Chapter no 14 – JAMESON

The Brothers Hawthorne

Like the Kentucky Derby,” Jameson murmured in Avery’s ear as they stepped onto a fabulously green lawn, “but make it royal.”

There was no press on racecourse grounds and no personal security allowed. Oren had grudgingly signed off on Avery’s attendance, primarily because, for once, she wasn’t the biggest target in the vicinity. The rich. The famous. The connected. The royal.

“Ready to make some noise?” Avery murmured back.

Jameson swept his gaze over a sea of men in top hats and long-tailed jackets and impeccably dressed women vying for a spot in Vogue. “Always.”



An hour in, the champagne and Pimm’s were flowing freely, and word of the Hawthorne heiress’s appearance had spread. In other circumstances, with literal royals in attendance, that might have mattered less. But Avery was in the beginning stages of giving away twenty-eight billion dollars. And then there was the fact that she literally had a horse in this race.

Actually, she had two.

“Thamenold had a good showing yesterday.” The lordly gentleman currently holding court around them was one of many who’d made a similar comment. “Is there any truth to the rumors that you’re looking to part with him, Ms. Grambs?”

Thamenold. Jameson’s mind automatically rearranged the letters in the

horse’s name. The old man. As with everything his grandfather had ever done, there were layers of meaning.

“You must know better than to listen to rumors,” Avery replied coyly.

That was his cue. “Although,” Jameson said, lowering his voice, but pitching it so that everyone in the vicinity could still hear, “I have to say that you certainly have some interesting rumors on this side of the pond. Legendary, even.”

You aren’t going to ask what I’m referring to, but you won’t forget I mentioned it, either.

“What about Lady Monoceros?” another older gentleman asked. “She’s running today, is she not? Have you placed a bet on your own horse, Ms. Grambs?”

Avery met the gentleman’s gaze. “Jameson and I are interested in a different kind of wager. We hear that London offers some very intriguing… options.” The spacing in her last sentence spoke volumes.

“Sorry, Heiress.” Jameson brought a champagne glass to his lips. “But my money isn’t on Lady Monoceros.” He waited for one of the men to take his bait and wasn’t disappointed.

“Who did you put your money on, then?”

Jameson flashed a smile. “Devil’s Mercy.” He counted the beats of silence that followed.

“You mean Devil’s Duel?” a third man said abruptly. “He’s had some nice showings.”

Jameson let another beat pass before he lifted his glass once more. “Of course. Devil’s Duel. My mistake.”

And so it went, encounter after encounter, comment after comment, glass after glass. Someone here had to be a member. Someone here would recognize the name Devil’s Mercy and realize that he hadn’t misspoken. Someone would understand what they were really looking for when they talked of rumors and legends, wagers and intrigue and options.

And it’s anyone’s guess, Jameson thought, how that someone will respond.

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