with sadness. “Angelica is still trying to come to terms with the death of her father, as well as being hurt and disillusioned by his will. That’s a lot for anyone to have to deal with.”

Compelled to comfort the older woman, Fee placed her hand on top of Marlene’s where it rested on the table. “I’m sure it was a devastating blow to her. She worked so hard for the family business that many people just assumed she’d be running it someday.”

“When J.D. started cutting back on his workload, Angelica knew he was grooming her to take over and we all believed she would be the one leading Lassiter Media into the future,” Marlene agreed, nodding. “When he left her a paltry ten percent of the voting shares and named Evan McCain CEO, the girl was absolutely crushed.”

Fee could tell that Marlene was deeply concerned for Angelica. “It’s only been a few months since Mr. Lassiter’s passing,” she said gently. “Maybe in time Angelica will be able to deal with it all a little better.”

“I hope so.” Marlene shook her head. “There are times when even grown children have a hard time understanding the reasons their parents have for making the decisions they do. But we always try to do what’s in our children’s best interest.”

It was apparent the woman’s focus had shifted and she was referring to someone other than Angelica. Fee didn’t have a clue who Marlene was talking about, but she got the distinct impression there might be more than one rift in the family.

“I don’t have children, but I can imagine it’s extremely difficult sometimes,” she agreed. Deciding to lighten the mood, she pointed to the bride’s table, where the wedding party would be seated. “I don’t know who did the decorations for the reception, but everything is beautiful.”

All of the tables were draped with pristine white linen tablecloths and had vases of red, white and blue roses for centerpieces. But the table where the newly married couple and their attendants would sit had been decorated with a garland made of baby’s breath and clusters of red and blue rosebuds. It was in keeping with the holiday and utterly stunning.

“Thank you,” Marlene said, smiling. “Hannah left the reception decorations up to me and I thought red, white and blue would be appropriate. After all, it is the Fourth of July.” Marlene smiled. “We’ll be having fireworks a bit later when it gets dark.”

“Grandma Marlene, can I sit with you for dinner?” the adorable little red-haired flower girl asked, walking up between Fee and Marlene.

“Of course, Cassie,” Marlene said, putting her arm around the child. “As long as your mother says it’s okay.”

“Momma said I could, but I had to ask you first,” Cassie answered, nodding until her red curls bobbed up and down. She seemed to notice Fee for the first time. “I’m Cassie. I got a new daddy today.”

“I saw that.” Fee found the outgoing little girl completely charming. “That’s very exciting, isn’t it?”

Cassie smiled. “Yes, but Uncle Chance says that I’m still his best girl, even if Logan is my new daddy.”

“I’m sure you are,” Fee said, smiling back.

While the child walked around her grandmother’s chair to sit on the other side of Marlene, Fee felt encouraged. She hadn’t realized she had been talking to her new spokesman’s mother and niece. Surely if Marlene knew about the public relations campaign and was all for it, her son would be, too. And with any luck, he would be more than willing to play a role in the publicity she had planned to help restore the Lassiters’ reputation.

* * *

Seated next to his new brother-in-law at the head table, Chance was about as uncomfortable as an eligible bachelor at an old-maids convention. He didn’t like being on display and that was exactly the way he felt. Every time he looked up from his plate, someone was either smiling at him, waving to him or just plain staring at him. It was enough to make the succulent prime rib on his plate taste about as appetizing as an old piece of boot leather.

Finally giving up, he sat back from the table and waited until he had to toast the bride and groom. Once he got that out of the way, as far as he was concerned, his duties as the best man would be over and he fully intended to relax and enjoy himself.

At least, Logan had decided they would wear sports coats and jeans instead of tuxedos or suits. Hannah called Logan’s choice of wedding clothes “casual chic.” Chance just called it comfortable.

As he scanned the crowd, he looked for the little blonde that had caught his eye at the wedding. He hoped she hadn’t skipped the reception. She was definitely someone he’d like to get to know.

He was almost positive she wasn’t from the area. None of the women he knew looked or dressed like her. From her perfectly styled hair all the way down to her spike heels, she gave every indication of being a big-city girl, and he would bet every last penny he had that the red strapless dress she was wearing had a famous designer’s name on the label. But it didn’t matter that they came from two different worlds. He wasn’t looking for anything permanent with anyone. All he wanted was for them to have a little summer fun while she was around.