Hiya peeps, we have Andrew Grey popping in today with his upcoming release Chasing the Dream, we have a fantastic guest post and a great excerpt, so check out the post and enjoy! <3 ~Pixie~
Chasing the Dream
Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Brian Paulson has lived a life of luxury and ease. If he’s been left lonely because of his family’s pursuit of wealth and their own happiness, he figures it’s a small price to pay for what he sees as most important: money.
Cade McAllister has never had it easy. He works two jobs to support himself, his mother, and his special-needs brother. They don’t have much, but to Cade, love and taking care of the people who are important to him mean more than material possessions. When Cade is mugged in the park, he can’t afford to lose what little he has, and he’s grateful for Brian’s intervention.
Cade is given a chance to return the favor when Brian’s grandfather passes away and Brian’s assets are frozen. Cade offers Brian a place to stay and helps him find work, and the two men grow closer as they learn the good and the bad of the very different worlds they come from. Just as Brian is starting to see there’s more to life than what money can buy, a clause in his grandfather’s will could send their relationship up in smoke.
Sometimes when developing characters you come across one who surprises you and Cade from Chasing the Dream did that for me. Cade is one of those people who often flies under the radar in this world. He’s the kind of guy that few people see because he has his head down and is working so hard to try to keep body and soul together that he doesn’t make waves or get himself noticed. Instead he works two jobs so he can take care of his brother and mother. He has very little and yet he spends his efforts caring for others rather than himself. Cade is one of those people with a real heart. But there’s a catch, he doesn’t show it to everyone. Its so easy for someone with a heart to have it trampled by the world and Cade is well aware of that. So while he cares for his family, its hard for him to let others into his world. I very firmly believe that we definitely need more Cades in this world and that we… or at least I wish that I could be more like him. I really hope you enjoy Cade and Brian’s story.
THE FUNERAL had been as awful and depressing as he’d expected. His father had insisted he sit with him and his third wife, Candy. Her name was Candice, and his father actually called her Candy. He did as his father asked for the sake of appearances and to avoid a fight. They were supposed to be one big happy family, after all. Jesus, he should have brought a date. That would have shaken everything and everyone up, but dammit, no one had wanted to attend a funeral with him.
Finally the service was over and so was the graveside thing, which was wet as hell. More than once Brian had looked up at the gray sky knowing his grandfather would be happy. One last thing and that would be it: the reading of the damned will tomorrow. He wasn’t expecting anything, and that was for the best—he didn’t want anything from his grandfather, at least not now. What he’d needed from him hadn’t been given, and he had little use for him now that he was dead.
BRIAN PURPOSELY showed up five minutes late. His entire family was gathered around a huge polished mahogany conference table with a stately older woman sitting at the one end. He figured she was holding the place for his grandfather’s lawyer. At a nod from her, the room quieted, and the doors were closed. Two other people from the firm took the empty chairs next to her.
“I’m Lydia Maxwell, Marvin Paulson’s attorney and the executor of his estate.”
That one sentence explained a lot. He’d seen the Maxwell name on the firm letterhead. Well, that was a surprise.
“I knew Marvin well, and we worked together for many years. I feel his loss professionally as well as personally. He and I were colleagues as well as friends.”
Brian stood in one of the corners in the back. He thought of tugging one of Uncle Harry’s brats out of a chair so he could take it, but he figured standing out of sight would allow him to make a quick exit.
“Are you ready to get started?” Uncle Harry asked impatiently. He could never wait for anyone else.
Lydia opened a folder. “Marv specified that the will be read. It’s in his own words because he wanted all of you to know these are his specific wishes. I will dispense with the legal formality sections and come right to the points of interest. ‘To my son, Harry Paulson.’” She paused and looked at Brian’s uncle. “I leave my majority share in the Milwaukee Sea Captains hockey team. You were always a sports fan and spent more time in front of the television or out on the golf course than you did anywhere else, so this should be right up your alley.” She paused and raised her eyebrows. “It is estimated at nearly twenty million dollars.”
“That’s it?” Uncle Harry growled, slapping his hands flat on the table.
“Yes. You may leave the room,” Lydia said.
“I want to know what everyone else gets,” he said, glaring around the table.
“Those were your father’s wishes. Once you’ve received your bequest, you are to leave.” She folded her hands over the folder and calmly stared at him. “I can go no further, and your father did make an additional provision. He insisted that I was authorized to have you removed, forcibly, if necessary.”
The other two members of her staff added their glares, and Uncle Harry got to his feet and then left. The drama was mildly interesting. His uncle loved to bluster and put on a show.
“To my daughter, Jeanette. Jean, I leave you my interest in Paulson Brothers Brewery. You spent much of your life drinking and spent way too much money because of it. However, since you never had a head for business, control of the company will remain under the board of directors.”
“A brewery,” she sneered. “How much is that worth? And how soon can I sell it?”
“You can’t unless the board agrees,” Mrs. Maxwell said levelly. “Good day.”
Once again she waited, and Brian’s aunt left. Other family members got small bequests, including trust funds of various sizes for the various younger grandchildren.
Finally only Brian, his dad, and Candy were left in the room.
“To my son-in-law, Jerry Northway.”
Brian’s mother had kept her own name, and when Brian was born, his grandfather had insisted Brian be a Paulson. His father perked right up, but not nearly as much as Candy did.
“I know you loved my daughter, and her loss was a blow to both of us. However, since her death, you have shown very questionable taste in companionship. Therefore, I leave you the house in Shorewood where you currently live, as well as a managed trust large enough for its upkeep that will last as long as you live and is not transferrable to anyone else.” Meaning his grandfather had cut Candy out of everything, as well as any future wives. “Beyond that, I suggest you man up and get a job.”
His father seemed resigned, but Candy was livid and seemed about ready to explode at any minute.
The three of them got up to leave the room. Brian wondered what was to be done with the rest of his grandfather’s money. There was certainly more. But then again, maybe his grandfather had given most of it away within his lifetime.
“I need to get out of here,” Candy said snippily, grabbing his father’s arm. “We need to find you a high-paying job of some sort, because….”
Brian tuned out her cloying voice, and when a nearly full elevator car arrived, he stepped back and let them get on. Spending any more time around her was more than he could take. He supposed Candy could have been a good person, even a nice person, if she’d taken a more conventional path in life and hadn’t hung her hopes and dreams on Brian’s father’s financial prospects.
The elevator doors closed, leaving Brian standing in the corridor.
“Mr. Paulson,” a young woman dressed in a lawyerly gray business suit said. “Please come with me.”
“There’s nothing for me.”
“How do you know, Brian?” Mrs. Maxwell said from her chair in the other room.
He wondered for a second how she knew who he was, but then she’d known everyone in the room earlier, so it was probably her business to know the people in his grandfather’s family. He followed the younger woman, and she closed the door behind them.
“This is Emily Forester, and she is fully briefed on all the clauses and stipulations in your grandfather’s will.”
“What do you want with me?” Brian asked.
“I’m going to let Marv speak to that.”
Lydia motioned to Emily, who handed her a large manila envelope that had been sealed with red wax.
“You see that the seal is intact. This was affixed by Marv in our presence.”
She opened the envelope, pulled out a memory stick, and handed it to Emily, who placed it into a laptop. The huge flat-screen monitor on the wall came to life, his grandfather’s face front and center.
Brian was taken aback at first at how old he seemed. The truth was that he hadn’t spent a great deal of time with him over the last few years. “When was this taken?” Brian asked, looking at the still image.
“The will was executed almost a year ago,” Lydia answered and motioned to Emily.
“Brian, if you’re watching this, then we both know what happened, and you’re in the large conference room with Lydia Maxwell and one of her partners. And I’m here to talk to you about your inheritance.”
“What inheritance? I don’t want anything from you,” Brian said.
“You may say you don’t want anything, but I know you did. I’m not perfect, Brian, and I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life. After we lost your mother, your grandmother and I thought our hearts would shrivel up and die. Then I lost your grandmother, and I think my heart did just that. I know it’s no excuse and that I should have been there for you, and I wasn’t.”
“Yeah, you weren’t.” Brian turned to Lydia. “This is bullshit. If he wants some sort of absolution, he can go to hell. I’m out of here.”
Brian stood and headed for the door. Lydia met him with a hand gently placed on his shoulder.
“Sit back down and listen to the rest of the message,” she said with a quiet strength that had him moving back to the chair.
“I can’t make up for what happened, but know this. Your mother was the best and brightest hope for our family, and when she died, so did her light. I’m hoping she passed on some of that light to you. Up until now, you haven’t been given a chance to demonstrate that, but we’ll see. As part of my will, I have set up a number of lessons that I need to know you have learned. They will be explained by Lydia when she feels the time is right, and she will also be the sole judge of completion. So you will want to get on her good side. If you fail, it’s over, and you walk away.”
The screen went blank, and Brian turned to the lawyer.
“For now. I want you to meet me in this room at eight o’clock Monday morning, and I will explain the first step in your journey.”
She stood and extended her hand. Once Brian shook it, she stepped back, and Brian opened the door to the conference room, completely confused but not willing to let it show. Without another word, he left the office and called the elevator.
Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.
Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing) He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.