Just Like Yesterday

Hazel Brown lost six months of memory, which includes the summer that she conceived her son. She has no idea who his father could be. She only knows that her son looks like the Benedicts, the family that owns the orphanage where she grew up…

Now that she has the means to fight to get her son from the Deckers, his adoptive family, she finds out that the handsome, single Curtis Decker is willing to share her son with her after all…

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Chapter One

Hazel entered the departure lounge of the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston with one bag in hand, a throbbing headache, and a nagging feeling of guilt. She was dressed in an all-gray ensemble, which she hadn’t bothered to change after attending the depressing funeral for her husband. He had asked to be cremated and his ashes put beside his father’s in a mausoleum at the head offices of their family business in Texas.

She had stayed for the fiasco of the reading of the will, where his stiff-upper-lip family had treated her with barely-held contempt. His four sons, three daughters and their children had all stayed back in Baron’s lavish Florida mansion to hear what they would inherit from the rich oil businessman.

Even Hazel didn’t know what to expect. She had gotten married to John because she wanted to be rich enough to fight for the right to see her son, Sebastian. John had told her that marrying him would be her ace card. He had gleefully told her that he also wanted to punish his over-entitled children.

And he had.

He had left the companies and the houses to them; most of those things had to stay in the family anyway. He had left her the house in Jamaica and an apartment building and a whopping, eye-watering five hundred million dollars—most of his personal fortune.

She still couldn’t wrap her mind around the figure. She had gotten the bulk of his cash. He had given the rest of his large family, his three ex-wives, some charities, his old schools, and the workers who were close to him cash sums in the thousands. Nobody had gotten such a huge payout as her. Not even close.

When her sum had been read out she could feel the palpable shudder of disbelief running through the room. Hazel had held her head ramrod straight, focusing on the lawyer and the shiny bald patch in the middle of his head and a wad of guilt had descended on her.

How many zeroes were in five hundred million dollars? The figure seemed so unreal to her.

She shouldn’t have done it. She wanted to get back her son but she shouldn’t have married an old man to get him. Five hundred million was too much money! She couldn’t spend that in this lifetime.

Remorse swept through her. She shouldn’t have helped him to get back at his family. He said they were greedy, grasping leeches. He had even threatened to leave his fortune to his old cat, Mr. Pudding.

She had glanced at them surreptitiously as the figure sunk in. His three ex-wives were there. Sheila, the first wife who was probably not a day under eighty, was obviously agitated at the revelations. She was running her gnarled fingers through her blue hair and was practically frothing at the mouth. If she had not been in a wheelchair because of a recent hip surgery, she would probably have leapt at Hazel from across the room.

Her eyes met Hazel’s and it seemed as if she growled. Hazel had hastily looked away. The second and third wives had huddled with their respective broods and were whispering furiously.

“This is preposterous!” she heard one of them whispering fiercely. “She must have drugged him. Dad was not in his right mind! First he married the help and then left her his money. We must contest it! We have to find a way to get this greedy, grasping pig out of the way.”

Hazel flinched.

The lawyer, Mumsford, looked up at them blearily, as if in agreement. He was an old family retainer. He was a distinguished-looking gentleman who was in his mid-sixties. Hazel remembered him from a visit some months ago. He had argued with Baron about changing his will the way he did. She wasn’t surprised that there was not a sympathetic figure in the crowd of hostile faces. He had been against the idea of Baron cutting out his family from the bulk of his cash wealth. And she couldn’t blame them.

Sure, they hadn’t treated her right from the get go, but she was sure that if she was in their place she would probably have the same attitude to an interloper. They were a rich family who could trace their lineage to the Mayflower.

Their forefathers had struck it rich in gold and then oil exploration, and John had taken his personal fortune and given it all to a nobody who didn’t even have a family. If they knew that she was found on the steps of a shopping mall when she was a baby they would all be appalled.

Her eyes had met Edmond’s, the oldest son, who was sitting on the other side of the room. He had looked unconcerned; he was very rich in his own right and had left the family business years before because of a feud with his father.

He had nodded to her, almost approvingly, as if he liked the fallout that the will would cause. His son, who was sitting beside him, also looked pleased; he even winked at her. Hazel struggled to remember his name. She knew all the children’s names. The grandchildren were a different matter; there were so many.

Hank. The name came back to her. When she first saw him, she had thought how different he looked from his blonde and blue-eyed relatives. He had dark brown hair, a heavy tan, and green eyes, the color of polished emeralds. He was thirty-something if she remembered correctly. He had tried chatting her up at the hospital when the rest of them had treated her as if she had the plague.

She dragged her eyes from Hank’s and looked around to the rest of the family. They had all looked at her with varying degrees of dislike. Misplaced anger, if you asked her. She wasn’t the one who rewrote the will and left herself five hundred million dollars!

Hazel couldn’t wait to leave after the lawyer read the will; she was cheerily escorted out by Hank after shaking hands with Edmond, who wished her well.

“So where are you off to, Mrs. Baron?” Hank had asked her, a twinkle in his green eyes. “Some exotic city with a staff of a hundred to do your bidding?”

“No.” Hazel failed to crack a smile though she saw that he was teasing. “I am heading back home, to Jamaica.”

“The islands? How quaint. I thought that as a merry widow you would be off to conquer the world. Buy a chalet in France, a penthouse in Milan, a ginormous yacht to go sailing on the French Rivera?” Hank grinned. “The world is your oyster!”

“Jamaica is where my heart is right now,” Hazel said tiredly. “And I just want to go home.”

“Home,” Hank said cheerfully. “That’s an elusive place for me these days. I might come and check out Jamaica, maybe some time next year. Granddad loved it. You obviously do too…”

“That would be marvelous!” Hazel had replied, injecting some enthusiasm into her voice. “Whenever you come by I will be sure to welcome you. You and your dad are the only friendly faces around here.”

She had slid into the waiting limousine that had been at her service for the duration of her stay in Florida.

And now here she was, back in Jamaica, rich beyond her wildest dreams, a multi-millionaire widow.

She contemplated taking a taxi home. She would probably reach there before the driver came to get her anyway; he had been expecting her on a later flight.

“Hazel Brown… er, Baron.” She felt a tap on her shoulder and she swung around.

A handsome guy was standing behind her. She looked up at him and swallowed. He was well over six feet tall. It was impossible not to notice how extremely handsome he was. He had his hair in low-cropped curls; honey-gold down-turned eyes surveyed her unsmilingly.

No wonder Caitlin had compared him to Jason Momoa!

“Curtis Decker!” Hazel gasped. “You look different without the locks.”

“Thought it was time for a change,” he said. “How are you, Mrs. Baron?”

“Uhm,” Hazel swallowed. Curtis had unsettling effect on her. “I am fine. Just getting back from my… er… husband’s funeral. You can call me Hazel, you know.”

“My condolences… Hazel,” he said, pushing his hands into his jeans pockets. His muscles bunched when he did that, drawing her eyes to his powerful physique. She realized that he was dressed casually. He had no luggage either, just a carry-on bag like her. She looked around; maybe he had Sebastian with him?

“He is not here,” Curtis said curtly, as if he read her mind. “You promised that you would call me so we could talk.”

“Sorry,” Hazel sighed. “I was in Florida. I tried calling you to let you know I was going to be away but I didn’t get through and then I got caught up in a whirlwind of craziness. I am sorry.”

“No need to apologize. I wasn’t around either. I had some business to take care of in Canada. Now I am back home.”

“For good?” Hazel asked, her voice hitching at the question. That meant that Sebastian would be here with him. This was turning out even better than she thought it would. She would get to see her son all the time. She could fight for him easier here. Well, not that it would matter where he was, she now had the means to do anything and she would.

“Yes.” Curtis regarded her solemnly. “For good. It is a decision that is long overdue. Sebastian loves it here. I recently bought a house and I can work anywhere in the world.”

“What do you do?” Hazel asked curiously. She had always been curious about him, from the moment she realized that his parents had taken her son but he had ended up raising him.

“I am an architect,” he said, “and we own a restaurant franchise. Surely you have been to Rizzle before. I have seen you there more than once.” He then looked at his watch. “Want a lift home, or is someone coming to pick you up?”

“I was just considering taking a taxi,” Hazel said. “My driver doesn’t know that I am here. I got an earlier flight.”

“Well, let’s go then,” Curtis said, striding toward the exit sign. She grabbed her hand luggage and hurried behind him. She had a million and one questions to ask him. Why was he the one taking care of her son and why on earth did his parents adopt him?

Whether Curtis Decker liked it or not, she was about to get back her son and she would fight tooth and nail to get him. She now had the means, and she was going to use it.

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