Jack – Patti’s Conflicted Husband

Women’s Fiction: A Very Good Life by Lynn Steward


In Book 1 – A Very Good Life in the Dana McGarry Series – Jack  and his wife Patti relocate from Houston to open a subsidiary of Hartlen Oil, but Jack discovers more than a new business opportunity.


Jack froze in his tracks like a deer caught in the headlights. A look of panic seized his face.


Jack Hartlen A Very Good Life l Lynn Steward

The Dana McGarry Series available on AMAZON


Chapter Eleven


Patti and Jack Hartlen, together with Jack’s parents, were also staying at the Sherry-Netherland Whistling a tune from Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon,” Jack was donning a gray business suit while his wife looked at apartment listings supplied by their realtor.

Jack was a tall, lanky man in his early thirties with slightly thinning brown hair and angular cheekbones. His laidback manner matched his pale blue eyes and measured speech that had the barest hint of a Texas accent.

“Where are you off to?” Patti asked, her index finger running down the listings.

“I’m going downtown to see Patrick Denner,” he replied while slipping on the coat of his gray Brooks Brothers suit.

“I thought your meeting with Patrick was next week.”

“It is, but we thought we’d get together today and tie up a few loose ends. It’s been a hectic few months, hasn’t it? Are you getting used to New York, honey?”

Patti sighed as she brushed away strands of hair from her forehead. “I can’t deny that I’ll miss Houston. We have so many wonderful friends there, but I’m sure we’ll make new ones. Yes, New York is growing on me after making so many trips here with your parents. I can’t wait until we get an apartment though.”

Jack worked for his father, Ralph Hartlen, the CEO of Hartlen Oil. The company was opening an office in New York City after the first of the year. Rumors of an impending oil shortage were rampant in the business community, and there was even talk of an oil embargo by certain Arab states that would stop the flow of oil from the Mideast to the United States and Great Britain. Ralph had decided it was time to better position his company if foreign oil production was going to tighten up in the foreseeable future, although Hartlen Oil also had several subsidiary companies. The main subsidiary, Hartlen Response, was run by Jack, who had taken the lead in laying the groundwork for opening an office in Manhattan. Jack’s company had certain techniques and equipment—cutting edge technology—not utilized by any other oil company, and Ralph thought that the equipment was going to be needed soon if the movement of oil around the globe was going to strategically change in the next year or two. The techniques and hardware were a well-guarded secret in the oil community, and Ralph had naturally deemed it necessary to obtain first-rate legal representation as a natural part of the move north. Competitors would almost surely attempt to copy the proprietary technology.

Jack picked up his black leather briefcase and headed for the door when Patti spoke up.

“Hold on a minute, Jack.” Her tone sounded foreboding.

Jack turned and saw Patti approaching, a worried look on her face. “Is something the matter?” he asked.

Patti drew near, her penetrating violet eyes examining Jack’s face and then his shirt collar. Her right hand reached for his tie and straightened the knot. “There,” she said, patting her husband on the chest. “It’s perfect.”

“Nothing gets past you,” he said with a grin. “What would I do without you?”

“You won’t ever have to find out,” she replied. “You’re stuck with me.”

“Which is my good fortune.” He kissed her on the lips and started again for the door.


He turned around a second time. “Yes?”

Patti was about to speak but stopped, closing her red, sensuous lips. “Nothing. Have a good meeting with Patrick.”

Jack gave his wife a second kiss and this time made it through the door.

The Sherry-Netherland opened in 1927 in NYC on the corner of Fifth and 59th Street at Central Park

Patti walked to the window and looked at the crowded city that would soon be her home. She had considered calling Cheshire Cheese to get the phone number of Brett and Dana McGarry since they seemed like the logical place to begin in forming new friendships in New York City. But she’d noticed something unusual in her exchange with Brett at Saks earlier that afternoon. He had obviously been shopping, but not with his wife, which is what she had almost mentioned to her husband moments earlier. As Jack had pointed out, nothing got past her.

Patti Hartlen – Jack’s wife – A Very Good Life l Lynn Steward

Patti walked to the sitting area of the suite, poured herself a cup of tea she’d ordered from room service, and sat in a wingback chair. She hadn’t completely adjusted to New York yet, and maybe she was being paranoid. Regardless, Brett was a virtual stranger, and his activities weren’t any of her business.

On Fifth Avenue, Jack glanced quickly at his wristwatch and then at the nearest street corner. The offices of Davis, Konen and Wright were downtown. He then pivoted, rapidly walking towards Madison Avenue, looking for a taxi to take him north.