Chapter no 26

The Hawthorne Legacy (The Inheritance Games, 2)

You glorious beach.” An hour later, Max answered her new phone sounding downright upbeat.

“You got the phone.”

“It is the most beautiful thing I have seen in my bobforsaken life. Hold on a second. I have to turn on the shower.”

A second later, I could hear running water. “You’re not actually in the shower, are you?”

“My parents don’t need to overhear me talking to you on my new burner phone,” Max replied. “This is some double-oh-seven-level shift right here, Ave. I’m motherfaxing James Bond, motherfaxers! And yes, I am in the shower. Stealth, thy name is Max.”

I snorted. “I’ve missed you.” I paused then, thinking of our last couple of conversations. Max had accused me of making our friendship all about me. She hadn’t been wrong. “I know that I haven’t been—”

“Don’t,” Max cut me off. “Okay?”

“Okay.” I hesitated for a second or two. “Are we… okay?” “That depends,” Max replied. “Anyone try to kill you lately?”

After I’d been shot at, Max had wanted me to get out, but leaving Hawthorne House meant giving up the inheritance. To get the money, I had to stay for a year—Alisa had made that very clear.

“Your silence on the issue of people trying to kill you is deeply disturbing.”

“I’m fine,” I told Max. “It’s just…” “Just?”

I tried to decide where to start. “Someone left a bloody cow heart in my bedroom. With a knife.”

“Avery!” Max sighed. “Tell me everything.”



“So, to summarize,” Max said, “the dead uncle? Not dead, might be your father. Hot boys are also tragic, everyone wants a piece of your fine ash, and the woman who tried to have you killed is foxing your father?”

I winced. “That pretty much covers it.”

“You know what I’d like for my birthday?” Max asked calmly.

Max’s birthday. It’s tomorrow. “A little less drama?”

“Functional life-sized re-creations of the top-three most lovable droids in the Star Wars universe,” Max corrected. “And a little less drama.”

“How are you?” I asked. That was the question I’d failed to ask way too many times before.

“Delightful,” Max replied. “Max.”

“Things here have been… fine.”

“That sounds like a lie,” I said. Max’s ex had sent compromising photos of her to her parents when she broke up with him for trying to sell information on me to the press.

Her life definitely wasn’t fine right now.

“I’m thinking of going on a mission trip,” Max told me. “Maybe a long one.”

Max’s parents were religious. So was Max. It wasn’t just something she did for their benefit—but I’d never heard her talking about mission trips before.

How bad are things at home? At school? “Is there anything I can do?” I asked.

“Yes,” Max replied seriously. “You can tell your sorry excuse for a father to stick his head up his asp and eat ship. And ducks. Ducks and ship, in that order.”

There was a reason Max was my best friend. “Anything else?”

“You could tell me what Jameson Hawthorne’s abs feel like,” Max suggested innocently. “Because I saw that picture of the two of you, and my psychic senses are telling me that you have communed with those abs.”

“No!” I said. “There has been absolutely no communing.” “And why is that?” Max pressed.

“I have a lot going on right now.”

“You always have a lot going on,” Max told me. “And you don’t like wanting things.” She sounded oddly serious. “You’re really good at protecting yourself, Avery.”

She wasn’t telling me anything I didn’t know. “So?”

“You’re a billionaire now. You have an entire team of people to protect you. The world is your motherfaxing oyster. It’s okay to want things.” Max turned off the shower. “It’s okay to go after what you want.”

“Who says I want anything?” I asked.

“My psychic senses,” Max replied. “And that picture.”

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