Chapter no 92 – JAMESON

The Brothers Hawthorne

The game is afoot. Jameson relished the thought, knowing perfectly well that the meaning of the phrase had nothing to do with the kind of game you played, but rather, the kind of game you hunted.

None of them were about to let Grayson go hunting alone. This nine-one-one had just gotten a lot more interesting.

“Details,” Xander said encouragingly, as the whole lot of them piled into a bulletproof SUV. “Don’t be shy, Gray. We’re all family here, and most of us can look you in the eye without thinking about the face drawn on your stomach.”

Grayson was clad once again in a suit. Jameson had made the symbolic decision to don one of his own—and he wasn’t the only one who’d done so. Four Hawthornes, four suits. Avery wore black.

Jameson didn’t know who had landed in his brother’s crosshairs, or why, but finding out would be half the fun.

“Right before I left Phoenix,” Grayson said, as Oren began the drive to the airstrip where Avery’s jet awaited, “the FBI raided the Grayson family home. It’s been more than eighteen months since Sheffield Grayson was last seen. Even if the investigation into his questionable business practices is ongoing, a warrant like that doesn’t just suddenly happen, eighteen months out, without someone stirring the pot.”

Someone, Jameson thought, who is going to regret it.

Nash was the first to reply to Grayson’s statement out loud. “You thought that someone was Eve.”

Xander twisted in his seat. “It’s not?”

“Kent Trowbridge,” Grayson bit out. The name meant nothing to Jameson—yet. “He’s a lawyer,” Grayson continued. “Worked for Acacia Grayson’s mother. There’s history there.”

“Lawyerly history?” Xander queried.

“If I were a betting man,” Grayson stated calmly, “I would guess the history between Acacia and Trowbridge is more of the ‘you married a penniless Sheffield Grayson instead of me’ variety.”

Jameson cocked his head to the side, the first hints of adrenaline making their way into his bloodstream. “I am a betting man.”

Grayson smiled darkly. “I know.”

It had been a long time since all four of them had been presented with a challenge like this one—all five of them, counting Avery.

Jameson leaned back in his seat. “Tell us more.”

Grayson obliged. “Sheffield Grayson came from poverty. He married money, and his wife’s parents funded his business endeavors. He siphoned funds away from those endeavors for his personal use, stockpiling them in foreign accounts. When his wife’s mother died, she left everything to her daughter and granddaughters, tied up in trusts. Acacia is her own trustee, but the trustee for the twins’ trusts is…”

“Kent Trowbridge?” Jameson guessed.

Grayson nodded curtly. “My father kept a journal detailing his own illegal transactions. He supposedly emptied Acacia’s trust, but there was no record of that in the journal. Records of embezzling from his own company? Yes. Records of his plot against Avery? Yes. But there was nothing about emptying Acacia’s trust.”

Now, Jameson’s mind was whirring. “Would Trowbridge have had access to it?”

“He comes from a prominent family of lawyers with close ties to Acacia’s mother’s family,” Grayson replied. “If Trowbridge didn’t set up the trust, someone in his family probably did. Assuming Acacia’s trust used the same financial institutions as the girls’ trusts, I’d say it’s likely Trowbridge could figure out a way to access it. And if it appeared to him that Sheffield Grayson had been engaged in illegal activities and skipped town…”

“Trowbridge could fairly easily assure that Acacia would blame her husband for the empty accounts,” Jameson finished. “Everyone would.

How much money are we talking about here?”

Grayson did some mental calculations. “If I were guessing, I’d say between ten and twelve million in Acacia’s trust and an equal amount for each of the girls. It’s possible that Trowbridge was in some kind of financial trouble…”

Jameson knew his brother well enough to read into his tone. “But you don’t think so.”

“No.” Grayson’s eyes hardened. “I think this is about Acacia.”

“He wants to control her?” Nash said. There was nothing that got under Nash’s skin like a man mistreating a woman.

“He’s boxing her in,” Grayson replied, a dark undertone in his voice. “Turning up the heat. I overheard him telling her that he was there for her, she just had to let him be there for her. I heard him reminding her that her parents were gone, that her husband was gone, that she had no one. And wouldn’t you know it, when the FBI came to the house, he was nowhere to be seen, because she couldn’t afford a lawyer, and his only offer was to come as a friend.”

Grayson stopped there, but Jameson knew instinctively that his brother wasn’t done. He was still thinking, still piecing together the big picture.

All they had to do was let him.

“Trowbridge told Savannah about the accusations against her father,” Grayson stated with blade-like precision. “And about her mother’s emptied trust. Plus, right before Gigi and I fought, she said that Savannah and their mother had an argument about the girls’ trusts. They wanted to use them to help pay for a lawyer, but Savannah said the trust terms wouldn’t allow that unless…”

“Unless Trowbridge signed off on it?” Nash drawled.

“Maybe,” Jameson replied. “But Grayson thinks there might be more to it than that. Don’t you, Gray?”

“I think,” Grayson said, his voice low, “that if my private investigator hasn’t managed to get a copy of the trust paperwork by now, he’s fired.”

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