Because of His Fortune (For His Pleasure, Book 25) (11 page)

Liam folded his arms.
“Go right ahead.
Let’s hear it.”

Vera stuffed the cigarette in her mouth
and closed her eyes.

Exley walked forward, sweeping the hair
from his eyes.
“We know about the
last conversation you had with Mother,” he said, and his expression was cold
and unforgiving.

Liam’s face paled and he looked slightly
“You do,” he said.

“We do,” Vera agreed, opening her eyes
and appearing slightly ill as she spoke.

“And you probably didn’t realize the
effect your statements had on her,” Exley continued.
“Immediately after your phone call with
her, Mother reached out to the firm and instructed them in no uncertain terms
to draw up a new will.
This was an
emergency measure that she took, because they worked on it right away, drawing
up a new plan and sending her an electronic copy, which she read and confirmed
over email.
We have it in writing
that she was going to come to the firm to sign the papers to make it official.”

Grace felt ill herself as Exley delivered
the brutal news.

“Listen,” Liam said, his voice sounding
shaken and weak.
“I—I can’t
do this right now.”

“You have to,” Vera said.
“Keep going, Ex.”

“Mother was on her way to this very
office to sign the new will when she had her accident and died,” Exley

Liam’s entire body sagged as if he’d been
struck a forceful blow.
grabbed his arm.
“Can’t you see
he’s not ready to do this right now?” she cried out.
“Please stop.
Have some decency.”

“You want to talk about decency?” Vera
said, her cheeks crimson as she stood, throwing her unlit cigarette to the
“Let’s talk about decency.
Let’s talk about a poor, desperate girl
who slept with a rich boy and then tried to insert herself into his life as if
she’d known him for years and years.
Let’s talk about a manipulative girl who caused that same boy to tear
out his mother’s heart and set off a chain reaction that left her dead.
Vera said, her eyes full of hate and loathing.

“You blame me?” Grace said, her chest
tight and burning.
“This is my

“It’s not a coincidence, is it?” Exley
His eyes were pitiless.
“The fact remains that Liam intends for
you to be part of his life.
A woman
we hardly know—a woman that he hardly knows—could now be partially in
control of our family and our affairs.
If Liam marries you, the two of you could do whatever you want with our business.
Everything we’ve lived and breathed for
our entire lives is at risk thanks to Liam’s decision to put some woman he just
met ahead of his family and his fortune.”

“We’re hardly getting married,” Grace
laughed in disbelief.

“Who knows what my big brother intends to
do next?” Exley said.

Liam hadn’t spoken.
“I need to sit down,” he said, his voice
sounding even weaker.
Grace helped
him to chair and he sat heavily in it, his head bowed.
“I feel sick,” he said.

“Please just give him a moment,” Grace
told them.
“Can’t you see what
you’re doing to him?” she pleaded, but Liam’s brother and sister didn’t have an
ounce of mercy in their faces.

“Keep going,” Vera said to Exley.
“You know it needs to be done.”

Exley sighed.
“There are now two wills, and although
Mother died before she could sign the newest, there’s plenty of room to contest
the old will. The one that had Liam in control of our family’s business and the
vast inheritance is now in doubt.
In the new will, Liam get’s nothing—she cut him out completely.”

Liam put his face in his hands and moaned

Grace wished she was a man, because if
she was, she’d have physically grabbed Liam’s brother by his fancy lapels and
shook him and slapped him until he shut his arrogant, shameful mouth.

“Mother obviously intended Liam to be
removed from her estate,” Vera said.
“It’s clear, and with the electronic communications, we have a good case
to win in court and have the old will nullified.
It’s what we intend to do if Liam
doesn’t change his behavior and conduct immediately.”

“Vera and I’ve discussed it,” Exley
“We aren’t totally opposed to
honoring the older will, despite the fact that Mother was trying to change it
in her state of hurt and anger.
care about you, Liam.”

“We love you,” Vera agreed.

Liam lifted his head and looked at them,
his eyes red and bloodshot.

Grace watched them all, completely numb
and in shock.
She’d never prepared
herself for this kind of ambush and she was totally dumbfounded.

“What are your demands?” Liam croaked.

“You haven’t been taking your position in
the family seriously for a very long time,” Exley said.
“You need to go back to law school and
get your degree as has always been the expectation.
No more street fights and silly risk-taking
to avoid your responsibilities.”

“It’s only fair,” Vera said.
“We need a leader for this
Without Mother, we’re in
danger of losing our way.
We have
to get your assurance that we can trust you to do what’s right,” she continued,
moving closer to Liam, kneeling down and looking at him.

“Keep going,” Liam said.
“Let’s have the rest.”
He sounded like a broken man.

Grace already knew what was coming, but
still, she needed to hear it.

Exley was ignoring Grace’s presence,
focused only on his brother now.
“And finally, you’ve got to agree to sever ties with
,” he said, not even deigning to use Grace’s

“We cannot move forward with you at the
helm if there’s even a chance that you’re going to bring a stranger into the
family when we’re in such a precarious state.
If you can’t promise us this, then we’ll
be forced to remove you entirely from the picture.”

“And we can win,” Exley said.
“The lawyers are clear on that.
Either way, we’ll fight you tooth and
nail and it will take years to resolve.
You’ll lose your family, you’ll lose your fortune.”

“And all for a girl you hardly even
know,” Vera said softly.

Grace started to back away.
Liam hadn’t looked at her in what felt
like ages.
As his brother and
sister crowded towards him, she turned and fled the room.

Liam wasn’t coming after her and she knew

Scott was right, she thought.
He’d always been right and grace had
always known it, deep down.

never let us be together.



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Stay tuned for book 26, coming soon…


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