BONDS Two: Claim

The scandal with Chantelle hadn’t hurt any of Kennedy’s businesses, though it had made his mother’s annual garden soiree on Martha’s Vineyard more entertaining than usual.
Jacqueline Aldrich had spent six months planning the gathering and refining the guest list. Since he’d turned thirty, she’d doubled her resolve to find him a bride. Not just any woman, but a pedigree one, preferably from a family who could trace their lineage back to the Mayflower—despite the fact that her side of the family could not.
To his mother’s relief, only a few people had canceled. At the gathering, several matrons had sent him scandalized sideways glances, but it hadn’t seemed to lessen his stock as potential son-in-law material. One woman had actually told him she hoped her daughter now had a better chance with him. A wealthy financier, a gentleman in his late eighties, had patted Kennedy on the back.
After clinking glasses, Kennedy and Julien relaxed and stared out of the floor-to-ceiling windows.
Currently, they were on the eighth floor of the Old Bronwyn Building, a property acquired by Kennedy’s grandfather more than half a century before and renamed for his grandmother.
Even before the building’s most recent renovation, he’d liked this quiet nook. Now it was even better. A world-class steakhouse occupied most of the space, attracting business moguls, sports stars and lovers. Deals were made, lives were changed.
He and Julien were ensconced in one of the private rooms adjoining the elegant bar.
Kennedy had realized that women were as likely to be dealmakers as men, and he’d hired a firm to create a space that avoided the previous century’s tradition of bulky wood pieces and dark colors. Instead, it was neutral, clean, crisp.
No doubt illicit liaisons also happened here. Hell, even he’d been tempted. But the privacy allowed executives to make deals away from the hungry ears of competitors and members of the press. And for him, in a city where he was recognized, where the details of his life were examined under a microscopic lens of scrutiny, he appreciated places he could go and not be seen.